Published on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 by The Nation
by Robert Dreyfuss
A parallel new Bush doctrine is emerging, in the last days of the soon-to-be-ancien regime, and it needs to be strangled in its crib. Like the original Bush doctrine -- the one that Sarah Palin couldn't name, which called for preventive military action against emerging threats -- this one also casts international law aside by insisting that the United States has an inherent right to cross international borders in "hot pursuit" of anyone it doesn't like.
Syrians mourn their killed relatives in the village of Sukkiraya, on the Syria-Iraq border. US forces in
They're already applying it to
"If Sunday's raid, which targeted a senior al-Qaeda operative, serves only to put Mr. Assad on notice that the United States, too, is no longer prepared to respect the sovereignty of a criminal regime, it will have been worthwhile."
Is it really that easy? To say: We declare your regime criminal, and so we will attack you anytime we care to? In its news report of the attack into
"The military's argument is that 'you can only claim sovereignty if you enforce it,' said Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 'When you are dealing with states that do not maintain their sovereignty and become a de facto sanctuary, the only way you have to deal with them is this kind of operation,' he said."
The Times broadens the possible targets from
"Administration officials declined to say whether the emerging application of self-defense could lead to strikes against camps inside
That, of course, has been a live option, especially since the start of the surge in January, 2007, when President Bush promised to strike at Iranian supply lines in
On October 24, I went to hear Mike Vickers , the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, speaking at the Washington Institiute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a pro-Israeli thinktank in
"If you look at the operational core of our Special Operations Forces, and focus on the ground operators, there are some 15,000 or so of those -- give or take how you count them -- these range from our Army Special Forces or our Green Berets, our Rangers, our Seals, some classified units we have, and we recently added a Marine Corps Special Operations Command to this arsenal as well. In addition to adding the Marine component, each of these elements since 2006 and out to about 2012 or 2013 has been increasing their capacity as well as their capabilities, but their capacity by a third. This is the largest growth in Special Operations Force history. By the time we're done with that, there will be some things, some gaps we need to fix undoubtedly, but we will have the elements in place for what we believe is the Special Operations component of the global war on terrorism.
"Special Operations Forces, I think through this decade and into the next one, have been and will remain a decisive strategic instrument. ...
"There's been a very significant -- about a 40 or 50 percent increase in operational tempo and of course more intense in terms of the action since the 9/11 attacks. On any given day that we wake up, our Special Operations Forces are in some sixty countries around the world. But more than 80 percent or so of those right now are concentrated in the greater Middle East or the
Notice what he said: operating in 60 countries.
Of course, the very invasion of
When Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked about this, here's what he said, as quoted in the Post article cited earlier:
"'We will do what is necessary to protect our troops,' Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in Senate testimony last month, when asked about the cross-border operations. Under questioning, Gates said that he was not an expert in international law but that he assumed the State Department had consulted such laws before the
Not an expert in international law? He'll leave it to the State Department? And this is the guy that Barack Obama's advisers say ought to stay on at the Pentagon under an Obama administration?
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs