Monday, October 17, 2016 by Randall Wilkens
In a move that would most likely shock the now silent anti-war left of 2008, the current presidential administration has continued striking targets in Somalia. Seeing that the United States has never formally declared war against Somalia, it’s no surprise that those who were so vehemently against the war during President Obama’s first campaign have kept quiet in the face of the vast increase in drone strikes. Bear in mind that it was the previous administration that was targeted by these same people for doing the same thing, that the current administration has been doing, albeit on a far grander scale, for the past 8 years.
While some news outlets have reported as many as 150 “militants” to have been killed, the use of that word has been given a very broad and generalized meaning. The reality is that since 2013 the term militant has been used to refer to any male of military fighting age, or essentially any adult male, within an area known for extremist activity. Basically, a male over the age of 18, regardless of his affiliation (or lack thereof) to terrorist agenda, who happens to be in the vicinity of suspected terrorist activity loses his civilian status merely through geographical association.
The same “War On Terror” that was so largely condemned by opponents of Bush toward the end of his term in office unsurprisingly became widely acceptable soon after the changing of the guard in 2009. With it came the ever expanding powers of the Commander In Chief, such as the aforementioned reclassification of a person simply based on their age and proximity to alleged terrorist camps. The ball continues to roll even further downhill when one takes into account the fact that very few, if any, of the of the major bipartisan candidates since late 2015 have expressed any major interest in discontinuing the cycle of war and expansion of governmental reach.
The tragic irony is that during the early portion of the war, the United States was sending billions of dollars in funding and arms to rebel groups in Middle Eastern countries who were engaging a common enemy. This became problematic when those same rebel groups eventually began uniting against a new common enemy: the United States. What became ISIS were originally small guerrilla groups given money, weapons and training by America’s military.
All of this comes full circle in keeping the war machine barreling on at full steam when a teenager can be reclassified as a threat the moment he reaches a predetermined age. The War On Terror has thus far proven to be a tremendous exercise in the willful suspension of disbelief.