Barack Obama's Libya War
Unlike Eisenhower who rejected the French and British war on Egypt, Obama has joined the Libyan war, with no U.S. national or security interests involved
[Black Star News Editorial]
There are powerful countries in the world and not so powerful countries. When countries launch wars they should go to battle to protect vital national interests, security, and the lives and property of their citizens.
There is no U.S. vital national or security interests in Libya as U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates, in a moment of unrehearsed honesty, told "Meet The Press" this weekend. His boss, President Barack Obama was wrong to support the attacks on Libya by France and the United Kingdom. These countries are motivated by their own domestic political and financial interests.
Now President Obama is scrambling to find convincing justification for the U.S. involvement in the war. Yet if the reasons were clear, the American people would not need to be hoodwinked. It's as if President Obama joined a war and then started fishing for convincing explanations. Nations can't launch wars just because "they can."
If U.S. national interest was at stake or if massacres were imminent as alleged by France and the U.K., President Obama would not have traveled to Brazil.
Americans who oppose the Afghan war realize that after the 911 attacks there was no choice but to take action in Afghanistan where the Taliban had provided sanctuary to Osama bin Laden who claimed responsibility for the attacks on the U.S. The Obama Administration has been trying to place Libya's Muammar al-Quathafi on the same level with bin Laden, with Hillary Clinton referring to him as a "creature." Yet, the Libyan is on the record as consistently condemning bin Laden as a quick Google search will reveal.
After the 911 attacks on the U.S., Americans now know that George W. Bush took advantage of the national mood and launched the war on Iraq. Sadam Hussein, detestable as he was, had nothing to do with 911 and also did not have Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The war cost U.S. lives and resources and the deaths of countless Iraqis who had no enmity with Americans.
Both France and the U.K. are experiencing serious economic woes while the U.S. recovery has been picking pace. These European countries are eyeing favorable oil concessions with the Libyan insurrectionists they support. The Libyan rebels are armed fighters and include former professional soldiers in Muamar al-Quathafi's armed forces. This is a point that most corporate media ignore or fail to highlight. President Obama has also adopted this conveniently deceptive reference. The president will not concede that some of the armed fighters battling with al-Quathafi are not the same type of revolutionists like those who deposed dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt --BlackberryFacebook revolutions.
Political opportunism, and potential economic and financial benefits also drive the war and outside involvement. In a front page article in The Financial Times two weeks ago, Mustafa Jalil, the rebel leader who until a month ago was al-Quathafi's justice minister, told the newspaper that oil concessions would be granted to the outside world relative to the level of support the rebels get from each Western country in deposing al-Qauthafi. This is primarily a European war over Libya's resources and the United States should not have been a part of it.
France's Sarkozy has additional domestic pressure. In polling to assess the possible winner of France's next presidential elections, he trails Marine Le Pen, leader of the rightwing anti-immigration National Front party by 23% to 21%. This is Sarkozy's wag-the-dog war to try and reverse his political fortunes.
The official reason given for seeking the no-fly zone was the need to protect Libyan civilians from massacre at the hands of Quathafi's forces. There was no clamoring for this no-fly zone and foreign intervention when the insurrectionists-- who include Jalil, the former justice minister, some of Quthafi's generals and colonels, and the son of the deposed King Idris-- were marching towards Tripoli. The demand became urgent when the tide was turned and Libya's army was on the doorsteps of Benghazi the headquarters of the insurrection.
Innocent civilians must always be protected during warfare. Genuine fear of such massacres could have been better addressed by insisting on stationing United Nations troops in Benghazi to protect civilians. No such demand was made because contemporary events now show that "humanitarian" intervention was the last thing on the minds of the French and British planners.
The no-fly zone was introduced as a cover for the West to take a side in the Libyan civil war. This is precisely what has happened. France, the U.K., and the U.S have demanded that al-Quathafi's forces observe a ceasefire. No such demand has beem made on the rebels, who also receive weapons from Egypt, according to The Wall Street Journal. France, the U.K. and the U.S. are now actively fighting with the rebels who are now marching towards Tripoli, the Libyan capital.
Without a doubt, if al-Quathafi is deposed France and the U.K. will secure the beneficial business deals they seek. Sarkozy might also gain the political bounce he needs to defeat Le Pen in the next presidential election.
Quathafi has been in power for 42 years, which is way too long. The youth of Libya need a new dispensation and like young people elsewhere in Africa and around the world, they want to be a part of determining their own destiny. This must happen in Libya. It can happen through a national dialogue -- not by a regime imposed post-Quathafi by France, the U.K. and the U.S. with Tomahawk missiles and massive destructive bombardment.
Even if Quathafi is deposed Libya, which always had historical hostility
between Tripoli and Benghazi will be in turmoil. This means at the end
of the day, the U.S. will have to become actively involved in securing
the peace. As Gen. Colin Powell famously said, "If you break it; you own
France and the U.K. have no interest in a negotiated solution. The African Union (AU) committed five African presidents including South Africa's Jacob Zuma, who agreed to travel to Libya and mediate between al-Quathafi and the rebels. France and the U.K. have rejected this offer. These countries want to dictate post-Quathafi affairs in Libya.
France and Britain have a history of such military intervention in North Africa. These two countries' interest on Libya are similar to what motivated them to attack Egypt in October 1956. Egypt's nationalist President Gamal Abdel Nasser had nationalized the Suez Canal. France and Britain launched an attack and asked the United States to join.
Dwight Eisenhower to his credit rejected the offer and said the U.S. would not be a part of an Imperial war on Africa.
President Obama had the opportunity to do the same thing. He made the wrong decision. In his speech later to the nation President Obama will argue that the U.S. has saved the lives of innocent Libyans. He will not explain why the U.S. has joined France and the U.K. in the quest for regime change in Libya.
Obama will not speak truth to power.
Gen. Eisenhower by rejecting French and British warmongering passed with flying colors. Obama failed the same test spectacularly.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."
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