Saturday, March 26, 2011

Libya; The Humanitarian Misdirection

It should come as no surprise that our president is being less than honest regarding the US and NATO's attack on Libya. What started out looking like a humanitarian action, is now looking like one of those sponsored coup-d’etats the CIA so busied itself with in the 50s, 60s and 70s. According to the UK Daily Mail, British Special forces have been in Libya for over a month. What is now becoming clear however is the coalition has been given some strange rules of engagement; the rebels (usually called a Liberation Army) are now civilians. So any attempt by the Gaddifi to repel the ad-hoc rebellion is met with accusations that the Libyan army was using "indiscriminate" use of force and was killing civilians; it doesn't seem to matter that these protesters and civilians are armed to the teeth with RPG's, anti-aircraft missile and are even driving tanks. There also seems to be a lot of evidence that this military effort is far from a humanitarian affair.

The humanitarian label was used to describe the so-called, NFZ (No Fly Zone); the idea that Libyan military aircraft was bombing and strafing civilians (aka anti-government forces). The NFZ, is to simply stop Libya from using aircraft against the rebel forces. The positive side of a NFZ is keeping Libyan aircraft on the ground is easily accomplished. While Libya has a rather formidable looking airforce on paper, reality is a different story. Yes, Libya has some 200 military aircraft including 23 Mig-21s,109 Mig-23s and 38 SU-22s, the truth is we don't know how many are actually airworthy. It may not be common knowledge, it it takes more more maintenance to fly these jets than actual flight time. We do know it was the SU-22s Gadiffi was used to bomb the protesters, resulting in one crew intentionally crashing the plane and the civilian rebels have claimed to also shot down a number of them (as I said these civilians mean business). The fact is that coalition forces were acting beyond a NFZ almost from the beginning. After taking out command and control, radar installations and anti-aircraft batteries, they started hunting for Libyan army forces; bombing troops, armament, or anything else that looks like a military target. Further, The Saudis have been arming the rebels for months in anticipation of this uprising and the US is publicly weighing the option of openly arming the rebels against Libya. This of course has led to much more collateral damage than just a NFZ and has led to dissension within the coalition, especially amongst the Arab League, where chief Amr Moussa on Sunday condemned what he called the "bombardment of civilians."

On “This Week,” ABC News’ Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper asked Gates, “Do you think Libya posed an actual or imminent threat to the United States?”

“No, no,” Gates replied to ABC’s Jake Tapper, “It was not — it was not a vital national interest to the United States, but it was an interest and it was an interest for all of the reasons Secretary Clinton talked about. The engagement of the Arabs, the engagement of the Europeans, the general humanitarian question that was at stake,” he said. And of course President Obama did not notify Congress; from ABC NEWS

During his campaign for the Presidency, in December, 2007, Barack Obama told The Boston Globe that “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” Earlier in 2007, then-Senator Hillary Clinton said in a speech on the Senate floor that, “If the administration believes that any -- any -- use of force against Iran is necessary, the President must come to Congress to seek that authority.”

Secretary of State Clinton asked in regards to Libya, “Why not got to Congress?” she replied, “Well, we would welcome congressional support,” the Secretary said, “but I don't think that this kind of internationally authorized intervention where we are one of a number of countries participating to enforce a humanitarian mission is the kind of unilateral action that either I or President Obama was speaking of several years ago.” “I think that this had a limited time frame, a very clearly defined mission which we are in the process of fulfilling,” Clinton said.

Clinton's response seemed especially dishonest as #1 the US had a much larger coalition under Bush in Iraq and one of the main criticism of Obama's foray into Lybia is a seemingly total lack of definition, beyond pulling out and handing over control to Canada and NATO, allowing Obama to be lead but not be in charge; something which seems to define the Obama presidency. Further, the idea that there was not time to inform Congress is absurd in the fact that Obama stated the “When a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now,” as far back as Feb 26.

So here are the lies. This military action is humanitarian; no we have taken sides in a civil war and are bombing and invading Libya. There will be no boots on the ground; no, we already have coalition special forces working with the rebels on the ground. From The Nation“We do not provide close air support for the opposition forces.” he said, “We protect civilians.” But he followed that immediately by noting that since the opposition, even armed, are civilians, the United States will protect them, too.” Does that include sharing military intelligence? “I’m not going to talk about sharing intelligence with the Libyan opposition.”

Here is where we have an obvious dis-connect. The Obama Administration denies using coalition war planes as air support for the rebels, and British officials say "the UK force is under very clear directions not to get drawn into close combat operations with regime forces unless their own lives are threatened or in extreme circumstances in which Gaddafi forces are killing unarmed civilians" and senior official said, "Our aim is maintain a low profile, and simply deliver information and facilitate the situation for other agencies to splash (destroy) the targets." So we are meant to believe that even though the British Commandos and Rebels have the same military goals and the coalition is supplying close air support for the British Commandos on the ground, they are not for the rebels, even though the two are fighting side by side. Further the Obama Administration fudges when asked if the British Commandos and Rebels are sharing military intelligence, as if it were possible for them not to.

In the final analysis, I will leave you with another exchange that demonstrates the absurdity of the so called Humanitarian rational for the attacks on Libya; again from the UK Daily Mail,

“Q: If opposition forces are trying to take back a city that Gadhafi holds, couldn't you argue that they would be attacking civilians; and therefore, would they be targeted as well?

“GENERAL HAM: Again, I'm not crazy about...answering the hypothetical questions. We would have to look at that situation as it was unfolding. We do have a mission to protect civilians. And we would have to make an assessment as that unfolded as to what our actions might be, consistent with 1973 and consistent with our mission.”

The UK writer editorializes with, "It stretches credulity, of course, to imagine that the United States would bomb the opposition if it tried to capture a city."

So no one has been able to explain how defining all those opposed to the Gaddifi regime as civilian victims, regardless of their level of armament and how the US and NATO are simply taking sides in a civil war to remove Gaddifi from power. If not humanitarian reasons then why did President Obama involve the US? Here one has to turn to conjecture. Libya only supplies .63% of US oil, however 85% of Libyan oil goes to Europe. So it appears this is another blood for oil battle, but this time Obama is demonstrating his willingness to engage in European discretionary battles outside the national interests of the United States; bypassing congress in the process. Further, while the uprisings in Libya and other Arabic nations have been titled Democratic, there is a lot of evidence that the uprising also have an Islamic Sharia bent. It is no secret that the Muslim Brotherhood is the most organized political party in the region and it is likely the Democratic uprising will result in a "vote once" for the Muslim Brotherhood and Sharia Law. If this materializes it would result in accolades for President Obama from from the Arabic nations; something the President has been openly pursuing to the detriment of the United States previous allies such as Britain and Israel.

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