Michael Ratner: The Other 9/11s
The State of Perpetual War
Since September 11, 2001, the US global “war on terror” has reached beyond Afghanistan and Iraq. The US constructed the largest embassy ever in Baghdad to control the resources of Iraq. Meanwhile, drone strikes against Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and an air war against Libya launched without any Congressional authorization, continue, as pointed out by author Anthony Arnove. In his article titled “The 10th Anniversary of 9/11,” Arnove describes the US foreign policy of preventive war and how the US continues to use drone strikes against Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Now other countries are adopting the preventive war idea to fight “terrorism.” Today, the Obama administration has gone beyond the Bush policies as trillions are spent on perpetual war while schools, health care and social needs crumble.
- 9/11 was seized upon by the Bush Administration as an opportunity. Condoleezza Rice specifically used the word “opportunity” to describe the geopolitical shifts that she saw occurring in the wake of 9/11.
- We’ve seen the invasion of Iraq, the invasion of Afghanistan, covert operations and bombardment of dozens of countries. There’s an estimate now that this year the US will be operating in 120 countries in some capacity through use of commandos.
- You’ve seen increased troop levels in Afghanistan so that even with the current so-called draw-down of the troops in Afghanistan, even with the reductions that are currently being undertaken, we’re still going to be ahead of the number of troops that were in Afghanistan at the end of the Bush administration.
- Withdrawal: the word no longer has any meaning. It actually means slight reduction of troops after they’ve been increased.
- There are 46,000 active duty troops in Iraq. The claim is that those 46,000 will leave at the end of 2011, after an agreement reached under pressure from social movements in Iraq.
- Then you look at the military installations that litter the country; they’re not going to walk away from that easily.
- In Afghanistan, they’re literally talking about dates as far as 2024 in terms of troops on the ground involved in a number of capacities.
- I think Libya is truly an opportunistic action by the United States, concerned it’s losing control in the middle east. You’ve had uprisings and revolutions that have toppled governments aligned with the United States.
- The US has been so contemptuous of the freedoms of people around the world. So contemptuous of democracy, so contemptuous of people fighting for self-determination.
- So contemptuous of nationalist movements that would have put resources into the control of the people.
- The actions of the Bush administration and now Obama have only made us more hated, and made the world more dangerous.
- They claim they’re making the world more safe, and protecting us. The reality is the opposite.
- “At least Barack Obama will be more responsive to social movements, we’ll be able to pressure him.” It is clear that is not the case, there has been a demobilizing of sections of the anti-war movement who define the political horizons as the debate between the Republicans and Democrats.
- The anti-war movement has been silenced.
- The people who most vociferously supported invading Iraq, claimed there would be weapons of mass destruction, all of those things we now know to be lies, those people are regularly asked to be commentators on Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Yet the people who got it right, saying this is what will happen if we invade, those people are never heard from.
- The gap between what the elite are doing and what they are saying, and what is in their interest and the interest of ordinary people has never been wider.
- On October 6, 2011, a number organizations have called for demonstrations in Washington DC and solidarity actions in other cities.
Guest – Editor and writer Anthony Arnove. He is best known for his books on Iraq and the Iraq War. Arnove is the author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal, published in hardcover by The New Press and in paperback by Haymarket Books. Arnove toured the country promoting the book in spring 2006 as part of The New Press’s End the War Tour.
Arnove is also the editor of Iraq Under Siege, published by South End Press, the co-editor with Howard Zinn of Voices of a People’s History of the United States, published by Seven Stories Press, and the editor of The Essential Noam Chomsky, published by The New Press. He writes frequently for left-wing publications; he is a featured author at ZNet, a columnist for Socialist Worker, and on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review.
The Guantanamo Syndrome
Attorney Michael Ratner:
- Pinochet’s Operation Condor was to round up opponents all over the world to torture and imprison them. This is now an American Operation Condor.
- AUMF and Military Order #1 allow the administration to use drones around the world. This is the key piece of legislation. Out of the AUMF came military order #1, November 13, 2001.The president can arrest anybody, they can be kept anywhere, American citizen or not.
- From there flows the Guantanamo Syndrome. Habeas Corpus, a person who’s the prisoner of the executive can go to court and put the executive on the defensive. Why am I being held? You have to have a legal basis.
- After many years of litigation representing these incommunicado people at Guantanamo–we ended up representing their parents or relatives, because we couldn’t represent them–the Supreme Court finally said, it’s a Constitutional right to go to court to test your detention. They said that about the people in Guantanamo in particular; they didn’t say that about the people in Bagram or other places.
- Once we won that right, the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration went into court and completely opposed that right having any meaning. It is really an unrecognizable world from what we had ten years ago.
- Surveillance State: The 51st State
- Targeting Muslims Since 9-11