Task force 373 and capture/kill teams

Targeted Assassinations

Pratap Chatterjee has an informative
article on Tomdispatch.com and an illuminating interview on Letters to Washington, at around the 21 minute mark, on KPFA radio.

“The 9/11 killers were mass assassins who gave up their own lives to murder thousands. It’s now clear that, in response, the U.S. went into the global assassination business”

Task force 373, a capture/kill team, (Chatterjee delves into the history of these team made up of Navy Seals, army Rangers assigned to hunt supposed terrorists and either capture them or kill them. There is secret hit list called the “Joint Prioritized Effects List” (JPEL) of 2,058 people which form the targets for these capture/kill teams (according to data from the Wikileaks document dump.

Capture/kill activities would seem to diverge from the notion that one is innocent until proven guilty. Targeted assassination of who exactly? Who has judged the victims to be guilty? No courts are involved here, just a continuation of the wild west violence initiated in the so-called war on terror.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal who won praise for his counter-insurgency strategy in ‘Afghanistan and his order to stay away from calling in artillery or air strikes which might injure civilians, nevertheless

“General Stanley McChrystal, emerged from a world of counterterrorism, not counterinsurgency. He made his reputation in the shadows as a “manhunter,” overseeing the Pentagon’s super-secret Joint Special Operations Command which, among other things, ran what journalist Seymour Hersh has described as an “executive assassination wing” out of Vice President Dick Cheney’s office.”

Targeted assassinations and counter-terror activities are in direct conflict with the winning of hearts and minds proclaimed in the counter-insurgency strategy. The wild west, the U.S. is outside the reach of the laws of civilized nations is winning the battle of the hearts and minds in the U.S. military.

A stumbling decaying former international power, unable to provide decent schools or health care to its citizens, let alone municipal services after being looted by the economic elite (the financial crisis is the reason that states and municipalities have no money, right?), nonetheless attempts to spread its military power to all corners of the world, thus bankrupting itself.

When will this demented manner of thinking and acting cease? It does not seem that Obama will be a change agent in matters military. And if not him, then probably no other single person will put an end to the reign of destruction and killing which the U.S. employs across the globe.

The end will no doubt arrive after further economic deterioration resulting in an inability to fund the military. Such a pity when the U.S. has the potential to affect positive life affirming changes for itself and as a model for others. That vision seems destined to remain just that, a vision.

The U.S. militarypage has been updated in accordance with the contents of this post.

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