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The New Obama Doctrine: A Six-Point Plan for Global War
Posted on Jun 14, 2012
By Nick Turse, TomDispatch
In 2012, the Pentagon has also ramped up its anti-drug operations in Honduras. Working out of Forward Operating Base Mocoron and other remote camps there, the U.S. military is supporting Honduran operations by way of the methods it honed in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, U.S. forces have taken part in joint operations with Honduran troops as part of a training mission dubbed Beyond the Horizon 2012; Green Berets have been assisting Honduran Special Operations forces in anti-smuggling operations; and a Drug Enforcement Administration Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team, originally created to disrupt the poppy trade in Afghanistan, has joined forces with Honduras’s Tactical Response Team, that country’s most elite counternarcotics unit. A glimpse of these operations made the news recently when DEA agents, flying in an American helicopter, were involved in an aerial attack on civilians that killed two men and two pregnant women in the remote Mosquito Coast region.
Less visible have been U.S. efforts in Guyana, where Special Operation Forces have been training local troops in heliborne air assault techniques. “This is the first time we have had this type of exercise involving Special Operations Forces of the United States on such a grand scale,” Colonel Bruce Lovell of the Guyana Defense Force told a U.S. public affairs official earlier this year. “It gives us a chance to validate ourselves and see where we are, what are our shortcomings.”
The U.S. military has been similarly active elsewhere in Latin America, concluding training exercises in Guatemala, sponsoring “partnership-building” missions in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Peru, and Panama, and reaching an agreement to carry out 19 “activities” with the Colombian army over the next year, including joint military exercises.
Still in the Middle of the Middle East
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In fact, Yemen, like its neighbor, Somalia, across the Gulf of Aden, has become a laboratory for Obama’s wars. There, the U.S. is carrying out its signature new brand of warfare with “black ops” troops like the SEALs and the Army’s Delta Force undoubtedly conducting kill/capture missions, while “white” forces like the Green Berets and Rangers are training indigenous troops, and robot planes hunt and kill members of al-Qaeda and its affiliates, possibly assisted by an even more secret contingent of manned aircraft.
The Middle East has also become the somewhat unlikely poster-region for another emerging facet of the Obama doctrine: cyberwar efforts. In a category-blurring speaking engagement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton surfaced at the recent Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Florida where she gave a speech talking up her department’s eagerness to join in the new American way of war. “We need Special Operations Forces who are as comfortable drinking tea with tribal leaders as raiding a terrorist compound,’’ she told the crowd. “We also need diplomats and development experts who are up to the job of being your partners.”
Clinton then took the opportunity to tout her agency’s online efforts, aimed at websites used by al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen. When al-Qaeda recruitment messages appeared on the latter, she said, “our team plastered the same sites with altered versions… that showed the toll al-Qaeda attacks have taken on the Yemeni people.” She further noted that this information-warfare mission was carried out by experts at State’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications with assistance, not surprisingly, from the military and the U.S. Intelligence Community.
These modest on-line efforts join more potent methods of cyberwar being employed by the Pentagon and the CIA, including the recently revealed “Olympic Games,” a program of sophisticated attacks on computers in Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities engineered and unleashed by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Unit 8200, Israeli’s equivalent of the NSA. As with other facets of the new way of war, these efforts were begun under the Bush administration but significantly accelerated under the current president, who became the first American commander-in-chief to order sustained cyberattacks designed to cripple another country’s infrastructure.
From Brushfires to Wildfires
Across the globe from Central and South America to Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, the Obama administration is working out its formula for a new American way of war. In its pursuit, the Pentagon and its increasingly militarized government partners are drawing on everything from classic precepts of colonial warfare to the latest technologies.
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