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“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.” -Senator Barack Obama, 2007
On March 19, 2011, the President, without Congressional approval, ordered the attack on multiple targets in Libya. Under the guise of enforcing a “no-fly zone” the United States launched over 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles and flew over 113 sorties. At a cost of $1,066,465 per missile that amounts to $117,311,150 for just the munitions, not to mention the fuel and operating costs for the ships and planes used in the attacks. A USAF F-15E Strike Eagle was also lost in the conflict at a cost of $31.1 million. There was also the unseen cost of the aircraft used in the rescue mission and an unknown number of civilians injured.
Hindsight can be a troublesome thing. I distinctly remember ranting on this very blog about Gaddafi’s barbaric treatment of his own people. I never went so far as to suggest that we should send in the gunboats, so to speak, but rest assured, I thought it. When I read David Cameron’s words to the Kuwaiti Parliament and then again in the UK Parliament, I felt reasurred that we should back the uprising on humanitarian grounds. A popular uprising against four decades of Gaddafi rule being violently quashed by a bloke who, to be frank, I never really liked.
Now, regime change is looking ever more likely in Libya as we try to get more involved but become more evasive about being involved. We’ve sent in ‘advisers’ to assist in organisational matters. Not ground troops. OK? Peter Brookes’ cartoon in The Times today was a good one. Soldiers marching on their hands, their legs facing the sky: “No boots on the ground…” Yes, very good Peter, I’ve definitely heard that somewhere before.
This is all relative to Biteback, we’re publishing War is a Lie by David Swanson. But on re-reading it last night in preparation for writing a blog to let you all know it was available, I read this:
“Imagine if war were really fought for strategic, principled, humanitarian goals… wouldn’t we count the foreign dead in order to make some sort of rough calculation of whether the good we were trying to do outweighed the damage?”
It goes without saying that not enough has been made of the death-toll in Libya. I’ve tried to find out and I still don’t know how many have died. But – in the understatement of the century – aerial bombardment isn’t the most accurate of strategies. In light of what’s going on in Libya each point in Swanson’s polemic is more urgent, more pertinent.
He argues that there is no such thing as an honest war, that every war ever fought has been sold to both sides as a fight between the forces of good and evil and that politicians are willing to tell any lie to ensure the public believe they are in the right and the enemy undeniably in the wrong.
David Swanson is an anti-war activist and in War is a Lie he deconstructs virtually every argument ever put forward in favour of war. Drawing on examples throughout history, including the Second World War and the Iraq War, he shows how politicians will use any excuse not simply to justify war but to continue it after the death toll has long since shown the utter futility of continuing with the bloodshed.
War is a Lie is as relevant now as it will ever be.
You can buy a copy now, priced £9.99
Mission Creep in Libya - by Stephen Lendman
Escalated intervention keeps incrementally building toward sending combat troops against Gaddafi, French and UK leaders signaling what may, in fact, have been planned all along, perhaps including US marines. More on that below.
On April 16, New York Times writer Rod Nordland admitted what's already known headlining, "Libyan Rebels Say They're Being Sent Weapons," saying:
Interviewed by Al Arabiya on Saturday, rebel military leader General Abdel Gattah Younas said "his forces had received weapons supplies from unidentified nations that supported their uprising." National Transitional Council spokesman Mustafa Gheriani confirmed it without naming sources thought to be Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, and NATO members directly.
Gheriani also said that rebels had "professional training centers," adding:
"We have a lot of people being trained, real professional training, that we don't talk to the world about."
(Scroll page for issues - latest at top)
64 Pages:THE WAR ON LIBYA: Stop arming dictators. Stop killing civilians, Medea Benjamin & Charles Davis, Our trillion dollar turd sandwich, David Swanson; Oil, banks, the UN and troubled waters, Felicity Arbuthnot; War in Libya, control of the Mediterranean, Rick Rozoff; Obama on Libya: A war for US interests, Bill van Auken; Hurwitt’s eye, Mark Hurwitt
TRIBUTE TO JOE BAGEANT: My brother Joe, Tony Sutton; Man who cared about people, not money, Fred Reed; Poet and redneck revolutionary, Marc Campbell
PLUS: The Gold and the Stone, Uri Avnery; Not war, not peace, Jack Laurenson; Victim of the military empire, John W. Whitehead; It’s still their fault, Bernard Porter; Bait and switch, Sam Pizzigat; Libya and the Holy Triumvirate, William Blum; Bendib’s World, Khalil Bendib; A tale of two countries, David Michael Green; Not your father’s culture war, Bill Berkowitz; So this is how the other half lives, Damian Bathersby
STOP THE WAR COALITION
Newsletter No. 1198
18 April 2011
Tel: 020 7801 2768
IN THIS NEWSLETTER:
1) WHY WE SAY STOP BOMBING LIBYA NOW
2) LONDON LIBYA PROTEST: 19 APRIL
3) CONFRONTING ANTI MUSLIM HATRED IN BRITAIN AND EUROPE
4) CONFERENCE: AFGHANISTAN AND THE WAR ON TERROR
5) VIDEO: OIL AND POLITICS IN OCCUPIED IRAQ
1) WHY WE SAY STOP BOMBING LIBYA NOW
A packed special meeting of the Stop the War national steering
committee last Saturday brought delegates from across the country
and from affiliated organisations to discuss the issues arising
from the attack on Libya and wider issues of the "war on terror".
The statement last week signed by Cameron, Obama and Sarkozy made
it clear that this is now a war of regime-change, which is
Legislation Invokes War Powers Resolution
Washington D.C. (April 19, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced plans to introduce legislation that will assert Congress’ constitutional responsibility to make decisions about declaring war. He made the announcement in the following letter to colleagues:
Earlier this month, President Obama made his case for U.S. participation in a United Nations-sanctioned war in Libya. The President’s Office of Legal Council recently released the Administration’s legal justification for the war, arguing that he was not required to come to Congress for prior authorization because the war is in our national interest and because it is not really a war. But our actions in Libya and the Administration’s failure to seek authorization from Congress, as required by Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, cannot be justified.
What Next in Libya? - by Stephen Lendman
So far, weeks of conflict produced more stalemate than resolution, policy disagreement among NATO partners, and hawkish US broadsheets like The New York Times and Washington Post calling for escalated conflict to oust Gaddafi.
In its April 14 editorial headlined, "Stop the Blame Game," The Times called for stepped up bombing, arming so-called rebels, and saying, "No political settlement in which the dictator remains in place will work. The West and its partners must be ready to maintain political, economic and military pressure until (he's) gone."
On April 16, a Washington Post editorial headlined, "The Libya stalemate," saying:
"THE CONTRADICTIONS at the heart of US policy in Libya are becoming more acute." On the one hand, Obama, France's Sarkozy, and Britain's Cameron said bombing will continue until Gaddafi's gone. On the other, Obama "acknowledged that the war between rebels and (Gaddafi's forces) is stalemated."
By Alan J. Kuperman, Boston Globe
EVIDENCE IS now in that President Barack Obama grossly exaggerated the humanitarian threat to justify military action in Libya. The president claimed that intervention was necessary to prevent a “bloodbath’’ in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city and last rebel stronghold.
But Human Rights Watch has released data on Misurata, the next-biggest city in Libya and scene of protracted fighting, revealing that Moammar Khadafy is not deliberately massacring civilians but rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his government.
Kucinich Calls Upon the United Nations to Uphold the Arms Embargo of Libya
Washington D.C. (April 14, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has led Congressional opposition to the war in Libya, today sent an urgent request to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon asking him to take immediate action against U.N. member state Qatar for providing anti-tank weapons to Libyan rebels in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970, which established an international arms embargo of Libya.
See a signed copy of the letter here.
France and UK Bypass UN, to NATO: “More Airstrikes!”
Civilians At Risk in Expanded War
WASHINGTON (April 12) - - United States Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), who has led Congressional opposition to the war in Libya, today asked United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to take action to ensure that its member states acting in Libya do not take actions that exceed the authorization provided in United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973. Britain and France have called for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to intensify air strikes in Libya.
In a letter to the Secretary General, Kucinich referred to today’s reports that the British and French foreign ministers appear to be trying to push NATO to go beyond the actions that were authorized by the international community.
Planned Libyan Invasion - by Stephen Lendman
In his book, "Winning Modern Wars," General Wesley Clark said Pentagon sources told him two months after 9/11 that war plans were being prepared against Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Libya. Months earlier, they were finalized against Afghanistan.
"And what about the real sources of terrorists - US allies in the region like Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia? Wasn't it repressive policies of the first, and the corruption and poverty of the second, that were generating many of the angry young men who became terrorists? And what of the radical ideology and direct funding spewing from Saudi Arabia?"
"It seemed that we were being taken into a strategy more likely to make us the enemy - encouraging what could look like a 'clash of civilizations' - not a good strategy for winning the war on terror."
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press
Libyan rebel fighters with vehicle-mounted multiple rocket launchers loaded on flatbed trucks head to the front line, from the western gate of Ajdabiya, Libya Thursday, April 7, 2011. Rebel fighters claimed NATO airstrikes blasted their forces Thursday in another apparent mistake that sharply escalated anger about coordination with the military alliance in efforts to cripple pro-Gadhafi forces.
Libyan rebels riding on the back of an armed pickup truck retreat east towards Benghazi from Ajdabiya, Libya Thursday, April 7, 2011. Rebel fighters claimed NATO airstrikes blasted their forces Thursday in another apparent mistake that sharply escalated anger about coordination with the military alliance in efforts to cripple Libyan forces. At least two rebels were killed and more than a dozen injured, a doctor said.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 8, 2011) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement responding the Office of Legal Counsel’s opinion regarding the President’s authority to use military force in Libya:
In the legal memo provided by the President’s Office of Legal Counsel, the Administration argues that the President had the authority to attack Libya absent Congressional authorization because he determined it was in the national interest and because the U.S. is engaged in limited military operations that do not constitute a war.
In the good old days of Bybee and Yoo, before we let them get away with it, thereby guaranteeing worse things to come, Justice Department memos "legalizing" the crime of aggressive war were secret. Now they're published quickly, and there's a new one out on Libya (PDF). It begins:
"The President had the constitutional authority to direct the use of military force in Libya because
he could reasonably determine that such use of force was in the national interest. Prior congressional approval was not constitutionally required to use military force in the limited operations under consideration. April 1, 2011."
April Fools! Ha Ha! They had me going.
Remember Libya: One of History's Terror Bombing Victims - by Stephen Lendman
Like Cast Lead against Gaza, Odyssey Dawn is criminal imperial war, willfully attacking non-combatants and civilian targets, including vital infrastructure, hospitals, non-military airports and buildings, ports, power generating facilities, and other sites unrelated to military necessity.
These and more besides so-called rebels killing hundreds on the ground, targeting anyone thought to be pro-Gaddafi, including African guest workers there for employment, not political allegiance.
In his article titled, "Libya and Obama's Defense of the 'Rebel Uprising,' " James Petras said:
Obama's Terror War on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
Since WW II, America's gone to war as much to wage as win them because so many profiteers benefit. The prospect of peace, in fact, terrifies government, military officials, and corporate predators, so new enemies are invented when old ones are vanquished, are no longer of interest, or conflicts end for other reasons.
Wars are solely for wealth and power, never humanitarian intervention to liberate oppressed people or promote democracy. They're notions, in fact, US leaders won't tolerate, notably Obama, doubling down on Bush, waging his Iraq and Afghan wars, fighting two others in Pakistan and Libya, another allied with Israel against Palestine, as well as proxy wars in Somalia, Central Africa, Yemen, Bahrain, Haiti, Honduras, Colombia, and at home against Muslims, Latino immigrants, and working Americans.
(to hear the song, go to ThisCantBeHappening! and click on the link.
New Song by Dave Lindorff:
That Tea Party Racket (Ain't Playin' So Well No More) Blues
Governor Scott Walker tried to
Take union rights away
But the workers of Wisconsin
Are gonna make him pay
We’re working on those recalls
Gonna show those bums the door.
That Tea Party racket
Ain’t playin’ so well no more!
Oh here in Pennsylvania
Corbett’s slashing aid to schools.
That means more local taxes.
They’re playing us for fools
But meanwhile with natural gas
He’s giving away the store.
This Tea Party racket
Ain’t playin’ so well no more!
Over in Ohio
The legislature threw
Union rights of cops away
And firefighters too.
What happens if a fire
Starts on the capital floor?
Then that Tea Party racket
Won’t play so well no more!
There’s twenty percent unemployed
Home prices in the the gutter
2 April 2011 - A terrible thought has struck me. Could the excitement over the war in Libya serve to make Tony Blair look less awful and deprive the Chilcot inquiry of what little sting it may have when it finally publishes later this year?
Of course the Government, and the many MPs who supported military intervention, argue that this time is different, that they have learnt the lessons of Iraq, sought proper UN sanction and eschewed action on the ground.
By Debra Sweet, National Director of World Can't Wait
I've talked to a number of people in the last 10 days who describe themselves as "hoping for the best" from the US intervention into the North African country of Libya. They choose to believe the US arguments that the intervention is 1) for humanitarian reasons limited to "saving civilian lives"; 2) is legitimate because it has the backing of the UN and NATO.
But the facts don't support those hopes.
Read more at:
By John Grant
“…get a man greedy enough and he got the guts to go – go, go, … Vietnam, hot damn.”
-Norman Mailer, Why Are We In Vietnam?
The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the program created by Congress to expend over $700 billion of our tax dollars to prevent a “meltdown of the financial system,” is a “colossal failure.” It’s now official. Neil M. Barofsky, the man hired as TARP’s special inspector general, has come clean.
Why is it a colossal failure? Because, Mr Barofsky says, the act passed by Congress “expressly directs” Timothy Geithner’s Treasury Department to spend hundreds of billions of the TARP money to aid struggling homeowners with their mortgages.
by Walter Brasch
Millions of Americans gave George W. Bush unquestioned support when he diverted personnel and resources from the war against al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden to invade Iraq.
Several million fewer opposed the invasion, stating that the primary mission was to destroy the enemy hiding in Afghanistan that destroyed a part of America and not to expand the war. At first, President Bush claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, capable of destroying Israel and, if placed aboard cargo vessels, could be launched at the east coast of the U.S. When that explanation fizzled, Bush said the invasion was to remove a dictator. Soon, “Regime Change” was the buzz phrase of the month.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s Address to Congress on the War in Libya
As Prepared for Delivery—
So President Obama has been quoted calling his war in Libya a turd sandwich, while Juan Cole calls it philanthropy, and Ed Schultz praises it as vengeance against this month's Adolph Hitler. The last time we bombed this particular Hitler we took out his daughter, among other people.
How is Schultz's spitting mad hatred as war justification squared with Cole's humanitarian generosity? The answer is easy. They prefer different condiments on their turd sandwiches. Which is why wars are always packaged in multiple and mutually contradictory propaganda campaigns.
As all the experts pile on in pointing out that the UN Resolution (never mind Congress) does not authorize arming Libyan rebels, it turns out Obama already committed that crime and neglected to mention it in his "We're about done over there" speech. That is, he has authorized the CIA to arm Libyan rebels (using your money, of course). Whether the order has been acted on is not clear. Here's Mark Hosenball of Reuters:
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
Obama signed the order, known as a presidential "finding", within the last two or three weeks, according to four U.S. government sources familiar with the matter.
March 30, 2011 - Obama Gets Lowest Approval, Reelect Score Ever, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; More Voters Oppose U.S. Involvement In Libya
Washington D.C. (March 30, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), the leading opponent of the Obama Administration’s intervention in Libya, again challenged the basis for the Libyan war saying: “The critical issue today is not the defense of Libyan democracy but the defense of American democracy.” Tomorrow, Kucinich will address the House for one hour.
See the video here. The full text of the Congressman’s remarks follow.
"We are in the midst of a foreign policy and constitutional crisis. The Administration has committed our nation to a war against Libya in violation of the Constitution of the United States.