America's lawless imperial wars
Lies, Damn Lies, and Liberating Wars - by Stephen Lendman
America's imperial wars are for wealth, power, and unchallenged dominance, never for humanitarian concerns or liberation, notions Washington contemptuously spurns.
Yet rhetorical posturing claims otherwise. In April 1986, Ronald Reagan arrogantly said US air and naval forces "launched a series of strikes against (Gaddafi's) headquarters, terrorist facilities, and military assets, (carefully) targeted to minimize casualties among the Libyan people with whom we have no quarrel. From initial reports, our forces have succeeded in their mission."
Wrong! The BBC reported "at least 100 people died after USA planes bombed targets in" Libya. In fact, over 100 were killed, mostly civilians, including Gaddafi's infant daughter when his personal compound was bombed, trying to kill him.
In addition, dozens were wounded, including two of Gaddafi's young sons. The French, Swiss, Romanian and Iranian embassies were damaged. So were Japanese and Austrian diplomatic residences. Dozens of residential buildings were also damaged or destroyed. Libya's Central Hospital reported up to 100 people needing treatment for serious injuries, including infants.
Planned months in advance, the mission was one of many Reagan war crimes. Moreover, it succeeded only in arousing mass anger according to an April 17, 1986 Los Angeles Times report, saying:
Washington's attack "sparked worldwide protests....that erupted into violence as demonstrators burned American flags and effigies of President Reagan in Pakistan and attacked US facilities in several capitals."
Today, Obama is attacking Libya, committing far greater war crimes than Reagan, yet arrogantly claimed last March that he:
"ordered our armed forces to help protect the Libyan people from the brutality of (Gaddafi with an operation of) limited scope and specific purpose," adding "it's in our national interest to act. And it's our responsibility."
-- it's lawless aggression;
-- the supreme crime against peace;
-- targeting another nonbelligerent country;
-- the same criminality committed against Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and other nations attacked to advance America's imperium globally.
Its longstanding goal is conquering, colonizing, dominating, terrorizing, and exploiting nations politically, economically and militarily - America's real "national interest."
Obama is just the latest hired hand, furthering Washington's rogue agenda - pressuring, intimidating and/or terror bombing countries to comply, slaughtering civilians to protect them, destroying their countries for their own good, while lying about America's good intentions that, in fact, seek only to make the world safe for capital, not people.
As a result, many outraged Americans and others globally denounce him, including Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in a stinging June 15 indictment, saying:
"Why....is NATO....using (UN) Resolution 1973 as a pretext to assassinate (Gaddafi) and create regime change....NATO and America are trying to recolonize Africa through AFRICOM....Look at the arrogance of Hillary Clinton (in) Addis Ababa, the capital of the African Union. That's some gall, to go right to us and tell us like children what she wants us to do." Calling NATO a "coalition of demons," he accused member countries of lawlessly promoting regime change in Libya.
Earlier, Farrakhan said America lacked moral authority to attack Libya, denouncing Obama's hypocrisy, asking:
"Who in the hell do you think you are" deciding who may or may not lead Libya or any other country. Growing numbers worldwide agree, including Hugo Chavez last March, accusing Washington of "imperial madness," saying:
"We don't support invasions or massacres, or anything like that no matter who does it. A campaign of lies is being spun together regarding Libya. The US government is behind the campaign to remove Gaddafi. They are the masters of war....They want to seize Libya's oil. The lives of Libya's people don't matter to them at all....It is deplorable (that) the United Nations" supports the "warmongering....Yankee empire, (inflicting) more suffering for the people, more death."
In fact, four months of terror bombing caused mass casualties and destruction, including at least nine civilians and two infants, murdered on June 19 when a three-story Suq Al Juma residential structure was destroyed.
On June 1, Reuters reported that "NATO's bombing campaign has killed 718 Libyan civilians, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said on Tuesday." Another 4,067 were wounded, 433 seriously. The figures were current through May 26.
With intensified terror bombing continuing day and night, the total may now approach or top 1,000 killed and thousands more injured, the same civilians Obama promised to protect.
NATO, of course, denied the accusation, insisting care is taken only to strike military targets, when, in fact, it's bombed schools, a university, a hospital, other medical facilities, a medical factory, civilian ports, airports, basic infrastructure, and residential areas, knowing non-military targets were struck.
On June 15, the London Telegraph headlined, "Libyagate: Rabid NATO Bombed Benghazi Civilians, 90 Killed," saying:
"Now that NATO has bombed Benghazi, there is no possible way that the organization can be allowed to continue its pretense of protecting civilians from the Libyan forces. The organizers of the bombing have displayed symptoms of rabies."
In fact, another 100 were wounded, 20 seriously. According to one resident:
"(Was) this an execution or a terrorist act? The killings by NATO are so many that no definition is possible. NATO is performing the most degrading and perverse role I never thought it could do, no respect for anything or anyone. History will never forget this mass murder nor (its) perpetrators...."
"One has to ask how has it come to this, where the terrorists occupy the seats of government in the western world?"
Terror weapons are also freely used, including killer drones, low-flying attack helicopters, depleted uranium, so-called "mincer" anti-personnel missiles containing 80 5-inch-long flechette steel darts (able to penetrate to the bone and cause horrific injuries), and perhaps others yet to be identified.
In all its wars, America tests new weapons in real time against real targets, including innocent civilians to learn how many mass casualties or destruction can be caused per strike.
On June 17, Reuters said thousands rallied in Tripoli for Gaddafi waving green national flags. Video, in fact, showed massive Green Square crowds, expressing solidarity and support, while denouncing NATO's terror bombing.
Earlier in June, journalist/activist Lizzie Cocker reporting on the ground from Tripoli said:
"One million people marched in support of Brother Leader Colonel Gaddafi in Tripoli in response to Al Jazeera reports that there would be anti-Gaddafi protests after Friday prayers. Their aims were:
1. To show the world that the Libyans are against the invasion.
2. To show that the Libyan people support their legitimate government, legitimate power of the tribes and their leader Moammar Gaddafi.
3. To show support for the Libyans living in Benghazi," being terrorized by mercenary cutthroats, murdering anti-NATO residents and gang-raping women for sport, what Western media won't report.
Speaking for many, one angry Libyan said:
"Who are these countries to dictate who our leader should or should not be. We will pick our own leader. We ask for a vote. Let us vote and then you will see who should be our leader," adding Libyans won't tolerate NATO dictating to them, imposing their puppet leader, and plundering the country of its resources and material wealth.
America's Next Imperial Target?
Planned months or years in advance like all US imperial wars, Washington, Israel, and several regional allies armed mercenaries to destabilize Syria since January, mainly since mid-March when uprisings escalated. In fact, in mid-June, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said:
"We started to expand contacts with the Syrians, those who are calling for change, both inside and outside the country."
On May 19, America's global Voice of America propaganda arm headlined, "Obama Tells Syria's Assad to Lead Transition or Leave," saying:
"In his Middle East policy speech," he told him either to initiate change or get "out of the way. The comment came a day after the US administration imposed sanctions on the Syrian leader and key aides," one of its many imperial policies, dictating how other leaders should govern, demanding they obey or leave, and arrogantly asserting Washington's right to impose its will globally, backing it up with an iron fist.
At the same time, America and other NATO allies are provocatively conducting Black Sea naval exercises off Ukraine's coast near Russia's Sebastopol Black Sea Fleet headquarters. As a result, Russia's Foreign Ministry expressed concern about the USS Monterrey's presence, an Aegis class attack ship equipped with sophisticated SM-3 interceptor (offensive) missiles, as well as powerful computers and tracking radar for first-strike capability.
An official Moscow statement said:
"While leaving aside the unsettled issue of a possible European missile shield architecture, Russia would like to know, in compliance with the Russia-NATO Lisbon summit decisions, what 'aggravation' the US command meant by moving the basic strike unit of the regional missile defense grouping being formed by NATO in the region, from the Mediterranean to the East?"
"We have to state that our concerns continue to be ignored and under the guise of talks on European missile shield cooperation, efforts are under way to build the missile shield configuration whose consequences are dangerous and about which we have numerously informed our US and NATO partners."
This provocation accompanies Western intervention in Syria, perhaps heading for more war against a Russian ally, home for its Tartus Mediterranean port naval supply and maintenance facility, being modernized to accommodate heavy warships after 2012.
As a result, Russia (and China) won't support anti-Syrian Security Council resolutions, perhaps facilitating war the way Resolution 1973 initiated Libyan terror bombing. The Syrian base is Russia's only Mediterranean location, important to protect for its Black Sea Fleet.
At the same time, Washington, Israel, and their regional allies plan regime change to delink Syria from Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran by replacing Assad's regime with a pro-Western one. The familiar strategy involves armed insurgents killing civilians and security forces. Assad's military and police responded the way Gaddafi did in Libya, Washington accusing him of initiating conflict America and its allies began.
Syrian expert Joshua Landis said the Bush administration sought an Assad replacement, "hop(ing) to end Syrian influence in Lebanon, gain (its) support for its occupation of Iraq, and extend its agenda for 'Reform of the Greater Middle East.' "
Specifically, they wanted an Alawi ruling minority general to oust Assad "while maintaining stability." Today, Syrian opposition leaders and perhaps Washington and other Western powers believe dividing Alawis is key to regime change.
Syrian intellectual Bassma Kodmani, in fact, said:
"Alawite leaders have sought to establish contacts with Sunni imams to seek guarantees for the community in return for abandoning the Assad regime. This, rather than defections in the army, could herald" its unraveling.
Author/poet Mohja Kahf also believes that "four of the seven major Alawite clans (Nuwaliya, Kalbiya, Haddadiya, and Khayyatiya) issued statements dissociating themselves from the Assads."
Landis, however, disagrees, saying on June 1:
"This cannot be true....I don't know where (Kahf) would have gotten this intelligence. Alawite tribes hardly have any integrity anymore and don't have 'leaders' who can speak for 'the clan' in order to dissociate them from the Assads."
In fact, there's no Nuwaliya tribe or clan. "She undoubtedly means the Numaylatiya" one. It has no known leader. For generations, "tribal affiliation has become quite weak among many Alawis...." It's also unclear "whether an Alawi 'clan' could be an operative social unit in today's political climate."
What is clear are Washington's imperial ambitions to gain an unchallenged chokehold on the Mediterranean Basin and beyond from North Africa through the Middle East into Central Asia, as close as possible to Russia and China's borders, then perhaps target them for regime change.
Post-9/11, America's longstanding 1990s plan was launched, first against Afghanistan, then Iraq and Pakistan, now Libya and Yemen besides covert campaigns in Somalia, Sudan, and elsewhere, heading for confrontations with Syria, more against Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, as well as Iran to remove all independent threats to Washington's dominance. Israel's also as the sole regional hegemon.
Though many Syrians want change, large masses support Assad as evidenced by a March 29 rally Reuters said included "tens of thousands." Others also show internally divided feelings about an authoritarian regime, one, in fact, avoiding sharp social inequality and poverty, unlike Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Tunisia, Jordan, and other regional states.
Not Libya, however, because Gaddafi shared its oil wealth with his people, providing generous social services and jobs for everyone able to work, the reason millions support him against Western intervention.
Assad also provides mostly free health care, education, and housing assistance, as well as socially just labor laws based on solidarity, not exploitation. In addition, unlike Lebanon and Jordan, Palestinian refugees have full citizenship rights, including access to the same social services.
As a result, despite legitimate grievances among many, today's turmoil is externally generated to oust him for allying with other anti-imperial regional governments. Washington wants them replaced by internal subversion, financial, or military conflict, facilitated by international media manipulation, misreporting events through malicious disinformation, including The New York Times, withholding and distorting facts to misinform readers.
On June 17, its latest editorial foray headlined, "Syria's Nightmare," contemptuously saying:
"With thousands of Syrians being slaughtered, jailed or forced to flee their country, (Obama) and other leaders need to....punish and isolate (Assad) and his cronies."
In fact, who empowers Washington anywhere, and by what authority do Times editors demand it, as well as backing Washington's extremist domestic and foreign agenda.
Nonetheless, says The Times, "(Obama) should make clear that the Syrian strongman has lost all legitimacy (and with) his cronies (must) pay a high price for their abuses....The only way to end Syria's nightmare is for (Assad) to go."
In fact, Washington caused North African/Middle East/Central Asian "nightmares," reigning terror throughout the region. In contrast, Assad attacked no one. Neither did Gaddafi.
Only America and its complicit allies wage wars, ones The Times and America's major media wholeheartedly support, no matter how much death, destruction and human misery they cause.
Expect no editorial mea culpas, now or ever. Instead they endorse perpetual conflicts globally to satisfy Washington's insatiable imperial appetite.
Moreover, America's entire major media establishment is culpable. They not only betray loyal readers and viewers, they're complicit in America's worst crimes of war and against humanity by misreporting or silence on what everyone most needs to know.
How else can America literally get away with murder against one nation after another endlessly, maliciously mischaracterizing leaders threatening no one.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Email address removed.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
[My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html]
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.