Totalitarianism is the New Normal (Wendy McElroy)
Wednesday March 27th, 2013
First it was a secret “kill list” on which Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama names those he wishes to be assassinated. The names included American citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan who died in a drone strike in Yemen on September 30th, 2011. Neither was indicted or charged with a crime. They were killed as 'terrorists' at the discretion of one man whose signature now constitutes due process.
Then, on March 20th, the Obama administration put a $5 million bounty on each of two American citizens: Abu Mansur Al-Amriki (alias Omar Hammami) and Jehad Serwan Mostafa. They are accused of being fighters for the Islamic militant group al Shabaab which is based in Somalia. Hammami is a particularly interesting choice. The respected website Intelwire.com, run by J.M. Berger, analyzes terror risks. Berger noted that Hammami has made no threats against America; he "hasn't taken direct violent action against the U.S. or worked with al-Qaida proper in any meaningful capacity." Moreover, Hammami has broken with the militant al Shabaab, which he now bitterly attacks. And, yet, his photo will be circulated on posters and matchbooks in Somalia in order to encourage his capture.
The posters do not say “dead or alive” but they might as well. Hammami has vowed to never be taken alive. If he were, he would almost certainly be renditioned to a third world torture chamber or, perhaps, to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Obama plans to pour $150 million into an overhaul of Gitmo to expand the facility.
What has Hammami done to deserve a death sentence? He became a Twitter and YouTube star through his provocative tweets and political rapping. He is embarrassing Obama at whom he directs a stream of taunts and insults. For example, in response to the $5 million bounty, Hammami tweeted "As I'm a bit low on cash, how much is my left leg going for?” The $5 million is intended to silence him.
But the most remarkable thing about the “kill list” and the bounties on American heads is how little protest they have occasioned. A President signs secret death warrants on Americans who are charged with no crime; he puts a bounty on the head of an ex-pat American who has not threatened the US. And the media covers his golf game with Tiger Woods. Obama is no longer a president; he is a full-fledged dictator with a cult following. Totalitarianism is America's new normal, with half of the people cheering as their freedoms disappear.
The despotism is about to get worse, and quickly so, because nothing facilitates a slide into statism like a fresh war. Obama's massive expansion of control has been justified by a so-called “war exemption” that supposedly frees him from Constitutional constraints. The fact that neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights contains such an exemption and that war has not been declared seems to pose no problem. Obama understands: war is good business for dictators.
In his February State of the Union address, Obama stated, “America will complete its mission in Afghanistan” from which coalition combat forces are scheduled to depart by the end of 2014. Those applauding the demilitarization should pay attention to Africa instead.
In the same speech, Obama pledged to continue the war against militant groups (not merely Al Qaeda) by using new strategies. "We don't need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations,” he explained. “Instead, we will need to help countries like Yemen, Libya, and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.”
In January, America agreed to 'assist' French troops against Islamic militants in the West African nation of Mali. According to the War Powers Resolution of 1973, dispatching the American military abroad requires either the consent of Congress or the presence of “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.” Instead, Obama merely notified the House and the Senator of his actions in a terse six-sentence letter. It made vague reference to the need to “facilitate intelligence sharing” with the French.
How much clearer can it be? Obama is now a dictator with no real restraint. And his gaze has shifted to Africa.
Late last year, the left-leaning news source Democracy Now reported, “US Army teams will be deploying to as many as 35 African countries early next year for training programs and other operations as part of an increased Pentagon role in Africa. The move would see small teams of US troops dispatched to countries with groups allegedly linked to al-Qaeda, such as Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. The teams are from a US brigade that has the capability to use drones for military operations in Africa if granted permission. The deployment could also potentially lay the groundwork for future US military intervention in Africa.” Al-Qaeda is cited as the proximate cause for American intervention but many of the nations being 'trained' have scant al-Qaeda presence. Instead, they are vulnerable to Chinese influence that could be hostile to some American interests.
Specifically, the 2nd Brigade (the Dagger Brigade) of the US 1st Infantry is being deployed in what the Global Research site calls an attempt to make “all of Africa a theater of U.S. military operations.” The 2nd Brigade is a combat unit. Although its deployment in Africa seems to be in a training and advisory role, it should be remembered that the 2nd Brigade was the first infantry to arrive in Vietnam in 1965. And, then, Vietnam exploded. What are the odds of campaigns in Africa going better?
The backlash from 9/11 and the war in Iraq has created an outright dictator. The coming wars in Africa will cement his absolute authority. It is an authority so vast that American citizens can be killed at Obama's command, they can be hunted down at his discretion, and troops deployed at his whim. I weep for the death of America.
Wendy McElroy is a frequent Dollar Vigilante contributor and renowned individualist anarchist and individualist feminist. She was a co-founder along with Carl Watner and George H. Smith of The Voluntaryist in 1982, and is the author/editor of twelve books, the latest of which is "The Art of Being Free". Follow her work at http://www.wendymcelroy.com.