Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Favorable Response and Possible Turning Point The Coup d’Etat Attempt in Venezuela

from Counterpunch
FEBRUARY 24, 2015

by CHRIS GILBERT
Caracas, Venezuela.

If there were not a coup d’etat underway, someone would have to invent one to rally the masses. That may be the case for the Venezuelan government today, which is beset with so many problems, and it is one of the reasons that some people are incredulous about the latest claim of President Nicolás Maduro to be victim of a planned coup attempt. Nevertheless, there was real evidence presented two weeks ago of a conspiracy in the ranks of the Venezuelan Air Force. In fact, there are three important elements: real evidence, real informers and, fortunately, real arrests.

One of the arrests is that of Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Metropolitan Caracas. It must be admitted that this shady right-wing politician’s ties to the Air Force conspiracy are not very clear. Moreover, the Air Force’s scheme to bomb various sites in Caracas including the Presidential palace could only be distantly linked with plans by Ledezma and other visible opposition leaders to take power through undemocratic means, since this military conspiracy is presumed to consider itself “Bolivarian” (i.e. “Chavist”) – at least that is what Maduro hinted in a nationwide television transmission on February 12.

Instead, Ledezma’s arrest is based principally on the contents of a document called the “National Transition Agreement” that he developed with two other anti-government leaders: Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado. This declaration, which was to be published on February 12, refers to the Venezuelan government as in its “terminal phase” and expresses the need to “name new authorities.” It also mentions restructuring the economy and giving amnesty to “political prisoners.” According to progovernment jurists, the “Transition Agreement” does not make sufficiently clear that it conceives political change within a constitutional, democratic framework.

Most likely the interpretation of this ambiguous text could (and will) be argued both ways. Nevertheless, regardless of how the question is resolved, the Venezuelan masses are highly satisfied with Ledezma’s arrest, as any reasonable person should be, since the mayor is responsible for huge human rights crimes in the past: most recently as a participant in the 2002 coup attempt that led to considerable bloodshed and earlier as the Federal District Governor who directed state troops which assassinated as many as 4000 civilians during the Caracazo uprising of 1989.

What about the U.S. government’s possible hand in this recently discovered plot? It should be remembered that many coups against popular, left-leaning regimes are not conceived in CIA laboratories but are rather supported opportunistically by the U.S. government and its agencies. For example, the military plot to remove Patrice Lumumba from power, conceived by Colonel Joseph Mobutu, fell into the hands of a highly relieved CIA agent Larry Devlin, who enthusiastically supported it. Devlin was the CIA station chief in Kinshasa and had been charged by Washington to poison Lumumba with doctored toothpaste, a prospect he found unattractive.

In present-day Venezuela, it is unlikely that the U.S. government could directly orchestrate a plot that calls itself “Bolivarian” and comes from the Venezuelan Air Force. Nevertheless, the White House might well be working to delicately promote such a thing and later take advantage of it. One possible scenario would involve an initial military coup by dissident Bolivarian officers, followed by a call for elections in which the legal and recognized opposition – involving such figures as Henrique Capriles, Antonio Ledezma, María Corina Machado and Julio Borges – would emerge to take charge.

The possibility of a military coup followed by hurried elections – a two-stage overthrow – could be what is behind the U.S. driven media campaign against Venezuela that has unfolded in recent weeks and involves extravagant claims about government figures running an international drug trafficking ring. Such a plan was also pointed to in words that recently escaped from Julio Borges of the opposition party Primero Justicia. When asked on Unión Radio how he would respond to a coup, Borges responded that, instead of working to restore the constitutional order, his party would “immediately call for elections.” This brings to mind the Honduras transition of 2009 in which a coup d’etat that installed a brief and unpopular military government was followed by the fraudulent election of Porfirio Lobo.

By moving against Ledezma after many months of disappointing concessions to business sectors, President Maduro has obviously scored a point with the Venezuelan masses, as he likewise scored points with the “Dakazo” interventions in electrical appliance stores (including one called Daka) that took place more than a year ago. However, this earlier move, though highly popular, proved to be of little substance since the government quickly retreated from further economic intervention following its electoral victory that November.

The present conjuncture is quite similar: if Maduro follows Ledezma’s arrest with other decisive actions that show real commitment to popular desires – increased state control of the economy, fighting corruption and smuggling on all fronts, and widening democracy in the PSUV party and Gran Polo Patriótico – the events of last week could mark an important and favorable turning point in the post-Chavez era. The alternative, which is to simply score a point and continue the government’s almost two-year-long retreat from the socialist project, would prove highly unpopular and risk producing unfavorable results in the parliamentary elections coming later this year.

Chris Gilbert is professor of political science in the Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

Anti-What? by Uri Avnery

By Uri Avnery
February 20, 2015 "ICH" - ANTI-SEMITISM is on the rise. All over Europe it is raising its ugly head. Jews are in danger everywhere. They must make haste and come home to Israel before it is too late.

True? Untrue?

Nonsense.

PRACTICALLY ALL the alarming incidents which have taken place in Europe recently – especially in Paris and Copenhagen – in which Jews were killed or attacked – had nothing to do with anti-Semitism.

All these outrages were conducted by young Muslims, mostly of Arab descent. They were part of the ongoing war between Israelis and Arabs that has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. They are not descended from the pogrom in Kishinev and not related to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

In theory, Arab anti-Semitism is an oxymoron, since Arabs are Semites. Indeed, Arabs may be more Semitic then Jews, because Jews have mingled for many centuries with Gentiles.

But, of course, the German publicist Wilhelm Marr, who probably invented the term Antisemitismus in 1880 (after inventing the term Semitismus seven years earlier) never met an Arab in his life. For him the only Semites were Jews, and his crusade was solely against them.

(Adolf Hitler, who took his racism seriously, applied it to all Semites. He could not stand Arabs either. Contrary to legend, he disliked the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who had fled to Germany. After meeting him once for a photo-opportunity arranged by the Nazi propaganda machine, he never agreed to meet him again.)

SO WHY do young Muslims in Europe shoot Jews, after killing cartoonists who have insulted The Prophet?

Experts say that the basic reason is their profound hatred for their host countries, in which they feel (quite rightly) that they are despised, humiliated and discriminated against. In countries like France, Belgium, Denmark and many others, their violent rage needs an outlet.

But why the Jews?

There are at least two main reasons:

The first is local. French Muslims are mostly immigrants from North Africa. During the desperate struggle for Algerian independence, almost all the Algerian Jews sided with the colonialist regime against the local freedom fighters. When all Jews and many Arabs emigrated from Algeria to France, they brought their fight with them. Since they now live side by side in the crowded ghettos around Paris and elsewhere, their mutual hatred lives on and often leads to violence.

The second reason is the ongoing Arab-Zionist conflict, which started with the mass immigration of Jews to Arab Palestine, continued with the long list of wars and is now in full bloom. Practically every Arab in the world, and most Muslims are emotionally involved in the conflict.

But what have French Jews to do with that far-away conflict? Everything.

When Binyamin Netanyahu does not miss an opportunity to declare that he represents all the Jews in the world, he makes all the world's Jews responsible for Israeli policies and actions.

When Jewish institutions in France, the US and everywhere totally and uncritically identify with the policies and operations of Israel, such as the recent Gaza war, they turn themselves voluntarily into potential victims of revenge actions. The French Jewish leadership, CRIF, did so just now.

Neither of these reasons has anything to do with anti-Semitism.

ANTI-SEMITISM is an integral part of European culture.

Many theories have been put forward to explain this totally illogical phenomenon, which borders on a collective mental disease.

My own preferred theory is religious. All over Europe, and now also in the Americas, Christian children in their formative years hear the stories of the New Testament. They learn that a Jewish mob was shouting for the blood of Jesus, the gentle and mild preacher, while the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilatus, was desperately trying to save his life. The Roman is depicted as a humane, likeable person, while the Jews are seen as a vile, despicable mob.

This story cannot be true. Roman rulers all over the Empire used to crucify potential troublemakers. The behavior of the Jewish authorities in the story does not conform to Jewish law. But the New Testament story, written long after the death of Jesus (whose real Hebrew name was Jeshua), was aimed at the Roman audience the Christians were trying to convert, in hot competition with the Jewish missionaries.

Also, the early Christians were a small, persecuted sect in Jewish Jerusalem, and their grudge lives on to this very day.

The picture of the evil Jews crying out for the death of Jesus is unconsciously imprinted in the minds of the Christian multitudes and has inspired Jew-hatred in every new generation. The results were slaughter, mass-expulsions, inquisition, persecution in every form, pogroms, and finally the Holocaust.

THERE has never been anything like this in Muslim history.

The Prophet had some small wars with neighboring Jewish tribes, but the Koran contains strict instructions on how to deal with Jews and Christians, the People of the Book. They had to be treated fairly and were exempted from military duty in return for a poll tax. Throughout the ages there were some rare anti-Jewish (and anti-Christian) outbreaks here and there, but Jews in Muslim lands fared incomparably better than in Christian ones.

If this had not been so, there would have been no "Golden Age" of Muslim-Jewish cultural symbiosis in medieval Spain. It would have been impossible for the Muslim Ottoman empire to accept and absorb almost all the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from medieval Spain, driven out by their Catholic Majesties, Ferdinand and Isabella. The outstanding Jewish religious thinker, Moses Maimonides (the "Rambam") could not have become the personal physician and adviser of the outstanding Muslim sultan, Salah-al-Din al-Ayubi (Saladin).

The present conflict started as a clash between two national movements, Jewish Zionism and secular Arab nationalism, and had only slight religious overtones. As my friends and I have warned many times, it is now turning into a religious conflict – a calamity with potentially grievous consequences.

Nothing to do with anti-Semitism.

SO WHY does the entire Israeli propaganda machine, including all Israeli media, insist that Europe is experiencing a catastrophic rise of anti-Semitism? In order to call upon European Jews to come to Israel (in Zionist terminology: "make Aliya").

For a Zionist true believer, every Jew's arrival in Israel is an ideological victory. Never mind that once in Israel, new immigrants – especially from countries like Ethiopia and Ukraine – are neglected. As I have frequently quoted: "Israelis like immigration but don't like immigrants".

In the wake of the recent events in Paris and Copenhagen, Binyamin Netanyahu has publicly called upon French and Danish Jews to pack up and come at once to Israel for their own safety. The prime ministers of both countries have furiously protested against these calls, which insinuate that they are unable or unwilling to protect their own citizens. I suppose that no leader likes a foreign politician to call upon his citizens to leave.

There is something grotesque in this call: as the late Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz remarked, Israel is the only place in the world where Jewish lives are in constant danger. With a war every few years and violent incidents almost every day, he had a point.

But in the wake of the dramatic events, many "French" Jews – originally from North Africa – may be induced to leave France. They may not all come to Israel. The US, French Canada and Australia offer tempting alternatives.

There are many good reasons for a Jew to come to Israel: a mild climate, the Hebrew language, living among fellow Jews, and what not. But running away from anti-Semites is not one of them.

IS THERE real anti-Semitism in Europe? I assume that there is.

In many European countries there are old and new super-nationalist groups, who try to attract the masses by hatred of the Other. Jews are the Others par excellence (along with Gypsies/Roma). An ethno-religious group dispersed in many countries, belonging and not belonging to their host countries, with foreign - and therefore sinister – beliefs and rituals. All the European nationalist movements which sprang up in the 19th and 20th centuries were more or less anti-Semitic.

Jews have always been, and still are, the ideal scapegoat for the European poor. It was the German (non-Jewish) socialist August Bebel who said that "anti-Semitism is the socialism of the stupid guys".

With frequent economic slumps and a widening gap between the local poor and the multinational super-rich, the need for scapegoats is rising. But I do not believe that these marginal groups, even if some of them are not so marginal anymore, constitute a real anti-Semitic surge.

Be that as it may, the outrages in Paris and Copenhagen have nothing to do with anti-Semitism.

Uri Avnery is an Israeli author and activist. www.avnery-news.co.il




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Israeli Supreme Court rules Haneen Zoabi can run for reelection to the Knesset

I suppose the Israeli Supreme Court is smarter than the rabid Zionist zealots who predominate in the Israeli Knesset.

Seeing how bad it looked for the "onlydemocracyinthemiddleeast" to prohibit Palestinian representative of the Balad party Zoabi from running for public office, they stepped in and corrected the dumb action by the Knesset majority.

After all, a fig leaf has to remain a fig leaf.



European Jews moving to Israel are trading anti-Semitism for racism

French and Danish immigrants will find that Israel swallows its immigrants, but it doesn't digest them.
By Zvi Bar'el | Feb. 18, 2015 | 2:48 AM

Dusty old plans stored at the Immigrant Absorption Ministry and the Jewish Agency and its affiliates are being revived. Everyone is ready to welcome the big wave of immigrants expected to move to Israel following the terrorist attacks in France and Denmark. No country in Europe is safe for Jews anymore, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, not forgetting of course to remind these future refugees that the continent remains “that same old Europe.”

Actually, not only the Jews of Europe aren't safe. The Jews of Israel have a hard time being convinced that their haven can face up to the threats in the region that Netanyahu warns them of daily. But let's assume that thousands of Jews do decide to abandon their businesses, studies, homes and livelihoods and board rescue flights to Ben-Gurion International Airport. What will they find here?

They'll see right-wing videos portraying the Israeli left as Nazi collaborators out to destroy the country. They'll learn how fortunate they are not to have come here as refugees from Eritrea or Sudan, or even as Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia.

Jews who have suffered European anti-Semitism will trade it in for Israeli racism. They'll discover they've become citizens of an occupying country, the occupation that has contributed to that same anti-Semitism that made them pack their bags in the first place.

And here are two other facts that European Jews should be aware of. Israel's murder rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people, while in France it’s 1 per 100,000 and in Denmark 0.8. Last year, 27 people were killed in terror attacks here. In France and Denmark not a single person was.

The situation in Europe could worsen, but in Israel the risk that the situation could worsen is far greater. If European Jews come to Israel immediately, they can vote in the March 17 election and support the person who promised them a safe haven and invited them to immigrate, or more accurately ordered them to.

True, quickly enough they'll discover that their safety isn't subject to the whims of the Islamic State or Al-Qaida, and they won’t suffer murderous manifestations of anti-Semitism. But to be real Israelis, they'll have to adapt to the Israeli depression and the constant fear of war or mass destruction — or both.

Of course, Jews from Europe can respond to all this with the question: “If things are so bad in Israel, why do you Israelis stay?” The answer is implied in the question: We are Israelis. Our identity is dictated to us. Hebrew isn't only our language, it's our culture. Our solidarity is limited to ourselves; our collective memory as Israelis isn't shared.

That is, there are Palestinians in Israel, but they're the enemy at the moment. The anger that some of us feel isn't directed at the country but rather at the country’s leaders, the ones who distort the national identity and dip it in racist-religious acid. We're proudly surviving with the help of the saying “We survived Pharaoh and we’ll survive this.” Survival rather than quality of life is the linchpin of our identity.

You, the Jews of Europe, were taught to demand quality of life. In Israel, anyone seeking quality of life like that in Berlin is considered a traitor. And please don’t confuse Israeliness with Jewishness. Israelis don’t go crazy for foreigners even if they're Jewish. Just ask the Russians. About 150,000 of the immigrants from the former Soviet Union have left.

And ask the Ethiopians, the Bukharans and the Kurds, who decades after arriving are still identified by where they came from. Of course, you're entitled to immigrate, and of course you'll receive a warm welcome at the airport. But remember that Israel hastily swallows its immigrants. It doesn't digest them.


SYRIZA, PODEMOS, and the Black Rebellion in the US

Bio
Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.

Transcript


SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: This is The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. Welcome to this edition of the Glen Ford report.
As you know, Glen Ford is executive editor of the Black Agenda Report, and he does a weekly report for us.
Thanks so much for joining us, Glen.

GLEN FORD, EXEC. EDITOR, BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Thanks for having me.

PERIES: So, Glen, off-camera we spoke about the momentum that Podemos in Spain and SYRIZA in Greece has gained, and we have noticed that there's very little coverage of both of these movements in the Western press, at least the mainstream press. So I was posing a question to you, which is: why should African Americans care about what's happening in Spain with Podemos and SYRIZA in Greece? So what have you in your notebook for me?

FORD: Well, you're right. I mean, with the left forum coming up at the end of May--and that's a gathering of--the largest, I think, gathering in the United States of people who purport to be leftists, a comparison between the rise of these left movements in Europe and what may be happening in the United States is an appropriate conversation.
I think that we have to start off by saying that this nascent movement in the United States that we can call the Black Lives Matter movement and which grew out of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, only, oh, six months ago, back in August or so, this is just one necessary step towards a situation which we could really describe the United States as being in the throes of a movement if we're going to compare it to Europe. First of all, there is no possibility of a left movement in the United States, unless black people are actively engaged and in the leadership of that movement. And I think that's been shown pretty certainly historically. And when Barack Obama was elected as the first black President of the United States and he had near-universal black support, it appeared that black politics had effectively been neutralized and that black people would not confront or even embarrass this black Democratic president. And, in fact, that was the case for about five and a half years. And it was only with the Ferguson rebellion that a new generation of young like activists set themselves on a path of confrontation with the Democratic president and with Democratic mayors across the country. That is what was required before we could even speak of any similarities between the United States and what's going on in Europe.
The Spanish and Greek movements are largely a break with the socialist parties of their countries, though socialist parties that capitulated to the capitalist bankers' austerity programs and plunged those countries into misery and huge unemployment and chaos.
And the great test for Podemos and for SYRIZA is whether they can root themselves in the fiber of the country, not only as a party, but as the governing party of that country, without capitulating to the bankers, to the finance capitalists, as the socialist parties have done in Europe.
The great test for the nascent black movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, as we call it today, is if it can avoid being co-opted by the Democratic Party, which is the place that movements go to die in the United States. And if this movement can avoid co-optation by the Democrats and create the beginnings of a revived black independent politics in this country, then there is a possibility for a larger left-wing movement in the country, involving not just blacks but folks of all colors. And then we can talk about making comparisons between Europe and United States. But it's not at that stage, not by a longshot.

PERIES: Glen, so as SYRIZA begins to lead and take control of the government and put into action anti-austerity measures, and as Podemos positions itself to run in the next election and take power in Spain, we'll be following these movements. And I hope you and your readers follow us as well.
FORD: Yes, we will. We won't be talking about victories measured by elections in the United States anytime soon. What the movement has to do is to establish itself, its credibility in the streets and in the minds of an aspiring and want-to-be active new generation of people.
PERIES: Thanks for joining me, Glen.

FORD: Thank you.

PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

HAILED AS A MODEL FOR SUCCESSFUL INTERVENTION, LIBYA PROVES TO BE THE EXACT OPPOSITE



BY GLENN GREENWALD @ggreenwald YESTERDAY AT 9:21 AM


Hailed as a Model for Successful Intervention, Libya Proves to be the Exact Opposite
When Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003 by U.S. forces, Iraq War advocates boastfully celebrated the event as proof that they were right and used it to mock war opponents (Joe Lieberman and John Kerry, for instance, gleefully exploited the event to demand that Howard Dean admit his war opposition was wrong). When Muammar Gaddafi was forced by NATO bombing in August 2011 to flee Tripoli, advocates of U.S. intervention played the same game (ThinkProgress gleefully exploited the occasion to try to shame those who objected to the illegality of Obama’s waging the war even after Congress voted against its authorization: as though Gadaffi’s fleeing could render legal Obama’s plainly illegal intervention).

Once Gadaffi was brutally killed by a mob, advocates of intervention threw a giddy party for themselves, celebrating their own rightness and righteousness and declaring Libya a model for future Western interventions. Upon Gadaffi’s fleeing, The New York Times, which editorially supported the war, published a front-page article declaring: “U.S. Tactics in Libya May be a Model for Other Efforts.” While acknowledging that “it would be premature to call the war in Libya a complete success for United States interests,” the paper noted that events had given “Obama’s senior advisers a chance to claim a key victory for an Obama doctrine for the Middle East that had been roundly criticized in recent months as leading from behind.”



Leading war advocates such as Anne-Marie Slaughter and Nick Kristof celebrated themselves as humanitarian visionaries and chided war opponents for being blinkered and overly cynical about the virtues of American force. British and French leaders descended upon Libya to strut around like some sort of conquering heroes, while American and Canadian officials held pompous war victory ceremonies. Hillary Clinton was downright sociopathic, gloating and cackling in an interview when told about Gadaffi’s death by mob: “We came, we saw, he died.” Democratic partisans were drowning in similar bravado (“Unlike the all-hat-no-cattle types we are increasingly seeing over there, [Obama] may take his time, but he does seem to get his man”).


From the start, it was glaringly obvious that all of this was, at best, wildly premature. As I wrote the day after Gadaffi fled, the Democratic claims of vindication were redolent in all sorts of ways of war hawk boasting after Saddam was captured, and were just as irrational: “the real toll of this war (including the number of civilian deaths that have occurred and will occur) is still almost entirely unknown, and none of the arguments against the war (least of all the legal ones) are remotely resolved by yesterday’s events.”

Since 2011, Libya has rapidly unraveled in much the way Iraq did following that invasion: swamped by militia rule, factional warfare, economic devastation, and complete lawlessness. And to their eternal shame, most self-proclaimed “humanitarians” who advocated the Libya intervention completely ignored the country once the fun parts — the war victory dances and mocking of war opponents — were over. The feel-good “humanitarianism” of war advocates, as usual, extended only to the cheering from a safe distance as bombs dropped.

The unraveling of Libya is now close to absolute. Yesterday, the same New York Times editorial page that supported the intervention quoted the U.N.’s Libya envoy Bernardino León as observing: “Libya is falling apart. Politically, financially, the economic situation is disastrous.” The NYT editors forgot to mention that they supported the intervention, but did note that “Libya’s unraveling has received comparatively little attention over the past few months.” In other words, the very same NATO countries that dropped bombs on Libya in order to remove its government collectively ignored the aftermath once their self-celebrations were over.

Into the void of Libya’s predictable disintegration has stepped ISIS, among other groups. ISIS yesterday released a new video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, which they carried out in Libya. This, in turn, led to all sorts of dire warnings about how close ISIS now is to Europe — it “established a direct affiliate less than 500 miles (800 kilometers) from the southern tip of Italy,” warned AP — which in turn has produced calls for re-intervention in Libya.


Yesterday, the U.S.-supported Egyptian regime bombed targets in Libya. Meanwhile, “Italy warned that ISIS is at Europe’s doorstep as France and Egypt called for the United Nations Security Council to meet over the spiraling crisis in Libya.” It’s only a matter of time before another Western “intervention” in Libya becomes conventional wisdom, with those opposed being accused of harboring sympathy for ISIS (just as opponents of Libya intervention the first time around were accused of being indifferent to Gadaffi’s repression).

What we see here is what we’ve seen over and over: the West’s wars creating and empowering an endless supply of enemies, which in turn justify endless war by the West. It was the invasion of Iraq that ushered in “Al Qaeda in Iraq” and ultimately ISIS. It has been the brutal, civilian-slaughtering drone bombing of Yemen which spawned Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in that country. As Hillary Clinton herself acknowledged, the U.S. helped create Al Qaeda itself by arming, recruiting and funding foreign “Mujahideen” to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (“the people we are fighting today, we funded 20 years ago”). And now it is the NATO intervention in Libya which has laid the groundwork for further intervention.

That the U.S. would end up intervening in Libya again as a result of the first intervention was painfully obvious. A primary argument of intervention opponents was that the same destruction sown in Iraq from “regime change” would be sown in Libya, and that the U.S. would end up empowering factions that it would later claim it was “obligated” to fight. In October 2012, as Libya was disintegrating, I wrote:

Rather obviously, this was yet another example of the “Mission Accomplished” banner being waved quite prematurely. How many times does it need be proven that merely killing a dictator does not remotely guarantee an improvement from either the perspective of US interests or the people in the country being invaded? And how many more examples do we need where the US funds and arms a fighting force to do its bidding, only to turn around and find that it now must fight that same force?

One can debate whether all of this is done by design or by “accident”: if you realize that U.S. actions create further pretexts for war, then those who do this for a living must realize it, too (their own studies say this); and how many times does something have to happen before “accident” is no longer a viable explanation (as in: oops, our bombing policies keep killing large numbers of civilians, but we keep doing it anyway, and keep claiming it’s all just a terrible “accident”)? But whatever else is true about motive, there is no question that U.S. militarism constantly strengthens exactly that which it is pitched as trying to prevent, and ensures that the U.S. government never loses its supply of reasons to continue its endless war.

Far from serving as a model, this Libya intervention should severely discredit the core selling point of so-called “humanitarian wars.” Some non-governmental advocates of “humanitarian war” may be motivated by the noble aims they invoke, but humanitarianism is simply not why governments fight wars; that is just the pretty wrapping used to sell them.

Finally, Democrats (with validity) love to demand that Iraq War advocates acknowledge their errors and be discredited for their position (unless those advocates happen to be Obama’s Vice President, his two Secretaries of State, his Pentagon chiefs, etc.). We are rapidly approaching the point, if we are not there already, where advocates of “intervention” in Libya should do the same.