The hypocrisy of military intervention for so-called 'humanitarian assistance'
(FinalCall.com) - The fast moving media discussion concerning the invasion of the North African country of Libya, under the auspices of the creation of a no-fly zone, and the destruction of “military targets” appears more geared toward just satisfying the appetite of John Q Public, than it has to do with providing anything having to do with reality. When President Obama announced the decision to invade Libya, I decided to review his being granted the Noble Peace Prize and discovered the judges awarded the prize based on the possible fulfillment of his glorified future aspirations, not taking into consideration the restrictions of the job. Hold that point.
President Barack Obama is briefed on the situation in Libya during a secure conference call while in Brazil March 23. Photo: MGN Online
President Obama's visit to Africa later this year might be fraught with difficulty. Not only is he subject to lose his identity as a possible friend of Africa, his apparent regime change policy for Col. Gadhafi—a man that Africa has embraced because of his willingness to invest Libya's oil wealth in Sub-Saharan Africa, may be grounds for separation.
In this continuing military intervention “episode,” (that includes Iraq and Afghanistan), wrote conservative journalist George Will in the Washington Post, America has intervened in a “civil war in a tribal society, the dynamics of which America does not understand” supporting factions America “does not know.” But, according to the contributor of ABC's, “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” “then, knowing is rarely required in the regime-change business.”
Following in the footsteps of misinforming the American public is Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry providing the public with “muddled” information, saying that dropping of bombs on a sovereign nation doesn't constitute going to war, and the targeting of Col. Gadhafi's residence/compound doesn't suggest regime change, wrote MSNBC's Morning with Joe host John Scarborough.
The former member of congress wrote disparagingly, even though the administration's inconclusive declarations suggest to the pundits and viewers alike that this is a work in progress, they've already decided on the outcome.
Obama's words discussing the UN Security Council resolution authorizing the military invasion, including the creation of a no-fly zone, to block Col. Gadhafi from waging a war against rebels—minus references to WMDs—echoes Pres. Bush's comments about Saddam Hussein prior to the invasion of Iraq.
The president's ambivalence to his own policies, and allowing himself to be upstaged by his Secretary of State, while spending time in South America with his family, revealed a skeptical president, and possibly a man in a valley of decision.
During the second political debate candidate Obama claimed the limitations of intervention, but in almost the same breath left the door open for the use of intervening militarily for humanitarian purposes. U.S intervention could of stopped the genocide in Rwanda, “that would be something that we would have to strongly consider and act,” he said during the debate,
Recognizing the overwhelming magnitude of embarking on such an operation, the then-candidate observed, “We're not going to be able to be everywhere all the time.”
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, of the Nation of Islam, recently appeared on Chicago WVON-AM host Chris Kelley's radio show “warning” Obama about the potential consequences of going to war against Gadhafi got much play on You Tube and Fox News. In fact the Farrakhan interview with the “governor” of Chicago talk radio had reached, last I looked, nearly 500,000 viewers.
Back in the 1980s a much used reference by Farrakhan, directed at U.S. presidents, is how after being somewhat comfortable in their limited domestic policy bubble, they are exposed to past, present and future horrific geo-political imperialist government policies.
According to former House intelligence committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra, Obama's past views of U.S. foreign policy are obsolete. ‘These people run on an agenda of domestic affairs because that's what they know that people care about,” he told the online Capital Hill publication Politico. “And then they get into office,” Hoekstra said. “The twist of events forces them to do things that they probably never comprehended they would have to be facing.”
The fact is the U.S. military is ill-suited for humanitarian intervention. As associate professor of American history at California State University-Sacramento Joseph A. Palermo wrote in a recent Huffington Post article, “Once the violence is unleashed, it inevitably has a tendency to escalate and move in unpredictable directions.” And we haven't even discussed the fact the U.S. Congress—America's only Constitutionally-recognized war making body—was rendered irrelevant.
Still military intervention for humanitarian reasons is a recent phenomenon. America's African Command, known as Africom is the Pentagon's latest venture. In operation for three years it obsessively claims to work directly with the State Department to provide humanitarian assistance, like the removal of land minds and improving H.I.V. awareness. But it was also created to train and assist the armed forces of 53 African nations. It is in charge, under its new head, Gen. Carter F. Ham, of the operation in Libya. (In fact Africom is supposed to hand over the reigns to NATO, but with the infighting in NATO still going on at press time, Africom appeared likely to stay in charge).
But in a documentary called “Africon or Africom,” it was said that you can't have “warriors who are also humanitarians.”
According to Emina Woods, of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Foreign Policy Studies, “Those lines cannot be combined (without disastrous consequences).”
The disastrous effects of American foreign policy interventions show a history of a country run amuck. A small snapshot of the Cold War period provides prime examples and includes the Bay of Pigs attempted invasion and assassination of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the overthrow of Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah, and the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. Fifty-one years ago, America arranged for the Congo's only democratically elected leader to be overthrown, handed over to his enemies, tortured and eventually killed.
President Obama's visit to Africa later this year might be fraught with difficulty. Not only is he subject to lose his identity as a possible friend of Africa, as suggested by Min. Farrakhan, his apparent regime change policy for Col. Gadhafi—a man that Africa has embraced because of his willingness to invest Libya's oil wealth in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the N.Y. Times, may be grounds for separation.
The fact that Djibouti, home of Africom, and a stop during Obama's upcoming Africa tour is called the “Bahrain of Africa” speaks volumes. Both Bahrain and Djibouti are home to significant American military commands and run by repressive regimes. During a recent Middle East sparked demonstration, an estimated 30,000 Djiboutians—in a country with only 750,000 people—called for the removal of Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh. “They were met,” wrote Steven Roblin in Znet, “by riot police, who violently dispersed the protesters.”
Unlike Egyptians' temporary ability to control Tahrir Square, “state violence in Djibouti successfully repressed the attempt by pro-democracy forces to establish a permanent protest camp in the center of the capital.”
Obama while traveling in Central and South America received severe criticism for his invasion of Libya from several Latin American leaders, who in addition, along with Russian leaders, suggested he return his Noble Peace Prize.
Obama's response shows the hypocrisy of the office he holds, and a willingness to use his words of peace and humanitarian assistance only for political expediency. “I'm accustomed to this contradiction of being both commander-in-chief, but also somebody who aspires to peace,” the president said.
(Jehron Muhammad can be reached at Africawatch53@gmail.com)