TBR News April 12, 2010

Apr 16 2010

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., April 10, 2010: “China has been loudly boasting about her wonderful, surging, economy but there is some humor in the reality of this.

China counterfeited what purported to be U.S. government gold bars but which, in reality, were tungsten bars, gold plated. With these, China was able to buy up enormous amounts of merchandise and raw materials and, still using these fake bars deposited in the major world’s banks, reap a huge reward.

But the Swiss discovered the fraud and China then began to wail that the wicked Americans were shoving fake gold off on them. Of course the fact that China was dumping millions of dollars in counterfeit American gold and silver coins onto the American collecting market somehow never gets mentioned in our worthless print media.

The real humor lies in the fact that the MERS concealed “packaged” mortgages sold very well to an unsuspecting China. Alan Shapiro, who was behind much of the crooked Countryside falsified mortgages, detested the Chinese and saw to it that they, and certain wealthy Arab countries, were jammed full of these worthless objects.

Why worthless?

Well, when the 50 million Americans, who are unlucky enough to have MERS controlling their mortgages, get wind of the massive fraud and sue to gain title to their homes, the “packaged” mortgages will collapse and China and the uppity camel jockeys will take it in the shorts.

Of course, now that the cat is peeking out of the bag, we can expect official Washington to alert their army of trained rodents to attempt to prevent economic disaster.

The Beltway is filled with armies of official stool pigeons, most of whom have degrees from Yale or Harvard and work in libraries as historians. They can be counted on to write blogs full of pompous outpourings in defense of crooked official policies and for which gassy and haughty scribblings, they are paid well.

Never trust a multi-titular librarian (or ’academic historian’) any further than you could throw him by the ears. I would recommend against using any other part of their anatomies for tossing (preferably into an open cesspit), because it would probably come off in your hand and, upon inspection, have ‘Made in China’ embossed on it.”

Medvedev Launches Nord Stream Pipeline Construction

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev writes ‘Good Luck!’ on a section of the Nord Stream pipeline.
April 9, 2010


With the welding together of two pipes at a ceremony on Russia’s Baltic coast, construction officially began on the Nord Stream pipeline project to carry Russian gas to Germany.

Speaking at the ceremony today near the town of Vyborg, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told dignitaries and journalists: “The pipeline will ensure reliable fuel supplies to European consumers for affordable, reasonable prices. It will also protect us against problems that may be caused by the imperfections of the current legal framework, in particular with regard to transit.”

The twin pipeline project, due to be fully completed by 2012, will bring some 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas to Germany.

Also attending today’s ceremony at Portovaya Bay, northeast of St. Petersburg, was EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the celebrations via a video link.

The welding of the two pipes will be repeated thousands of times in the coming two years as Nord Stream’s engineers assemble two giant pipelines and lay them under the Baltic Sea.

When finished, Nord Stream will be 1,222 kilometers long — the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world. It will run straight down the middle of the Baltic Sea to reach Germany’s port of Greifswald.

The first pipeline is expected to be completed by next year, and the second by 2012. Total cost is projected to be some 7.4 billion euros ($9.86 billion).

Direct Supply

Nord Stream’s symbolic start comes after years of planning and controversy. Backers of the pipeline, including a succession of German governments, have long wanted it as a source of cheaper Russian energy.

Unlike current Russian pipelines to Europe, Nord Stream will not pass through any intermediate countries. That means no transit fees and major savings which can be passed on to consumers.

But opponents of the pipeline worry that it will increase Germany’s dependence on Russia just at a time when Europe at large is trying to find alternatives to importing more Russian energy.

Some 50 percent of all the European Union’s oil and gas imports currently are from Russia and, given current trends, that proportion is set to rise to 70 percent by 2020.

In recent years, EU states have been struck by temporary energy cutoffs from Russia amid Moscow’s disputes with transit country Ukraine over gas prices.

That has given rise to fears that Russia could use energy supplies as a foreign policy weapon against the EU as it already has done against nearer neighbors like Ukraine and Georgia.

But Nord Stream’s supporters have discounted those fears by extolling the pipeline project as a reason for Russia and EU states to work more closely together rather than compete.

They say that Russia is growing as dependent upon the EU through pipeline projects as vice versa. Sixty percent of Russia’s export revenue currently comes from energy, and about half of that is from exports to the EU.

The Nord Stream project has also raised environmental concerns. Opponents particularly have worried that its construction could stir up toxins lying on the bottom of the highly polluted Baltic Sea. (Note: The “toxins” of concern are the tens of thousands of German Wehrmacht 150mm artillery shells containing nerve gasses that the Allied dumped into the North Sea after the end of the Second World War. Ed.)

Partly for this reason, Finland refused for years to give the project the go-ahead. It finally did so only in February, on condition the ships building the pipelines do not anchor in the waters of Finland’s offshore Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The pipeline has also received environmental permits from the four other countries through whose territorial waters or EEZs the pipeline will pass: Russia, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany.

The main stockholders in the project are Russia’s Gazprom (51 percent), Germany’s Wintershall Holding (20 percent), Germany’s E.ON Ruhrgas (20 percent), and the Netherland’s Gasunie (9 percent).


Israel is ‘main threat to Middle East peace’: Turkish PM

Operation Cast Lead based on ‘lies’

Netanyahu ‘regrets’ Turkish criticism

Criticism follows tensions, remarks by Israel FM
PARIS: The prime minister of Turkey, Israel’s only ally in the Muslim world, on Wednesday branded the Jewish state the “principal threat to peace” in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks at a breakfast meeting in Paris marked a new low in deteriorating relations between Israel and Turkey, which once had close military and political ties. “If a country uses disproportionate force in Palestine, in Gaza – uses phosphorous shells – we’re not going to say ‘bravo’,” he declared, referring to Israel’s January 2009 offensive against Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Operation Cast Lead, which was aimed at preventing rocket attacks by Gaza-based militants on Israel, left around 1,400 Palestinians dead and destroyed thousands of homes.

Erdogan said Israel’s justification for the offensive was based on “lies” and cited a report by UN investigator Richard Goldstone, a South African judge who accused both Israel and Palestinians of war crimes. “Goldstone is a Jew and his report is clear,” the Turkish leader told reporters invited to meet him at the Paris Ritz hotel. “It’s not because we are Muslims that we take this position. Our position is humanitarian.

“It’s Israel that is the principal threat to regional peace,” said Erdogan speaking in Turkish, through a French interpreter.

‘Regretful’ attacks: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back at what he said were Turkey’s repeated attacks. “We are interested in good relations with Turkey and regret that Erdogan chooses time after time to attack Israel,” he said at a Jerusalem news conference held to review his first year in office. “It is a regrettable occurrence which I don’t think serves the interests of stability and improved relations in our region,” said Netanyahu, adding that he had not discussed the issue with Erdogan. Turkey is the only country in its immediate region to enjoy open military ties with Israel and has been a rare friend in the Muslim world, despite strong sympathy for the Palestinians among the Turkish public. Turkey’s ties with Israel have suffered since Erdogan became prime minister in 2003 but this has accelerated since the Gaza offensive, which Turkey condemned.

Tensions: On Tuesday, Ankara “vehemently condemned” remarks attributed to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that likened Erdogan to controversial pro-Palestinian leaders Muammar Qaddafi of Libya and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Israeli website Ynet quoted Lieberman as saying on Monday that Erdogan is “slowly turning into Qaddafi or Hugo Chavez” and added: “It’s his choice. The problem is not Turkey, the problem is Erdogan.” This spat followed tensions caused when Israel’s deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon gave Turkey’s ambassador a public dressing down in January to protest a Turkish television series that criticised Israel.

After having kept Oguz Celikkol waiting, the envoy was made to sit on a low couch and the Turkish flag was removed from their table. Ayalon had pictures taken of the humiliating scene, infuriating Ankara.

One year after the Gaza battle, in a memorable outburst, Erdogan stormed out of a debate at the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos after telling Israeli President Shimon Peres: “You know well how to kill people”. Turkey is currently a member of the UN Security Council, which will soon have to decide whether to follow French and US pressure to impose tougher penalties on Iran over its nuclear programme. At the Paris meeting, Erdogan pointed the finger at Israel’s undeclared stock of nuclear warheads, arguing that the fact that it had not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) should not exempt it from international safeguards.

“Is this situation logical?” he demanded. “Should not being a member of the NPT mean you can do whatever you like every day?” He repeated his opposition to sanctions against Iran, which Western capitals accuse of secretly seeking a nuclear bomb, insisting the International Atomic Energy Agency has found no hard proof of Tehran cheating. afp


China’s $7.24B March trade deficit 1st in 6 years

April 10, 2010

by Elaine Kurtenbach

Associated Press

SHANGHAI (AP) — For the first time in six years, China’s imports in March outpaced its exports, leaving a $7.24 billion shortfall that Beijing says reflects a trend toward more balanced trade but is likely to be short-lived.

Last month’s trade deficit with the rest of the world may buy China some respite from building pressure to revalue its currency, though its surpluses with the United States and Europe remain as robust as ever.

Even if China allows the yuan to gain slightly in value against the dollar in coming weeks, the shift is unlikely to settle the raging debate over whether its currency policy is unfairly distorting trade.

The calm won’t last. China’s trade surplus will soon reappear. Indeed, the surplus that matters most politically, that with the U.S., is already rising again and not far off a record high,” Mark Williams, senior economist with Capital Economics, said in a report Saturday.

Beijing appeared pleased with the trade data for March, with the commerce minister and others leaking news of the deficit — the first since a $2.26 billion deficit in April 2004 — in advance of Saturday’s announcement by the Customs Administration.

Zheng Yuesheng, chief of the customs agency’s statistics department, said the 60 percent rise in China’s imports in January-March, compared to a year earlier, was a boon to “the balanced growth of the world economy.”

“This kind of trade deficit is healthy because it appears when exports and imports both grow rapidly,” Zheng said on national television.

Zheng echoed other officials in predicting that China’s trade will soon return to surplus, though he said that it will likely tend to be more balanced than in the past.

Chinese officials contend that raising the yuan’s value would hurt struggling exporters and add uncertainty to a still hazy world economic outlook.

“We are still very much concerned. Global demand is still weak and protectionism is rising,” Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Yi Xiaozhun said at a regional conference, the Boao Forum for Asia, on Saturday.

China’s exports totaled $112.11 billion in March, up 24.3 percent from a year earlier. Imports reached $119.35 billion, up 66 percent compared to the same period last year, the Customs Administration said in data posted on its Web site.

In January-March, China still posted a global trade surplus of $14.5 billion, though it fell 76.7 percent from the same period last year. The trade surplus was $7.6 billion in February and the combined January-February surplus was $21.8 billion.

The overall March deficit reflects sustained strong demand in China, helped by a torrent of bank lending and other government stimulus, which is driving up prices for imported crude oil, iron ore and other raw materials. Meanwhile, the Western countries that are China’s main customers for its exports have yet to return to solid growth, though they are expected to revive later this year.

The strongest growth in imports was from suppliers of commodities in the developing world, not from Western industrial trading partners.

China recorded a $9.87 billion trade surplus with the United States in March and a $30.7 billion surplus for the first quarter, the customs figures showed. Imports from the U.S. rose 43 percent in March, nearly twice the pace of exports.

China’s trade surplus with the European Union was $7 billion in March and $29.3 billion for the first three months of the year.

Persisting trade surpluses have caused U.S. and European leaders to demand that Beijing let the yuan rise in value, thereby raising Chinese purchasing power and perhaps helping create jobs in the West. Some American economists estimate the yuan is undervalued by up to 40 percent, giving its exporters an unfair advantage and swelling its trade surplus.

Beijing, arguing that a stable currency benefits both Chinese and world economic growth, has kept the value of the yuan tightly linked to the U.S. dollar for much of the past two decades. It loosened that link in 2005, letting the yuan rise about 20 percent before clamping down in mid-2008 to help staunch the loss of millions of factory jobs due to plunging global demand.

The deficit shows “the decisive factor that affects the trade balance is not the exchange rate, it’s the relationship between market supply and demand and other factors,” the Commerce Ministry said in a separate statement Saturday.

Some U.S. lawmakers have urged President Barack Obama to have China declared a currency manipulator in a Treasury Department report that was due out this month.

Moving to soothe rising tensions, Washington postponed the report ahead of a visit by President Hu Jintao to the U.S. to attend a nuclear conference. Following a brief stopover in Beijing this week by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for talks with Vice Premier Wang Qishan, many expect Beijing to allow at least a modest change in the yuan’s value.

Supporters of loosening controls on the Chinese currency say Beijing’s efforts to keep the yuan’s value steady are fueling inflation and hampering its monetary policy choices.

“China can go a lot further in internationalizing its economy and promoting world growth by making its currency more flexible,” Pieter Bottelier, an economist who formerly headed the World Bank’s Beijing office, told a conference in Shanghai this week.


Associated Press researchers Ji Chen in Shanghai and Henry Hou in Beijing contributed to this report.

US reaps bitter harvest from ‘Tulip’ revolution
by M K Bhadrakumar

BEIJING – This is not how color revolutions are supposed to turn out. In the Ukraine, the “Orange” revolution of 2004 has had a slow painful death. In Georgia, the “Rose” revolution of 2003 seems to be in the throes of what increasingly appears to be a terminal illness.

Now in Kyrgyzstan, the “Tulip” revolution of 2005 is taking another most unforeseen turn. It is mutating and in the process something terrible is happening to its DNA. A color revolution against a regime backed by the United States was not considered possible until this week. Indeed, how could such a thing happen, when it was the US that invented color revolutions to effect regime change in countries outside its sphere of influence?

What can one call the color revolution in Kyrgyzstan this week? No one has yet thought up a name. Usually, the US sponsors have a name readily available. Last year in Iran it was supposed to have been the “Twitter” revolution.

It is highly unlikely that President Kurmanbek Bakiyev will retain his job. Aside from Washington, no major capital is demanding reconciliation between him and the Kyrgyz revolutionaries.

Evidently, there has been a massive breakdown in US diplomacy in Central Asia. Things were going rather well lately until this setback. For the first time it seemed Washington had succeeded in the Great Game by getting a grip on the Kyrgyz regime, though the achievement involved a cold-blooded jettisoning of all norms of democracy, human rights and rule of law that the US commonly champions. By all accounts, Washington just bought up the Bakiyev family lock stock and barrel, overlooking its controversial record of misuse of office.

According to various estimates, the Bakiyev family became a huge beneficiary of contracts dished out by the Pentagon ostensibly for providing supplies to the US air base in Manas near the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.

This is a practice that the US fine-tuned in Afghanistan, originally to patronize and bring on board important political personalities on the fractured Afghan chessboard. In Kyrgyzstan, the game plan was relatively simple, as there were not many people to be patronized. Some estimates put the figure that the Pentagon awarded last year to businesses owned by members of the Bakiyev family as US$80 million.

Just one look at the map of Central Asia shows why the US determined that $80 million annually was a small price to pay to establish its predominance in Kyrgyzstan. The country is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the geopolitics of the region.

Kyrgyzstan borders China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Some time ago there was a whispering campaign which said the Manas base, projected as the main supply base for US troops in Afghanistan, had highly sophisticated electronic devices installed by the Pentagon that could “peep” into Xinjiang where key Chinese missile sites are located.

Besides, a sizeable Uyghur community lives in Kyrgyzstan and almost 100,000 ethnic Kyrgyz live in Xinjiang. Kyrgyzstan surely holds the potential to be a base camp for masterminding activities aimed at destabilizing the situation in Xinjiang.

Furthermore, southern Kyrgyzstan lies adjacent to the Ferghana Valley, which is historically the cradle of Islamist radicalism in the region. The militant groups based in Afghanistan and Pakistan often transit through Kyrgyzstan while heading for the Ferghana Valley. In the Andijan riots in Uzbekistan in 2005, militant elements based in southern Kyrgyzstan most certainly played a major role.

At a time when the Afghan endgame is increasingly in sight, involving the US’s reconciliation with the Taliban in some form or the other, Kyrgyzstan assumes the nature of a pivotal state in any US strategy toward the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) into Central Asia.

To put it differently, for any US strategy to use political Islam to bring about regime change in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the future, Kyrgyzstan would be extremely valuable. Like Georgia in the Caucasus, Kyrgyzstan’s significance lies not in its natural resources such as oil or natural gas, but in its extraordinary geographical location, which enables it to modulate regional politics.

A challenge lies ahead for US diplomacy in the weeks and months ahead. Although Roza Otunbayeva, the head of the interim government, said on Thursday that as far as bases were concerned “the status quo would remain”, this could change at any moment. At the least, the annual rent of about $60 million the US pays to use the base could be renegotiated.

Otunbayeva was foreign minister before the “Tulip” revolution and she also served in various positions during the Soviet era. Kyrgyzstan is also home to a Russian base. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was the first world leader to recognize the legitimacy of the new government in Bishkek. The affinity to Moscow is clear.

Also in doubt is whether the new regime in Bishkek will want to pursue Washington’s military assistance, especially the setting up of a counter-terrorism center in the southern city of Batken near the Ferghana Valley. This includes the stationing of American military advisors on Kyrgyz soil, not far from the Chinese border.

Clearly, the US pressed ahead too rashly with its diplomacy. On the one hand, it came down from its high pedestal of championing the cause of democracy, rule of law and good governance by backing Bakiyev, whose rule lately had become notorious for corruption, cronyism and authoritarian practices, as well as serious economic mismanagement. (It will look cynical indeed if Washington once again tries to paint itself as a champion of democratic values in the Central Asian region.)

On the other hand, US diplomacy has seriously destabilized Kyrgyzstan. From its position as a relatively stable country in the region as of 2005, when the “Tulip” revolution erupted, it has now sunk to the bottom of the table for political stability, dropping below Tajikistan. An entire arc stretching from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has now become highly volatile.

In all likelihood, we have not heard the end of the story of this week’s riots in Kyrgyzstan in which about 40 people were killed and 400 others injured. The old north-south divide in Kyrgyzstan has reappeared and it is significant that Bakiyev fled from Bishkek, reportedly to his power base in the southern city of Osh. The south is predominately ethnic Uzbek. Some very astute political leadership is needed in Bishkek in the dangerous times ahead if Kyrgyzstan’s ethnic divide were not to lead to a breakdown of the country’s unity. The country’s population is about 65% Kyrgyz (Sunni Muslim), with about 14% ethnic Uzbek.

Besides, the Islamists are waiting in the wings to take advantage of any such catastrophic slide. The socio-economic situation in Kyrgyzstan already looks very grim. All the ingredients of protracted internecine strife are available. Kyrgyzstan is dangerously sliding toward becoming the first “failing state” in the post-Soviet space.

The biggest danger is that the instability may seep into the Ferghana Valley and affect Uzbekistan. There is a hidden volcano there in an unresolved question of nationality that lurks just below the surface, with the sizeable ethnic Uzbek population in southern Kyrgyzstan at odds with the local ethnic Kyrgyz community.

It remains unclear whether there has been any form of outside help for the Kyrgyz opposition. But there is a touch of irony that the regime change in Bishkek took place on the same day that US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart President Dmitry Medvedev met at Prague Castle. On Thursday, they signed the first major US-Russia arms control pact of the post-Cold War era, which is supposed to set in motion the “reset” of relations between the two countries.

Indeed, the first litmus test of “reset” might be Obama seeking Medvedev’s help to make sure the US does not get evicted from Manas, at least until his AfPak policy reaches its turning point in July 2011, when the first drawdown of US troops is expected. If Obama were to take Medvedev’s help, color revolutions as such would have in essence become a common heritage of the US and Russia. One side sows the seeds and the other side reaps the harvest – and vice versa.

But it will be a bitter pill for Washington to swallow. The Russians have all along mentioned their special interests in the former Soviet republics and the US has been adamant that it will not concede any acknowledgement of Moscow’s privileges. Now to seek Moscow’s helping hand to retain its influence in Kyrgyzstan will be a virtual about-turn for Washington. Also, Moscow is sure to expect certain basic assurances with regard to the creeping NATO expansion into the Caucasus and Central Asia.

As the recent first-ever regional tour of Central Asia by the US’s special representative for Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, testified, Washington was just about to accelerate the process of expanding the scope of AfPak into the strategic region bordering Russia and China. Holbrooke ominously spoke of an al-Qaeda threat to Central Asia, suggesting that NATO had a role to play in the region in its capacity as the only viable security organization that could take on such a high-risk enterprise of chasing Osama bin Laden in the steppes and the killer deserts of Kizil Kum and Kara Kum.

Holbrooke’s tour – followed immediately after by the intensive two-day consultations in Bishkek by the US Central Command chief, David Petraeus – didn’t, conceivably, go unnoticed in the concerned regional capitals. But as of now, the US’s entire future strategy in Central Asia is up in the air.


US Navy holds 6 suspected pirates after battle

April 10, 2010

by Brian Murphy

Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A U.S. warship captured six suspected pirates Saturday after a battle off the Horn of Africa — the Navy’s third direct encounter with seafaring bandits in less than two weeks.

The Navy has taken at least 21 suspected pirates since March 31 in the violence-plagued waters off Somalia and nearby regions, where U.S. warships are part of an international anti-piracy flotilla.

A statement by the U.S. Navy said the suspected pirates began shooting at the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland just before dawn about 380 miles (610 kilometers) off Djibouti, a small nation facing Yemen across the mouth of the Red Sea.

The Navy said the Ashland returned fire and the suspected pirate skiff was destroyed. All six people on board were rescued and taken aboard the Ashland.

The Ashland suffered no injuries or damage in the second recent attack on a U.S. warship by suspected pirates.

On March 31, the frigate USS Nicholas exchanged fire with a suspected pirate vessel west of the Seychelles, sinking their skiff and confiscating a mother ship. Five suspected pirates were captured.

On Monday, the destroyer USS McFaul responded to the distress call from a merchant vessel and captured 10 other suspected pirates.

The Navy said it was reviewing “multiple options” on the suspects’ fates.

Some suspected pirates have been turned over to Kenya for trial, but there has been some reluctance by African nations to become a center for prosecutions. In December, the Dutch government released 13 suspected Somali pirates after the European Union failed to find a country willing to prosecute them.

One of the suspected pirates accused of attacking the U.S.-flagged merchant ship Maersk Alabama last year is facing trial in the United States.

At the United Nations, Russia has introduced a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council that calls for strengthening the international legal system to ensure captured Somali pirates do not escape punishment.

In Turkey, a news agency reported Saturday that Somali pirates have abandoned a commandeered Turkish ship.

The Dogan agency quoted Fatih Kabal, an official of Bergen Shipping based in Istanbul, as saying the pirates left the MV Yasin C, which was seized Wednesday 250 miles (400 kilometers) off the Kenyan coast.

Kabal said the crew had locked themselves in the engine room and realized that the pirates had left the ship on Friday. He said crew members, who were unharmed, took the damaged ship to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

Somali pirates have been known to give up on ships they believe have no ransom value, such as vessels owned or hired by Somali traders.

Meanwhile, the owner of a hijacked supertanker has begun negotiations for the ship’s release, a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the talks. Repeated calls to the South Korean shipping company seeking comment went unanswered on Saturday night.

A South Korean naval destroyer that had been monitoring the ship began sailing away from the pirates Saturday and heading back toward the Gulf of Aden after the pirates warned the sailors not to come any closer.

Authorities say Somali pirates hijacked the 300,000-ton Samho Dream in the Indian Ocean on April 4. The ship was transporting crude oil worth about $160 million from Iraq to the U.S. with a crew of 24 South Koreans and Filipinos.

More than a dozen ships and their crew are believed to be currently held by pirates off the lawless coast of Somalia.


Associated Press writer Kwang-tae Kim contributed to this report from Seoul, South Korea.

Towards America’s Electronic, Troop-less Wars

Future U.S Wars will involve Massive Use of Drones

March 1, 2010

by Prof. Marc W. Herold

Global Research,


Future U.S wars in the Third World will involve massive use of drones to police the  territory, employ local satrap[1][1] forces (like those of Karzai’s Afghan Army) and once the territory has been pacified sufficiently, the deployment of “Government Ready-to-Rule (GRR)” kits. The drones provide the critical and the weak link: critical insofar as they represent the ultimate American-style war where only the “Others” (opponents and civilians) die but weak insofar as this type of warfare only works against an opponent without any anti-drone/aircraft capability. In other words, this type of technological warfare can only be carried out upon weak opponents lacking independent industrial capacities (not against China, Russia, and India). This approach represents the culmination of disconnecting the delivery of deadly force – the rain of Hellfire missiles – upon the Others and incurring no human (physical or psychological – PTSD) costs. Or put in other terms, it represents the quintessential American way of “solving” problems with technological short-cuts, a military effort begun in 1942 with the Allied fire-bombing of German cities.[1][2] The current American war in Afghanistan is a harbinger of what is to come, America’s electronic, troop-less war.

Prophetically the first victims in 2010 of Obama in his Afghan war were a teacher in a government school, Sadiq Noor, and his nine-year old son, Wajid as well as three other persons.  Both were killed on Sunday night, January 3, 2010 in a U.S. drone strike involving two missiles fired into the home of Sadiq Noor in the village of Musaki, North Waziristan in Pakistan.[1][3] During January 2010, a record number of twelve deadly missile strikes were carried out on Pakistan’s tribal areas. Three Al-Qaeda leaders were killed and 123 innocent civilians.[1][4] During 2009, 44 U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan killed 708 people but only five Al Qaeda or Taliban; that is for each enemy fighter 140 civilian Pakistanis had to die.[1][5]

Those who pull the gray trigger to fire are located in Nevada, Kandahar, or Pakistan.[1][6] As Philip Alston points out, “Young military personnel raised on a diet of video games now kill real people remotely using joysticks. Far removed from the human consequences of their actions, how will this generation of fighters value the right to life?”[1][7] In early 2010, the U.S. Air Force had more drone operators in training than fighter and bomber pilots.[1][8] The Long Bloody History of America’s Resort to Technology in War: Six Episodes

The electronic battlefield represents the end stop in more than a half century (1942-2010) of the United States resorting to technology in order to save its troops yet indiscriminately inflicting horrendous casualties upon an opponent’s military and civilians.

The first obvious use of technology which inflicted massive and indiscriminate civilian deaths was the firebombing of German cities during World War II.[1][9] The use of incendiary bombs against German cities initiated in March 1942 was adopted as a strategy because Allied bombing of German military targets was generally unsuccessful and very costly in terms of airmen lost.[1][10] The horrific tale is recounted in the classic account by Jorg Friedrich, Der Brand.[1][11] For example, the massive firebombing by U.S. and British air forces of Dresden on the night of February 13/14, 1945 illustrates the effects. At least 55,000 -250,000 persons perished within hours. The British bomber Command attacked at night and U.S 8th Air Force Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses followed up with three massive strikes the next day. A city known as “Florence on the Elbe” was reduced to rubble in hours. Eighty-five per cent of its buildings were destroyed.[1][12]

The second episode involves the use of atomic bombs on Japan in early 1945 as a means of pre-empting a U.S. invasion of the Japanese heartland which no doubt would have involved numerous U.S. casualties. Between February and August 1945, Jorg Friedrich reports in the cities of Dresden, Pforzheim, Wurzburg, Halberstadt, Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, Tokyo, etc. a total of 330,000 people died in conventional aerial incendiary bomb attacks, an additional 300,000 perished in the two U.S. nuclear attacks upon Japanese cities carried out by Boeing B-29 Stratofortresses.[1][13] The total estimated death toll: in Hiroshima 100,000 were killed instantly, and between 100,000 and 200,000 died eventually; in Nagasaki about 40,000 were killed instantly, and between 70,000 and 150,000 died eventually.

The third episode involves the high-altitude carpet bombing of Cambodia during four years (March 18, 1969-August 15, 1973) by U.S. Boeing B-52 bombers. The intention was to disrupt supply routes of the North Vietnamese Peoples’ Liberation Army. The Americans unleashed a holocaust of 2,756,941 tons of bombs on more than 113,000 Cambodian sites during October 1965-August 1973 which killed over 150,000 rural Cambodians.[1][14] Owen summarized, “civilian casualties in Cambodia drove an enraged populace into the arms of an insurgency that had enjoyed relatively little support until the [U.S.] bombing began.”[1][15]

The fourth episode occurred some twenty years later when U.S. forces bombed Iraqis fleeing from Kuwait on the Highway of Death on February 26/27, 1991. The defenseless Iraqi forces were retreating and the column included Kuwaiti captives as well as civilians. Iraqi soldiers as well as Iraqi, Palestinian, Jordanian and other civilians piled into whatever vehicles they could commandeer, including a fire truck, and fled north towards Iraq. U.S. planes disabled vehicles at both ends of the convoy, creating a 7-mile long traffic jam. U.S. planes then began to bomb and strafe the entire line of some 2,000 vehicles for hours, killing tens of thousands of helpless soldiers and civilians while encountering no resistance and receiving no losses to themselves. The bombing was inspired by destroying as much Iraqi military equipment as possible before an eventual U.S ground assault upon Baghdad. The scenes of carnage on the road were seen by the international community as a “turkey shoot” and led to the war’s quick end subsequently. The attacks violated the Geneva Convention of 1949, common article 3, which outlaws the killing of soldiers who “are out of combat,” not to mention the incinerated civilians. The fifth episode was the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan during October 7 – December 10, 2001, upon which I originally reported and have continued to do.[1][16] U.S. air power and purchased satrap soldiers of the Northern Alliance were substituted for the use of numerous U.S. ground forces. The result was predictable: during three months about 2,600-2,900 Afghan civilians perished at the hands of U.S. forces whereas only 12 Americans died during October-December.[1][17] Again, technology in the guise of aerial bombing replaced U.S ground forces. The ratio of Afghan civilians killed per U.S. military casualty was an astonishing 230.

The sixth episode involves a chapter in America’s invasion/bombing o Afghanistan in 2001, the use of the “Daisy Cutter” bombs, another technological spectacle originally designed to create jungle clearings. On November 4, 2001, the U.S. upped the ante and dropped two BLU-82 sub-atomic bombs (equivalent to a tactical nuclear weapon) upon humans, on Taliban positions in northern Afghanistan.[1][18] The bombs destroy everything in a 600-yard radius, giving off a mushroom-like cloud and have an un-nerving effect upon the targeted troops. On November 23rd — a week into Ramadan — a third BLU-82 was dropped just south of Kandahar. A fourth was dropped in the Tora Bora campaign. A nightmarish progression had taken place:

It’s nightmarish to see that the U.S. is slowly desensitizing the public to the level of destruction taking place in Afghanistan. They have progressed from medium-sized missiles to Tomahawk and cruise missiles, to bunker-busting 2,000 lb bombs, then to [B-52] carpet-bombing using cluster bombs, and now the devastating daisy cutter bombs that annihilate everything in a 600-meter radius.[1][19]

Towards America’s Electronic, Troop-less Wars

For a year before 9/11, CIA-operated Predator surveillance drones flying over Afghanistan had occasionally picked up Bin Laden.[1][20] Even before the U.S. bombing campaign against Afghanistan started in October 2001, a CIA-operated RQ-1 Predator had crashed in Afghanistan on September 23, 2001. Such an inauspicious beginning was soon followed by another Predator crash on November 2, 2001 in Afghanistan, two more crashes during the week of January 21, 2002, and another crash on May 17, 2002 in the hills near the U.S. air base in Jacobabad, Pakistan. The big brother of the Predator, called the Global Hawk, fared even worse. Both of the $15 million U.S. Air Force-operated unmanned craft have crashed — the first on December 30, 2001, and the second on July 10, 2002, near another U.S. air base at Shamsi, Pakistan. The U.S. Air Force flew Predator drones out of its bases in Uzbekistan [near the Afghan border] and Pakistan (Jacobabad and Shamsi). Clear weather and the lack of Taliban anti-aircraft defenses allowed the drones to collect real-time imagery which was relayed to hovering strike aircraft.

The step from mere surveillance to offensive killing took place during in the summer of 2001 when some Predators were equipped with two of Lockheed’s Hellfire AGM-114 laser-guided anti-tank missiles ($45,000 apiece). By January 2003, four reported cases existed of the Predator-Hellfire combination being used. Two of these attacks resulted in the deaths of at least 13 innocent civilians. On February 4, 2002, a Predator Hellfire missile killed three Afghans scavenging for metal in the hills around Zhawar Kili, Paktia.[1][21] On May 6, 2002, a Predator fired a Lockheed missile at a convoy of cars in Kunar province, seeking to assassinate Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, but succeeded only in destroying a madrassah and killing at least 10 civilians nearby.

Move forward eight years to late 2009 when some would claim that “unmanned aircraft used both for surveillance and for offensive strikes, are considered the most significant advance in military technology in a generation.”[1][22] These killer drones will allegedly replace the need for U.S ground forces. A senior U.S. Defense official stated, “The technology allows us to project power without vulnerability.”[1][23] Much less than the B-17’s who had to deal with Messerschmitts over Hitler’s Germany or the B-52’s which occasionally confronted MIGs over Indochina.

A drone in late 2009 staring down at a single house or vehicle kept constant watch on everything that moved within an area of 1.5 square miles. This year the capability will double to three square miles. In 2006, the USAF flew six drones at a time; in 2009, the number was 38 and the Air Force hopes to have 50 aloft simultaneously in 2011.[1][24]

America’s path to the electronic, troop-less war in Afghanistan follows upon three previous tactics. During 2004, the United States successfully pressured NATO allies to bear the fighting costs in Afghanistan. The aim was to spread the human and monetary costs felt in each nation. The effort proved eminently successful insofar as during 2004, U.S. military deaths amounted to 87% of foreign military casualties in Afghanistan but had fallen to 51% by 2006 remaining at about that share during 2007-8. But the restrictions put upon troops by NATO governments limited their combat role and by 2006, the Taliban were rapidly increasing their reach across Afghanistan. The U.S high command then resorted in the second phase (2006-8) to heavy use of air strikes. The predictable ensued: spiraling of Afghan civilian casualties (Table 1), drawing severe NATO criticism by early 2009. In May Obama’s military decided to substitute increasing ground forces for air strikes – the McChrystal Interlude.

The currently insufficient number of drones and control support systems has necessitated a temporary U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan – the McChrystal Interlude – while the local satrap forces and drone capability are built up.[1][25] The clear-hold-and-build effort in Helmand is a stop-gap measure in which U.S/NATO ground shock troops are surrogates for drones (and take casualties). But the image – recall America is the land which pioneered marketing – presented by the military-industrial-media-information complex (MIMIC) is one of strength. Endless spectacles of drones, Ospreys, Apaches, HiMARS, etc. are beamed into American homes by the MIMIC, a domestic shock-and-awe in the living rooms of America. At the same time, all photos of Afghans killed by U.S forces are suppressed here. The whole bromide is further marketed to the general public with endless displays of the Stars-and-Stripes, “Support Our  Troops” posters (even on the helmet of U.S. athletes at the Vancouver Winter Olympics), the militaristic rituals that intrude on most American social events, and prancing National Football League cheerleaders providing the necessary “moral support” for American occupation troops in Afghanistan.[1][26] Football cheerleaders in Afghanistan and media cheerleaders here in America.

The corollary is that during the McChrystal Interlude Orwellian Newspeak is deployed by the Pentagon and its media mignons (carried to the extreme with the embedded “reporters” in Afghanistan and cheerleaders outside, e.g., CBS’s Lara Logan) which emphasizes the value of Afghan civilian lives. But, every effort is made to conceal the true toll of civilian casualties and the UNAMA implicitly participates in such effort. For example, in the current US/NATO offensive against Marja in Helmand, the medical coordinator of the Italian NGO, Emergency Lashkar Gah hospital, has claimed the NATO forces blocked the movement of wounded Afghan civilians to the Emergency hospital.[1][27] When some innocent Afghans die and such cannot be concealed we are treated during the McChrystal Interlude to a torrent of regrets, condolences, and a few thousand dollars of “compensation” are doled out “to soften war’s blow.”[1][28]  Sorry or sincerest regrets for killing your family members and we promise to make changes[1][29]…next please

But in the countryside, midnight raids by mostly clandestine commando U.S. Special Operations forces and aerial onslaughts are increasing far away from the public’s eyes.[1][30] Such Special Operations raids are carried out at night, killing and/or abducting villagers to secret U.S prisons dotting Afghanistan. According to a report filed by Gopal, the villagers in Zaiwalat, Maidan Wardak Province, with 300 people are “afraid of the dark” because of the ten middle-of-the-night raids during 2008-9 in which 16 people were killed.[1][31] These Special Forces operate outside of regular military channels. On February 21st, airborne Special Operations forces incinerated three mini-buses travelling on a road in Daikundi, Uruzgan. The result was 27-33 dead Afghan civilians including women and children. Almost two months earlier, U.S. Special Operations Forces had air-dropped into a village in 5he middle of the night in Narang district, Kunar, and proceeded to drag ten people from their homes (including eight school children grades 6-10, handcuff and execute them.[1][32] This has long been the practice of U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan.[1][33]

Another news management tactic employed by MIMIC is to assert after a bomb or drone attack somewhere in the Muslim world that a “top” Al Qaeda or militant leader was killed as stated by an official “anonymous source.” Invariably, the “top” leader re-emerges and the account of slaughtered civilians makes its way into the back pages of a U.S newspaper. As Glenn Greenwald so cogently put it, “framing the story this way “ensures there is no attention paid to the radicalizing effect of these civilian deaths and our attacks for that country and in the region.”[1][34] The future American war menu of drones-satraps-GRRs represents the end game of such concealed massacre and neocolonialism. Would any independent western reporter venture out into the Afghan killing fields and brave the rain of Hellfire missiles from U.S. drones? The menu will also conveniently cost much less monetarily to a massively indebted United States than what it currently spends to deploy 150,000 U.S. ground forces in Afghanistan

America’s Afghan Civilian Casualties Conundrum during the McChrystal Interlude

The McChrystal Interlude is characterized by two costly outcomes: still many visible dead innocent Afghans (caused by the technological spectacle deployed by the U.S occupiers) and many U.S./NATO occupation (rather than “coalition”) force casualties (caused by the deadly duo – IEDs and suicide bombers). The civilians killed refer here only to those killed by US/NATO actions.  The relationship between these two counts is captured by the ratio of Afghan civilian deaths per dead foreign occupation soldier. Table 1 below presents monthly figures for the past year of the Obama regimen. More Afghan civilians died under the Obama clock in 2009 than under his predecessor, George W. Bush during 2008.

.           Up through December 2006, before dying in combat, a foreign occupation soldier in Afghanistan will on average have participated in the killing of ten Afghan civilians.[1][35] During his first months in office, Obama’s military was more deadly for Afghan civilians than his predecessor. As I noted in mid-2009,

Comparing this with the data for five months…clearly demonstrates that even by the standards of the Bush administration, the Obama regime cares less about the well-being of Afghan civilians at least insofar as waging a “clean war”, that is, on the metric of civilian casualties, Obama fails.[1][36]

At the end of 2009, such failure is confirmed insofar as during the Obama year some 1,000 Afghan civilians perished as compared to 941 during 2008 under Bush. On the other hand, the announced metric of civilian casualties by McChrystal may have merely been for public consumption. But, the data in Table 1 also clearly displays that in terms relative to each other, fewer civilians are killed per foreign occupation soldier killed: in 2007, for every occupation soldier killed, 5 Afghan civilians were killed whereas in 2009 the figure was two.

In May 2009, close to 200 Afghan civilians had perished (Table 1), which caused alarm amongst NATO allies. Obama’s new National Security team recognized that killing Afghan civilians fuels the Afghan resistance. A decision was made to cut back upon air strikes and rely more upon ground forces. In effect, the Obama regimen involved trading off US/NATO soldier deaths for fewer Afghan civilian ones in order to placate critical NATO members.[1][37] The following chart plots Afghan and occupiers’ forces deaths during 2009:

In July 2009, for the first time during America’s Afghan War, the number of foreign occupation soldiers killed exceeded the number of Afghan civilians killed by them (The number of U.S. occupation soldiers killed during 2009 was 317, compared to 1455 during 2008. In addition, NATO reported that for every IED soldier death, there can be up to eight casualties, many with severe injuries including loss of limbs.[1][38] Predictably, Laura King of the Associated Press and a charter member of the U.S. media’s MIMIC cheering squad, proclaimed in late August 2008 that “Afghan civilian deaths decline under new U.S. tactics.”[1][39] As Table 2 documents the July drop-off was short-lived. Moreover, the much-touted decline in air strikes ordered by McChrystal was temporary

Veteran reporter, Kathy Gannon, with a record of independent reporting on Afghanistan going back to October 2001, noted that the Taliban fighting foreign forces in Marja are villagers.[1][40] She also provided rare details on victims of foreign forces there: Musa Jan’s home was hit by an aircraft around February 16th killing five occupants inside including children; Sayed Lal was outside in a field with a friend when he was shot by foreign soldiers. Assadullah, 22, was riding his motorcycle when the Americans fired at him shattering his arm; Abdul Hamid, 12, was in front of his home when raiding foreign forces arrived,

…they were running and shooting. I tried to get back in my house, but they shot me in the leg, and there were more bullets, and they shot me again in the belly. Near me some other people fell into a canal. They called a plane and they bombarded.[1][41]

And this is supposed to be the McChrystal approach of protecting civilians.

For its part, the UNAMA lacks the ground capacity to accurately tally casualties and refuses to divulge disaggregated data in the way for example Iraq Body Count (or in other words, the UN offers merely faith-based figures). The UNAMA figures for 2009 exhibit an egregious underestimate of Afghans killed by foreign occupation forces. The following Table 2 contrasts the UNAMA count with my own:…..

The UNAMA data captures less than 47-56% of Afghan civilians killed by foreign forces since their data includes civilians killed by Karzai satrap forces whereas mine only counts deaths caused by foreign occupation forces. Figures reported by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission are as flawed. For 2009, this organization stated that 606 Afghan civilians died at the hands of “foreign troops.”[1][42] As I have analyzed elsewhere such under-counting by the UNAMA is nothing new. In 2008,

…one can safely assume that UNAMA captures only about 70 per cent of those counted by Herold.27 This serves to lessen U.S./NATO culpability and improve U.S./NATO “performance” on the metric of Afghans protected from violence.[1][43]

In 2008, the UNAMA captured about 70% of Afghans killed by foreign forces, but in 2009 the figure was under 40%, justifiably earning UNAMA’s performance as being faith-based (or ideologically-inspired) counting. Sadly, western media uncritically go about citing such spurious figures, for example endlessly mentioning that Afghan civilian deaths caused by “coalition forces” have declined: naturally they have since the UNAMA missed only 30% of such deaths in 2008 but 60% in 2009!

Government Ready-to-Rule (GRR) Kits

U.S. Army General Stanley A. McChrystal, “We’ve got a government in a box, ready to roll in.”[1][44]

“…the professorial Obama is the new killer on the block, authorizing more drone attacks in the first year of his term in office than Bush did in his entire presidency.”[1][45]

The “new” McChrystal counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan being tried out at Marja is a re-titled version of nation-building cum a military jumpstart: clear, transfer, build, and hold. Massive US/NATO offensives clear an area of the Taliban and a government-ready-to-rule is rolled in to whom power is quickly transferred. The alleged focus is to be less on killing Taliban and more upon “sparing Afghan civilians and building an Afghan state.”[1][46] A first assumption here is that once Afghans see a government taking hold and doing things, they will switch allegiance. But this presumes many things: that the government-ready-to-rule is capable, not corrupt, and that the Taliban can be bought-off by material offers and do not fight either for a particular vision of an Islamic society or simply to throw-out the invader.

The GRR will build schools, repair roads and irrigation systems, provide carrots to farmers to grow wheat or saffron, and jump start employment. As Michael noted wryly, “the general thinks you can bring in a government as easily as he requisitions more meals-ready-to-eat for his soldiers.”[1][47]  The entire approach founders upon an Afghan rural reality where family, clan, tradition, and locality reign. These cannot be imported and rolled in. It takes a conservative member of the British Parliament (not the “liberal” MIMIC members of the American Public Broadcasting System like Jim Lehrer or “intellectuals” in ”liberal” U.S think-tanks) to admit that

…the Taliban are, in fact, hundreds of groups, most of whom are no more than traditional Afghan Muslims, the sons of local farmers…they are united not by Islam but by the presence of foreign troops on their soil, and a hatred of external governments. Approximately, 80 per cent of those we call the enemy die within 20 miles of where they live: does that tell you something about who we are really fighting?…So, finally, we are left with what we are told is the solution to our problem, our “exit strategy” – strong Afghan national security forces and yet more Nato “military operations”. It sounds great on the floor of the House of Commons, and even hardened BBC correspondents can be heard parroting the line. Alas, what this really means is a large army mainly composed of Afghans from the northern Tajik ethnic group replacing us in the south and the east. Such an army may not be foreign, but these people are complete outsiders to the ethnically Pashtun villagers. Heaven knows what the this-week-“liberated” people of Marjah make of the new arrivals – Afghan and British – in their town in Helmand. This is like an insurgency in Wales, in which a Scottish army with some Welsh officers imposes the will of a British prime minister who comes from a gangster family.[1][48]

If 80% of Taliban live within 20 miles of where they die that should “vaporize” the western canard that the Taliban use civilians as human shields. In a people’s war, the rebels (the fish) live amongst the people (the ocean). They would be suicidal to drain the ocean.

A valiant (desperate?) effort to provide an optimistic, positive spin to the McChrystal approach has been provided by the well-connectected reporter of the New York Times, Tom Shanker. He begins by informing us that U.S. officials polled civilians in the Marja area to determine their feelings about the U.S., Taliban, etc. This can be discarded as the pollsters were no doubt received only by the choir.  Shanker then tells us that once the Taliban have been cleared, the Afghan GRR will move-in comprised of “political and economic development advisers, now standing by…along with two thousand Afghan police officers.”[1][49] No doubt a healthy contingent of USAID personnel, rented U.S. university academics serving as Human Terrain System team members (often anthropologists and other social scientists), United Nations staffers, humanitarian imperialists (e.g., from Harvard’s Carr Institute), and throw in a couple Rhodes scholars will descend upon Marja.

At best, the McChrystal strategy will buy time be a sort of holding action though with huge human and monetary costs until a satrap army is built up and the drone numbers and infrastructure are greatly enlarged. At that point, the Pol Pots of the skies – U.S. Reaper and Predator drones – will lord over the Afghan killing fields (in which Pashtuns fight Tajiks), U.S and the few remaining minor NATO ally occupation forces (like Estonians and Croatians) will head home, and Afghan civilian casualties will resume their invisibility.


America’s future electronic, troop-less war upon Afghanistan represents another chapter in “Afghanistan as an empty space.”[1][50] United States officialdom has never cared what concretely goes on within Afghanistan so long as no perceived threat to the United States exists. After all, Bush senior, Clinton and G.W. Bush had friendly relations with the mujahedeen and Taliban up until 9/11. Who will care what happens when the rain of Lockheed Martin Hellfire missiles descends upon the Afghan killing fields? America’s drone warfare fits perfectly with a widely-held U.S penchant to blame others – revealed here in the frenzy of law-suits and suing[1][51] – and lack of taking responsibility… ”the others do [that] but we do not,” e.g., they lie, they intentionally kill civilians, they practice imperialism, they engage in torture…we do not. The United States is the exceptional nation. God Bless America.

Wars tend to end when soldiers themselves and their families declare they have had enough of the blood-letting. Drone warfare removes such a constraint.[1][52] When combined with the employ of local satrap forces, it eliminates the main reason why the United States has ended its wars during the past half century: the public’s perception that the cost in U.S. fatalities had in the end become too high.


[1][1] The word satrap is also often used in modern literature to refer to world leaders or governors who are heavily influenced by larger world superpowers and serve as their surrogates. MRE’s refer to the U.S. military’s meals ready-to-eat. The major manufacturers of MREs for the U.S. military are Ameriqual, Sopakco, and Wornick. Both the Predator and the Reaper drone is made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.

[1][2]During 1942, 37,000 tons of bombs were dropped on Germany, primarily at night and in residential areas (Sven Lindqvist, A History of Bombing (New York: The New Press, 2000): 92). The first city to be so bombed was Lubeck in March 1942 by the RAF Bomber Command.

[1][3] “US Drone Attacks Kill Five in North Waziristan,” Dawn.com (January 4, 2010)

[1][4] Amir Mir, “US Drones Killed 123 Civilians, Three Al-Qaeda Men in January,” The News (February 1, 2010).

[1][5] “U.S Drone Hits in Pakistan Killed 700 Civilians in 2009,” The Peninsula. Qatar’s Leading English Daily (January 2, 2010)

[1][6] More details on these young men at David Zucchino, “Drone Pilots Have a Front-Row Seat on War, from Half a World Away,” Los Angeles Times (February 21, 2010) at http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/21/world/la-fg-drone-crews21-2010feb21

[1][7] Philip Alston and Hina Shamsi, “A Killer above the Law?” The Guardian (February 18, 2010) at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/08/afghanistan-drones-defence-killing

[1][8] Paul Keogh, “America’s Deadly Robots Rewrite the Rules of War,” Sydney Morning Herald (February 12. 2010) at http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/02/12

[1][9] The history of civilian casualties from early modern Europe until today is examined in Stephen J. Rockel and Rick Halpern (eds), Inventing Collateral Damage. Civilian Casualties, War, and Empire (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2009), 356 pp.

[1][10] Christopher Bollyn, “German Revisionist Historian Brings Allied terror Bombing to Light,” Rumor Mill News (January 23, 2004) at http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi/read/43417

[1][11] Jorg Friedrich, Der Brand. Deutschland im Bombenkrieg 1940-1945 (Munich: Propylaen Verlag, 2002), 592 pp.

[1][12] “Florence on the Elbe Turns 800,” Deutsche-Welle (January 4, 2006) at http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,1949422,00.html

[1][13] See the gripping account in Jorg Friedrich, “The Mongol Devastations,” Signandight.com (May 4, 2005) at http://print.signandsight.com/features/93.html

[1][14] Details in Taylor Owen and Ben Kernan, “Bombs Over Cambodia,” at Cambodian Genocide Program (Yale University) at http://www.yale.edu/cgp/Walrus_CambodiaBombing_OCT06.pdf

[1][15] From Phann Ana and Frank Radosevich, “Villagers Recall Living in Shadow of US Bombers,” The Cambodia Daily (March 18, 2009) at http://www.camnet.com.kh/cambodia.daily/selected_features/cd-Mar-18-2009.htm

[1][16] See my “A Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States’ Aerial Bombing of Afghanistan: A Comprehensive Accounting [revised],” Cursor.org (March 2002) at http://cursor.org/stories/civilian_deaths.htm

[1][17] from http://www.icasualties.org/oef/

[1][18] Richard Norton-Taylor, “Taliban Hit by Bombs Used in Vietnam,” The Guardian [November 7, 2001] at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/nov/07/afghanistan.terrorism6

[1][19] “The Evils of Bombing,” The Guardian (November 8, 2001)

[1][20] The following is taken from my “The Problem with the Predator,” Cursor.org (January 12, 2003) at http://cursor.org/stories/dronesyndrome.htm

[1][21] Engelhardt was inaccurate when he wrote that “One of the earliest armed acts of a CIA-piloted Predator, back in November 2002, was an assassination mission over Yemen in which a jeep, reputedly transporting six suspected al-Qaeda operatives, was incinerated” (From his “Terminator Planet,” TomDispatch.com (April 7, 2009) at http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175056/filling_the_skies_with_assassins

[1][22] Julian E. Barnes, “Military Refines a ‘Constant Stare against our Enemy’; the rapidly increasing surveillance power of unmanned aircraft gives U.S. officials an Option besides Troops,” Los Angeles Times (November 2, 2009) at http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/02/nation/na-drone-eyes2

[1][23] Barnes, op. cit.

[1][24] Barnes, op. cit.

[1][25] Terry Michael first wrote about McChrystal’s “Government in a Box” in his “Our Afghan ‘Government in a Box’ Did Gen. McChrystal Reveal More Than he Intended,” Reason.org (February 18, 2010) at  http://reason.com/archives/2010/02/18/our-afghan-government-in-a-box/print

[1][26] Such spectacles have long been a part of the American occupation of Afghanistan, see my “Holiday Cheer, Pompoms, Bombs and Refugees: Thanksgiving 2001 in Afghanistan,” Cursor.org (November 28, 2002) at http://cursor.org/stories/thanksgiving.htm

[1][27] “Group: NATO Forces Blocking Movement of Wounded Afghan Civilians,” Democracy Now! (February 17, 2010) at http://www.democracynow.org/2010/2/17/group_nato_forces_blocking_wounded_afghan

[1][28] Christopher Torcha, “US Compensates Afghans for Death, Damage from War,” Washington Post (February 19, 2010) at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/19/AR2010021901293.html

[1][29] “Afghanistan War: As Civilian Deaths Rise, NATO says, ‘Sorry’,” Christian Science Monitor (February 23, 2010)

[1][30] Eric Schmitt, “Elite U.S. Force Expanding Hunt in Afghanistan,” New York Times (December 27, 2009) at  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/27/world/asia/27commandos.html

[1][31] Anand Gopal, “America’s Secret Afghan Prisons,” The Nation (February 15, 2010) at http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100215/gopal/4

[1][32] Jerome Starkey, “Western Troops Accused of Executing 10 Afghan Civilians, including Children,” Times (December 31, 2009)

[1][33] See my Afghan Victim Memorial Project data base (at http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mwherold/memorial.htm ) and “U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan: Vietnam Redux,” Cursor.org (October 31, 2002) at http://cursor.org/stories/vietnam_redux.htm . For details on an execution-style raid carried out by US Navy Seals in Angoor Adda on September 2, 2008 see http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mwherold/latest.htm

[1][34] Glenn Greenwald, “The Joys of Airstrikes and Anonymity. No matter how many times government claims about attacks turn out to be false, the American media repeats them,” Salon.com (December 26, 2009) at http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2009/12/26/airstrikes/index.html

[1][35] Marc W. Herold, “Relative Lethality,” Frontline. India’s National Magazine 24, 01 (January 13 – 26, 2007) at http://www.thehindu.com/fline/fl2401/stories/20070126001206000.htm

[1][36] See my “The Afghan Tragedy,” Frontline. India’s National Magazine 26, 18 (June 20 – July 3, 2009) at http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2613/stories/20090703261300400.htm

[1][37] See my “Obama’s Unspoken Trade-Off,” Frontline. India’s National Magazine 26, 18 (August 29 – September 11, 2009) at http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2618/stories/20090911261813000.htm

[1][38] Lynne O’Donnell, “US Troop Deaths in Afghanistan Double 2008 Toll,” Yahoo!News (December 27, 2009)

[1][39] Laura King, “Afghan Civilian Deaths Decline under New U.S. Tactics,” Los Angeles Times (August 28, 2009) at http://articles.latimes.com/2009/aug/28/world/fg-afghan-civilians28 . Ms. King’s status as a charter member of the under-counters is examined in my “Dead Afghan Civilians: Disrobing the Non-Counters,” Cursor.org (August 20, 2002) at http://cursor.org/stories/noncounters.htm

[1][40] Kathy Gannon, “Afghan Wounded Tell of More Left Behind in Marjah,” Associated press (February 24, 2010) at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iEB2VT9-Ux1pdXs8XuxMSo6zcajgD9E2N4Q00

[1][41] ibid

[1][42] “Afghan Civilian Death Toll Drops in 2009,” Pajhwok Afghan News (January 5, 2010)

[1][43] “Afghan Tragedy (2009),” op. cit.

[1][44] Cited in David E. Sanger, “A Test for the Meaning of Victory in Afghanistan,” New York Times (February 13, 2010) at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/weekinreview/14sanger.html

[1][45] McGeough, op. cit.

[1][46] Michael, op. cit.

[1][47] Michael, op., cit.

[1][48] Adam Holloway, “An End to Steely-Eyed Killing Machines,” The Independent (February 21, 2010) at  http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/adam-holloway-an-end-to-steelyeyed-killing-machines-1905729.html . Gareth Porter has argued that the current U.S?NATO offensive in Marja is largely about shaping U.S. public opinion, see “Marja Offensive Aimed to Shape U.S. Opinion on War,” Inter Press Service News Agency (February 24, 2010) at http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/02/23-8

[1][49] Tom Shanker, “Afghan Push Went Beyond the Traditional Military Goals,” New York Times (February 20, 2010) at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/20/world/20military.html

[1][50] A concept I have elaborated upon in my “Afghanistan as an Empty Space (lecture,” Cursor.org (October 25-26, 2007) at http://cursor.org/stories/emptyspacetalk.html

[1][51] Americans spend more on civil litigation per capita than any other industrialized country, details in “How Many Lawsuits are there in the U.S. & What are they for? An Amazing Overview,” at http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/06/10/05/how-many-lawsuits-are-there-in-the-us–amp-what-are-they-for-an-amazing-overview.htm

[1][52] Well argued in Joni Dahlstrom, “Drones, Cowboys and the Right to Surrender,” Infowars.com (December 11, 20090 at http://www.infowars.com/drones-cowboys-and-the-right-to-surrender/

Marc W. Herold is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Marc W. Herold

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