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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.
Johan Galtung, sometimes called the father of peace studies, predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union and the refusal of Egyptian soldiers to attack civilians. His prediction of the collapse of the US empire in 2020 appears to be on schedule. So, it was noteworthy when he predicted on Tuesday at the University of Virginia that the war in Libya would last 20 years. If, however, NATO and the opposition were to kill Gadaffi, he said, the fighting could go on for more than 20 years.
This prediction came the day after Obama gave one of those speeches, like his speeches on Gitmo or Iraq, where he persuades you that something is already over without actually making that claim. How can the war (excuse me, humanitarian intervention) in Libya be over and have 20 years left to go?
Obama on Libya: Defending the Indefensible - by Stephen Lendman
Obama's March 28 television address wreaked of hypocrisy, lies and disdain for basic democratic values, making an indefensible case for naked aggression against a non-belligerent country. America's media approved.
On March 28, New Times writer Helene Cooper headlined, "Obama Cites Limits of US Role in Libya," saying:
Obama "defended the American-led military assault in Libya on Monday, saying it was in the national interest of the United States to stop a potential massacre that would have 'stained the conscience of the world,' " even though no threat existed until:
-- Washington showed up with co-belligerents France and Britain;
-- beginning in 2010, armed and funded so-called "rebels" who, in fact, are cutthroat killers, rapists and marauders, terrorizing every area they control, including their Benghazi stronghold; and
From Black Agenda Radio
Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, at Champaign, says the U.S. is involved in an “all-out war” of “plunder and aggression” in Libya. “This is the first major outright power grab by the United States and the major colonial, imperial powers against Africa in the 21st century," says Boyle.
“Humanitarian” Bombing Bogus
David Swanson, peace activist and publisher of the we site “War Is A Crime,” says President Obama’s claims that “humanitarian” motivation is nonsense. “If there were an Obama doctrine that said: Where there is a humanitarian crisis, we’re going to go bomb people, we’d be bombing our own puppet dictators.”
Western Military Occupation Likely
“When the U.S. invades another country, which happens frequently, we generally leave U.S. military bases there,” says Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, in San Diego. “The countries who are bombing Libya don’t really know who the opposition is,” says Cohn. “It could be al Qaida.”
Whose Interests Are Served?
Ali Ahmida, an historian of Libya and chairman of the political science department at the University of New England, is generally sympathetic to the rebels. But, he worries that the revolt could be “hijacked for other people’s agendas.”
Obama’s Haiti Policy is “Deeply Cynical”
Haiti’s recent presidential elections, which offered a choice of only two rightwing candidates and for which only about a quarter of the population turned out, will produce a government that has “absolutely no constitutional or popular credibility.” Brian Concannon, Jr., of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, calls President Obama’s claim that the U.S. is bringing democracy to Haiti is “deeply cynical.”
Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 4:00pm ET on PRN. Length: One hour.
President Obama on Monday said he would "never hesitate" to use the U.S. military "unilaterally" to defend "interests" and "values," including "maintaining the flow of commerce." Fear of exactly that led the founders of this republic to give Congress the exclusive power to declare war. James Madison did not believe any single individual could be trusted with such power:
"The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast, ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venal love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace."
By STEPHEN BRAUN, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — In the months before Libyans revolted and President Barack Obama told leader Moammar Gadhafi to go, the U.S. government was moving to do business with his regime on an increasing scale by quietly approving a $77 million dollar deal to deliver at least 50 refurbished armored troop carriers to the dictator's military.
By Phyllis Bennis
Many thanks, Juan, for your thoughtful article. I agree with a number of your points, but I come out with the opposite conclusion. Let me explain why, going thru some of the points in your piece.
The Libyan uprising against their longstanding dictatorial regime clearly emerged in the context of the region-wide Arab Spring, and our support for it remains grounded in that broader support. The claims about al Qaeda leading the uprising, of Benghazi’s population all being Islamists or drugged are certainly ridiculous – the fact that an Islamist movement has long had a presence in eastern Libya doesn’t change that, nor does the fact that some people may be proud of the few hundred young Libyan men over the years who joined resistance forces of whatever sort in Iraq or elsewhere.
By Dennis J Kucinich, The Guardian
On November 2, 2010 France and Great Britain signed a mutual defence treaty , which included joint participation in "Southern Mistral" (www.southern-mistral.cdaoa.fr), a series of war games outlined in the bilateral agreement. Southern Mistral involved a long-range conventional air attack, called Southern Storm, against a dictatorship in a fictitious southern country called Southland. The joint military air strike was authorised by a pretend United Nations Security Council Resolution. The "Composite Air Operations" were planned for the period of 21-25 March, 2011. On 20 March, 2011, the United States joined France and Great Britain in an air attack against Gaddafi's Libya, pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 1973.
Planned Regime Change in Libya - by Stephen Lendman
A March 25 White House press release announced Obama's planned March 28 national TV speech:
"to update the American people on the situation in Libya, including the actions we've taken with allies and partners to protect the Libyan people from the brutality of Moammar Qaddafi, the transition to NATO command and control, and our policy going forward."
Imagine the hypocrisy. US-style "humanitarian intervention" reigns death and destruction "to protect the Libyan people." Recall how "shock and awe" protected Iraqis, how war on Afghanistan helps Afghans and neighboring Pakistanis from predatory drone and ground attacks. Libyans are now tasting imperial viciousness firsthand.
US-Led Libyan Ground Assault Planned - by Stephen Lendman
In his weekly March 26 address, Obama said:
"As I pledged at the outset, the role of American forces has been limited. We are not putting any ground forces into Libya....And as agreed this week, responsibility for this operation is being transferred from the United States to our NATO allies and partners."
Earlier he said:
"United States forces are conducting a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster."
Lawrence Kaplan of TNR just explained why we have to bomb Libya
I'm about to be on to correct him
One wonders why there is so little knowledge of these others uprisings and confusion, as I see it, as to the Libyan actions by the U.S. and NATO as well as seeming little support. One big reason is we already were familiar with a couple of the players in the Egyptian opposition and through the internet got familiar with the younger generation people that were so active in bringing it on. These others we have extremely little knowledge, if any, of the players in opposition, we do know that some in the Libyan movement are not considered friendly to the west, especially us here in the U.S. after the previous decade!!
Americans turned against this one faster than ever before, but not fast enough. There can be no such thing as fast enough if presidents are given war powers.
United for Peace and Justice calls for the immediate end to United States military operations in Libya and to the Libyan government's use of violence to brutally repress peaceful protest. We call for negotiations aimed at ending the fighting and realizing the rights of the Libyan people to chart their own destiny free of U.S./Western influence and internal repression.
Already embroiled in an eight year occupation in Iraq and an ongoing war in Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, U.S. motives for intervention in Libya are highly questionable.
by Walter Brasch
There has been a lot in the news this past week.
Most important, if measured by getting most of the ink and air time, is the continuing soap opera, “Charlie and the CBS Factory.”
The latest in a seemingly never-ending story is that after Charlie Sheen melted down, was fired, and spread himself to every known television talk show, declaring himself to be a winner and announcing a $100 million forthcoming law suit against CBS for breech of contract, the president of CBS announced he wanted Sheen back in “Two and a Half Men.”
Details are to be worked out. CBS said it would work with creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre and producing studio Warner Brothers, The relationship among Sheen, Warner Bros., Lorre, and most of the cast and crew may be a bit more difficult since Sheen’s warm-and-friendly on-air persona didn’t match his vitriolic attacks upon his co-stars and anti-Semitic remarks about Lorre.
The Attack on Libya is Not Merely a No Fly Zone—But an Intervention Into Libya
By Kevin Zeese
It was hard for some peace activists to look at the planned attack by Col. Gadhafi on Libyan rebels and oppose the no fly zone approved by the U.N. Col. Gadhafi is a vicious leader who promised to make the streets run red with blood so this was an issue that divided the peace community.
Regardless of how you felt about the original no fly zone, how you feel about the Gadhafi regime or the armed rebels fighting it, we should all recognize that the United States, United Kingdom and France are going further than a no fly zone and are intervening in a civil war for their own reasons that have nothing to do with defending democracy or other humanitarian goals. Already we are seeing evidence of the broader mission beyond a no fly zone.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 24, 2011) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today wrote to President Obama that it was improper to commit the United States to a military intervention in Libya without prior Congressional approval, clear objectives and questioned the criteria used for intervention. Kucinich also informed President Obama of his intent to introduce a bipartisan amendment that would cut off all funds for the U.S.’s role in Libyato the next funding measure to be considered.
The letter was sent immediately upon the President’s return to the United States from a trip to South America that began after the President announced U.S. participation in military intervention in Libya without seeking prior Congressional approval for the use of military force as required by the Constitution.
ONSLOW COUNTY -- We've seen Camp Lejuene Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan and now they are joining the fight against Libya.About 2,200 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will take part in support operations based aboard USS Kearsarge at sea. Those support operations have thus far included air strikes and one rescue operation. The overall mission is to help end the violence directed at the Libyan people."In Libya right now they are doing exactly what we need them to do. They are doing what they are told and right now that's protecting Libyan people against Qadhafi forces," said Captain Timothy Patrick, a Marine with the 26th MEU. UPDATE: Conditions set forth by the U.N. Security Council towards resolving the unrest in Libya included the removal of Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi’s forces from Ajdubiyah. These latest strikes by the MEU aimed at preserving the sanctity of the city and the safety of the civilians within it. In an effort to safeguard the Libyan populace and infrastructure in and around the city of Ajdabiyah from further attacks by regime forces, 26th MEU, as part of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, launched a second round of strikes by AV-8B Harrier jump jets.
“Our primary concern was ensuring the people inside Ajdubiyah were safe from Qadhafi’s artillery and tanks,” said Col. Mark J. Desens, commanding officer of 26th MEU. “Everything we are seeing following these strikes indicates that his forces are now less capable of threatening the town than before.”
A Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit's AV-8B Harrier jump jet returns to USS Kearsarge for fuel and ammunition resupply while conducting air strikes in support of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, March 20, 2011. Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn is the U.S. Africa Command task force established to provide operational and tactical command and control of U.S. military forces supporting the international response to the unrest in Libya and enforcement of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973. UNSCR 1973 authorizes all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya under threat of attack by Qadhafi regime forces. JTF Odyssey Dawn is commanded by U.S. Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, III.
Patrick said that Marines from the 26th MEU are coming on the end of their deployment. They will be replaced with Marines from the 22nd MEU.A press release from the 26th MEU reads, in part:"Protecting the innocent and conducting combined operations are what we are designed to do, our forces are doing both as part of the U.S commitment to protect Libyan citizens."
- March 22, 2011: Camp Lejeune Marines Rescue Downed Pilot In Libya
By Timothy V. Gatto
When will the American people demand accountability from their government? When will Americans realize that there is no “clear and present danger” that could conceivably be used to invoke the war powers act? Where is it written that America is the conscience of the planet and has the right to bomb and kill those that the United States regards as evil?
Cheerleading for War - by Stephen Lendman
When America goes to war, managed news goes with it spreading rumors, half-truths, misinformation, and willful deception about targeted nations, regimes and leaders, whether despots or democrats. Whoever first said it, the first casualty of war is truth, and then some as John Pilger once observed saying:
"Journalism is the first casualty. Not only that: it has become a weapon of war, a virulent censorship (and willful misreporting) that goes unrecognised in the United States, Britain and other democracies; censorship by omission, whose power is such that, in war, it can mean the difference between life and death for people in faraway countries...."
Once again, the peace movement is being challenged to offer an alternative to a violent intervention with inherently indiscriminate and destructive air-launched weapons. We know that 20%+ of these weapons are probably missing their targets and killing civilians, but proponents of Western intervention frame the issue with the perennial straw man of "doing nothing" or "allowing Gaddafi to massacre his people".
Here is an alternative strategy that was proposed in a letter to the Security Council on March 16th by Louise Arbour and the International Crisis Group. Louise Arbour is the former UN Commissioner for Human Rights, a former Supreme Court Justice in Canada and the former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda. We may each disagree with some of the particulars of Ms. Arbour's proposal, but it makes the point that there were and are real alternatives to the course chosen by our leaders: