In his inauguration address Monday, President Obama proclaimed that a “decade of war is now ending.” Mere hours earlier, a U.S. drone dropped missiles over Yemen, killing two al-Qaida militants as part of an intensified airstrike campaign which began last month.
It has been well-established in reports (like those from the Washington Post‘s Greg Miller) that the Obama administration has set up a national security apparatus ensuring, contra the president’s words Monday, a perpetual war. Obama’s speech may have been referring to the withdrawal of troops form Iraq or the winding down of U.S. military leadership in Afghanistan, but an increasingly militarized CIA and the perpetuation of shadow wars in Yemen and Somalia, to name just two, let alone the U.S. funds and arms sent around the world to bolster or undermine regimes as U.S. interests dictate, make talk of ending war a semantic gamble at best.
As Salon noted Sunday, under the leadership of counterterrorism adviser and CIA director nominee John Brennan, the Obama administration has nearly completed a manual on targeted killings. “Critics see the manual as a symbol of the extent to which the targeted killing program has become institutionalized, part of an apparatus being assembled by the Obama administration to sustain a seemingly permanent war,” wrote Miller. Indeed, as we also noted Sunday, this targeted killing rulebook will exempt the CIA’s drone program in Pakistan from its guidelines for at least another year. Thus not only is this drone war expected to continue well into Obama’s alleged post-war decade, it will not even be reined in by institutionalized guidelines for another 12 months at least.
As Kevin Gosztola wrote in his response to Obama’s misleading “ending war” remarks, “at least 800-1000 US military bases exist in the world for America to use as ‘leap pads’ for whatever operations it chooses, especially those intended to be kept secret from the public.”
“We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war,” said Obama Monday. Whether “we, the people” believe this or not seems somewhat irrelevant while perpetual and amorphous war is cemented as the status quo of U.S. national security and “we, the people” are usually the last to hear about it.