A web search, made after hearing that Saudi jets have joined American drones in bombing the Yemen, yielded the significant words of constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald practised law for over ten years before moving on. It was good to read about his strongly worded views on the US support for Israel’s actions in Gaza and his criticism of the conditions in which Private Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks leaker, was being held.
Greenwald underlines a commonly held view that such attacks drive even more Yemenis into the arms of al-Qaida and – as the Times says – “will raise fresh questions about the legality of America’s expanding programme of targeted killings”.
He believes that this “war” will continue indefinitely, despite the findings of studies which conclude that “terrorism” is motivated not by a “hatred of our freedoms” but by US policy and aggression in the Muslim world.
A remarkably insightful and frank study by the US Defense Science Board Task Force was cited which noted that opinion surveys conducted by Zogby International, the Pew Research Center, Gallup (CNN/USA Today), and the Department of State (INR) reveal widespread animosity toward the United States and its policies.(p15)
Reading further: “The focus is more on capturing and killing terrorists than attitudinal, political, and economic forces that are the underlying source of threats and opportunities in national security . . . The war has increased mistrust of America in Europe, weakened support for the war on terrorism, and undermined U.S. credibility worldwide”.
This week, a federal judge ruled that the Obama administration need not respond to the New York Times and the ACLU’s request to disclose the government’s legal rationale for the targetting for assassination of a US citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, who died in a 2011 drone strike in the Yemen, saying:
“I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the executive branch of our government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret”.
Convert to modern western values in order to consume its trappings?
The question whether this endless warfare is intentional or just an “unwanted miscalculation” was posed and the ‘strategic communications’ study mentioned above gave a really alarming answer:
“The United States today is not seeking to contain a threatening state/empire, but rather seeking to convert a broad movement within Islamic civilization to accept the value structure of Western Modernity — an agenda hidden within the official rubric of a “War on Terrorism.” (p36)
Greenwald concludes: “They’re preparing for more endless war; their actions are fueling that war; and they continue to reap untold benefits from its continuation. Only outside compulsion, from citizens, can make an end to all of this possible”.
The untold benefits – apart from the profits amassed by arms companies – are not immediately obvious. But if the US Department of Defense study’s finding is accurate, the profitability of a successful conversion of the orthodox Islamic world to the throwaway fashion roundabout of Western dress, cigarettes, alcohol, banking and genetically modified foodstuffs would be immense.
But can people be bombed into repellent cultural change?