by Jacob G. Hornberger
President Obama’s claim that his concern for Libyan civilians motivated him to wage his undeclared war of aggression on Libya has got to be one of the most laughable lies to come out of a president’s mouth since President Bush’s bogus WMD rationale that he used to scare the American people into supporting his undeclared war of aggression on Iraq.
Let’s get one thing straight: Neither Obama nor Bush nor any other statist U.S. official gives a hoot for civilians in Libya or, for that matter, in most other countries around the world.
What matters to the U.S. Empire — what has always mattered — is who runs the regimes in those countries. The goal of the Empire is to install U.S.-approved rulers to run countries around the world and to follow imperial orders when necessary — for example, to be amenable to letting the Empire install military bases within the country, to be willing to cast a favorable vote in the United Nations, or be an enthusiastic joiner in some “coalition of the willing.”
The civilians in such countries? They don’t matter. They never have. They’re the peons. Once a U.S.-approved ruler takes charge in a particular country, U.S. officials let him do whatever he wants to his own people in order to retain power. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the “order and stability” that comes with imperial rule across the globe.
Recall the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children that were being killed, year after year, by the cruel and brutal sanctions that the U.S. Empire was enforcing against the Iraqi people for more than 10 years. Year after year, those children were dying. They were civilians. It didn’t matter. U.S. officials didn’t care one whit for what was happening to them. What mattered was getting rid of Saddam Hussein and replacing him with a U.S.-approved ruler. See “America’s Peacetime Crimes against Iraq” by Anthony Gregory.
That’s what the Iraq sanctions were for — regime change. That’s what Obama’s Libyan intervention is all about too.
The infamous and supremely callous statement by Madeleine Albright perfectly expressed the mindset that U.S. officials have toward civilians in the Middle East. When asked by “Sixty Minutes” whether the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children (who were civilians) from the sanctions were worth it, Albright responded that such deaths were, in fact, worth it. By worth it, she meant the attempt to oust Saddam Hussein from power and replace him with a U.S.-supported ruler. The Iraqi children were expendable in the pursuit of that goal and no number of deaths to achieve that goal was considered too high.
What was Albright’s official position when she issued that statement? She was the U.S. government’s official ambassador to the United Nations. She was the Empire’s spokesman to that worldwide body. She was speaking on behalf of the U.S. government.
Think about all the dictators and dictatorships in the Middle East and elsewhere that the U.S. Empire has knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately supported. The Shah of Iran. Saddam Hussein. Hosni Mubarak. Tunisia. Yemen. Jordan. Saudi Arabia. Kuwait. Bahrain. Pakistan. Pinochet. Guatemala. Argentina. Nicaragua. The list goes on and on.
These have all been extremely brutal dictatorships, and U.S. officials have known that they were brutal dictatorships. That didn’t matter. Indeed, U.S.-supported dictators have long been considered good allies in the “war on terrorism,” especially with the “order and stability” that comes with dictatorship.
What all too many Americans do not want to face is that their very own government has been complicit in the evil that these dictatorships were inflicting on their own civilians in their respective counties. Through it all, the dictators and their loyal goons have been fully supported by U.S. officials. It was the U.S. government that was paying for the tyranny, torture, and oppression with hundreds of millions of dollars in IRS-collected tax money that was paid to the dictators in the form of foreign aid. It has been our government — the U.S. government — that has been funding the terror and torture centers and paying the salaries of the torturers for decades.
Obama’s supposed concern for Libyan civilians is a lie, one intended to make the American people feel good about another imperial regime-change operation. After all, if Obama and his statist cohorts in the federal government really cared about foreign civilians, why would they still be funding and cooperating with U.S. supported dictators in the Middle East and elsewhere around the globe?
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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