Pentagon Refuses to Release Names of Enemies it’s Fighting

Monday, July 29, 2013

Americans have been fighting and dying in a seemingly endless war since September 11, 2001, but the Department of Defense says we are not allowed to know exactly who we are fighting.


Like the Oceana Ministry of Peace in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, which kept the public confused by occasionally switching sides in the book’s three-sided, perpetual war among Oceana, Eurasia and Eastasia, the Pentagon is refusing to release the names of the enemies the U.S. is currently fighting on the grounds that the information is classified.


The pronouncement came in response to a request from Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), at a May hearing during which military officials claimed that the war authorization passed by Congress just one week after the 9/11 attacks gives them the power to put “boots on the ground” anywhere in the world in order to fight “Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces.” Levin simply requested a list of the so-called “associated forces.”


Although the Pentagon gave the list to Levin, it told him it was classified and not to be shared with the public.


A Pentagon spokesman told the journalism website ProPublica that revealing the list could cause “serious damage to national security” by allowing listed organizations to use their inclusion to inflate their importance, “build credibility … [and] strengthen their ranks.”


But Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor who wrestled with key terrorism issues while serving as director of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department from 2003 to 2004, sharply criticized the Pentagon’s rather speculative logic.


“If the organizations are ‘inflated’ enough to be targeted with military force, why cannot they be mentioned publicly?” asked Goldsmith, implying that their identity is probably well-known simply by observing whom the U.S. military is attacking. He also argued that in a democracy there is “a countervailing very important interest in the public knowing who the government is fighting against in its name.”

-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

Who Are We at War With? That’s Classified (by Cora Currier, ProPublica)

Pentagon: Who We’re At War With Is Classified (by HuffPost Live)

Obama War Powers Under 2001 Law 'Astoundingly Disturbing,' Senators Say (by Michael McAuliff, Huffington Post)

As Manning Trial Opens, Prosecution Hides Name of “Enemy” He Allegedly Aided (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


anonamouse 11 years ago
A war without end requires an enemy without end. That is more easily achieved when the enemy shall remain nameless. And the reason for that is ... Terrorism, like all psy-ops, requires money. That money, we are told, comes from Middle Eastern oil exporters, at least one of whom is a supposed US ally with business ties to Bush family interests. Why not ask the Bush family to intervene? Oh wait, they could have done that in 2001 when the son of a family friend went on a rampage --- if they were so inclined. ... I suggest we put the boots on the ground where they will do the most good in the "war on terror," and that's not Afghanistan.

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