Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Frontline Special: Kill-Capture

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

Shown last night on PBS this powerful condemnation of targeted killings in Afghanistan could have been subtitled how to create enemies. Here is an action step you can take to address the issues raised in the program.

"Behind the strike that killed Osama bin Laden on May 1st was one of the U.S. military's best kept secrets: an extraordinary campaign by elite U.S. soldiers to take out thousands of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. A six-month investigation by FRONTLINE has gone inside the "kill/capture" program to discover new evidence of the program's impact -- and its costs."


"The U.S. military report that 12,000 Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters have been either killed or captured in the past year using a secretive program ramped up by Gen. David Petraeus.

They're known as "JSOC" -- Joint Special Operations Command. They report directly to the president and, as National Journal reporter Marc Ambinder put it "operate worldwide based on the legal (or extra-legal) premises of classified presidential directive." John Nagl, a former counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. Petraeus, described JSOC's kill/capture campaign to FRONTLINE as "an almost industrial-scale counterterrorism killing machine.""

Today’s New York Times also makes the link to targeted killings and new legislation in Congress

“The new authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda was unveiled by the committee chairman, Representative Howard P. McKeon, Republican of California. The committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday on amendments to the bill.

The provision states that Congress “affirms” that “the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces,” and that the president is authorized to use military force — including detention without trial — of members and substantial supporters of those forces.

That language, which would codify into federal law a definition of the enemy that the Obama administration has adopted in defending against lawsuits filed by Guantánamo Bay detainees, would supplant the existing military force authorization that Congress passed overwhelmingly on Sept. 14, 2001. It instead named the enemy as the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks.”

Action Step: This link from last week’s Wage Peace Newsletter takes you to a site where you can send a letter to your representative urging them to reject this bill.

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Afghanistan 101 is a blog of the American Friends Service Committee
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