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Obama’s secret wars in Muslim world make Americans vulnerable

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Obama is giving a speech on drones tomorrow. He ought to address David Bromwich’s piece for Huffpo, which asks of Obama’s enthusiasm for drones, “Is America at war with Islam?”

Eight days after the Boston explosions, President Obama exploded another missile on a Yemeni village. Farea Al-Muslimi, a former inhabitant of that village, has lately testified both in Congress and in news interviews about the difficulty of explaining America’s intentions to people who have suffered what his village has suffered:

“My mind was racing and my heart was torn. I was torn between the great country that I know and love and the drone above my head that could not differentiate between me and some AQAP militant. It was one of the most divisive and difficult feelings I have ever encountered. That feeling, multiplied by the highest number mathematicians have, gripped me when my village was droned just days ago. It is the worst feeling I have ever had. I was devastated for days because I knew that the bombing in my village by the United States would empower militants.”

Those are the feelings of a Muslim who has experienced to the full, and by living in America, the kindness and generosity this country has to offer. Al-Muslimi finds it impossible to reconcile what the country at its best looks like from inside, to one of the lucky, and what it looks like from outside to one of the thousands of the innocent who have seen their families and neighbors killed or maimed by American weapons. All this is done in the cause of the War on Terror which President Obama, with his love of euphemism, prefers not even to mention by name. But you must name it if you want to get your countrymen to realize that this policy has subverted the Constitution and soiled the reputation of the United States.

…Obama gives the impression that he does not intend the evil he performs, but powerful others want it so pressingly that he cannot bear to say no. He recognizes what this means, from the point of view of right and wrong, but he thinks that his having not intended it, a preference sometimes telegraphed by a public demur, absolves him of responsibility. It is a perversion and a defection of the will. And it fits with his being a winner — someone who likes very much to win, far beyond knowing why he wants it so much — and also being a quitter. …

As this president has lengthened the shadow of American power in Arab lands and made it hard for someone like Farea Al-Muslimi to persuade his countrymen that the U.S. is not at war with Islam, he has made serial visits to comfort Americans mourning the dead after the mass murders in Tucson, in Aurora, in Newtown, and in Boston. None of these speeches has carried a hint of the perception that there could be a link between American violence at home and abroad. The role of this president — a president of safety and protection rather than a president of liberty and the rule of law — is dismaying in itself. But there is something actively morbid in the dramatic assumption of grief counseling as his major public function, even as he continues in secret his wars against people about whom he will not speak to Americans except in platitude.

The United States in the past decade has now killed, at a low estimate, 225,000 people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. How, in the face of those figures, could one argue against a Muslim who once admired the United States but has been convinced, by the actions of the country under Bush and Obama, that we are bent on his destruction? One would be driven to request an act of faith: “We are good. Please believe that we are good.” That is what Bush said, and it is what Obama says. But it will take more than occasional words to shift the direction of the policy of perpetual war; and words that are given the lie by actions are worse than no words.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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34 Responses

  1. hophmi on May 22, 2013, 11:49 am

    I’ve not heard of drone attacks in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, or most of the several dozen Islamic countries. So no, America is not at war with Islam except in the minds of fundamentalist Muslims. America is at war with terrorism.

    • Donald on May 22, 2013, 1:13 pm

      “America is at war with terrorism.”

      America is at war with certain forms of terrorism, while supporting other forms and even committing its own type. It’s always been that way. It’d be nice if we had a consistent standard of human rights, but we don’t.

      • just on May 22, 2013, 4:50 pm

        I do believe we are at war with Islam. The “war on terror” is a stupid phrase, imho. We created it with our actions and our hypocrisy.

        So many innocents have been killed and maimed, and they are not “terrorists”. Too much pain, and their kin will fight back eventually and will hate us forevermore for what we have done, and for our quest for hegemony.

        A pity.

    • Dan Crowther on May 22, 2013, 1:31 pm

      In Indonesia the United States installed a brutal dictatorship that lasted for decades, in Saudi Arabia we arm and train the House Of Saud’s secret police which keeps the population of that country completely terrorized; my personal view is that it’s not a religious thing per se, it just so happens muslims populate many of the most resource rich areas of the world; so it’s really a war against the people of those countries, who happen to be muslim, and have in many instances united under religious banners; but the real war is against them “owning” their countries, against self determination.

    • eljay on May 22, 2013, 2:06 pm

      >> America is at war with terrorism.

      Of course it is. I also hear that “they hate us for our freedoms”.

      Too funny…

    • ritzl on May 22, 2013, 2:55 pm

      Didn’t read the article, the testimony, or Greenwald’s numerous post on the subject, did you?

      Farea Al-Muslimi’s testimony gives yet another first-hand view that we create terrorism.

      So no, America is not at war with Islam except in the minds of fundamentalist Muslims. America is at war with terrorism.

      So your definition of a fundamentalist Muslim is an everyday joe who just had their entire family killed by a sightless, noiseless missile, eh?

      You get credit for being 5% right. You can parrot the DC mentality effectively enough. But you leave out the other 95% including all context. We are “at war with terrorism” ONLY in Muslim countries. We are the creators of that desire (because desire is all it takes to get you and your family and your village killed, creating more desire, ad infinitum).

      The “GWOT” is over a decade old, with no end in sight. That is, we’re not at war with anyone. Wars don’t last that long because there is pain and sacrifice all around. We’re just killing people we don’t like and politicizing or otherwise advantaging some elite segments of our society with the rationalization process.

      We are supporting these very same terrorists that you say we are “at war with” to do our incredibly short-sighted bidding in Syria. Should they be successful, we (and Israel) would without question, opportunistically and immediately, transfer enemy status to them so we could have another State to use as a foil for our militarism (all the while proclaiming our general no-fault self-image with a chorus of “Who knew!!!!”, no doubt with a refrain from The Straddler Singers like Jeffrey Goldberg and Tom Freidman). [Gawd. Three sentences into this para and I already forgot who we’re supposed to be at war with. It’s so confusing.]

      Oh well, back to work.

    • DICKERSON3870 on May 22, 2013, 4:52 pm

      RE: “I’ve not heard of drone attacks in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, or most of the several dozen Islamic countries. So no, America is not at war with Islam except in the minds of fundamentalist Muslims.” – Hopmi

      MY REPLY: The Wahhabi type of Islam that is the official state religion Saudi Arabia (Israel’s new best friend) is probably the most extreme, fundamentalist type of Islam there is. Saudi women are not even allowed to drive automobiles. Also, remember that virtually all of the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia (Israel’s new best friend).
      So, you are correct about the U.S. not being at war with Islam [even the most extreme, fundamentalist type of Islam such as the Wahabism in Saudi Arabia (Israel’s new best friend)].
      The U.S. is at war to benefit Israel and the United States’ European/NATO allies, and to maintain the the U.S. empire.

      • DICKERSON3870 on May 22, 2013, 5:20 pm

        P.S. RE: “So, you are correct about the U.S. not being at war with Islam [even the most extreme, fundamentalist type of Islam such as the Wahabism in Saudi Arabia (Israel’s new best friend)].” – me (above)

        ADDENDUM: I have read that the CIA backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (and Chabad in the Soviet Union) back during the Cold War in an effort to counter Soviet influence in Egypt (and in an effort to destabilize the Soviet Union in the case Chabad).

        SEE: “The CIA and The Muslim Brotherhood: How the CIA Set The Stage for September 11” (Martin A. Lee – Razor Magazine 2004)

        (excerpts) The CIA often works in mysterious ways – and so it was with this little-known cloak-and-dagger caper that set the stage for extensive collaboration between US intelligence and Islamic extremists. The genesis of this ill-starred alliance dates back to Egypt in the mid-1950s, when the CIA made discrete overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood, the influential Sunni fundamentalist movement that fostered Islamic militancy throughout the Middle East. What started as a quiet American flirtation with political Islam became a Cold War love affair on the sly – an affair that would turn out disastrously for the United States. Nearly all of today’s radical Islamic groups, including al-Qaeda, trace their lineage to the Brotherhood…
        …For many years, the American espionage establishment had operated on the assumption that Islam was inherently anti-communist and therefore could be harnessed to facilitate US objectives. American officials viewed the Muslim Brotherhood as “a secret weapon” in the shadow war against the Soviet Union and it’s Arab allies, according to Robert Baer, a retired CIA case officer who was right in the thick of things in the Middle East and Central Asia during his 21 year career as a spy. In Sleeping with the Devil, a book he wrote after quitting the CIA Baer explains how the United States “made common cause with the Brothers” and used them “to do our dirty work in Yemen, Afghanistan and plenty of other places”.
        This covert relationship; unraveled when the Cold War ended, whereupon an Islamic Frankenstein named Osama bin Laden lurched into existence…

        SOURCE –

      • DICKERSON3870 on May 22, 2013, 5:22 pm

        P.P.S. A LITTLE MORE OF THAT INFAMOUS “CIA BLOWBACK”‘: “U.S. publisher who called for Obama assassination proves ‘Israel-firsters’ exist” ~ by Yossi Gurvitz, +972 Magazine, 1/21/12

        [EXCERPTS] Andrew Adler is the publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, and soon he’ll have to spare some time from his busy schedule to answer questions from Secret Service agents. Why? Because, when opining last week on just how Israel should deal with Iran, Adler unleashed a fantasy, and wrote that “[option] three, give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place, and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.” . . .
        . . . Adler has since issued a non-apology: “I very much regret it, I wish I hadn’t made reference to it at all,” he told the JTA. It is worth noting that Adler is a Chabadnik, i.e. a member of a religious faction which has already shown an unhealthy interest in assassinations. Harry Shapiro, a Chabadnik, was convicted of planting a pipe bomb in a synagogue visited by Shimon Peres in Jacksonville back in 1997. A leading Chabad rabbi in Israel, Dov Wolfa, has flirted with the supporters of Yigal Amir, Rabin’s assassin. I think it is safe to assume that an Islamic movement with this sort of record would find itself under, shall we say, intense scrutiny by the authorities.
        Now, no one would mistake me for a supporter of either the Netanyahu government or Israel’s out-of-control security establishment, but I am certain that had anyone suggested such a covert operation to Netanyahu, that person would be fired on the spot. And that even had Netanyahu entertained such an idea, the leadership of Mossad would submit their resignation rather than going along with the plan. . .


      • DICKERSON3870 on May 22, 2013, 5:29 pm

        P.P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Inciting to kill Obama: Another Judeofascist from Chabad”, by Larry Derfner, +972 Magazine, 1/21/12

        [EXCERPT] Chabad is the largest, most energetic Jewish movement on earth, and it gives a place of honor to people like Andrew Adler, the Atlanta Jewish Times publisher who suggested that the Mossad kill Obama.
        Unfortunately, Chabad enjoys this heimishe image for bestowing yiddishkeit on Jews the world over, holding Passover seder for young Israelis traveling in the East, laying tfillin at the airport – strictly mitzvah-doers. The other side of Chabad – the violent, Jewish supremacist side – is less well-known. Maybe that will change now, though, with the op-ed by Chabadnik Andrew Adler, publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, who suggests that Israel assassinate Obama so it’ll be free to bomb Iran. (Disclosure: I wrote about Israel for the Atlanta Jewish Times in the 1990s, years before it was sold to this lunatic.) . . .


    • Citizen on May 23, 2013, 1:07 am

      The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

      Oh, so THAT is what America is at war with…

    • Djinn on May 23, 2013, 5:10 am

      So let me see if I’ve got this straight. If the nations you are illegally bombing just happen to be majority Muslim its a coincidence but if the country an individual chooses to boycott happens to have a Jewish majority then it’s a sign that they’re an inveterate anti-Semite?

    • MarkF on May 23, 2013, 1:47 pm

      “America is at war with terrorism” Very neocon indeed.

      We’re not at war with drug addicts, we’re at war with drugs.
      We’re not at war with poor people, we’re at war with poverty.
      We’re not at war with muslims, we’re at war with radical Islam.
      We’re not at war with Iran, we’re sanctioning the regime that supports terrorism. Oh, and cripples everyone else that lives there.

      You see, the drones, the sanctions, the “liberations”, have killed innocent people, and thus radicalized them.

      How did you’re relatives feel about Germans as a whole after they killed off a large chunk of your family? I know my family would have rather eaten excriment then buy a VW. Dad owned a Chrysler Newport.

  2. Bumblebye on May 22, 2013, 12:53 pm

    Here in UK, we seem to have suffered a ‘blowback’ attack just this afternoon.
    A young soldier leaving Woolwich Barracks in London was beheaded in the street outside. The attackers have been shot and wounded. It is now being referred to as ‘terrorism’, since they were shouting “Allahu Akbar”.

    • Bumblebye on May 22, 2013, 1:49 pm

      I hear the attack is filmed and flying around the internet.

      • Bumblebye on May 22, 2013, 2:10 pm

        The man speaking, with his machete and bloodied hands, sounds like a London native. The lack of fear shown by passers-by is surreal.

      • Bumblebye on May 22, 2013, 2:23 pm

        The link is in high demand, keeps going wrong.

      • Sumud on May 23, 2013, 4:25 am

        The closing line of the ITV report:

        “Soldiers who fight abroad, finding themselves under attack at home, the place they should have been safe”.

        Typical western-centric narrative; zero questioning of why British troops are attacking a foreign country, and zero acknowledgement that British troops have been and continue to be involved in aggressive wars that kill large numbers of civilians.

        Strange strange event. I’m surprised that ITV chose to play the footage of the attacker justifying his actions, normally such a person is killed ASAP to silence them.

      • Bumblebye on May 23, 2013, 7:31 am

        The political response seems over the top to me, making too much of it. That fires up the wrong people. The man with the bloody hands turns out to be a convert from a religious christian background (and a Nigerian family), there have been mosque attacks, etc. EDL decided to have a ‘vigil’ outside the barracks last night that wound people up. The video footage is now everywhere on the msm.
        You’re right about the western-centric narrative. Didn’t happen on those occasions when the IRA targetted troops (sometimes their families) on the mainland.
        These killers stuck around and engaged passers-by deliberately. The footage is from a man on his way to the local jobcentre taken on his cellphone.

      • Citizen on May 23, 2013, 10:56 am

        @ Sumud
        I think the video camera belonged to a private citizen. I imagine he kept his video rolling, so the cops who came just shot the two hackers up but not immediately fatally since the cops arrived not knowing what actually happened. I read the attackers walked right up to the cops.

  3. pabelmont on May 22, 2013, 1:09 pm

    The USA (like Israel) wants, desires, and manufactures enemies. Why? Because each has an enormous MIC (military-industrial-government-university-complex) which expects care and feeding (lots of money annually, forever) but which needs an excuse to exist.

    That excuse to exist is enemies.

    And since human rights, if a value anywhere within that great compromise machine which government (or the establishment, or the oligarchy), is definitely a value subservient to profit-making.

  4. ivri on May 22, 2013, 1:55 pm

    This is a deja-vu story: the theme of “look for the root causes” of “why these people hate us” and bomb us had been taken up in the past several times and even George Bush nominated a special good-will ambassador to the Muslim with a view world to enhance reciprocal understanding and improve ties.. Israel had also undergone some “soul searches” of this type. In the end nothing came out of all of that and rather the more straightforward explanations have been re-adopted and “classic” counteracts resumed, both by the US and Israel.

  5. Les on May 22, 2013, 6:14 pm

    The racialism our media uses to describe Israel versus Palestine slops over. Muslims, Sikhs, whatever, matters not to the racists our media works so hard to indoctrinate.

  6. yourstruly on May 22, 2013, 10:49 pm

    how to reconcile the public’s near total indifference to the U.S. military’s slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Arabs/Muslims with the public outpouring of sentiment in response to the Boston Marathon bombing as well as to this week’s natural catastrophe in Oklahoma? differences in msm media attention, or is it the denial inherent in my country right or wrong?

  7. Citizen on May 23, 2013, 2:14 am

    The US government has recently admitted killing 4 Americans, and now has a vague, loose, legal way to kill more of them by drones even if they and/or what they are doing or saying is not an immediate threat to US:

  8. Citizen on May 23, 2013, 3:20 am

    Israel is the #1 seller of drones in world; US is #2. The states are in direct economic competition, but the US is handicapped as it is a signatory to a relevant restrictive piece of international agreement, while, of course, Israel is not. Also, Israeli drone industry is partially paid for by US foreign aid and Israel has also stolen US technology.

    Meanwhile, to be more upbeat, Kerry got really pissed a few days ago when he learned Israel was building certain settlements again when Israel had promised it would pause those settlement construction so he could try to get the “peace process” started. Kerry ‘s leaving for Israel again shortly. He actually got on the phone and (hopefully) yelled at Israeli ambassador:

    Didn’t Israel do the same thing, or something similar when Beiden was over there once, when Beiden said, “Over my dead body”?

    Amazing how Israel bites and humiliates the (goy) hand that feeds it.

    • Djinn on May 23, 2013, 5:17 am

      To get angry over Israeli broken promises one would presumably have to have belived they would uphold them, in the face of 65 years of evidence to the contrary. I don’t think Kerry is that stupid so can only assume his anger is entirely bogus.

      • Citizen on May 23, 2013, 6:40 am

        The article says what Kerry did was unusual because customarily any such phone calls or talks would be made between much lower government officials.

  9. Citizen on May 23, 2013, 6:38 am

    Similarly, Brits are more vulnerable too. In London a guy was hacked to death in the street in broad daylight because, the hacker told the camera, the Brit Govt “kills Muslims daily.” He also said the Brit government “don’t care about you. The politicians are safe. The average Brit will be next when we come.”

    Al Jazeera commented “Britain’s involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past decade has occasionally made soldiers a target at home.”

  10. Citizen on May 23, 2013, 6:47 am

    The man was at first hit by a car, then the occupants jumped out and hacked him up with meat cleavers and knives while people just strolled by, seemingly unconcerned. He was wearing a t-shirt with a slogan wrt a charity that helps wounded soldiers.

    “We swear by Almighty Allah, we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. The only reasons we killed this man is because Muslims are dying daily. This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” the man with bloodied hands told a camera, as the victim’s body lay nearby. ” I apologize that women had to witness this today, but in our land, our women have to see the same! You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don’t care about you!”

    • eljay on May 23, 2013, 8:07 am

      What an absolutely f*cking barbaric attack! I unreservedly condemn it.

      I have no doubt, however, that Zio-supremacists will approve of the precise, surgical nature of the strike – they seem to approve of that sort of thing when “we” do it to “them” – although I suspect they may be disappointed that the attack wasn’t given a nifty code-name such as, say, “Operation Carving Vengeance”.

    • Bumblebye on May 23, 2013, 8:29 am

      T-shirt slogan “Help for Heroes”, a charity that provides assistance to those wounded in the latest batch of wars. Listening to a phone-in this morning, one muslim said he’d be wearing that t-shirt tomorrow when he attended mosque.

  11. atime forpeace on May 23, 2013, 1:12 pm

    If you get a chance to watch a rerun of Jeremy Scahill’s speech at the Sanctuary please do, you will not regret it if you wish to better understand why they hate us.

    “Dirty Wars” w/ journalist Jeremy Scahill
    Date & Time: 05/22/2013 – 7pm
    Jeremy Scahill, author of “Blackwater: The World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army” and “Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield,” will speak at The Sanctuary for Independent Media on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 7:00 PM. Admission is by donation ($10 suggested, $5 student/low income). Advance tickets are available by clicking here.

    This event is co-sponsored by Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Women Against War, Project SALAM and the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, Albany chapter.

  12. iResistDe4iAm on May 24, 2013, 3:33 am

    The War on Islam

    NOW = Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Mali
    COVERT = Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia
    NEXT? = Iran, Lebanon

    When the USA waged its bloody War on Communism, it didn’t dare directly attack the two biggest communist countries (Soviet Union and China), or the largest communist block (Eastern Europe). Instead both sides waged a Cold War, while the US and its proxies waged relentless war on the defenceless peoples of South East Asia, South America, southern Africa, and elsewhere.

    Unlike the War on Communism where the communist powers armed and assisted their communist allies, the War on Islam is made possible with the active collaboration of pro-US tyrants who rule other Muslim-majority states.

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