The American Bear


Good Politics At Home But A Greater Quagmire | Tom Hayden

[…] The vertical model has worked – at least politically – for the US wars on drugs, on gangs, on crime, and for the past decade, on terrorists. Secret intelligence budgets have increased along with the secret branches of police and military power. The circle is being integrated, as we now learn of the New York Police Department’s official links with the CIA. Oversight and scrutiny is virtually nil, except for the occasional brave reporter. The public is neutralized by fear and ignorance.

What can be said, the politics aside, is that the secretive Long War has failed to leave the United States more secure or democratic. Theoretically it should be possible to go after “real” terrorists making real plans and at the same time flood the towns and cities of the world with money and jobs. But it never happens, anymore than the “war on gangs” or “war on drugs” have left American inner cities economically improved. Afghanistan is listed as the 182nd poorest country out of 193 in the world, Pakistan is the 144th, and is Yemen ranks 142nd, the Arab world’s poorest country–according to the same CIA which is responsible for the assassinations. At home, with two million Americans incercerated–one-fourth of all the inmates in the world–poverty rates are at historic highs.

While Yemen starves under a 33-year long, US-supported dictatorship, the total US foreign aid budget for that country floated around   $20-25 million until only four years ago. When the “threat” was declared, the amount doubled between 2009-2010, then the Pentagon budgeted $150 million for security in FY 2010, and at least $250 million is projected for this year. (Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2011; Congressional Research Service, November 1, 2010).

This increased aid for counterterrorism in Yemen, which culminated in this week’s strikes, also has masked another agenda in the interlocked resource war and Long War, the establishment of a US military base on the strategic island Socotra, in former South Yemen, site of a key transit route in the Indian Ocean. (Newsweek, January 18, 2010) The tiny island is located astride the intersection of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, thus linking the Mediterranean to South Asia and the Far East.

Enthralled by killing our demons, addicted to fossil fuels, ignorant of secret military operations, the American public increasingly lives in a dangerous cocoon.