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How long it took for Obama to turn

How long it took for Obama to turn

How long does it take a mildmannered,antiwar, black professorof constitutional law, trained as acommunity organizer on the SouthSide of Chicago, to become anenthusiastic sponsor of targetedassassinations, “decapitation”strategies and remote-controlbombing of mud houses at the far endof the globe? There’s nothing surprising here. Asfar back as President Woodrow Wilsonin the early 20th century, Americanliberalism has been swift to  eximperial muscle and whistle up theMarines. High explosive has alwaysbeen in the hormone shot. The nearest parallel to Obama ineager deference to the bloodthirstycounsels of his counterinsurgencyadvisors is John F. Kennedy. It isnot surprising that bright youngpresidents relish quick- x, “outsidethe box” scenarios for victory.Whether in Vietnam or Afghanistan,the counsels of regular Army generalstends to be drear and unappetizing:vast, costly deployments of troops bythe hundreds of thousand, mountingcasualties, uncertain prospects for anylong-term success — all adding up todismaying political costs on the homefront.Amid Camelot’s dawn in 1961,Kennedy swiftly bent an ear to thecounsels of men like Ed Lansdale, aspecial ops man who wore rakishly thehalo of victory over the Communistguerillas in the Philippines and whopromised results in Vietnam.By the time he himself had becomethe victim of Lee Harvey Oswald’s“decapitation” strategy, broughtto successful conclusion in DealeyPlaza, Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963,Kennedy had set in motion the secretcounterinsurgencyoperations,complete withprograms ofassassination andtorture, that turnedSoutheast Asia andLatin America intocharnel houses forthe next 20 years.Another Democratwho strode into the White House withthe word “peace” springing from hislips was Jimmy Carter. It was he who rst decreed that “freedom” and thewar of terror required a $3.5 billioninvestment in a secret CIA-led war inAfghanistan, plus the deployment ofArgentinean torturers to advise U.S.military teams in counterinsurgencyops in El Salvador and Nicaragua.(Tough no US president canspend more than a few momentsin the Oval O ce scanning his intraythe morning after the inauguralceremonies without okaying thespilling of blood somewhere onthe planet, it has to be said that BillClinton did display some initialreluctance. “Do we have to do this?”he muttered, as his national securityteam said that imperial dignityrequired cruise missile bombardmentof Baghdad in 1991 in retaliation fora foiled attack on former PresidentGHW Bush, during a visit to Kuwait.)Obama campaigned ona pledge to “decapitate”al-Qaida, meaning theassassination of its leaders.It was his shorthand wayof advertising that hehad the right stu . Andnow, like Kennedy, he’ssummoned the exponentsof unconventional,shortcut paths to successin that mission. Lt. Gen. Stanley A.McChrystal now replaces Gen. DavidMcKiernan as commander of USforces in Afghanistan. McChrystal’sexpertise is precisely in assassinationand “decapitation.” As commander ofthe military’s Joint Special OperationsCommand (JSOC) for nearly  ve yearsstarting in 2003, McChrystal was incharge of death squad ops, with itsbest advertised success being thekilling of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, headof al-Qaida in Iraq. The phrase “sophisticated networks”Continued on page 22

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