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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:
Toxic Intervention: Are NATO Forces Poisoning Libya with Depleted Uranium as They 'Protect' Civilians?
By Dave Lindorff
President Obama’s criminal launch of an undeclared and Congressionally unauthorized war against Libya may be compounded by the crime of spreading toxic uranium oxide in populated areas of that country.
This is latest concern of groups like the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, which monitor the military use of so-called depleted-uranium (DU) anti-tank and bunker-penetrating shells.
Images of Libyan civilians and rebels celebrating around the burning hulks of the Libyan army’s tanks and armored personnel carriers, which had been hit by US, French and British aircraft ordnance in the early hours of the US-led assault on the forces of Col. Muammar Gaddafy, could well have been unknowingly inhaling the deadly dust of the uranium weapons favored by Western military forces for anti-tank warfare.
In addition to the forthcoming amendments from Kucinich and Johnson, already blogged here, to defund the war on Libya, here is the already introduced resolution from Ron Paul requiring that Congress vote on whether or not to make war on Libya (even though the Pentagon has plenty of money to not give a damn).
From the News Gazette:
U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, who already opposes U.S. involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, today said he would introduce legislation to de-fund military action in Libya.
The six-term Republican said he would work with Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., a freshman congressman, to draft legislation declaring the action unconstitutional.
“Constitutionally, it is indisputable that Congress must be consulted prior to an act of war unless there is an imminent threat against this country. The president has not done so,” Johnson said. “In fact, this is the same man who questioned President Bush’s constitutional authority to commit troops to war.
Western Aggression on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
Make no mistake. Another Washington-led resource war targets Libya's riches, besides wanting new US base locations for greater regional dominance.
America doesn't covet regional sun, sand and sea. "Humanitarian intervention" is a lie. So are notions about peace, not war, liberation, equity, justice, and other democratic values. Washington tolerates none of them abroad or at home, plundering the world roguishly.
All US presidents are war criminals. Obama is one of the worst, doubling Bush's lawlessness, adding Pakistan and Libya aggression to Iraq and Afghanistan, spending $1.5 trillion annually for militarism plus multi-trillion dollar handouts to Wall Street crooks, while pleading poverty to cut essential homeland social benefits.
Amendment Would Deny Funds for the Military Offensive in Libya
Washington D.C. (March 22, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today announced that he will offer an amendment that would prohibit federal funds from being used to fund military operations in Libya. The amendment would be offered to the next funding measure Congress considers.
Kucinich sent the following letter to fellow Members of Congress:
War Is More than Boots on the Ground
Support an Amendment to End Military Involvement in Libya
Congress held an emergency meeting to defund NPR, and then did nothing as the President spent vastly more money on bombing Libya. President Obama didn't have to ask for the funding, because the Pentagon had enough lying around for just such an occasion.
A fundamental lie that keeps war going is the idea that we avoid war by preparing for it. "Speak softly and carry a big stick," said Theodore Roosevelt, who favored building a big military just in case, but of course not actually using it unless forced to.
This worked out excellently, with the few minor exceptions of Roosevelt's mobilization of forces to Panama in 1901, Colombia in 1902, Honduras in 1903, the Dominican Republic in 1903, Syria in 1903, Abyssinia in 1903, Panama in 1903, the Dominican Republic in 1904, Morocco in 1904, Panama in 1904, Korea in 1904, Cuba in 1906, Honduras in 1907, and the Philippines throughout Roosevelt's presidency.
Lies, Damn Lies, and Humanitarian Intervention - by Stephen Lendman
Masquerading as "humanitarian intervention," Washington launched full-force barbarism on six million Libyans, all endangered by America's latest intervention. More on how below.
Beginning March 19, it was visible. However, months of planning preceded it, including US and UK special forces and intelligence operatives on the ground enlisting, inciting, funding, arming and supporting violent insurrection to oust Gaddafi and replace him with a Washington-controlled puppet like in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The scrip is familiar, playing out now in Libya - full-scale "imperial barbarism," a term James Petras used in a September 2010 article titled, "Imperialism and Imperial Barbarism," saying:
"The organizing principle of imperial barbarism is the idea of total war," including:
-- use of mass destruction weapons, unleashed on Libya as explained below;
By Marjorie Cohn
Since Saturday night, the United States, France, and Britain have been bombing Libya with cruise missiles, B-2 stealth bombers, F-16 and F-15 fighter jets, and Harrier attack jets. There is no reliable estimate of the number of civilians killed. The U.S. has taken the lead in the punishing bombing campaign to carry out United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.
The resolution authorizes UN Member States “to take all necessary measures . . . to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” The military action taken exceeds the bounds of the “all necessary measures” authorization.