Obama's Grim Reapers
By Pepe Escobar, Asia Times
Posted on September 22, 2011, Printed on March 24, 2012
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
At his UN pulpit, Obama stressed, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." This does not apply to Palestinians - because if he said it did the current president of the United States believes he would hit the unemployment lines in November 2012.
Obama also said, "Israelis have been killed by rockets and suicide bombers." Yet in his 47-minute UN opus he never even attempted to admit something along the lines of "Palestinians have been killed by airstrikes, smart bombs, dumb bombs, bulldozers, snipers, collective punishment and Reapers".
Obama also did not even try to mention, even in passing, the pre-1967 borders of a future Palestinian state - something that virtually the whole planet supports. No wonder, considering that recently Obama could not even persuade the Israeli government to stop building settlements on stolen land.
As far as Washington's position on the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN is concerned, torrents of bites have tried to explain how the US must abide by Israel's demands while pretending it's not at Israel's beck and call.
On the eve of a showdown at the UN Security Council, Palestine had secured the nine votes out of 15 it needed to be recognized as a state - and thus win at least a resounding moral victory, even considering the inevitable US veto.
Significantly enough, the votes were by the five BRICS emerging powers - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - plus Bosnia, Gabon and Nigeria. Germany, Colombia and the US were poised to vote against it. So inevitably Washington unleashed major hardcore pressure on Bosnia (a Muslim-majority country), Gabon and Nigeria (a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, OIC).
It does not matter that the idea of a Palestinian state is a virtual consensus among the international community - the real flesh and blood one, not that ghost brandished by Washington.
Yet a glance at the map, comparing the erosion of Palestinian land from 1946 to 2011, is enough to show Israel has already killed the two-state solution, regardless of what happens at the UN.
What matters are the "facts on the ground" of Israel as the supreme dominatrix of US foreign policy as well as the US Congress being Israel's bitch. What matters is Obama trying to entice Muslims with flowery rhetoric in Istanbul and Cairo just to meekly submit, and when the going gets tough, to feel the dominatrix whip.
And all this while from northern Africa to the Middle East multitudes are fighting for the same "freedom" Americans (and Israelis) apparently enjoy, but are forever denied to Palestinians.
Whatever happens at the UN, Israel's got the deal of the century. Under the cover of a return of the living dead "peace process", successive Israeli governments get to steal Palestinian land, build illegal settlements and procrastinate, while the US pays the heavy political price.
Washington not only pays for the settlements but fights virtually all of Israel's enemies, lethally antagonizes 1.3 billion Muslims all over the world, spends trillions of dollars and goes bankrupt deploying a "war on terror".
Which brings us to yet another impersonation by the Grim Reaper.
He may be a MQ-9 in AfPak or in the new Seychelles-Somalia killer route. He may be channeled by the president of the United States. And he may answer by the name of Bibi. He's here, there, everywhere. Fear the Reaper. Or else ...