August 30, 2011

Mission Accomplished in Libya?

by Ron Paul

Even as a major hurricane hit America's eastern seaboard, the administration was determined to expand the war in Libya while threatening the regime in Syria. Is there any limit to government's appetite to create more problems for our nation and economy?

Americans may be tempted to celebrate the apparent victory of U.S.- and NATO-backed rebels in Libya, since it seems the Gadhafi regime is overthrown. But I believe any enthusiasm for our Libyan misadventure is premature.

The Obama administration attacked Libya without a constitutional declaration of war, without congressional authorization, without meaningful consultation with Congress -- and without a dollar being authorized from the House or Senate. It was a war started by a president who turned to the United Nations for its authority and ignored the authority of the U.S. Congress.

Are we better off as a nation by ignoring and debasing our Constitution? Are we better off having spent more than a billion dollars attacking a country thousands of miles away that had not threatened us? Are we more financially sound having expanded the empire to include yet another protectorate and probable long-term military occupation? Are we more admired throughout the world for getting involved in yet another war?

Still, many will claim that getting rid of Libyan ruler Gadhafi was worth it. They will say that the ends justify the means. As the civilian toll from NATO bombs adds up in a war started under the guise of protecting a civilian population, even the initial argument for intervention is ridiculous. We should not forget that there were no massacres taking place in Libya before the NATO attack. The attack was dubbed a preventive humanitarian intervention. But as soon as NATO planes started bombing, civilians started dying.

Gadhafi may well have been a tyrant, but as such he was no worse than many others whom we support and count as allies. Disturbingly, we see a pattern of relatively secular leaders in the Arab world being targeted for regime-change with the resulting power vacuum being filled by much more radical elements. Iraq, post-Saddam, is certainly far closer to Iran than it was before the U.S. invasion. Will Libya be any different?

We already see grisly reprisals from the U.S.-backed rebels against their political opponents. There are disturbing scenes of looting and lawlessness on the part of the rebels. We know that some rebel factions appear to be allied with Islamic extremists, and others seem to have ties to the CIA. They also appear to have a penchant for killing each other as well as supporters of the previous regime. The tribal structure of Libyan society all but ensures that an ongoing civil war is on the agenda rather than the Swiss-style democracy that some intervention advocates suggest is around the corner.

What is next after such a victory? With the big Western scramble to grab Libya's oil reserves amid domestic political chaos and violence, does anyone doubt that NATO ground troops are not being prepared for yet another occupation?

Neoconservatives continue to dominate our foreign policy, regardless of the administration in power. They do not care that we are bankrupt, as they are too blinded by their desire for empire and their affection for the entangling alliances we have been rightly counseled to avoid. They have set their sights next on Syria, where the U.S. moves steadily toward intervention in another domestic conflict that has nothing to do with the U.S. Already the U.S. president has called for regime-change in Syria, while adding new sanctions against the Syrian regime. Are U.S. bombers far behind?

Ron Paul is a U.S. Congressman from Texas. He ran for President of the United States in 1988 as the nominee of the Libertarian Party.

Note: Libya has the largest, proven oil reserves in Africa. On the UNDP, Human Development Index, Libya ranked #1 in Africa.

Gen. Wesley Clark, Democracy Now, March 2, 2007

"Why the Attack on Libya is Illegal," The Wisdom Fund, March 28, 2011

"Libya: A 'Socialist Paradise' Under Colonial Attack," The Wisdom Fund, April 1, 2011

"The Lies Behind the West's War on Libya," The Wisdom Fund, April 14, 2011

"Libyan Rebels Reject Truce, U.S. Targets Qaddafi," The Wisdom Fund, May 31, 2011

Jeremy Sapienza, "Worries Grow About Libya Rebels' Brutality: France, US now say Gadhafi could stay if he resigns,", July 20, 2011

"Next, 'Humanitarian' Occupation -- Welcome to Libya's 'Democracy'," The Wisdom Fund, August 24, 2011

[The new rationale for war is "to protect civilians," an Orwellian twist that NATO and the Obama administration adopted in March to justify an air-and-ground war to achieve regime change in Libya.

Naturally, the NATO powers repeatedly denied that "regime change" was their goal, although their war planes and intelligence agencies have coordinated military operations with Libyan rebels whose stated goal has been to eliminate longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, an objective that appears close to success.

NATO authorities have denied, too, that their missile strikes against Gaddafi's compound were "assassination attempts," although one attack did kill one of Gaddafi's sons and three of his grandchildren. Yes, these victims were "collateral damage."

But the key to the Libyan war was the United Nations Security Council's passage of a resolution on March 17 authorizing a "no-fly zone" over Libya and permitting member states "to take all necessary measures ... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas."

Less noticed, the UN resolution also demanded "the immediate establishment of a ceasefire" and "the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis," but those words of peace essentially became window-dressing for war.--Robert Parry, "New War Rationale: 'Protect Civilians',", August 27, 2011]

Enver Masud, "America's Libyan Rebels," The Wisdom Fund, August 28, 2011

"Libyan power vacuum could lead to nightmare scenarios,", August 29, 2011

[Genocide... Gaddafi is "bombing his own people"... Save Benghazi... African Mercenaries... Viagra-fueled Mass Rape... Responsibility to Protect... Gaddafi-the Demon... Freedom Fighters-the Angels... Victory for the Libyan People... Defeat for "the Left"--Maximilian C. Forte, "The Top Ten Myths in the War Against Libya,", August 31, 2011]

[ . . . bombing a government that had abandoned its nuclear program and dropped plans for long-range missiles made peaceful denuclearization of other nations, such as Iran and North Korea, well nigh impossible.

. . . The initial claims of prospective massacres were propaganda, a la George W. Bush's WMDs in Iraq. In fact, Qaddafi had slaughtered no civilians in any of the cities he had earlier retaken from the rebels, and his incendiary rhetoric was directed against armed insurgents.--Doug Bandow, "Obama Must Pay for His Illegal War,", September 1, 2011]

[Their release served as a retort to the events of 1996, when inside the walls of this prison, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's security agents killed about 1,200 prisoners in two hours.--Kareem Fahim, "Rebels Yank Open Gates of Infamous Libyan Prison, Seeking Clues to a Massacre,", September 1, 2011]

Soumaya Ghannoushi, "Libya is now set to be a scene of multiple battles: A growing rift between the National Transitional Council and local leaders exposes conflicting visions for Libya's future," Guardian, September 6, 2011

John Pilger, "Hail to the True Victors of Rupert's Revolution,", September 8, 2011

"Mahmood Mamdani on Libya, an African Union in 'Crisis' & the Outlook for South Sudan,", September 14, 2011

[The intervention clearly exceeded the parameters originally set forth by UN Security Council resolution 1973, which authorized the international use of force to establish a "no fly" zone over Libya and to protect civilians; the UN resolution made no mention of regime change or government overthrow, though this clearly was NATO's main objective from the beginning. The Security Council also called for a Libyan arms embargo, a stipulation that NATO has ignored by arming the Libyan rebels.--David N. Gibbs, "Power Politics, NATO, and the Libyan Intervention,", September 15, 2011]

Zvi Mazel, "Libya adrift: Crucial questions remain unanswered in North African country; a continuation of the conflict would have serious consequences for Europe,", September 27, 2011

Justin Raimondo, "Failure in Libya,", September 28, 2011

Hadeel Al-Shalchi, "Tripoli residents want revolutionaries out," Associated Press, September 30, 2011

Alliby Hassan, "Thousands of Tuaregs Join Libyan Resistance Forces," Global Research, October 1, 2011

Hannah Allam, "Six weeks after Gadhafi's fall, Libya's rebels can't get their story straight,", October 6, 2011

"Libyan forces 'capture Gaddafi'," BBC News, October 20, 2011

Paul Joseph Watson, "Killing Gaddafi Spares ICC Embarrassment For US & Britain,", October 20, 2011

[A few hundred soldiers and no less than 80,000 civilians have been bombed for weeks by NATO and the former "rebels". Only 20,000 civilians have managed to escape. There's no food left. Water and electricity have been cut off. Hospitals are idle. The city - under siege - is in ruins. Sirte imams have issued a fatwa (decree) allowing survivors to eat cats and dogs.

What Gaddafi never did to Benghazi - and there's no evidence he might have - the TNC is doing to Sirte, Gaddafi's home town.--Pepe Escobar, "The US power grab in Africa,", October 21, 2011]

[ . . . the Atlanticist media have failed to mention the major achievements of the "Guide": the overthrow of the puppet monarchy imposed by the Anglo-Saxons, the removal of foreign troops, the nationalization of hydrocarbons, the construction of the Man Made River (the largest irrigation project in the world), the redistribution of oil revenues (he turned one of the poorest in the world into the richest in Africa), generous asylum to Palestinian refugees and development aid on an unprecedented scale to the Third World (Libya's development aid was more important than all the G20 states put together).--"The lynching of Muammar Gaddafi,", October 21, 2011]

"Gadhafi: How son of Bedouins became 'Mad Dog' of Mideast," CTV News, October 21, 2011

October 22, 2011

[TNC militias did no real fighting. These divided, competing military bands operate as scavengers or vultures, calling in air strikes and lying in wait to pick over the death that NATO bombers have blasted in front of them. In seven months of NATO bombing they have shown themselves capable of firing endless weapons in front of cameras and brutalizing Black Libyans, yet incapable of conducting any independent military action.

The imperialist war in Libya is reminiscent of past colonial wars in Africa and Asia. Targeting of any civilian necessities, such as water, food, medicine, and communication is specifically prohibited under international law and considered a war crime under the Nuremburg and Geneva Conventions. Yet during seven months of war those are exactly the civilian targets that NATO planners focused on again and again.--"The Arab Spring and the Coward's War on Libya,", October 24, 2011]

[Our war in Libya, whatever is to be said about protecting civilians, is also ideological war. It is a war for pushers' democracy. It is a war for the capitalism that goes with that democracy, is inseparable from it.--Tod Honderich, "The Arab Spring and the Coward's War on Libya,", October 25, 2011]

["Now the real resistance will begin! The Libyan people are now even surer than they were during this summer that the NTC sold our country to the NATO colonial countries. As NATO continues to hunt down Saif al Islam, many around our country are making Saif the new leader of the resistance to colonialism in Libya and in Africa."--Tod Honderich, "Libya: The Actual War Begins Now!,", October 25, 2011]

[The National Transitional Council puts the losses at 30,000 dead and 50,000 wounded.--Seumas Milne, "If the Libyan war was about saving lives, it was a catastrophic failure," Guardian, October 26, 2011]

Nicholas Kramer, "Libya: Military Success Doesn't Erase Moral Questions,", November 1, 2011

"New Libya Prime Minister to Balance Demands of Former Rebels, West," Associated Press, November 1, 2011

Why the U.S. and Russia Get Away With War Crimes, AJ+, June 29, 2022

back button