Noam Chomsky

Jill Taylor Bussiere jdt at
Mon Sep 24 12:05:23 EDT 2001

    See below.  This language being used reminds me of the "pacification"
programs in earlier US "actions".  Pacification was a euphemism for killing.
Mass murder was committed - it is a common tactic used by many countries -
and the US has demonstrated its abilities in this area as well.
Civilians Targets of Revenge
"Draining the Swamp of Terrorists"
By Robert Jensen and Rahul Mahajan
It is odd to hear a U.S. secretary of defense borrow metaphors from Mao
Tse-tung during a Washington press briefing.

But it is frightening when that metaphor is turned on its head to announce
matter-of-factly that the most powerful nation on earth intends to directly
target civilians, and so few seem to notice or care.

Last week Donald Rumsfeld explained to reporters that one of the ways the
U.S. military intended to go after terrorist networks was "to drain the
swamp they live in."

The phrase has roots in Mao's description of guerilla fighters as fish
swimming in the sea of the people. U.S. counterinsurgency experts after
World War II took up the phrase in their strategies of "draining the sea" to
counter guerilla warfare.

Drain the sea: Deprive a fighting force of cover. Drain the civilian

For those unlucky civilians who make up the sea, to be "drained" mean one of
two things. Either they are forcibly driven out of their villages and towns,
often with their homes, property, and crops destroyed, or they simply are

In Rumsfeld's formulation, the sea has become a swamp. But the effect will
be the same: the creation of refugees and/or mass murder.

No matter how often this kind of direct targeting of civilians is done by
cruel and cynical nations, it is a war crime. Article 51 of the Geneva
Conventions states clearly: "The civilian population shall not be the object
of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to
spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited."  (rest of
article found at website)

> No one with any power or credibility has indicated we are
> going to or want to
> practice scorched earth, carpet bombing, mass invasion,
> extreme violence or
> any other extreme silly thing.
> Marc Nameth

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