And now for today’s extreme war propaganda from the paper of record, the New York Times.
It would be premature to call the war in Libya a complete success for United States interests. But the arrival of victorious rebels on the shores of Tripoli last week gave President Obama’s senior advisers a chance to claim a key victory for an Obama doctrine for the Middle East that had been roundly criticized in recent months as leading from behind.
Administration officials say that even though the NATO intervention in Libya, emphasizing airstrikes to protect civilians, cannot be applied uniformly in other hotspots like Syria, the conflict may, in some important ways, become a model for how the United States wields force in other countries where its interests are threatened.
A model, eh? So the model for the Obama administration’s approach for the Middle East is to go to war in open disregard for and in violation of domestic US law, almost immediately abandon the restrictions of the United Nations mandate to protect civilians in order to initiate regime change, give support and bring to power a rag-tag group of rebel militias and neighborhood gangs with at least some direct ties to al Qaeda and who have committed serious war crimes, all to culminate in massive benefits to oil corporations? Some model, although I’d dispute the novelty ascribed to it by the Times. Also, there is exactly zero mention anywhere in the article how exactly committing multiple war crimes and killing lots of civilians fits into this Doctrine.
The article goes on to praise Obama’s “Libya action” for establishing “two principles for when the United States could apply military force to advance its diplomatic interests even though its national security is not threatened directly.”
During that speech, Mr. Obama said that America had the responsibility to stop what he characterized as a looming genocide in the Libyan city of Benghazi (Principle 1). But at the same time, he said, when the safety of Americans is not directly threatened but where action can be justified — in the case of genocide, say — the United States will act only on the condition that it is not acting alone (Principle 2).
As I’ve said over and over, these are both nonsense. Even if we accept the notion that there was a looming genocide in Benghazi (which is debatable, to put it generously), there is a simple litmus test to determine whether or not the protection of civilians was the actual reason for war. Has the US consistently supported comparable atrocities in many other countries, and do we now engage in foreign policy that predictably leads to the deaths of comparable numbers of civilians? Do we also totally ignore much worse atrocities if they don’t happen to be strategically important? The answer to all of those questions is yes, which excludes the possibility that civilian casualties motivated our intervention. Furthermore, this charge of “responsibility” to protect always comes up. “Would you just let it happen!?” they ask incredulously. Whatever legitimacy the United States government has, it is derived by the consent of the American people. That is American Government 101 that we all learn in elementary school. That legitimacy simply does not carry over to the Libyan people. They certainly didn’t vote for King Obama.They didn’t get a say in whether they’d be better off or not with the rebels instead of Gadhafi.
On the second “Principle” of not going it alone. We had the support of an allied coalition and the UN. The world was with us. Well, yes this is true. But only if you use Washington’s definition of “the world” which does not include the American people or any other major nations who disagree.
The article then says Syria is different because there isn’t a regional or international consensus on Syria (nor was there on Libya) and that a US intervention could cause regional instability and an Iraq-like descent into chaos (so too with Libya). Not quite, New York Times, not quite.
Ah, so refreshing that the New York Times is ably continuing to do its job (that is, bolster the twisted rationales of the powerful war advocates).