A Six-Point Plan for Global War



This post originally appeared on Tom Dispatch.  

It looked like a scene out of a Hollywood movie. In the inky darkness, men in full combat gear, armed with automatic weapons and wearing night-vision goggles, grabbed hold of a thick, woven cable hanging from a MH-47 Chinook helicopter. Then, in a flash, each “fast-roped” down onto a ship below. Afterward, “Mike,” a Navy SEAL who would not give his last name, bragged to an Army public affairs sergeant that, when they were on their game, the SEALs could put 15 men on a ship this way in 30 seconds or less.

Once on the aft deck, the special ops troops broke into squads and methodically searched the ship as it bobbed in Jinhae Harbor, South Korea. Below deck and on the bridge, the commandos located several men and trained their weapons on them, but nobody fired a shot. It was, after all, a training exercise.

All of those ship-searchers were SEALs, but not all of them were American. Some were from Naval Special Warfare Group 1 out of Coronado, California; others hailed from South Korea’s Naval Special Brigade. The drill was part of Foal Eagle 2012, a multinational, joint-service exercise. It was also a model for -- and one small part of -- a much publicized U.S. military “pivot” from the Greater Middle East to Asia, a move that includes sending an initial contingent of 250 Marines to Darwin, Australia, basing littoral combat ships in Singapore, strengthening military ties with Vietnam and India, staging war games in the Philippines (as well as a drone strike there), and shifting the majority of the Navy’s ships to the Pacific by the end of the decade.

That modest training exercise also reflected another kind of pivot. The face of American-style war-fighting is once again changing. Forget full-scale invasions and large-footprint occupations on the Eurasian mainland; instead, think: special operations forces working on their own but also training or fighting beside allied militaries (if not outright proxy armies) in hot spots around the world. And along with those special ops advisors, trainers, and commandos expect ever more funds and efforts to flow into the militarization of spying and intelligence, the use of drone aircraft, the launching of cyber-attacks, and joint Pentagon operations with increasingly militarized “civilian” government agencies.

Much of this has been noted in the media, but how it all fits together into what could be called the new global face of empire has escaped attention. And yet this represents nothing short of a new Obama doctrine, a six-point program for twenty-first-century war, American-style, that the administration is now carefully developing and honing. Its global scope is already breathtaking, if little recognized, and like Donald Rumsfeld’s military lite and David Petraeus’s counterinsurgency operations, it is evidently going to have its day in the sun -- and like them, it will undoubtedly disappoint in ways that will surprise its creators.

Danny Hunt
7/2/2012 12:13:40 AM

Yes. I've been writing to Filipinos telling them not to, again, fall into the American trap. They're well rid of them and are on their own way to prosperity if only the birth rate was lowered substantially. Way to go, Pope!

Danny Hunt
7/1/2012 11:47:53 PM

History does show that the USA is poor at winning wars but it's no because of lack of practice. Since 1776 the USA has been at peace about 21 years and at war 200+ years. With these statistics in mind, I truly consider the USA a belligerent. It's getting worse. The Libyan effort was a blatant fiction. Resolution 1973 out of the UN was a manipulation and a lie. I believe the so-called rebels to be a lie, also. Libyans had one heck of a lot going for them and Khaddafi had re-invented himself to such a degree that he was up for two humanitarian awards. He'd taken Libya from the poorest nation in Africa with a literacy rate from 10% to (I believe) 86%. Albeit through the advantage of oil. But better than the Saudis in their highly restrictive nation, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Bahrain etc. I won't go into all the details here. However, getting back to UN Resolution 1973, the attack was supposed to be and sold to the West as a humanitarian effort through bombing. People are suckers for everything. Humanitarian Bombing! Wow! Canada was in charge of the bombing according to PM Harper. I don't know if the rest of the world agrees that Canada was. I, for one, regret this claim, true or not, by Harper. Canadians now are no longer Peace Keepers; we are murderers! And, now Harper and the dim-witted Reform Conservatives, want to buy F-35 flying scrap with which to join the Americans in further destruction of innocent countries.

Danny Hunt
7/1/2012 11:21:55 PM

A victory in Panama! Let's see. George Bush, not to be confused with his stupider son GW, invaded Panama, without warning and not declaring war at any point, with at least 26,000 military (if my memory is correct) invading by air through the poor area and blowing the hell out of everything to get Noriega on drug charges (he helped Colonel North to get drugs to Americans) of which he made a lot of money (not on drugs) but on the conservative applaud circuit. This illegal invasion of Panama, with all media kept out, killed hundreds and hundreds of innocent civilians running over some families, trying to get the hell out, with tanks from US bases in Panama. All this for a CIA asset, Noriega, on accusations of drug trafficking which was part of what Noriega did for the CIA and, of which Bush was well familiar with in his short term as Director of the CIA. This was no war! This was a quick, reprehensible attack of murder and a grave war crime.

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