Foreign Policy,  War of Terror

The Pentagon’s Secret Wars: You Don’t Have the Right to Know

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pentagonDo the American people have the right to know the nations with which the United States is at war?

The Defense Department says no.

When asked by senators to identify the groups being fought, the Pentagon said it’s a secret.

The Pentagon did hand over a list of forces associated with al-Qaeda, but members of Congress who received the list were forbidden from sharing it with the public.

ProPublica — an investigative news organization — contacted the office of Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and requested a copy of the enemies roster. Levin’s representatives refused.

Why such secrecy? Defense Department spokesmen say it’s a national security exigency. “Because elements that might be considered ‘associated forces’ can build credibility by being listed as such by the United States, we have classified the list,” the spokesman, Lt. Col. Jim Gregory, said, as reported by ProPublica. “We cannot afford to inflate these organizations that rely on violent extremist ideology to strengthen their ranks.”

Jack Goldsmith of Harvard University Law School disagrees. Goldsmith told ProPublica, “If the organizations are ‘inflated’ enough to be targeted with military force, why cannot they be mentioned publicly?” He believes there is “a countervailing very important interest in the public knowing who the government is fighting against in its name.”

The New American recently reported that President Barack Obama is rapidly expanding the borders of the undeclared wars he’s waging in the name of the United States. Presumably, based on the president’s own prior statements, all the people being targeted by the vast Predator and Reaper drone fleets deployed worldwide are members of “Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces.”

It’s the identity of these “associated forces” that is behind the belligerence boom.
Continue reading @ The New American

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