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And it’s one, two, three… what are we fightin’ for?

8 May 2012

Thanks to Deborah Bonello (MexicoReporter.com) for highlighting this.

Thom Shankar of the New York Times whitewashes the not-so-creeping U.S. intervention in Honduras:

This new offensive, emerging just as the United States military winds down its conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and is moving to confront emerging threats, also showcases the nation’s new way of war: small-footprint missions with limited numbers of troops, partnerships with foreign military and police forces that take the lead in security operations, and narrowly defined goals, whether aimed at insurgents, terrorists or criminal groups that threaten American interests.

The effort draws on hard lessons learned from a decade of counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq, where troops were moved from giant bases to outposts scattered across remote, hostile areas so they could face off against insurgents.

As Dawn Paley, who normally covers Latin America (and is not a state-sanctioned “embedded reporter” — like “Pentagon correspondent” Shanker), writes on the Times piece:

Shanker does his best to set the story up as being all about drugs, even though it is common knowledge that U.S. militarization doesn’t decrease drug production or trafficking. “Forty years of increasingly violent efforts to stamp out the drug trade haven’t worked,” reads a recent piece in Foreign Policy magazine.

Then Shanker slips into a description that is perhaps a little more indicative of the U.S. role in Honduras:

This new offensive, emerging just as the United States military winds down its conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and is moving to confront emerging threats, also showcases the nation’s new way of war: small-footprint missions with limited numbers of troops, partnerships with foreign military and police forces that take the lead in security operations, and narrowly defined goals, whether aimed at insurgents, terrorists or criminal groups that threaten American interests.

Is this about drugs, or is it about securing U.S. sweatshops in Honduras? Is it about drugs, or is it about seeing the entire population of Honduras as a latent “criminal” group that could, at any moment, become “illegal” immigrants? Is it about drugs, or is it about controlling insurgents (aka rebels or revolutionaries), namely the members of a massive popular movement that has risen up since the illegal coup d’etat in Honduras in 2009?

You’d be forgiven for reading this piece and not knowing about the coup: Shanker left out that, ahem, little detail in his piece. The U.S. media don’t like to talk about how the coup, carried out by the Honduran army and supported by Honduras’ tiny transnational elite, has sparked a massive popular movement all across the country. But acknowledging that there is a huge (and generally peaceful) popular movement in Honduras makes war boosterism more complicated. Better to stick to the fighting drugs and bad guys, you know the quasi criminal terrorist line…

I’d add, and Ms. Paley would have more on this, that the region where those “forward operating bases” are located just happen to be areas where local peasants have been forced off their land by palm-oil speculators… with the armed assistance of said “military and police forces”.

This has always been the worry in our part of the world… since the Wilson Administration, the U.S. has continuously intervened militarily in Latin America, and has “rediscovered” some “threat” our direction every time it is faced with winding down some other operation somewhere else on the planet and rather than find something constructive for its bloated military to do at home, foists them on us.

 

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