Obama's Terror War on Libya
Obama's Terror War on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
Since WW II, America's gone to war as much to wage as win them because so many profiteers benefit. The prospect of peace, in fact, terrifies government, military officials, and corporate predators, so new enemies are invented when old ones are vanquished, are no longer of interest, or conflicts end for other reasons.
Wars are solely for wealth and power, never humanitarian intervention to liberate oppressed people or promote democracy. They're notions, in fact, US leaders won't tolerate, notably Obama, doubling down on Bush, waging his Iraq and Afghan wars, fighting two others in Pakistan and Libya, another allied with Israel against Palestine, as well as proxy wars in Somalia, Central Africa, Yemen, Bahrain, Haiti, Honduras, Colombia, and at home against Muslims, Latino immigrants, and working Americans.
Perhaps now more than ever, at home and abroad, America always spurned honor, high-mindedness, justice, and rule of law principles, as well as respect for democratic values, human rights and civil liberties.
"All governments lie, and nothing they say should be believed:" IF Stone
Notably, candidate Obama pledged:
-- democratic values;
-- closing Guantanamo in one year;
-- ending torture, illegal spying, and detention without trial;
-- "a new era of openness;"
-- "sunlight before signing" new legislation to let Americans review and comment;
-- doubling the Peace Corp.;
-- equitable immigration reform in one year;
-- keeping the Internet free and open;
-- delivering real healthcare and financial reform;
-- support for organized labor, including walking picket lines whenever worker organizing rights are threatened;
-- willingness to meet individually with Iranian, Syrian, Venezuelan, Cuban, and North Korean leaders;
-- eliminating income taxes for seniors earning under $50,000;
-- the Patriot Employer Act to end tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas as well as incentives to create new ones at home;
-- renegotiating NAFTA to ensure equitable labor and environmental standards are enforced;
-- supporting Israeli and Palestinian efforts to "fulfill their national goals: two states living side by side in peace and security;" and
-- on Afghanistan saying (October 27, 2007): "I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this (and the Iraq) war(s). You can take that to the bank," and by implication not begin new ones.
As President, Obama broke all the above pledges and others, including every major one, delivering betrayal, not populist change. Make no mistake. His imperial ambitions are reckless, duplicitous, unscrupulous, and lawless - mindless of vital homeland needs and priorities, notably for America's growing millions in poverty or heading there, denied help to wage global wars, bail out Wall Street, and benefit other corporate favorites.
As a result, he accelerated America's decline, heading the nation for tyranny and ruin, what Abraham Lincoln meant when he said:
"If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher."
More recently, until his November 2010 death, Chalmers Johnson warned about America's out-of-control militarism, imperial arrogance, and self-destructiveness, calling the nation's condition dire, "too late for mere scattered reforms of our government or bloated military to make much difference."
History is clear, he stressed. We can choose democracy and survive. Or continue as present and perish, saying America is plagued by the same dynamic that doomed past empires unwilling to change, what he called:
"isolation, overstretch, the uniting of local and global forces opposed to imperialism, and in the end bankruptcy," combined with authoritarian rule and loss of personal freedom.
It gives an entirely new meaning to the epithet "ugly American," defined stereotypically as loud, boorish, ill-mannered, and overbearing, especially when traveling overseas. It more appropriately refers to rogue government policy, at home and abroad, out-of-control under Obama, a man some call a "Manchurian candidate," serving the worst of wealth and power interests.
As a result, he accelerated America's decline by:
-- dismissing popular needs;
-- waging permanent imperial wars;
-- tolerating a secret, unaccountable global torture prison gulag;
-- running the most secretive, intrusive, repressive government in our history, spurning rule of law principles and democratic values for unchallengeable power and super-wealth; and
-- supporting endemic corruption, incestuous government-business ties, and flaunting the notion of government of, by and for the people.
Johnson explained that imperial ambitions "undercut our domestic democracy and in the end produce a military dictatorship or its civilian equivalent."
"The founders of our nation understood this well and tried to create a form of government - a republic - that would prevent this from occurring. But the combination of huge standing armies, almost continuous wars, military Keynesianism, and ruinous military expenses have destroyed our republican structure in favor of an imperial presidency. We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire. Once a nation is started down that path, the dynamics that apply to all empires come into play - isolation, overstretch, the uniting of forces opposed to imperialism, and bankruptcy."
That disturbing vision stalks America as a free nation, fast eroding and vanishing. Obama latest adventure hurtled its arrival closer.
Why Gaddafi and Why Now?
In 2003, he came in from the cold, became a valued Western ally, had meetings and discussions with top officials like UK Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, France's Nicolas Sarkozy, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and others. He also participated in the 2009 G-8 Summit in L-Aquila, Italy as Chairman of the African Union. At the time, he met and shook hands with Obama.
Moreover, ABC News interviewed him live, and on January 21, 2009, The New York Times published his op-ed headlined, "The One-State Solution" as his answer to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, calling "living under one roof....the only option for a lasting peace."
On May 16, 2006, Washington restored full diplomatic relations, removing Libya from its state sponsors of terrorism list. At the time, Rice called the move:
"tangible results that flow from the historic decisions taken by Libya's leadership in 2003 to renounce terrorism and to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs....Libya is an important model as nations around the world press for changes in behavior by the Iranian and North Korean regimes."
She also praised Gaddafi's "excellent cooperation" in fighting terrorism. Moreover, he opened Libya's markets to Western interests, arranged deals with Big Oil, notably BP, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Occidental, France's Total, Italy's Eni Gas, among others. By all appearances, he joined the club, so why turn on him now?
James Petras explained it's "because (he) refused to actively contribute to Western military operations in Africa and the Middle East." He wouldn't be part of AFRICOM, one of nine global Pentagon commands, its newest, for the African and Mediterranean Basin region, including its strategic energy transit routes and choke points, crucial to keep open for world economies. All African countries participate except Sudan, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, and Libya.
In other words, Gaddafi played ball economically, but not militarily. However, according to The New York Times:
After 9/11, "he reportedly shared his intelligence files on Al Qaeda with the United States to aid in the hunt for its international operatives. He had also cooperated with (America) and Europe on nuclear weapons, terrorism and immigration issues."
Petras calls war on Gaddafi "part of a more general counter-attack in response to the most recent Arab popular pro-democracy movements," ones Washington will go to great lengths to quash, wanting puppet regional leaders serving Western interests, none even partly independent like Gaddafi.
Immanuel Wallerstein agrees, saying the Libyan conflict "wan(s) to slow down, channel, co-opt, (and) limit the second Arab revolt and prevent it from changing the basic political realities of the Arab world and its role in the geopolitics of the world-system."
Nonetheless, he calls the outcome uncertain. "It will probably be a morass." It may or may not quell Arab uprisings or oust Gaddafi. "We don't know yet, (and if he goes), what will succeed him?" Overall, he says US intervention "is a mistake....It won't end soon....It's a terrible, ominous, and ultimately self-defeating proposition." Given Washington's quagmires in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan alone, who can disagree.
A Final Comment on Justice Richard Goldstone's Sellout to the Israeli Lobby
A previous article said he softened his criticism of Israel's Gaza terror war - Operation Cast Lead. Apparently he was either bribed, co-opted, or bullied to do it, despite clear evidence his commission, others, and numerous human rights organizations revealed - unequivocally detailing extensive Israeli crimes of war and against humanity. Access the article through the following link:
On April 2, New York Times writers Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner headlined, "Head of UN Panel Regrets Saying Israel Intentionally Killed Gazans," quoting him citing Israeli investigations (in fact, brazen whitewashes) "indicat(ing) that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy."
As a result, according to Haaretz writer Barak Ravid, "Israel to launch campaign urging UN to retract Goldstone report," saying:
Prime Minister Netanyahu plans international efforts against accusations of Israeli war crimes, despite clear evidence they're true. Nonetheless, "he asked the new National Security Adviser, Ya'akov Amidror, to establish a committee focused on 'minimizing the damage caused' by the report."
On April 3, Ma'an News said:
"Hamas on Sunday urged the UN to confirm its report on Israel's 2008-2009 offensive," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri saying, Israel didn't cooperate with investigators, "while in Gaza they were welcomed and their work was facilitated."
"The report is not the private property of Goldstone, as it was co-authored by him and a group of international judges. Furthermore, (it) was based on documents and testimonies, giving it credibility and strength."
He also worries that retracting war crimes evidence gives Israel a pretext to "commit more massacres," claiming self-defense, the last refuge of a scoundrel caught red-handed.
On April 3, International Middle East Media Center contributor Celine Hagbard headlined, "Goldstone Flip-flops After Talk with Racist Zionists," saying:
He attended, but didn't participate in, a recent Stanford University debate between two lawyers and two Zionist academics, apparently buying their convoluted self-defense arguments to justify crimes of war and against humanity.
"Yes, it's true," she said, "5 Israeli civilians were killed by erratic, un-aimed homemade shells fired (in response to Israeli attacks) from Gaza. And 9 Israeli soldiers were killed invading Gaza," at least three by friendly fire. Compare that to thousands of (mostly civilian) Palestinian deaths and injuries, many serious, as well as vast destruction of schools, hospitals, businesses, homes, infrastructure, and other civilian targets.
"It seems that Richard Goldstone now sees these two sides as morally equivalent," no matter which one began hostilities, rightfully giving the other just cause to respond as international law allows.
"How ironic," said Hagbard, that Goldstone "published his (op-ed) in the Washington Post (an establishment paper, strongly supporting Israel) on April Fool's Day, as he has proven by it that he has let himself become one," as well as co-opted, compromised and corrupted, betraying those who believed in him and truth.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.