by Jacob G. Hornberger
The New York Times yesterday carried an interesting article about U.S. military attacks in Yemen, one of five countries (that we know of) in which the U.S. Empire is killing people. The article indicated that the CIA is building a secret base outside of Yemen in order to carry out attacks inside the country in the future.
Why is the base being built outside Yemen and why is its location secret?
Because if the U.S.-supported dictatorship in Yemen is ousted from power, it’s not at all certain that a new regime would approve of a U.S. military base within the country, especially one from which military operations against people within the country are being carried out.
Currently, the Pentagon is running bombing and assassination operations in Yemen, but U.S. officials plan to turn over control of such operations to the CIA. Why is that? The Times provides the explanation, which I found quite interesting: “By putting the operations under C.I.A. control, they could be carried out as a ‘covert action,’ which can be undertaken without the support of the host government.”
What exactly does that mean? Does it mean that covert actions are legal notwithstanding the lack of consent from the host country? Or does it mean that the host country, as a practical matter, won’t be able to object because it won’t be able to prove that the U.S. government has a role in the operations?
Unfortunately, the Times didn’t provide any answers. It just blithely stated the explanation as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
Yet, it is one government — the U.S. government — that is doing the bombing and assassinating in Yemen. What difference can it possibly make that one part of the government (i.e., the CIA) is doing the bombing and assassinating rather than another part of the government (i.e.., the Pentagon). It’s the same government!
Moreover, why should it matter whether the bombing and assassinating are covert or overt? If a host government must approve a foreign power’s bombing campaigns and assassination campaigns when the operations are “overt,” how can converting them into “covert” operations obviate the need to secure such permission?
Suppose China built a secret base in Cuba from which to operate covert bombing and assassination operations against suspected terrorists (e.g., Uighurs) within the United States? Wouldn’t the U.S. government expect China to secure its permission before proceeding to assassinate suspected terrorists within the United States?
My hunch is that if China didn’t secure such permission and just began bombing and assassinating suspected terrorists inside the United States, as the United States proposes to do in Yemen, U.S. officials would go a ballistic. After all, don’t they go ballistic when China just builds a new warship to patrol its own waters?
The U.S. government’s distinction between the Pentagon and the CIA and its distinction between overt and covert operations sure seem ridiculous to me.
Of course, what really matters is that the U.S. government has no more business kidnapping, renditioning, torturing, bombing, and assassinating people inside Yemen (or Pakistan, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, or anywhere else) than the Chinese government would have bombing and assassinating people inside the United States (or anywhere else).
Such specific inanity only points to the overall inanity of the entire U.S. imperialist foreign policy and the U.S. government’s decade-long “war on terrorism,” including sanctions, embargoes, invasions, wars of aggression, kidnapping, rendition, torture, assassination, kangaroo tribunals, and denial of due process of law.
After more than a decade of this deadly and destructive inanity, the time has come for the American people to bring it to an end. The time has come to dismantle the world’s last surviving military empire and restore a limited-government, constitutional republic to our land. It’s the key to peace, prosperity, harmony, and freedom.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.
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