Dirty Wars

Last week, I watched  a documentary shown by the St. Louis Peace Economy Project and Instead of War. It was called Dirty Wars and was based on the book by investigative reporter, Jeremy Scahill. It concerned America’s covert wars and our use of drones. It was very disturbing to me.

Beginning with a  ,night raid on a remote village in Afghanistan, which goes wrong, it continues with the cover up by those taking part in the raid, and it eventually leads to an investigation of American’s secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

Scahill follows the activities of JSOC,  an organization unknown to the American public because there are no names or paperwork done on their operations. Scahill follows two operations. Some of the CIA operators, victims of night raids and drone strikes, warlords and military generals come forth to share their part in these raids for the first time.

Scahill also follows the targeted drone strike on the first American citizen, allegedly an Al Qaeda operative, Anwar al-Awlaki, and later the drone strike on his teenage son and his friends in Yemen. We learn of the US President Obama’s killing list as part of our War on Terror. Obama’s drone wars have killed more than 2400 civilians in countries whose governments pose no threat to us and with whom we are not at war. We are not following international law or our own U.S. Constitution. The whole world has become a battlefield.

We are left with disturbing questions of secret wars, freedom, justice and democracy.  Scahill persuasively argues that the war on terror is ultimately unwinnable because indiscriminate killings radicalize whole populations.