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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/13/16

Ten Revealing War Lies

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By 1942 word was leaking out about the Nazis' plans. Peace activists like Jessie Wallace Hughan argued that, "It seems that the only way to save thousands and perhaps millions of European Jews from destruction would be for our government to broadcast the promise [of an] armistice on condition that the European minorities are not molested any further. . . . It would be very terrible if six months from now we should find that this threat has literally come to pass without our making even a gesture to prevent it." In 1942 peace activist Abraham Kaufman argued that the United States needed to negotiate with Hitler. To those who argued that you couldn't negotiate with Hitler, he explained that the Allies were already negotiating with Hitler over prisoners of war and the sending of food to Greece. In 1943 Hughan wrote to the New York Times and the U.S. State Department that "two million [Jews] have already died [and] two million more will be killed by the end of the war." She urged a negotiated peace.

The end of the war liberated prisoners, but no military or diplomatic effort had been made to liberate them prior. The war did not become a war about saving them until after it was over. This is why we should keep a close eye on the U.S. government's ongoing rehabilitation of World War I and the Korean and Vietnamese and Iraqi wars. Imagine years from now what those wars will turn out to have been fought for.

Now, of course, you can switch back to the idea that World War II was defensive, or create some other argument for it, but you'll still have to make a difficult case that it's somehow relevant to 2016 and beyond -- apart from U.S. officials calling various foreign leaders "Hitler" -- before I'll be persuaded that we should dump our future down the drain of military spending.

3. In October 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the best Secretary of State we've had according to Henry Kissinger, had a good laugh. During an interview with CBS News just after the President of Libya was publicly sodomized with a knife and eventually murdered, Clinton proclaimed, in a rip-off of Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, "We came, we saw, he died!" Giggle. Giggle.

Libya was a model humanitarian war, a perfect use of the Responsibility to Protect, a practical engagement of the entire U.S. academic genocide studies industry which imagines war as a tool for preventing something worse and bitterly laments Rwanda as a missed opportunity for a war, rather than the result of war-making and a step toward even more horrific war making. The war on Libya was launched without Congress and without the U.S. public. But it was launched with the pretense of United Nations backing.

The White House claimed that Ghadafi had threated to massacre the people of Benghazi with "no mercy," but the New York Times reported that Ghadafi's threat was directed at rebel fighters, not civilians, and that Ghadafi, consistent with past behavior, had promised amnesty for those "who throw their weapons away." Ghadafi also offered to allow rebel fighters to escape to Egypt if they preferred not to fight to the death. Yet President Obama warned of imminent genocide, as did some prominent and generally antiwar U.S. leftists, while others screamed for bloody revenge for newly remembered grievances.

In March 2011, the African Union had a plan for peace in Libya but was prevented by NATO, through the creation of a "no fly zone" and the initiation of bombing, to travel to Libya to discuss it. In April, the African Union was able to discuss its plan with Ghadafi, and he expressed his agreement. NATO, which had obtained UN authorization to protect Libyans alleged to be in danger but no authorization to continue bombing the country or to overthrow the government, continued bombing the country and overthrowing the government. Libya was destroyed, weapons proliferated to Syria and around the region, anti-Western terrorist groups energized, and such a gloomy shadow cast over humanitarian wars that Samantha Power later saw the need to urge on people the duty not to look too closely at Libya in order to be properly willing to bomb Syria.

Well, every well-meaning humanitarian makes mistakes, right?

Wrong. Clinton's once private, now partially public, emails focused much more on oil and business concerns than on human rights in the lead up to the overthrow of the Libyan government -- and overthrow was the goal from the start, with her adviser Sidney Blumenthal going so far as to recommend "shock and awe." And when the war was underway, Blumenthal focused his attention on concocting arguments to keep the war going in order to "win" it (or to conquer in the usual translation of Julius Caesar's phrase), under the belief that doing so would be good for Obama in opinion polls. Blumenthal recommended dropping any more talk of the supposed rescue of people in Benghazi. He proposed no new humanitarian arguments, only geopolitical, balance of power stuff. He also pointed out that the overthrow could likely result in a "jihadist resurgence" and growth for al Qaeda. And he expressed awareness of summary executions by the rebels the U.S. was backing, but neither he nor Clinton expressed any concern about those atrocities. Also not mentioned, as far as I know, in any emails, though generally included in most public arguments for wars, was any mention of the need to fight in Libya in order to "support the troops."

We don't actually need private emails in order to debunk the lies of humanitarian war making. A survey of behavior makes it clear. And often the truth is openly stated in a manner that is intended to go unremarked upon. A few weeks ago, as the UN was trying in vain to drop food anywhere near starving people in Syria, a U.S. Air Force expert told a reporter about a system that allowed more precise drops from high altitude in high wind. It cost $60,000, he said, and therefore, "You wouldn't use it for a purely humanitarian drop." The missiles that the United States tosses at foreign countries like confetti cost over $1 million each.

4. On May 23, 2013, President Barack Obama packed a baker's dozen of lies into a few sentences about his drone murders when he said, "America does not take strikes when we have the ability to capture individual terrorists; our preference is always to detain, interrogate, and prosecute. America cannot take strikes wherever we choose; our actions are bound by consultations with partners, and respect for state sovereignty. America does not take strikes to punish individuals; we act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people, and when there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat. And before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured -- the highest standard we can set."

Obama has in fact shifted U.S. policy from lawless imprisonment to murder. We know in detail of numerous cases in which the victim of a drone murder could certainly have been apprehended, but the option of killing was preferred. We know of no cases in which it has been established that a victim could not have been arrested. Obama tossed on the word "prosecute" to suggest that by murdering people and anyone too close to them -- and mostly, by the way, people never identified by name or background -- he is acting as a global policeman. In fact, we know of no cases where his victims have been charged or indicted, their extradition sought, or a legal case brought against them in absentia. There is no evidence of any desire to prosecute them for anything. Obama adds the condition that "no other governments [be] capable of effectively addressing the threat," yet we know of cases in which the local governments of the territories attacked, such as in Yemen, have inquired after the fact, "Why weren't we simply asked to arrest the person?"

Obama's supposed respect for state sovereignty relies on the idea that vicious and antidemocratic governments and exiled dictators can grant him the legal right to blow up men, women, and children in certain parts of the globe. This is actually to engage in a conspiracy to violate state sovereignty, a concept he of course has no use for in certain states, like Libya or Syria. "Consultations with partners" has never been a valid criminal defense.

Obama's "near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured" is a disgusting insult to the hundreds and thousands of people he kills, most of whom he has not identified, many of whom he has labeled "combatants" because they are male, and many of whom are civilian by any definition, including numerous children and grandparents and attendees of weddings and rescuers of the wounded and those seeking to bury the dead.

There is no such thing as a "continuing and imminent threat to the American people." A threat is either imminent or continuing, but let's assume it can be both, that it is imminent and just goes on and on being imminent. There is in fact not a single example of a U.S. drone murder in which the victim has been shown to have constituted an imminent threat to the people of the United States. In the drone propaganda film Eye in the Sky a fantasy is invented in which the victims actually are an imminent threat to others. But even then, in a scenario that has never happened and will almost certainly never happen, they are not a threat to the United States or even to its imperial forces.

The lie of the drone is a lie of progressivism. The truth is barbarism.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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