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Pentagon Central Command Wants to Open New GWOT Front in Yemen with $1.2 Billion Ante

The New York Times reports that the Pentagon is seeking $1,200,000,000 ($1.2 billion dollars) over 6 years to fight about 500 'hardcore' al Qaeda in the deserts of Yemen. Most of the money would go to US arms manufacturers to buy the usual tools of killing people, helicopters, guns, communication gear, bombs etc., and US 'trainers'. It works out to about $2.4 million per bad guy but who's counting? Certainly not General Petraeus who approved the request. Fortunately, some at the State Department are resisting the demand, and Obama thus far has said we will not invade Yemen. Yemen has the guys who fitted out the Nigerian youth with the liquid concoction he tried to light last December on an airliner bound for Detroit, which the Republicans swore was a worst intelligence failure since perhaps Pearl Harbor, although no one was even injured.

According to Andrew Bacevich in his recently published book, Washington Rules,  on US militarism since WW2, the expansion of the US GWOT into Yemen might only be expected, he says neither the US military nor the US government has learned one thing from the debacles from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. It is still full speed ahead as Obama tries his surge in Afghanistan, even as Pakistan sinks into the Indus with billions in US military aid over the last 10 years doing little to suppress terrorism in that country or create an honest and responsible government.

Bacevish points out that it is no longer just the military-industrial complex, but the military-industrial-think tank-politician complex, they all feed out of the same trough of money and political contributions. It is in no one's interest in Washington to stop the perverse cycle of never ending, perpetual war. Bacevich thinks it will end badly if the American people don't wake up and demand the wars stop and the troops come home, however, there is precious little chance of that, as it is considered traitorous for the US not to seek total victory, although no one can define what that would look like, in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Yemen.

The GOP is the leading party to use fear and war to get votes.  They stoke anti-Muslim war fever constantly saying only they can 'defend America', see Newt's latest video on how he plans to save us from the imminent Islamic world takeover.

Give a country like Yemen, with 23 million people, most in poverty, with one of the highest birth rates in the world, a billion in war gear, and you may find the guy running the country will use the stuff against his political opponents, not the 'terrorists'. Presto! a Yemeni Saddam!  In fact, according the article on Wikipedia, Yemen had a history of supporting Saddam, and voted against the UN resolution for Gulf War 1, when Saddam invaded Kuwait. Tens of thousands of Yemeni's were expelled from other Gulf states, a barrier was planned between Saudi Arabia and Yemen in the desert boundary zone, and additionally, the government of Yemen has had a history of abuse of refugees, corruption, and voter fraud (it does have elections, the President every 7 years). Yemen is also ruled under Sharia Law. (see Wikipedia)

Why would any sane leader of Yemen, why would the Pentagon, why would US arms manufacturers ever want to thoroughly get rid of al Qaeda in Yemen (or anywhere)? How could any US President say he doesn't give a crap about killing every bad guy who talks about destroying America, and who lives on the other side of the world, that he only plans to stop them if they try something, and interrupt the execution of their plans?  He would be called a coward and a terror sympathizer, and the voters would believe it. Fight 'em there so we don't have to fight 'em here was Dubya's rule. The media loves wars and conflicts of course, so they would be of little help in promoting reason in the TV watching herds.

If terrorists were contained and not battled in an endless self perpetuating war, US military aid is reduced or eliminated to countries involved, the arms contracts are canceled, and the Pentagon brass is depleted by one or more commands, with the resulting loss of billets for promotion and brass. The media has less conflicts to report on, and the think tanks can fire a few people as there are less conquests to justify or demand action on as our responsiblity or our 'noble cause'. No one gains except the American citizen, who in fact, does not need to bankroll the policing of the Yemeni desert, or the Afghanistan mountains, to be secure in America.

Welcome NCD. Thanks for posting. Would you mind changing your username to drop the TPM? It's probably no big deal, but the last time I used "TPM" for an unrelated group, Josh asked that we include a disclaimer. I also encourage your to get yourself an avatar.

OK, will do.

"Hey, I've got this great big hammer. Anybody see any nails I can pound?" Stupid, stupid, stupid! And the outgoing U.S. ambassador thinks so too.

But the top U.S. military brass (all of them set for retirement, and angling for promotion up the war-industry chain of command) love the idea of massively militarizing one of the poorest, most backward, most despotic countries in the world. What could go wrong?

Supposedly there are 500 Al-Qa'ida in a country of 23 million. That's a pretty favorable ratio, guys! Why risk F-ing that up? 'Cause you will F it up, you know.

If you insist on tossing your cash into the sand, there's a lot of actual, friend-producing good you could do with $50,000 for every man, woman and child in Yemen.

Just sayin'. Your call.

Why not buy the Yemeni bad guys condo's in Dubai? It might save money and avoid a lot of bloodshed.

Property prices are down, and the Yemeni's might someday trade stories with Hamid Karzai and his corrupt compatriots from our puppet government in Afghanistan who have nice places in Dubai bought with US money.  Its no secret US funds have been used by Afghan government officials to buy expensive homes in Dubai. Karzai and friends just want a place to hightail it to when we declare victory and leave Afghanistan.

Applying the Cold War mentality to today's problems doesn't work.  Most rational, reasonable people understand that.  Unfortunately, the folks inside the beltway and in the Pentagon and in our spy agencies are not rational, reasonable people.  They are people whose entire reason for existence was informed by the tactics and circumstances of the Cold War.  Their tactics and strategies during the Cold War brought disasterous results and now as they try to address the problem of a tiny hadnful of malcontents in Yemen with a very expensive reign of terror on our behalf they promise only to make the world an even more fertile bed for extremism and terrorist recruiting.  In short, if you need brain surgery you go to a brain surgeon and not a plumber right?  Right?  So if we want to reduce and/or eliminate the conditions that serve to breed terrorism in the Islamic world, the last people we want to put in charge are the merchants of death and their allies in the armed forces and our spy agencies.  Diplomats, educators, and economic development specialists are what we need in the main.  Military efforts should play only a peripheral role and the military should make it's primary focus the defense of the US not controlling the flow of oil worldwide.

I hate to be the one to inform you, but Africa Command was established by the government, during Bu$h, solely for the purpose of protecting American oil interests in Africa. Shell Oil ran into political trouble some years ago there over a person actively attacking their production facilities because of the damage to the his tribal environment Shell was causing. He was eventually captured and executed by the military government. Shell's problem was they were paying the military regime so it had the appearance the government was paid to silence the protester.

So the US came up with Africa Command as a way to keep American oil interest from looking as if they were paying off governments so as to run roughshod over the natives. Problem is Africa Command is based in Naples, Italy because no country in Africa wants an active US military force on their soil simply to protect American interest over national interest.

And just to add some spice, China has been making multiple inroads into Africa and the Middle East securing oil rights in areas the US has been trying to get a handle on. They actually got rights to the oil in Iraq...just think about all the money we've spent in Iraq only to have the Chinese usurp the prize Cheney was angling for Haliburton.

Sad fact is the military was designated by republicans as the enforcer for US demands for access to oil reserves outside the US. And it's that very arrogance that riles bin Laden and others.

US militarism isn't just about access to oil.

Think of it this way, if the US were 100% on renewable energy, do you think we would close all our bases around the world and cut the Pentagon's budget and all the weapon systems etc? Not a chance that would happen.

Vietnam had no oil, it was the commies who might jump the lake to San Francisco.  Afghanistan has none, and Yemen has very little, and is under Central Command not Africa command.

I know some have said if oil was really the main reason we went into Iraq, oil companies wouldn't have approved, as they much prefer dealing with a dictator than a chaotic 'new democracy'.  The neocons at the think tanks actually believed they could remake the Middle East by invading Iraq, the oil was just icing on the cake.

Bacevich points out that the 'rules' in Washington, greatly expanded under George W., are we can pretty much invade any country at any time 'pre-emptively'. Muslim extremists are now providing a convenient excuse for spending billions more and the entire milirary-industrial-think tank-politician complex is feeding off it all. Fear of terrorists has replaced fear of the USSR to extort hundreds of billions to fund the system and purveyors of war.

 

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