An analyst says that the Pentagon officials who never bear the brunt of the US wars abroad, use propaganda to wage wars and reap the economic rewards.
In the background of this at least five people have been killed and many others wounded in an attack carried out by a US assassination drone in northwestern Pakistan. Pakistan’s tribal regions are attacked by US terror drones almost regularly with Washington claiming that militants are the targets. However, casualty figures clearly indicate that civilians are the main victims. On January 22, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar expressed concern over the US drone strikes in her country, describing them as “counterproductive.” Referring to thousands of Pakistani civilians who have been killed by CIA-operated drones in recent years, she added that Islamabad “will take up drone attacks issue with Washington and its ambassador to Pakistan.” Over the past few months, massive protests have also been staged across Pakistan to condemn the United States for violating the country's sovereignty.
Press TV has talked with Michael Prysner, American Iraq war veteran from Los Angeles to shed more light on the issue at hand. He is joined by two additional guests on Press TV’s The Debate Program: Syed Talib Hussain Warsi, political commentator from the Iranian capital city of Tehran and Richard Hellman with the Middle East Research Center from Washington D.C. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Michael Prysner, We have these drone strikes, assassination drone strikes, as we call it; that the case is now being revealed. But is not this against the fifth amendment? Because the fifth amendment says it is without due process. Can you please give us your thoughts?
Well, you cannot call these things anything less than extrajudicial killings when the only real criteria that the US government has said it needs to carryout these targeted assassinations, as they call them, is that a US official has to believe that this person is a threat.
Those are pretty loose guidelines to be able to carryout an assassination of any nature. But the bottom line is that these so-called targeted assassinations of which the narrative has been that these are precision strikes, Obama himself had said let us be clear, as he likes to say, drone strikes have not caused a huge number of civilian causalities; but the reality is that a study from Stanford University and New York University had shown that only two percent of those who were killed in drone strikes are in fact what the White House and the Pentagon would call high value targets and the rest of that 98 percent being women, being children, being civilians, being military aged man that the propagandists in Washington can just say, well if they were at fighting age, then they probably were some kind of militant.
And of course this calls to attention one of the great injustice of the US policy in the region, where the US government has the authority to go anywhere in the world that it wants and kill any people that it wants regardless of the massive civilian casualties that it causes and not be held accountable in any way whatsoever to any type of legal body regardless of what the laws are.
And the only reason that they are allowed to run around the world and do this and create so much misery and suffering is because they have more weapons, more military bases and a supreme military presence all over the world, ruling through being a menace essentially.
Michael Prysner what do you want to tell to Mr. Richard Hellman when there was an assassination drone strike that killed 21 members of Paksitan’s Army?
What was the justification reasoning behind that? Please explain that to Mr. Richard Hellman.
Well, you know, it is very interesting because our other guest and the Pentagon are a little bit confused between the al-Qaeda that they are telling us we have to kill and fight in Afghanistan and in Pakistan and the al-Qaeda that they are supporting and arming and funding in Libya and in Syria to act on behalf of the US interest there and regime change in the interest of the US imperialism there.
I think it is insane to say that you can in any way compare the amount of suffering and loss of life to anything comparable to what the US government and what the US imperialism has done all over the world.
I mean just in the past decade you want to talk about..., you know, throw numbers of ten of thousands or so, who were killed in that country. Look at the last decade, over a million innocent people in Iraq slaughtered by the US military and this is a policy where the US military was favoring large amounts of troops but they are carrying out the same type of aggressive policy all over the world not just in the Middle East, not just centered with drones, in Somalia and Yemen and Pakistan but now establishing military missions in 35 African countries.
The great enslavers and colonizers of Africa are now returning to bring a new wave of militarism there.
We are talking about a military that has a network 800 bases in over 130 countries around the world, I mean to say that anyone any independent people or states are somehow a threat to peace and not that empire that is menacing the entire world is a gross distortion of the relationship of forces on the planet.
I am getting back to the subject of drones and the fact that whatever you want to say as how the necessity of carrying out these attacks, the reality is...
Michael Prysner, this is pretty mind-boggling because all the different dynamics to it: to do so unanimously without deliberations and it is whether or not the US is involved in a conflict, basically, eliminating boots on the ground is their justification.
How are you going to explain this cyber warfare under the umbrella that they have disclosed now?
Well, it is to the same reason that drone policy is being favored.
It is using maximum force through drone strikes, through missile strikes, through acts of sabotage, through acts of assassination with the minimum number of allied casualties.
It is a kind of an exercise in propaganda to be enacting great destruction and death and disruption in one place but to be able to say that there is no collateral damage, there is no civilian casualties and of course the most important thing for their propaganda is that there are no US casualties.
And now, you know, it is interesting that your other guest is seemingly very confused about who..., what is actually dictating this policy.
The idea that it is about self-defense or the idea that it is about promoting human rights in other countries..., I mean look at who is the closest allies of the United States; places like Saudi Arabia, places like Bahrain, I mean you are talking about where you can stand up in the town square and say whatever you want? The staunchest allies of the United States will stone you to death for doing that.
And the idea that somehow this is an act of self-defense, I mean why do we need an AFRICOM? Why does the US needs 35 countries in Africa that have military missions and drone bases and drones flying over their heads.
You know, to say that somehow the Iraqi people pose a threat to the United States, that poor people in Afghanistan somehow pose a threat to the United States, these people were really bearing the brunt of this military machine.
I mean it is absolutely ridiculous and your guest Richard said that we at war..., but that is the greatest myth of what is guiding this policy.
We are not at war; the people who are making war, those politicians, are not at war, the lobbyist and the defense contractors who are behind a lot of this, they are not going to war, their kids are not going to war, your other guest is not having to have to go to war, he does not have to live in Waziristan under the constant buzzing of drones, under the terror, under the psychological warfare of not being able to bring your children to school, worrying if at any moment your house is going to blown apart, if your children are going to be blown apart in front o your eyes.
I mean this is one of the greatest human rights violations and atrocities that is taking place today and to call it anything that is for freedom or democracy or human rights is nothing but the worst propaganda that is being put up by the people in the Pentagon who do not bear any of the suffering of any of this but they are only there to reap the economic rewards.
Michael Prysner go ahead.
Well again the idea that the 800 military bases stretches across the entire world and sanctions and threats and bombing and the occupations and invasions are anything to do with self-defense as if poor and semi-colonized and colonized people of the world pose any threat to the US mainland.
The Pentagon admits that we are not fighting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, we are fighting the Afghan people who overwhelmingly want occupation forces out and I will also say that ...