L’“impérialisme bureaucratique” du Pentagone par la prise de contrôle de forces armées non-US: le cas italien

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L’“impérialisme bureaucratique” du Pentagone par la prise de contrôle de forces armées non-US: le cas italien


Le texte que nous reproduisons ci-dessous est édifiant. Il est édifiant, d’abord, par son apparente innocence (un texte qui se cantonne dans l’imbroglio des procédures techniques apparaît toujours comme tel, — “innocent” parce qu’incompréhensible à la plupart des lecteurs, par conséquent politiquement “innocent”). Il est édifiant, ensuite, parce qu’il n’est nullement critique de la perversion de la souveraineté nationale qu’il décrit. Nous observons des gens, y compris des experts italiens, qui s’affirment manifestement très satisfaits du processus qu’ils décrivent, qui est celui d’un enchaînement bureaucratique et mécanique, automatique dans le sens de l’“automation”, dans une force aveugle et déchaînée qui est la bureaucratie américaniste. Il s’agit d’un exemple convaincant de l’application du véritable impérialisme américaniste, qui est un “impérialisme bureaucratique”.

Le texte, publié par Defense News le 2 mai dernier, décrit le processus d’intégration des forces italiennes, particulièrement aériennes, dans les mécanismes de contrôle et de commandement de la bureaucratie américaine. L’incident que décrit l’article, d’un F-16 italien décollant le 8 avril, jour de l’enterrement de Jean-paul II, pour intercepter un avion “inconnu”, un LearJet soupçonné de préparer une attaque terroriste, est particulièrement révélateur de la réalité de la situation et de l’état d’esprit régnant. Le texte note : « The Italian Air Force scrambled an F-16 fighter, which intercepted and diverted the aircraft. The report of the bomb turned out to be a false alarm. One American defense official called it a “perfect” operation. »

Le texte de Defense News ne précise pas certaines conditions régnant autour de cette opération. Il parle d’informations venues de services de renseignement à propos du chargement supposé de l’avion (« Intelligence reports indicated there was a bomb on board. »). Ces conditions sont les suivantes, selon des sources militaires européennes que nous avons consultées:

• Les informations sur le chargement supposé de l’avion venaient des services de renseignement US.

• Ce sont les Américains eux-mêmes qui ont déclenché l’alerte et donné l’ordre au F-16 italien de décoller. Il semble qu’ils en avaient techniquement les moyens, sinon l’autorisation politique.

• « Tout s’est passé comme si c’étaient les Américains qui, ce jour-là, étaient en charge de la défense aérienne italienne », constatent nos sources, qui attribuent cette situation à la réalité des processus techniques mis en place et laissent entendre qu’il n’est nul besoin pour cela d’une décision formelle, politique ou autre, qui serait évidemment malaisée et très risquée. « Stricto sensu, il n’y avait pas d’autorisation politique, selon nos estimations. Disons que la situation a été telle, dans l’urgence déclenchée par l’alerte, que ce sont effectivement les Américains qui ont assuré la réalité du commandement et du contrôle de la défense aérienne italienne. »

• Les conditions de cet incident sont telles qu’une hypothèse pourrait être avancée selon laquelle l’ensemble de cette opération, y compris le vol de l’avion et l’alerte qui fut déclenchée par son entrée dans l’espace aérien italien, pourrait avoir été monté par les Américains eux-mêmes pour tester la fiabilité de leur contrôle technique des Italiens, et affirmer politiquement ce contrôle. C’est en cela que l’opération d’interception est décrite comme une “opération parfaite”.

Un aspect remarquable de ce texte, qui se voudrait politiquement neutre grâce à son aspect technique, est qu’il ne l’est pas du tout. Des passages indiquent au contraire qu’il y a une intention politique d’affirmer ce contrôle américain, même dans des situations politiques où l’Italie voudrait affirmer une orientation européenne. On citera cette phrase: « Analysts said the increased interoperability would underpin Italo-U.S. military relations even if a more pro-EU, center-left government came to power here. » Puis, plus loin, citant Andrea Grazioso, un consultant du Centro Militare Studi Strategici du ministère italien de la défense: « Analyst Grazioso envisaged little let-up in U.S. training in the event of a change of government. “Italy plans to fly the Joint Strike Fighter until 2045,” he said. “How many governments will come and go before then?” »

Ces remarques posent la question évidente de la souveraineté du gouvernement italien, et les questions techniques conséquentes de son contrôle sur ses propres forces, de la capacité de ce gouvernement de choisir une orientation militaire découlant d’une nouvelle politique décidée par lui (dans ce cas européenne). Elles conduisent à interpréter ce contrôle de la bureaucratie du Pentagone sur certains segments de forces militaires non-US comme une sorte de “coup d’État permanent” par le biais des procédures bureaucratiques et techniques. Elles tiennent pour évident le choix italien d’acheter le Joint Strike Fighter, dont nul ne sait ce qu’il va devenir, le prix qu’il va coûter, etc., et elles confirment implicitement mais de façon convaincante dans le cas considéré, le caractère complètement politique d’investissement des forces armées non-US de ce programme d’avion de combat.

Il s’agit bien de ce qu’on désigne, de la part du Pentagone, comme un “impérialisme bureaucratique”. Il est conduit d’une façon aveugle, par le Pentagone en tant que tel, par la dynamique impérialiste de sa bureaucratie.

S’il peut être considéré comme servant objectivement les buts de la politique générale des Etats-Unis, il est probable que ce type d’opérations peut réserver des surprises, éventuellement des revers pour l’impérialisme bureaucratique. La bureaucratie du Pentagone tient pour acquis son contrôle sur ces forces non-US parce qu’elle a mis en place les techniques et processus opérationnels qui l’assurent. Elle établit ainsi un présupposé politique selon lequel les Italiens suivront la plupart des opérations que les Etats-Unis entreprendront, alors que c’est le contraire qui est de loin le plus probable. Dans ce cas se trouvent établies des conditions où pourraient éclater des incidents graves entre le pouvoir politique et la bureaucratie militaire (italo-américaine dans ce cas), puisque les processus d’utilisation, et donc l’utilisation implicite des forces italiennes seraient contraires à la politique décidée.


Italy Adapts U.S. Doctrine


By Tom Kington, Defense News, 2 May 2005

On April 8, the day U.S. President George W. Bush and dozens of heads of state gathered for the funeral of Pope John Paul II, a Learjet entered Italian air space and headed for Rome. Intelligence reports indicated there was a bomb on board.

The Italian Air Force scrambled an F-16 fighter, which intercepted and diverted the aircraft. The report of the bomb turned out to be a false alarm. One American defense official called it a “perfect” operation.

The official, who declined to be named, was doubly pleased because the Italian pilot of the leased F-16 had put to good use training he had received from the U.S. Air Force in Tucson, Ariz.

That program is part of a massive increase in the stateside training of Italian military personnel, which officials say is smoothing cooperation between the United States and Italy, not only in hot spots like Iraq and Afghanistan, but also on the homeland security front.

“Right now there is close cooperation between the U.S. and Italian governments, and because of the increase in training this is reflected at the military level, with coherent doctrine also evident in civil-military work,” said an Italian general based at the Ministry of Defense here. “Sept. 11 was the spur, as well as the U.S. push on net-centric warfare. It is telling that Italy has adopted the same net-centric terminology as used by the U.S.”

Italy’s military chief of staff, Adm. Giampaolo di Paola, is a keen devotee of net-centric concepts.

Italy spent an estimated $105 million on military training in the United States last year, an eightfold increase on the $12 million spent in 2000, according to documents released by the Pentagon. U.S. defense sources said the number of Italians heading across the Atlantic for military training has risen from about 350 a year in 1999 to 785 in 2004.

“It has become easier to operate alongside Italy because of joint training,” said one U.S. defense official here. “The change we’re seeing has strategic significance.”

Some of that increase comes because Italy has in recent years acquired more U.S. defense equipment — for example, leasing F-16s and buying C-130J airlifters — and more Italian troops have headed to the U.S. for instruction. U.S. officials also pointed to an increasing number of Italians passing through U.S. staff colleges.

It is those links forged in the classroom, said officials, that are helping Italians gel better with Americans when they meet during desert, mountain and naval operations around the world.

“You can plug an Italian Navy vessel into a battle group with no problem now,” the U.S. official said.

Analysts said the increased interoperability would underpin Italo-U.S. military relations even if a more pro-EU, center-left government came to power here. This month, the pro-U.S., center-right government of Silvio Berlusconi took a pounding in regional elections, part of the run up to national elections next year.


Training Up

Much of the training is run through the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales program. The 1999 numbers appeared in the department’s annual Section 655 report to the U.S. Congress. Numbers for 2004 training are early estimates given by a Pentagon source.

The recent increase has owed much to Italy’s lease of 34 F-16s to fill the gaps before Eurofighter squadrons arrive at full strength. The U.S. official said Italy had spent about $24 million on F-16 training in 2003. More than 100 technicians headed to the United States for training alongside pilots.

But even before the F-16s arrived, Italian Navy AV-8 Harrier pilots were training with the U.S. Marines, and all Italian Air Force student pilots undertake some of their general training in the United States.

“The AV-8 training was a success, with Italian pilots going on to fly them in missions during Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom,” said one American officer here.

“For the Air Force there has been no huge change, since it has been sending a sizeable number of regular pilots to the U.S. for 50 years,” said Gregory Alegi, an airpower lecturer at the Italian Joint Staffs College. “The pilots come back with a broader perspective which makes them better officers.”

Italian defense budget documents say overall Italian spending on Air Force “formation and training,” grew by 63.7 percent in 2005 to 209.8 million euros ($272.7 million), while Army and Navy training spending dropped along with overall spending.

The Air Force training rise covers not only U.S. training but Eurofighter training, as the new European aircraft enters service.

The U.S. training boost is in part a consequence of Italy purchasing U.S. products it then needs to learn to use.

Following the F-16 training, Italy will send six Predator ground crew members and three Predator pilots for U.S. training this year, as well as the first of four boom operators for Italy’s four new Boeing KC-767 tankers.

U.S. training is benefiting more than just the Air Force. Italians involved in the formation of a new Psychological Operations battalion have been training at the U.S. Army’s Fort Bragg.

Italy’s fourth military service, the Carabinieri military police, has recently entered a Foreign Military Sales program for the first time, sending helicopter pilots to train in the United States.

A growing number of officers from all services are studying at U.S. staff colleges.

“This increase is a reflection of the changing global situation,” said Andrea Grazioso, a consultant to the Centro Militare Studi Strategici, Rome, part of Italy’s Ministry of Defense. “Sending more Italians to staff colleges goes hand-in-hand with sending more Italians to work in the United States, such as on Enduring Freedom in Tampa, Fla..”

“The fact that net-centric war has been a good sell in Italy is possibly due to so much joint training with the U.S.,” the American officer said, “while the simple fact that English is more widely spoken helps a lot in operations.”

The benefits of shared doctrine in the field were evident when Italian forces came under attack in Nassiryah, Iraq in May last year, said retired Italian Army Lt. Gen. Carlo Cabigiousu.

“We enjoyed close cooperation with the U.S. Army and Air Force at the time, particularly when American air support was provided,” said Cabigiousu, who worked as Italy’s chief military liaison with U.S. forces in Baghdad in 2003. “A very good knowledge of the aircraft involved, of their capabilities and their procedures for target designation was required for us to work with them.”

There is a difference between training to use U.S. products and training to operate alongside American forces, and both are needed. This was exemplified by Italy’s deployment of its Predators to Iraq, U.S. officials said. The Italian Air Force initially sent its pilots to train with Predator maker General Atomics in the United States, rather than through a Foreign Military Sales program.

“They received flight training, but not mission training, which was needed for interoperability with the U.S. in Iraq,” the American officer said.

This year, when the Predator crews and pilots return to the United States, they will train with the Pentagon.


War and Politics

The question of whether Italian and American troops can function smoothly together is overshadowed by a political question: Will the Italian government continue to send its military around the world in support of the United States?

Berlusconi staunchly backed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and dispatched more than 3,000 peacekeeping troops to the Shiite south after the conflict. But support in Italy for keeping troops in Iraq has been lukewarm, and relations with the United States are currently strained over the shooting of Italian secret service agent Nicola Calipari in Iraq by American troops in Baghdad.

After Berlusconi’s governing coalition suffered heavy defeats in regional elections in April, one coalition partner withdrew its ministers from the government, forcing a vote of confidence in parliament. The episode was a prelude to national elections in 2006, when a center-left coalition led by former EU Commission President Romano Prodi is expected to present a strong challenge.

Center-left politicians have criticized Italy’s role in Iraq.

“A Prodi government would not be anti-U.S. per se — almost no one is in Italy — but it would be anti-Bush,” said Alessandro Politi, an independent political analyst.

Possibly mindful of coming elections, Berlusconi has recently hinted he could bring troops home himself before the end of 2005.

But even without Iraq as a bone of contention, a Prodi government might not necessarily find common ground with Washington, Politi said.

“Next up there is Iran, the Road Map as well as a balanced policy on Israel,” he said.

Italy’s commitment to global deployment may be a question mark, but its commitment to procuring U.S. defense products is more certain, and thus so is the continued flow of Italian troops to U.S. training classrooms.

For decades, Italian governments had carefully balanced relations with America’s and Europe’s defense industries. While the Berlusconi government pulled out of the European A400M transport aircraft program, it was influenced in part by the decision of the previous left-wing government to buy 22 American C-130J aircraft.

Future Italian governments, whether center-left or right, will also seek to sustain Italy’s defense industry and its heavily unionized labor force, partly through the industrial offset work Italy extracts when buying U.S. defense products.

Analyst Grazioso envisaged little let-up in U.S. training in the event of a change of government.

“Italy plans to fly the Joint Strike Fighter until 2045,” he said. “How many governments will come and go before then?”


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