FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Skin in the Game: Obama and the Destruction of Libya

by

shutterstock_352808579
Of the many crimes committed in the name of humanitarian intervention by the West, the destruction of Libya in 2011 is among the most heinous. It was a classic example of ‘destroying the village in order to save it’ that will and must never be forgotten.

In 2016 seek not a truthful or accurate rendering of liberal democracy in the words of the US Declaration of Independence, US Constitution or Bill of Rights. Seek it not either in the grand statues and monuments that clog Whitehall in central London, nor in the stirring words of the Marseillaise, the national anthem of the French Republic.

No, for a truthful and accurate rendering of liberal democracy in 2016, cast your eyes over to Libya. For it is there, in a country reduced to a swamp of human despair, extremism, and primitivism – a once functioning society reduced to a failed state – that the true meaning of liberal democracy resides

So damning is the evidence of the crime committed against Libya and its people by those who claim to act in the name of freedom and civilization that one of those responsible, President Obama, is now seeking to deny his guilt. Indeed, how else are we to explain the President’s criticism of British Prime Minister David Cameron, and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, in his recent interview with the Washington-based Atlantic magazine, during which he discusses events in Libya, Syria, and his wider approach to US foreign policy and the use of military intervention.

“You have massive protests against Qaddafi (Gaddafi),” the President tells Atlantic reporter Jeffrey Goldberg. “You’ve got tribal divisions inside of Libya. Benghazi is a focal point for the opposition regime. And Qaddafi is marching his army towards Benghazi, and he has said, ‘We will kill them like rats.’”

The aforementioned supposed threat from Gaddafi to civilians in Benghazi is continually held up as justification for UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which mandated military intervention in Libya during the uprising on the basis of protecting civilians. However, as we know now, 1973 was used instead to enact regime change.

But even taking the claim that Gaddafi was intent on the wholesale massacre of civilians in Benghazi in March 2011 on its own terms, this in itself is disputatious. In an article titled ‘False pretense for war in Libya?’ which appeared in the Boston Globe in April 2011, US foreign policy expert and academic, Alan J Kuperman, asserts that prior to the Libyan army’s move on Benghazi Human Rights Watch had ‘released data on Misurata [Misrata] the next-biggest city in Libya and scene of protracted fighting, revealing that Moammar Khadafy [Gaddafi] is not deliberately massacring civilians but rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his government.’

Later in the same article Kuperman continues, ‘Nor did Khadafy [Gaddafi] ever threaten civilian massacre in Benghazi, as Obama alleged. The “no mercy’’ warning of March 17 targeted rebels only, as reported by The New York Times, which noted that Libya’s leader promised amnesty for those “who throw their weapons away.” Khadafy even offered the rebels an escape route and open border to Egypt, to avoid a fight “to the bitter end.”’

Returning to Obama’s interview with The Atlantic, the President’s critique of US allies Britain and France over Libya is startling for the disdain in which he holds some of Washington’s closest allies. “You’ve got Europe and a number of Gulf countries who despise Qaddafi, or are concerned on a humanitarian basis, who are calling for action. But what has been a habit over the last several decades in these circumstances is people pushing us to act but then showing an unwillingness to put any skin in the game.”

Perhaps the most illuminating aspect of this quote is the way Obama sees fit to describe the intervention in Libya as a ‘game’. He should know that for the Libyan people, who saw their country and lives destroyed, what befell them was certainly no ‘game’.

Yet despite the lack of sensitivity over the language employed, the President is certainly onto something in his criticism of the role played by Britain and France. The political class in both countries has been the equivalent of that sniveling little boy in the school playground we all grew up with, the one who ingratiates himself with the biggest boy in order to compensate for his own weakness.

Cameron and Sarkozy, we should recall, extended themselves in basking in the glory of NATO’s Libyan intervention. In September 2011, a month before Gaddafi was killed trying to escape his home town of Sirte in the west of the country, both leaders arrived in Benghazi to give the new ‘democratic’ Libya their stamp of approval. In words that should forever haunt his legacy, David Cameron announced to a mob of admiring supporters that, “It is great to be here, in a free Benghazi and in free Libya.”

As for President Barack Obama, in 2016 as his presidency draws to a close we are dealing with a man who is in a hurry to clean up his legacy, one that is on target to place him among the most crisis prone presidents in the country’s recent history – something which given the field of candidates is no mean achievement.

The notorious drone program he inherited from the Bush administration in 2009 is one Obama embraced with the gusto of a man eager to conduct war on the cheap, placing an emphasis not on protecting innocent civilians, including children, but on keeping American soldiers and military personnel out of harm’s way at any price. Conducted without any transparency or oversight, instead of making any inroads against global terrorism, the President’s drone war has only succeeded in ensuring its proliferation, utilized by extremists as a recruiting tool. As if this isn’t bad enough, he has also presided over a resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the devastation of Iraq and Syria by ISIS.

In the last analysis, no matter how hard he may try to distance himself from the destruction of Libya by blaming Washington’s European allies, Barack Obama bears ultimate responsibility.

That’s kind of how it works when you’re the CEO of an empire.

More articles by:

John Wight is the author of a politically incorrect and irreverent Hollywood memoir – Dreams That Die – published by Zero Books. He’s also written five novels, which are available as Kindle eBooks. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnWight1

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
Hamid Yazdan Panah
Remembering Native American Civil Rights Pioneer, Lehman Brightman
James Porteous
Seventeen-Year-Old Nabra Hassanen Was Murdered
Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail