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March 21, 2011

The New Battle Cry: Attack Libya!

March 21, 2011 by Bob Livingston

The warmongers, neocons (is that redundant?), shills for the military-industrial complex and corporate media talking heads should be pleased. The United Nations has given Obama, Great Britain, France and others a blank check to make war on Libya.

According to an online report by The Cable, neocon Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) left a Friday morning classified briefing saying the Obama administration was set to enforce a no-fly/no-drive zone over Libya.

“We ground his aircraft and some tanks start getting blown up that are headed toward the opposition forces,” Graham told reporters.

And then Tomahawk missiles started flying and bomb started dropping.

This is an act of war, whether it’s done under the auspices of the United Nations or not.

It was a war Obama seemed reluctant to engage in for a while. But now that he’s in he’s gone all in.

On Thursday night, 10 member nations of the U.N. Security Council voted to wage war on Libya if President Moammar Gadhafi continued to use his air force to bombard the rebels. The council’s actions caused Gadhafi to order a cease fire on Friday, but it seems attacks continued.

The resolution condemned Gadhafi’s “gross and systematic violation of human rights” which “may amount to crimes against humanity” and pose a “threat to international peace and security,” according to a report in the British newspaper, The Sun.

As an aside, Libya was laughably a member of the U.N. Human Rights Commission until March 1, when that august body suddenly realized Gadhafi was a tyrant. Now, that commission is investigating whether Gadhafi has committed war crimes.

So Obama (with the backing of warmongers Graham, former Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, Republican Senator John McCain, Democrat Senator John Kerry, Secretary of State  Hillary Clinton and many others), is waging war on a country that has not attacked us and poses us no threat. Great Britain, France and world powers Bosnia and Herzegovina, Columbia, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal and South Africa also voted for the no-fly zone. Russia, China, Germany, Italy and India abstained.

The rebel forces trying to overthrow Gadhafi made headway when the battle was conducted on the ground. When Gadhafi brought in the air power, the tide turned. The rebels began calling for help in the form of a no-fly zone once they started losing ground. Gadhafi’s loyalists were almost into a mopping up phase and the U.N.’s efforts to help the rebels overthrow Gadhafi may be too little, too late. Graham insisted it wasn’t too late.

Obama was slow to the table on sanctions. He dillied and he dallied—much to the chagrin of the warmonger crowd—while Clinton and her former President husband pleaded. France and Great Britain sounded very much like former President George W. Bush in their push for war. The Arab League joined in, but by Sunday the League was getting squeamish when members realized what they’d gotten.

What his motivations were for staying out of Libya at the beginning, only Obama and his handlers know. Perhaps Obama is, as Gadhafi has asserted, Gadhafi’s friend. It’s certainly not that Obama is anti-war, as he led many to believe when he was begging for votes.

Obama has failed in his promise to extricate the United States from its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and has even expanded it into Pakistan, Yemen and who knows where else.  Like his predecessors, Obama has approved military strikes on suspected terrorist hideouts in countries we have not declared war upon. Innocent men, women and children have died as a result.

We are now 20 years and seven months into our Middle Eastern excursion that began after U.S. diplomats sent conflicting signals to the late and former Central Intelligence Agency asset President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The perpetual war drags on, much to the delight of the military-industrial complex and corporatocracy. (For more information on the CIA connection to Hussein—and others—see The Secret History of the American Empire and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, both by John Perkins.)

A no-fly/no-drive zone is an act of war. You can’t control the skies without intruding into Libyan airspace. You can’t command the skies without first destroying radar installations and anti-aircraft batteries and shooting down Libyan aircraft. And you can’t blow up tanks without killing a lot of soldiers.

The U.N. resolution gave the international community the authority to be “outcome determinant” and “do whatever’s necessary” to enforce the U.N.’s mandates, The Cable reported. That’s diplomat-speak for shoot at will.

You may recall we saw in both Afghanistan and Iraq that the tyrants there had no qualms about parking their weapons in and around schools and communities of innocents. So the U.N. has sanctioned killing women and children in order to save the rebels.

In the past, France, Germany, et al have hidden behind the U.S.’s skirts, urging military action on the one hand, condemning it on the other and reaping the financial benefits—that is, their military-industrial complexes and elected elites reaped the financial benefits. Great Britain, to its credit—or detriment—wasn’t afraid to get its hands dirty by sending its own young men into the fray.

But the lead was always taken by the U.S. “If not us, who?” is the battle cry. “We are the lone superpower. We must police the world.” And even though Obama didn’t lead the push this time, The Cable is reporting that the U.S. will once again do the heavy lifting when the shooting starts.

Neocons—and surprisingly supposed anti-war doves like Kerry and his fellow liberals—love to push our troops into bad situations for altruistic motives.

So we wage war on Muslims on behalf of Muslims, on behalf of Germans, on behalf of the French, on behalf of the Brits, on behalf of Israel, and we wonder why young people are persuaded to wrap explosives around their midsections and blow themselves up in crowded places. We wonder why CIA-sponsored clerics like Anwar al-Awlaki—who dined at the Pentagon days after the 9/11 attacks but is now the head bad guy du jour—can convince mentally challenged patsies (see Major Nidal Malik Hasan and Faisal Shahzad) to shoot into crowds or place bombs in public squares.

That Gadhafi is an evil totalitarian who has been cruel to his people, there is no doubt. But how is he different from the evil totalitarian Hosni Mubarak, whom we propped up and enriched for 30 years? How is he different from the totalitarian kings and princes that rule over Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and are now gunning down protestors in the streets?

The difference is, as Perkins described in The Secret History of American Empire, whether they are part of the corporatocracy; whether they took the bait offered by the economic hit men or succumbed to the threats of the jackals. If so, well, they are dictators but they are our dictators. If not, then they must go.

It’s challenging to know whether the global elites are losing control of the situation or stirring it up. With Obama seeming initially to prefer to try and sit out the Libya, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain revolts, one has to think the latter.

Whatever the situation, America doesn’t need to be drawn into a third conflict in that region. We can no longer afford the wars we’re already fighting.

It’s time to bring the troops home and close down the bases that prop up the empire. The Founders did not envision the United States as an empire.

There is much talk—and little else—about cutting the deficit. One way to start is to slash military spending. It’s time to do it, and preserve only that spending necessary for national defense.

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