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


Will Falk moved to the West Coast from Milwaukee, WI where he was a public defender.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
July 30, 2015
Bill Blunden
The NSA’s 9/11 Cover-Up: General Hayden Told a Lie, and It’s a Whopper
Richard Ward
Sandra Bland, Rebel
Jeffrey St. Clair
How One Safari Nut, the CIA and Neoliberal Environmentalists Plotted to Destroy Mozambique
Martha Rosenberg
Tracking the Lion Killers Back to the Old Oval Office
Binoy Kampmark
Dead Again: the Latest Demise of Mullah Omar
Kathy Kelly – Buddy Bell
No Warlords Need Apply: a Call for Credible Peacemaking in Afghanistan
Ramzy Baroud
Darker Horizons Ahead: Rethinking the War on ‘IS’
Stephen Lendman
The Show Trial of Saif Qaddafi: a Manufactured Death Sentence
John Grant
The United States of Absurdity, Circa 2015
Karl Grossman
The Case of John Peter Zenger and the Fight for a Free Press
Cesar Chelala
Cultural Treasures Are Also Victims of War
Jeff Taylor
Iowa Conference on Presidential Politics
July 29, 2015
Mike Whitney
The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey
Joshua Frank
The Wheels Fell Off the Bernie Sanders Bandwagon
Conn Hallinan
Ukraine: Close to the Edge
Stephen Lendman
What Happened to Ralkina Jones? Another Jail Cell Death
Rob Wallace
Neoliberal Ebola: the Agroeconomic Origins of the Ebola Outbreak
Dmitry Rodionov
The ‘Ichkerization’ Crime Wave in Ukraine
Joyce Nelson
Scott Walker & Stephen Harper: a New Bromance
Bill Blunden
The Red Herring of Digital Backdoors and Key Escrow Encryption
Thomas Mountain
The Sheepdog Politics of Barack Obama
Farzana Versey
A President and a Yogi: Abdul Kalam’s Symbolism
Norman Pollack
America’s Decline: Internal Structural-Cultural Subversion
Foday Darboe
How Obama Failed Africa
Cesar Chelala
Russia’s Insidious Epidemic
Tom H. Hastings
Defending Democracy
David Macaray
Why Union Contracts are Good for the Country
Virginia Arthur
The High and Dry Sierras
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, the Season Finale, Mekonception in Redhook
July 28, 2015
Mark Schuller
Humanitarian Occupation of Haiti: 100 Years and Counting
Lawrence Ware
Why the “Black Church” Doesn’t Exist–and Never Has
Peter Makhlouf
Israel and Gaza: the BDS Movement One Year After “Protective Edge”
Carl Finamore
Landlords Behaving Badly: San Francisco Too Valuable for Poor People*
Michael P. Bradley
Educating About Islam: Problems of Selectivity and Imbalance
Binoy Kampmark
Ransacking Malaysia: the Najib Corruption Dossier
Michael Avender - Medea Benjamin
El Salvador’s Draconian Abortion Laws: a Miscarriage of Justice
Jesse Jackson
Sandra Bland’s Only Crime Was Driving While Black
Cesar Chelala
Effect of Greece’s Economic Crisis on Public Health
Mel Gurtov
Netanyahu: An Enemy of Peace
Joseph G. Ramsey
The Limits of Optimism: E.L. Doctorow and the American Left
George Wuerthner
Bark Beetles and Forest Fires: Another Myth Goes Up in Smoke
Paul Craig Roberts - Dave Kranzler
Supply and Demand in the Gold and Silver Futures Markets
Eric Draitser
China’s NGO Law: Countering Western Soft Power and Subversion
Harvey Wasserman
Will Ohio Gov. Kasich’s Anti-Green Resume Kill His Presidential Hopes?
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode 4, a Bowery Ballroom Blitz