Obama's Grim Reapers
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The Reaper was not formally invited to the United Nations General Assembly annual bash in New York.
In ancient times, he used to be known as the Grim Reaper. Grim the wily fellow still is - always under many guises. Reinventing the concept of death from above, he may call himself MQ-9 Reaper and strut his stuff equipped with Hellfire missiles.
Or he may wear a business suit and incorporate the persona of the president of the United States.
Get me to the target on time
Barack Obama, from his UN podium, told the world, "Let there be no doubt: the tide of war is receding."
Neo-Orwellian spin doctors could hardly top him on this one. Referring to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's operation of bombing Libya into democracy, Obama stressed, "This is how the international community is supposed to work."
Virtually on cue, that usual suspect, a "NATO official", leaked that the alliance had just extended its mission to bomb Libya for another 90 days before the green card expired next Tuesday. Of course, the smart NATO bombs only recognize bad guys, and don’t commit collateral damage.
As for the "international community" - which now comprises only NATO members and Persian Gulf monarchies, to the exclusion of everybody else - it will still "have to respond to the calls for change" in the Middle East, according to Obama. Signaled targets, not surprisingly, were Syria and Iran.
And then, also on cue, the usual "US officials" leaked that the Obama administration was assembling what the Washington Post described as "a constellation of secret drone bases for counter-terrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula". Signaled targets, already engaged, are Somalia and Yemen.
As for the excuse, no surprises; it’s that same old al-Qaeda bogeyman. Once again, industrial-military complex "defense contractors" started uncorking their Moet.
A killer low-cost airline
As these contractors know so well, Washington is now involved in no less than six wars - or "kinetic" whatever, as the White House defines them - in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
For our friend the MQ-9 Reaper, the sky, literally, is the limit. He’s expanding his footprint from AfPak to the whole of East Africa up to the Gulf of Aden. He'll now be based in Ethiopia as well as in the Seychelles, that lovely Indian Ocean archipelago famous for its fabulous beaches and 10-star resorts.
The "hunter-killer" fleet of MQ-9 Reapers - that is, capable in Pentagonese of both "surveillance" and "strike" - parked in a hangar near the main passenger terminal at Victoria, in the Seychelles, will bring to a whole new level the concept of low-budget airline.
Although they are being depicted as innocent toys flying over Somalia "to support ongoing counter-terrorism efforts", bottles of supplemental Moet can be bet that sooner or later the exploits of this killer low-cost airline will hit the headlines.
Naturally, no MQ-9 Reapers will be bombing the al-Qaeda-linked Libyans formerly known as rebels who are now exercising total military control of Tripoli.
This will only happen after Libyan hardcore Islamists start getting into their Talibanization groove - be it as part of a Transitional National Council government or as a guerrilla force fighting NATO. The Pentagon always respects the motto of taking better care of its future enemies than its current friends.
In this newspeak-drenched "improved circles of surveillance" universe, there's hardly a thought about collateral damage. Even an establishment think-tank such as the Brookings Institution has stressed that for every "terrorist" killed, "10 or so civilians also died". More realistic estimates point to a ratio of 15 civilians to every "terrorist" biting the dust.
And this while the Pentagon-promoted, American Playstation way of war never ceases to be upgraded; Reapers or sons of Reapers will soon perform their chores by themselves, using just state of the art software and alien to human intervention.
Which bring us once again to Obama.
This freedom is not for you