The Cult of Countering Violent Extremism

Yemeni men walk past a mural depicting a US drone and reading 'Why did you kill my family?' in Sanaa. (photo: AFP)
Yemeni men walk past a mural depicting a US drone and reading ‘Why did you kill my family?’ in Sanaa. (photo: AFP)


Belén Fernandez | teleSUR | Reader Supported News | December 5, 2015

CVE appears to be just another vehicle for imperialist meddling in strategically important, resource-rich locales.

ere’s an acronym you may start hearing more of: CVE. It stands for “Countering Violent Extremism,” and it’s all the rage these days in U.S. establishment circles.

Sarah Sewall—the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights—described the CVE phenomenon in a recent speech as “a broader approach to address the underlying forces that make people vulnerable to violent extremism.” These “civilian-led … and preventive efforts” are, she said, “an essential complement to our military and intelligence actions against terrorism”—because, while “we must continue to capture and kill terrorists of all stripes … we must remember that no number of air strikes, soldiers, or spies can eliminate the complex motives and hateful ideologies that feed terrorism.”

Were we not willfully delusional, we might also remember that it is precisely our military “actions” that produce much of the violent extremism that must then be countered. Case in point: prior to the devastating U.S. invasion in 2003, Iraq experienced not a single suicide bombing. Furthermore, the fact that America’s anti-terror efforts have entailed massive civilian casualties might render some cases of individual and/or communal hatred slightly less than “complex.”

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