We Need To Get It Right This Time
By Don DeBar
I just read "Green Party: The US must honor Libyan rebels’ call for no military attacks" at the Green Party Watch blog at http://www.greenpartywatch.org/2011/03/22/green-party-the-us-must-honor-libyan-rebels-call-for-no-military-attacks/comment-page-1/#comment-14775 and am compelled to take serious issue with its basic assumptions as stated therein.
Although I consider myself a Green, support the party's platform and stated values and, more immediately, support the conclusion of this piece - that the US has no business invading or bombing Libya - the article's parroting of the official line that "Gadaffi is a killer and has been bombing his own people" is way off-base, factually speaking.
Almost two weeks ago, the Russian government issued an official statement to the effect that they have been conducting satellite surveillance of Libyan airspace since the beginning of the "rebellion" over a month ago, and that, up to the time of the statement, there was NO military aerial activity whatsoever and no aerial assaults anywhere in the country (this was prior to the actual military operations that have been conducted over the past week or two between the military and an armed military rebel army).
Additionally, there was a report in the English language daily Pakistan Observer in late February that US amphibious troops had already entered eastern Libya and were arming the "rebels" controlling Benghazi.
Neither of these has been reported here in the US - not even in the so-called "progressive" media - and it is clear that neither was considered by the author of the Green piece, given the basic assumptions of the article.
Further, there has also been released a West Point report from 2007 that names and describes in great detail the Libyan opposition in the eastern part of the country, listing them as US intel assets.
When taken together, these nearly universally ignored facts paint - practically by the numbers - a different picture than that from within which the Green position was taken, viz., that Gadaffi is a dictator who has been bombing and killing his own people. Given the lessons we have already learned (e.g., Iraq II), and considering where US adventurism may move once it has finished with Libya, this fundamental error is a very dangerous and potentially destructive one.
As to the lessons already learned (or were they?):
Do we not remember the demonization campaign against Saddam Hussein ("campaigns" would be more accurate, since it was done before BOTH invasions and during the "no-fly" and sanctions period intervening)? The "incubator babies" from Kuwait in 1991? The charges of rape of civilians by the Iraqi Republican Guard in 2003? The alleged link to al Qaeda (which was WAY off the charts, given the secular nature of pre-invasion Iraq)? And let's not forget for a minute the weapons of mass destructions, which were allegedly in the hands of a maniac, a situation which certainly gave pause in thought and deed to many who would otherwise have felt, and voiced, strong opposition from the outset.
Left uncriticized, the demonization campaign against Saddam served to divide the "Left" (as self-identified, not as measured objectively) by equating support for Iraq's regime as support for a "violently repressive and corrupt" dictator (as Gadaffi is described in this Green offering). In the face of this unchallenged assumption, the opposition to the US actions was seriously compromised, with the result that, despite hundreds of thousands marching on February 15, 2003 and beyond, it was impossible to raise an effective and broad-based opposition bloc against the war until after it was well underway - in other words, until it was too late to stop it.
The current Green piece, by again assuming uncritically the veracity of the charges being leveled by imperialism (this time against Gadaffi and the Libyan military), can only serve to soften the impact of our opposition and cloud the actual, factual situation, while leaving us standing on one leg as we oppose military intervention.
The facts are:
There was no government slaughter of civilians (or anyone else) in Libya;
The situation in Libya is NOT a peoples' uprising by a people who, unlike Egyptians, Tunisians, Yemenis or others currently in revolt in the region, enjoy the highest standard of living on the continent of Africa and among the highest - and certainly most equally shared - in the Arab world.
Rather, the armed uprising in eastern Libya is a US intel operation serving the first forward action of the newly developed and deployed (from Stuttgart!) US AFRICOM being taken against the country (Libya) and leader (Gadaffi) that Nelson Mandela himself loudly proclaimed did more to end apartheid than any other leader or nation on the planet (that's right - look it up).
For those who want a litany of facts about Libya, its history, the role it has played in developing true pan-Africanist economic, social and political structures, and the egalitarian nature of its economy, go to my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/don.debar
Once there, read back over the last five or six weeks of posts, where you'll find links to, and citations from, original source papers, news articles, videos and more, including my own up-close video images of life in Tripoli.
Also included are links to first-hand narratives from a number of journalists that were part of a delegation to Libya of which I was a member, including Wayne Madsen, Bob Fitrakis, Keith Harmon Snow and Troy Nkrumah, as well as analysis from Glen Ford, another member of the delegation.
Cynthia McKinney, who headed our group, has also written on this, and her writing is also linked and cited there.