[Marxism] War hidden in plain sight

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Mar 2 07:26:12 MST 2009

War Hidden in Plain Sight: There has recently been much reporting on, 
and even some debate here about, the efficacy of the Obama 
administration's decision to increase the intensity of CIA missile 
attacks from drone aircraft in what Washington, in a newly coined 
neologism reflecting a widening war, now calls "Af-Pak" -- the Pashtun 
tribal borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since August 2008, more 
than 30 such missile attacks have been launched on the Pakistani side of 
that border against suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban targets. The pace of 
attacks has actually risen since Barack Obama entered the Oval Office, 
as have casualties from the missile strikes, as well as popular outrage 
in Pakistan over the attacks.

Thanks to Senator Diane Feinstein, we also know that, despite strong 
official Pakistani government protests, someone official in that country 
is doing more than looking the other way while they occur. As the 
Senator revealed recently, at least some of the CIA's unmanned aerial 
vehicles (UAVs) cruising the skies over Af-Pak are evidently stationed 
at Pakistani bases. We learned recently as well that American Special 
Operations units are now regularly making forays inside Pakistan 
"primarily to gather intelligence"; that a unit of 70 American Special 
Forces advisors, a "secret task force, overseen by the United States 
Central Command and Special Operations Command," is now aiding and 
training Pakistani Army and Frontier Corps paramilitary troops, again 
inside Pakistan; and that, despite (or perhaps, in part, because of) 
these American efforts, the influence of the Pakistani Taliban is 
actually expanding, even as Pakistan threatens to melt down.

Mystifyingly enough, however, this Pakistani part of the American war in 
Afghanistan is still referred to in major U.S. papers as a "covert war." 
As news about it pours out, who it's being hidden from is one of those 
questions no one bothers to ask.

On February 20th, the New York Times' Mark Mazzetti and David E. Sanger 
typically wrote:

     "With two missile strikes over the past week, the Obama 
administration has expanded the covert war run by the Central 
Intelligence Agency inside Pakistan, attacking a militant network 
seeking to topple the Pakistani government... Under standard policy for 
covert operations, the C.I.A. strikes inside Pakistan have not been 
publicly acknowledged either by the Obama administration or the Bush 

On February 25th, Mazzetti and Helene Cooper reported that new CIA head 
Leon Panetta essentially bragged to reporters that "the agency's 
campaign against militants in Pakistan's tribal areas was the 'most 
effective weapon' the Obama administration had to combat Al Qaeda's top 
leadership... Mr. Panetta stopped short of directly acknowledging the 
missile strikes, but he said that 'operational efforts' focusing on 
Qaeda leaders had been successful." Siobhan Gorman of the Wall Street 
Journal reported the next day that Panetta said the attacks are 
"probably the most effective weapon we have to try to disrupt al Qaeda 
right now." She added, "Mr. Obama and National Security Adviser James 
Jones have strongly endorsed their use, [Panetta] said.


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