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U.S. jets bombing Afghanistan. These attacks will not end despite the formal U.S. withdrawal by September 11th. [Source: wired.com]

After 20 Years, America’s “Longest War” Is Not Really Ending

On July 2nd, fleeing questions from reporters about U.S. plans in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden sought refuge behind the July 4th Independence Day holiday. Yet he obliquely acknowledged that the U.S. will use some level of “over-the-horizon” air attacks to prevent the Taliban from taking power, attacks that will include drones and manned aircraft, possibly even B-52s.

Here is a portion of President Biden’s remarkable exchange with the press, which occurred at the close of his comments on the June 2021 jobs report:

Q    Are you worried that the Afghan government might fall?  I mean, we are hearing about how the Taliban is taking more and more districts.
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Look, we were in that war for 20 years.  Twenty years.  And I think — I met with the Afghan government here in the White House, in the Oval.  I think they have the capacity to be able to sustain the government.  There are going to have to be, down the road, more negotiations, I suspect.  But I am — I am concerned that they deal with the internal issues that they have to be able to generate the kind of support they need nationwide to maintain the government.
 
Q    A follow on that thought on Afghanistan —
 
THE PRESIDENT:  I want to talk about happy things, man.
 
Q    If there is evidence that Kabul is threatened, which some of the intelligence reports have suggested it could be in six months or thereabout, do you think you’ve got the capability to help provide any kind of air support, military support to them to keep the capital safe, even if the U.S. troops are obviously fully out by that time?
 
THE PRESIDENT:  We have worked out an over-the-horizon capacity that we can be value added, but the Afghans are going to have to be able to do it themselves with the Air Force they have, which we’re helping them maintain.
 
Q    Sir, on Afghanistan —
 
THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not going to answer any more quick question on Afghanistan. 
 
Q    Are you concerned —
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Look, it’s Fourth of July.

When the President refers to “over-the-horizon capacity that we can be value added,” he is referring to a plan, that appears might cost $10 billion, to fly drones and manned attack aircraft from bases as far away as Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait to assist the current Afghan central government in defending itself against the Taliban.

In this Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 photo released by Qatar News Agency, QNA, the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, centre front, poses for a photo with Emiri Air Force at al-Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani's visit to al-Udeid Air Base throws into sharp relief the delicate balancing act the U.S. faces in addressing the Qatar crisis. (QNA via AP)
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani at the al-Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar. This base is one of the bases it is believed that will be used to bomb Afghanistan. [Source: apnews.com]

His statement is the first acknowledgment that the “over-the-horizon” air operations, that reportedly may rely very heavily on drone assassination and drone targeting for manned aircraft, will be directed at the Taliban.

In congressional testimony in June, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that “over-the-horizon” operations would focus on “elements that can possibly conduct attacks against our homeland,” suggesting Al Qaeda and ISIS as targets but not foreclosing attacks against the Taliban.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the presidential palace in Kabul
General Lloyd Austin with Afghan leader Ashraf Ghani on a visit to Afghanistan in March. [Source: politico.com]

The President’s remarks about “over the horizon” as “value added” flowing into “but the Afghans are going to have to be able to do it themselves with the Air Force they have,” is reminiscent of former President Richard Nixon’s attempt to argue that the puppet government of Vietnam was developing the power to defend itself, attempting to cover U.S. tracks out of the horribly disastrous U.S. colonization project in Vietnam.

“Our air strikes have been essential in protecting our own remaining forces and in assisting the South Vietnamese in their efforts to protect their homes and their country from a Communist takeover,” Nixon said in a 1972 speech to the nation.

How Nixon's Invasion of Cambodia Triggered a Check on Presidential Power -  HISTORY
Biden’s strategy for Afghanistan looks like Nixon’s Vietnamization policy for Vietnam which subcontracted and outsourced the war. [Source: history.com]

The apparent U.S. decision to continue to assist the Afghan central government from the air comes in company with a New York Times report saying that President Biden has placed “temporary limits on counterterrorism drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional battlefield zones like Afghanistan and Syria, and it has begun a broad review of whether to tighten Trump-era rules for such operations, according to officials.”

A similar report in Foreign Affairs says that there has been an apparent reduction in U.S. drone attacks, and details elements of a “bigger rethink” process that the Biden administration is said to be going through to limit civilian deaths and reevaluate how the U.S. should respond to “the overseas terrorist threat.” A goal of the administration, the report says, is to end the U.S. “forever” wars.

It must also be said, however, that these reports indicate that President Biden fully intends to continue the U.S. drone assassination/pre-emptive killing policy of Bush, Obama and Trump, possibly with more care for civilian casualties but in defiance of international principles of war, as outlined on BanKillerDrones.org, that would rule out the use of weaponized drones and military drone surveillance altogether whether inside or outside a recognized combat zone.

Biden commits to targeting at least 50% women in drone strikes if elected •  Genesius Times
[Source: geniustimes.com]

It appears that the reformist talk from Biden officials, much of it unattributed and therefore having no accountability, is intended to divert and placate those of us citizens who are repulsed by continuing drone atrocities, such as those leading 113 peace, justice and humanitarian organizations which signed a letter demanding “an end to the unlawful program of lethal strikes outside any recognized battlefield, including through the use of drones.”

Drones fly, children die': US activists launch massive anti-drone campaign  — RT USA News
Anti-drone activists and the peace movement are being rebuffed by yet another administration. [Source: rt.com]

Apart from the view, noted above, that drone attacks and surveillance are illegal anywhere, we have to question the U.S. having turned the entire world into a potential “recognized battlefield.”

Even though U.S. ground forces have largely left Afghanistan, it is clear that the Biden administration considers Afghanistan a legitimate battlefield for U.S. air forces.

In President Biden’s “value-added” remark, one can see a clear message: Regardless of talk of a more humanitarian policy of drone killing and ending “forever” wars, the president has decided that prolonged civil war in Afghanistan is in the interest of the U.S.

Possibly this is because continued turmoil in Afghanistan will be unsettling and preoccupying to her neighbors, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and China. Possibly it is because a civil war will make it easier for corporations and banks to exploit Afghanistan’s mineral, fossil fuel and opium wealth.

Certainly, continued U.S. air assaults in Afghanistan will generate money for U.S. military contractors.

With continuing U.S. air and commando attacks, Afghanistan can turn into a Libya, a divided, stalemated, suffering, bleeding country, where Turkey, Russia and China test their weapons and seek advantage.

Indeed, the U.S. is negotiating with Turkey, over the objection of the Taliban, to maintain “security” at the Kabul International Airport.

Turkey agrees to secure Kabul airport if conditions are met
Security at the Kabul airport will now be handled by Turkey. The U.S. apparently has not sealed the deal with Turkey, and the Taliban completely objects. [Source: arabnews.com]

Undoubtedly, the Turkish political/military/ corporate elite, who have their own expansionary ambitions, will use its drones, among them the semi-autonomous Kargu 2, to try to hold the airport and surrounding territory.

The Black Alliance for Peace released a statement on June 25 opposing “any effort to prolong the U.S. war on the Afghan people, including efforts to keep the United States engaged in any form in Afghanistan.”

The statement expressed concern for “the continued operation of U.S. special forces and mercenaries (or contractors) in Afghanistan, as well as U.S.-pledged support for Turkish military defense of Kabul International Airport, a site that has continued to be a major U.S. military stronghold to support its imperial presence.”

President Biden would do well to heed this statement, along with a petition to him, circulated by BanKillerDrones.org, urging no further U.S. air attacks against the Afghan people.

Now that Independence Day has passed, perhaps the President will be more willing to answer questions about the real goals of “over the horizon.”


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About the Author

31 COMMENTS

  1. […] Hale, now 33, always had doubts about the war, but he enlisted in 2009 when Obama assumed office. He hoped that Obama would undo the excesses and lawlessness of the Bush administration. Instead, Obama, a few weeks after he took office, approved the deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan where 36,000 U.S. troops and 32,000 NATO troops were already deployed. By the end of the year, Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan again by 30,000, doubling U.S. casualties. He also massively expanded the drone program, raising the number of drone strikes from several dozen the year before he took office to 117 by his second year in office.  By the time he left office Obama had presided over the killing of at least 3,000 suspected militants and hundreds of civilians. He authorized what are known as “signature strikes” allowing the CIA to carry out drone attacks against groups of suspected militants without getting positive identification. He spread the footprint of the drone war, establishing drone bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other overseas locations to expand attacks to Syria and Yemen. The Obama administration also indicted eight whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous administrations combined. The Biden administration, like the Trump and Obama administrations, continues to launch widespread global drone strikes. […]

  2. […] Hale, now 33, always had doubts about the war, but he enlisted in 2009 when Obama assumed office. He hoped that Obama would undo the excesses and lawlessness of the Bush administration. Instead, a few weeks after he took office, Obama approved the deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan, where 36,000 US troops and 32,000 NATO troops were already based. By the end of the year, Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan again by 30,000, doubling US casualties. He also massively expanded the drone program, raising the number of drone strikes from several dozen the year before he became president to 117 by his second year in office. By the time he left the position, Obama had presided over the killing of at least 3,000 suspected militants and hundreds of civilians. He authorized what are known as “signature strikes,” allowing the CIA to carry out drone attacks against groups of suspected militants without getting positive identification. He spread the footprint of the drone war, establishing drone bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other overseas locations to expand attacks to Syria and Yemen. The Obama administration also indicted eight whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous administrations combined. The Biden administration, like the Trump and Obama administrations, continues to launch widespread global drone strikes. […]

  3. […] Hale, now 33, always had doubts about the war, but he enlisted in 2009 when Obama assumed office. He hoped that Obama would undo the excesses and lawlessness of the Bush administration. Instead, a few weeks after he took office, Obama approved the deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan, where 36,000 US troops and 32,000 NATO troops were already based. By the end of the year, Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan again by 30,000, doubling US casualties. He also massively expanded the drone program, raising the number of drone strikes from several dozen the year before he became president to 117 by his second year in office. By the time he left the position, Obama had presided over the killing of at least 3,000 suspected militants and hundreds of civilians. He authorized what are known as “signature strikes,” allowing the CIA to carry out drone attacks against groups of suspected militants without getting positive identification. He spread the footprint of the drone war, establishing drone bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other overseas locations to expand attacks to Syria and Yemen. The Obama administration also indicted eight whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous administrations combined. The Biden administration, like the Trump and Obama administrations, continues to launch widespread global drone strikes. […]

  4. […] Hale, now 33, always had doubts about the war, but he enlisted in 2009 when Obama assumed office. He hoped that Obama would undo the excesses and lawlessness of the Bush administration. Instead, Obama, a few weeks after he took office, approved the deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan where 36,000 U.S. troops and 32,000 NATO troops were already deployed. By the end of the year, Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan again by 30,000, doubling U.S. casualties. He also massively expanded the drone program, raising the number of drone strikes from several dozen the year before he took office to 117 by his second year in office.  By the time he left office Obama had presided over the killing of at least 3,000 suspected militants and hundreds of civilians. He authorized what are known as “signature strikes” allowing the CIA to carry out drone attacks against groups of suspected militants without getting positive identification. He spread the footprint of the drone war, establishing drone bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other overseas locations to expand attacks to Syria and Yemen. The Obama administration also indicted eight whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous administrations combined. The Biden administration, like the Trump and Obama administrations, continues to launch widespread global drone strikes. […]

  5. […] Hale, now 33, always had doubts about the war, but he enlisted in 2009 when Obama assumed office. He hoped that Obama would undo the excesses and lawlessness of the Bush administration. Instead, Obama, a few weeks after he took office, approved the deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan, where 36,000 U.S. troops and 32,000 NATO troops were already deployed. By the end of the year, Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan again by 30,000, doubling U.S. casualties. He also massively expanded the drone program, raising the number of drone strikes from several dozen the year before he took office to 117 by his second year in office.  By the time he left office Obama had presided over the killing of at least 3,000 suspected militants and hundreds of civilians. He authorized what are known as “signature strikes” allowing the CIA to carry out drone attacks against groups of suspected militants without getting positive identification. He spread the footprint of the drone war, establishing drone bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other overseas locations to expand attacks to Syria and Yemen. The Obama administration also indicted eight whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous administrations combined. The Biden administration, like the Trump and Obama administrations, continues to launch widespread global drone strikes. […]

  6. […] Hale, now 33, always had doubts about the war, but he enlisted in 2009 when Obama assumed office. He hoped that Obama would undo the excesses and lawlessness of the Bush administration. Instead, Obama, a few weeks after he took office, approved the deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan where 36,000 U.S. troops and 32,000 NATO troops were already deployed. By the end of the year, Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan again by 30,000, doubling U.S. casualties. He also massively expanded the drone program, raising the number of drone strikes from several dozen the year before he took office to 117 by his second year in office.  By the time he left office Obama had presided over the killing of at least 3,000 suspected militants and hundreds of civilians. He authorized what are known as “signature strikes” allowing the CIA to carry out drone attacks against groups of suspected militants without getting positive identification. He spread the footprint of the drone war, establishing drone bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other overseas locations to expand attacks to Syria and Yemen. The Obama administration also indicted eight whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous administrations combined. The Biden administration, like the Trump and Obama administrations, continues to launch widespread global drone strikes. […]

  7. […] Hale, now 33, always had doubts about the war, but he enlisted in 2009 when Obama assumed office. He hoped that Obama would undo the excesses and lawlessness of the Bush administration. Instead, Obama, a few weeks after he took office, approved the deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan where 36,000 U.S. troops and 32,000 NATO troops were already deployed. By the end of the year, Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan again by 30,000, doubling U.S. casualties. He also massively expanded the drone program, raising the number of drone strikes from several dozen the year before he took office to 117 by his second year in office.  By the time he left office Obama had presided over the killing of at least 3,000 suspected militants and hundreds of civilians. He authorized what are known as “signature strikes” allowing the CIA to carry out drone attacks against groups of suspected militants without getting positive identification. He spread the footprint of the drone war, establishing drone bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other overseas locations to expand attacks to Syria and Yemen. The Obama administration also indicted eight whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous administrations combined. The Biden administration, like the Trump and Obama administrations, continues to launch widespread global drone strikes. […]

  8. […] Hale, now 33, always had doubts about the war, but he enlisted in 2009 when Obama assumed office. He hoped that Obama would undo the excesses and lawlessness of the Bush administration. Instead, Obama, a few weeks after he took office, approved the deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan where 36,000 U.S. troops and 32,000 NATO troops were already deployed. By the end of the year, Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan again by 30,000, doubling U.S. casualties. He also massively expanded the drone program, raising the number of drone strikes from several dozen the year before he took office to 117 by his second year in office.  By the time he left office Obama had presided over the killing of at least 3,000 suspected militants and hundreds of civilians. He authorized what are known as “signature strikes” allowing the CIA to carry out drone attacks against groups of suspected militants without out getting positive identification. He spread the footprint of the drone war, establishing drone bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other overseas locations to expand attacks to Syria and Yemen. The Obama administration also indicted eight whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous administrations combined. The Biden administration, like the Trump and Obama administrations, continues to launch widespread global drone strikes. […]

  9. […] Hale, now 33, always had doubts about the war, but he enlisted in 2009 when Obama assumed office. He hoped that Obama would undo the excesses and lawlessness of the Bush administration. Instead, Obama, a few weeks after he took office, approved the deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan where 36,000 U.S. troops and 32,000 NATO troops were already deployed. By the end of the year, Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan again by 30,000, doubling U.S. casualties. He also massively expanded the drone program, raising the number of drone strikes from several dozen the year before he took office to 117 by his second year in office.  By the time he left office Obama had presided over the killing of at least 3,000 suspected militants and hundreds of civilians. He authorized what are known as “signature strikes” allowing the CIA to carry out drone attacks against groups of suspected militants without out getting positive identification. He spread the footprint of the drone war, establishing drone bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other overseas locations to expand attacks to Syria and Yemen. The Obama administration also indicted eight whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous administrations combined. The Biden administration, like the Trump and Obama administrations, continues to launch widespread global drone strikes. […]

  10. […] Hale, now 33, always had doubts about the war, but he enlisted in 2009 when Obama assumed office. He hoped that Obama would undo the excesses and lawlessness of the Bush administration. Instead, Obama, a few weeks after he took office, approved the deployment of an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan where 36,000 U.S. troops and 32,000 NATO troops were already deployed. By the end of the year, Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan again by 30,000, doubling U.S. casualties. He also massively expanded the drone program, raising the number of drone strikes from several dozen the year before he took office to 117 by his second year in office.  By the time he left office Obama had presided over the killing of at least 3,000 suspected militants and hundreds of civilians. He authorized what are known as “signature strikes” allowing the CIA to carry out drone attacks against groups of suspected militants without out getting positive identification. He spread the footprint of the drone war, establishing drone bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other overseas locations to expand attacks to Syria and Yemen. The Obama administration also indicted eight whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous administrations combined. The Biden administration, like the Trump and Obama administrations, continues to launch widespread global drone strikes. […]

  11. According to NBC news “The Taliban are advancing at lightning speed across Afghanistan as U.S. troops withdraw. They now control a third of the country, are fighting for control of 42 percent more — and may even be slowing their advance on purpose.

    A Taliban commander in Ghazni province told NBC News that he and fellow fighters were surprised at the speed of their advance and had avoided capturing some targets so as not to run afoul of the U.S.”

    I am saddened by this news as the Taliban are an Islamic Extremist Group.

  12. I’ve been following this story for awhile. There are apparently big plans afoot for a renovated and updated fleet of B-52 long range heavy bombers. They can carry up to 50,000 pounds of bombs or missiles. which can include long range Tomahawk cruise missiles.The current refurbishing plans may keep them viable for two decades or more.

  13. The US ain’t leaving 93% of the planet’s opium. LIke Obama, Biden and Harris are CIA. AIPAC and the Mossad direct US foreign policy – Iraq and Syria are part of Zion. Covid, race, crime, addiction, media gas light, etc. are a “Strategy of Tension” and the pre-lude to war. Guess where this new war will be?

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