November 12, 2012

Brennan Rumored As Petraeus's Replacement

Last Thursday, The Trench posted one of many reports fielding the replacement candidates for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Nearly all media sources, including McClatchy, have slotted Senator John Kerry and UN Ambassador in a two horse race, with Kerry supposedly overtaking Rice during Benghazi's political fallout. The Washington Post flipped this race on Monday by reporting that Clinton's position "will almost certainly go" to Rice, citing senior administration officials "familiar with the transition planning."

Kerry is now being privately vetted to replace Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

The Trench's observations conclude that Rice and Kerry will make adequate Secretaries, providing few unexpected thrills and generally adhering to the foreign policy crafted by Obama's National Security team. In the end, Clinton and Panetta's replacements are unlikely to oversee any major upheaval or discontinuation from Obama's first term. Assigning Rice and Kerry would herald a final diplomatic push towards Iran, drop Rice off along Sudan's war-torn border and leave Kerry to clean up America's withdrawal from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Most international elements of U.S. policy, along with America's accelerating use of drones and Special Forces, will remain unchanged.

The most disturbing scenario - for Americans and non-Americans alike - is recently created. With the Obama administration now searching for David Petraeus's replacement, The Washington Post reports that John Brennan "is a leading contender for the CIA job if he wants it." Obama's counterterrorism chief would surely comfort those individuals and groups who benefit from America's counterterrorism industry, and Brennan's worldview allegedly matches Obama's: “I don’t think we’ve had a disagreement."

To anyone opposing the non-transparent, potentially imperialistic use of drones - and those sitting on the wrong end of them - Brennan's promotion would turn nightmares into reality.

Originally considered for Obama's first CIA Director, the "czar" in possession of Washington's "disposition matrix" is dangerous for more reasons than one. Not only does Brennan view counterterrorism operations as an end all to terrorism - his arguments claim otherwise - he believes unequivocally in the "just war" he's waging. One of several WP profiles quotes him as saying, “I’m probably not a team player here, either. I tend to do what I think is right." Ready to spin and lie in order to draw a smile on U.S. counterterrorism, the stone-faced Brennan appears genuinely eager to promote the "ethics and efficacy of the President's counterterrorism strategy." He has an answer for just about any drone-related concern:
"As the President and others have acknowledged, there have indeed been instances when—despite the extraordinary precautions we take—civilians have been accidentally injured, or worse, killed in these strikes. It is exceedingly rare, but it has happened.  When it does, it pains us and we regret it deeply, as we do any time innocents are killed in war. And when this happens we take it seriously.  We go back and review our actions. We examine our practices. And we constantly work to improve and refine our efforts so that we are doing everything in our power to prevent the loss of innocent life.  This too is a reflection of our values as Americans."
Self-reflection, however, doesn't sit high on Brennan's agenda, either in Yemen or anywhere else that Reapers are programmed for. This is a man who responded to criticism of U.S. policy in Yemen by declaring:
"I’d simply say that all our CT efforts in Yemen are conducted in concert with the Yemeni government. When direct action is taken, every effort is made to avoid any civilian casualty. And contrary to conventional wisdom, we see little evidence that these actions are generating widespread anti-American sentiment or recruits for AQAP. In fact, we see the opposite, our Yemeni partners are more eager to work with us. Yemenese citizens who have been freed from the hellish grip of AQAP are more eager, not less, to work with the Yemeni government. In short, targeted strikes against the most senior and most dangerous AQAP terrorists are not the problem, they are part of the solution."
Brennan, a friend of the Saudis, naturally forgets to mention that Washington and Riyadh orchestrated the power-sharing agreement behind Yemen's new government. He ignores the fact that Yemeni tribesmen banded together against AQAP (in part) as a response to U.S. drone strikes, and that the majority of Yemenis oppose Washington's interference in their government. Civilians casualties in Yemen are routinely covered up by Washington.

Brennan also omits the fact that, due to U.S. drone activity and his personal relationship with former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, his own popularity in Yemen rests in the gutter.

The international reaction to Obama's reelection - four more years of drones - hasn't seen anything yet. Promoting Brennan to the CIA's Directorship would set a murderous tone for second term.

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