The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam

the thistle and the drone

The United States declared war on terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. More than ten years later, the results are decidedly mixed. In The Thistle and the Drone, world-renowned author, diplomat, and scholar Akbar Ahmed reveals a tremendously important yet largely unrecognized adverse effect of these campaigns: they actually have exacerbated the already-broken relationship between central governments and the tribal societies on their periphery.

As this groundbreaking study demonstrates, it is the conflict between the center and the periphery and the involvement of the United States that has fueled the war on terror. No one is immune to this violence—neither school children nor congregations in their houses of worship. Battered by military or drone strikes one day and suicide bombers the next, people on the periphery say, “Every day is like 9/11 for us.”

In the third volume of his trilogy that includes Journey into Islam (2007) and Journey into America (2010), Ahmed draws on forty current case studies for this analysis. The United States, dominated by ideas of a “clash of civilizations” and “security,” has become directly or indirectly involved with these societies. Although al Qaeda has been decimated, the U.S. is drifting into a global war against tribal societies on the periphery of nations. Beginning with Waziristan in Pakistan and expanding to similar tribal societies in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere, he offers an alternative and unprecedented paradigm for winning the war on terror.

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“Kill Anything That Moves” Military Doctrine Began in Vietnam

Kill Anything that Moves – The Real American War in Vietnam. Nick Turse. Metropolitan Books

These comment from

When did the United States adopt, in the contemporary age, military standards of condoning a “kill anything that moves” doctrine of warfare, along with a widespread use of torture?

One need look no further than the Vietnam War, according to Nick Turse, an author and journalist who has documented the dark side of the US imposition of empire through armed intervention. In this assiduously documented book, Turse offers abundant evidence that My Lai was not an exception to military conduct, but rather, a not uncommon occurrence. In addition, the US slaughtered countless civilians in air and ground attacks without ever even seeing who was being killed.

In addition, the reader will also discover that Dick Cheney’s backing of torture had ample precedent during the Vietnam War …

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Petraeus: The Plot Thickens

Paula Broadwell - All In

Paula Broadwell’s book “All In”. This book gives the background to the noted US military leader involved in Iraq and in charge in Afghanistan. “Afforded extensive access by General Petraeus, his mentors, his subordinates, and his longtime friends, Broadwell reported on the front lines of fighting and at the strategic command in Afghanistan to chronicle the experiences of this American general as they were brought to bear in the terrible crucible of war. All In draws on hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with Petraeus and his top officers and soldiers to tell the inside story of this commander’s development and leadership in war.”

However, read the article Petraeus: The Plot Thickens on

Renowned professor Peter Dale Scott on the new article Petraeus: The Plot Thickens – “I recommend this article for what it tells us, not about Petraeus and his affair, but about Yemen and the conflict in Washington over drone killings between JSOC and CIA – perhaps the most serious turf war there since the FBI/CIA battles in the Joe McCarthy era.”

Dismantling the Empire – Book Review

Dismantling the Empire – America’s Last Best Hope. Chalmers Johnson. Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, NY. 2010

This review from The Palestine Chronical

That the empire has caused much trouble and is in trouble itself has been well documented and well explained by many current authors. Chalmers Johnson, who wrote Blowback – at the time an unheralded piece of research – and two more volumes, Sorrows of Empire and Nemesis that became the Blowback trilogy, has since written a series of essays that are concise, clear, hard-hitting, and undeniably for Dismantling the Empire.

The essential theme of the book is that the U.S. must dismantle its empire or face a future of poverty and strife within a divided nation. As these essays were written over a period of five years, there is some reiteration of information – particularly on the military bases and their costs and effects on the economy (not to mention all the other costs to the ‘host’ countries). Yet that only reinforces the significance of Johnson’s thesis, as the numbers are somewhat astounding for their significance with both foreign and domestic policy. As the title indicates, to save the U.S. as a democratic republic, the empire must be dismantled. …

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