FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Price Tag for the Libyan War

by TOM H. HASTINGS

So, how is that violent liberation working out for ‘ya?

How much did the US spend trying to topple dictators Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt? Oh, that’s right, like Filipino strongman Ferdinand Marcos, those brutal, corrupt, murdering leaders were essentially installed and supported by the US. We spent zero helping the nonviolent revolutions in those countries.

OK, so how about other nonviolent liberations, especially those who overthrew enemies of the US? Well, almost nothing. $25 million to bring down Milosevic in Serbia. Just about nothing on the entire Velvet Revolution, which finally succeeded after decades of $ trillions spent on superhyperApocalyptic weaponry all pointed at the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Can we pick out a pattern here?

On the other hand, when we tally up the pricetags for Iraq ($1 trillion and counting, as we leave 5,000 highly paid contractors behind), Afghanistan ($500 billion and counting), and, lately, Libya ($1.1 billion just on DoD armaments, not counting State Department security expenses nor unknown but substantial intelligence operations), we see some barebones beginnings of the explanation for our national financial meltdown.

Remember in the early days of justifying the invasion of Iraq, when we were told again and again that this would eventually cost the taxpayers nothing because the grateful people of Iraq would gladly pay us back with the massive oil revenues that would obviously start flowing their way once liberated? Similarly, I recall Libyan dissidents in diaspora confidently assure us on National Public Radio interviews that Libyans would obviously repay NATO for all expenses once Gadhaffi was removed and Libyans controlled their own oil money.

The lies don’t get much more transparent and egregious than these, yet they continue to be told and, amazingly, believed, apparently. At least it’s working out for China. They are snapping up that Iraqi oil. At last it’s being used for a government that really supports human rights…

The facts are that liberation using nonviolence is not only far less bloody, far less expensive, far less destructive to infrastructure and the environment, but it has no blowback (well, unless you count the Occupy movement as blowback from Arab Spring, but the US didn’t fund any part of the Arab Spring anyhow). The blowback from supporting or launching violent liberation is tremendous, as we saw on September 11, 2001. We will likely see much more, sadly, from all the violence we since unleashed or in the Central Asia, Middle East, North African region. Six thousand US mortalities and more than $1.5 trillion so far, all to do what nonviolence could have done for a tiny fraction. And the costs will go on and on.

The news today is just one example. Now, after wasting that $1.1 billion+ on violently getting rid of Gadhaffi, the US is going to pay untold $ millions to buy up weapons from the insurgents. You can’t make up stuff like this. Cosmic karmic account registers are ringing all over the place. The US piece of the Arab Spring is a costly, bloody, ongoing farce.

We are so radically in need of a rapid evolution in our methods of conflict management. Hello? Earth to Obama! Earth to the military! Come in! Humanity here–can we talk? Nonviolence can do all the good things you say you want done without any of the bad things that only violence can trigger. Can we make 2012 the Year of the US Nonviolence Conversion? It is overdue.

Tom H. Hastings  is Director of PeaceVoice in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at: pcwtom@gmail.com


Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University and founding director of PeaceVoice

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail