We in the United States pay little overall attention to our government’s activities along the frontiers of its empire–in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, etc. The amorphous nature of fighting a war on “terror”, which is not a foe but a tactic, means the government has ample justification (it believes) to kill and destroy at its whim anyone it thinks might be inclined to terrorism. So, what’s happening out on the frontiers?
~According to Reuters, more than sixty Iraqi’s were killed by suicide bombers in a coordinated attack Monday (August 15, 2011), complicating US plans to mostly leave Iraq by the end of the year.
~In Afghaniston on August 14, 2011, a Taliban suicide assault team attacked the governor’s compound in central Parwan province, killing 22.
~On August 16 in Pakistan, a Predator strike killed an “internet” jihadist from Germany, along with several of his colleagues. The day before, another Predator strike in Pakistan killed four suspected militants. The Long War Journal, a pro-military website founded as a project of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, has compiled and posted a list of all the senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders that have been killed in Predator strikes in Pakistan since 2004. The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies explains its purpose:
A global war is being waged against democratic societies. While the military fights with arms, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies fights with ideas.
Unlike think tanks that address a range of policy issues, FDD focuses exclusively on the ideologies and movements driving terrorism.
We identify and develop the best policies and approaches to defend America and other democratic societies, both established and emerging, from the militant Islamist threat.
~On August 15, 2011, Predator strikes killed 15 al Qaeda in Yemen. The US was cooperating with the Yemeni government, according to the report.
~In Somalia, the US Treasury designated two individuals, one American and one Kenyan, as global terrorists after they openly attended a memorial service for Osama bin Laden.
While killing and destroying enemies of the empire, supposed and real, continues on the frontiers, back home, the US defense industry faces severe reductions, expected on the order of half or a third, in their US government contracts, as the US government attempts to get control of its fiscal situation, as Bloomberg reports.
The Financial Times reports that Pakistan allowed Chinese engineers to investigate and examine the remaining remnants of the special-ops helicopter that crashed during the raid on bin Laden’s compound, exacerbating already tense relations between the US and Pakistan.
And don’t forget the humanitarian disaster that is Somalia, where several million will likely perish from starvation. Though food is plentiful, corruption is rampant, as the New York Times reports. Somalia is a failed state. Its people live hardly a step removed from brutal savagery. Yet, the US is somehow able to decipher whom are the good and the bad guys enough to execute Predator drone strikes and designate certain of its occupants “global terrorists”.
It’s must be hard for the average American, living safely in the suburbs, driving a climate-controlled SUV wherever he fancies, to imagine what life must be like for the peoples unfortunate enough to live on the frontiers of the American empire, where American power and local intransigence do daily battle. The original impetus for battle has by now surely been mostly forgotten. The opposition kills Americans because Americans kill the opposition, and vice versa. Conflict develops a certain inertia that way, propelling it forward for its own sake.
The fighting should peter out a bit once America nears its credit limit. Until then, each side will continue to waste vast amounts of blood and treasure in a struggle with absolutely no animating, existential purpose.