Notes On The Libyan Uprising and American Radicals
From the look of things the unopposed forty two year reign of Mummar Ghadaffi in Libya is over; he has been driven from power by a popular uprising aided by military forces from NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which included the use of American air power. From the moment the US and NATO – which for all intents and purposes is a shill for US policy objectives - decided to get involved, Gadhafi’s goose was cooked.
It was the beginning of the end for this murderous dictatorial regime. If Mummar were not a megalomaniacal madman he would have acceded to the rebel demands to step down and go into exile. Had he done this all of the bloodletting which has occurred in the last few months could have been avoided. Therefore the responsibility for the carnage falls squarely upon his head!
This is a radically different narrative than we are hearing from many of my comrades on the American left, and Black Nationals ideologues too. In the view of these factions the Libyan uprising was an imperialist plot covertly organized and directed by the CIA; among the Afro-centric crowd President Obama was just doing what he was “put there” to do: Recolonize Africa!
In their view Obama is but the “brown face of American imperialism.” That these charges bear no demonstrable relation to the facts, matters not a whit to these ideological automatons; for they are preprogrammed to yell “imperialism” whenever the US or “Western” nations are engaged in an armed conflict with a “Third World” country.
These impassioned ideologues base their judgments of such matters on history and ideology, not an objective reading of the facts of the specific situation. They are far more inclined to simply dismiss the facts if they don’t agree with their particular ideological dogma. They are suspicious of news sources that produce inconvenient facts.
Some even believe that there is an anonymous cabal of tinkerers, saboteurs, all knowing spooks, and malignant capitalists that conspire to keep us from knowing “the truth” by dictating what we are allowed to see, hear or read in the media. Needless to say: This is nonsense! I regard such views as just the latest expression of what historian Richard Hofstadter calls “The paranoid style in American politics.”
But it is not just their paranoia that troubles me in this instance, as much of a drag as it is on the real side. I am much more appalled by their amorality. It is shameful that so many people should rally to the side of a murderous dictator in Libya, yet treasure the democratic process for themselves; who, in spite of their “revolutionary” poses, will not hesitate to hire a lawyer and cloak themselves in the Bill Of Rights should the “Power Structure” transgress against them with the intent of silencing their attacks on “The System.” It is base hypocrisy! Furthermore, their arguments are the prattle of ignoramuses or charlatans that bear no relation to reality.
The paramount objectives of US policy in the Middle East are: To keep the oil flowing at a cheap price, defeat the Islamic Jihadists, and defend the Zionist state of Israel; in that order. To accomplish this the US government supported repressive regimes throughout the Middle East; they in turn suppressed the Jihadist, tolerated the existence of Israel, and kept the oil flowing. These are the rulers who are presently being overthrown by popular uprisings of the people – spontaneous social combustions directed on facebook!
Obviously, the US government had no interests in the overthrow of any of these regimes – for they were collaborators – including the crumbling Libyan dictator Mummar Ghadaffi! Like everybody else, the CIA was caught off guard by these spontaneous social explosions because they don’t conform to the conventional wisdom about the nature of mass transformative movements.
They are scrambling to get out front of the trends and try to direct these tetonic socio/political forces; which means they are trying to establish contacts and develop relationships with the new leaders of the country – if they can identify them. To suggest that they are the cause of these devlopments is to vastly overestimate their powers. That’s the trouble with calling white men “the Devil,” you end up making them omnipotent and attribute things to them that are clearly beyond their control!
As to the real motivations of President Obama, I believe that, like everything he does, his intentions were honorable. The Libyan uprising was motivated by the same factors that have motivated all of the uprisings that are collectively called “The Arab Spring.” Anyone who values liberty for themselves should have no trouble recognizing what they are: a hatred for oppresive tyrants, anger at the wholesale theft of the people’s wealth, and the recognition that it is possibe to end it by collective action.
The catalyst that sparked the chain reaction was the discovery that one could organize a mass movement through social media and the authorities couldn’t stop the organizers. Ghaddfi, cluless megalomaniac that he is, was caught off guard. He had imagined himself the Savior of the people, and the obsequious lackeys with which he surrounded himself echoed that view. That’s why he was caught off guard and went apeshit when his four decade old rule was finally opposed. He called the protesters “Rats” and threatened to kill all the dissidents.
Samantha Powers, a Harvard Professor and internationally recognized authority on genocide, warned that another Rawanda was about to happen on the African continent. At the behest of his Foregin policy advisors – led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice – President Obama reluctantly committed the US to supporting the rebels. Wisely he confined American military involvement to enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, launching attacks from aircraft carriers and nearby bases.
I opposed any American military involvement (See: “On Operation Odyssey Dawn” on this blog) But not for the reasons proffered by the Left and Black Nationalists. I believe that the President is motivated by a deep humanism that takes seriously the Christian imperative to minister to the least of us, and I admire his principles. However I believe it is long past time for the US to abandon the role of planetary policemen. I am not willing to spend another dollar of US money, not to mention spill a drop more of American blood, to keep foreigners from killing each other.
It’s not that I want our country to become indifferent to oppression and genocide in the world, nor do I think murderous dictators should be able to hide behind the facade of “national sovereignty.” But I think the US role should be to mobilize the rest of the world to act through the UN – something the Republican zealots are adamantly oppose to! Just listen to John McCain whining about Barack’s restraint in using America’s military might; even as the left denounces him as a war mongering imperialist!
Although I was opposed to getting involved in the murderous Libyan mess , I think President Obama acted out of the most noble impulses. I also think the Libyan people will eventually be better off as a result of it. I will discuss the problems and prospects for Libya after the fall of Ghaddfi in part two of this analysis.
The Wrath of the People!
Libyans Rejoicing Today!!!
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
August 22, 2011