Exposing the truth and lies of Obama’s Middle East pro-war speech
Published May 31, 2011 11:30 AM
President Barack Obama delivered a foreign policy address related to
developments in the Middle East on May 19. The speech — which avoided
addressing the uprisings throughout North Africa, the Palestinian question and
the U.S./NATO war against Libya — created even more hostility toward his
administration domestically and internationally.
Obama stated, “Now, already, we’ve done much to shift our foreign
policy following a decade defined by two costly conflicts. After years of war
in Iraq, we’ve removed 100,000 American troops and ended our combat
Yet the truth is that nearly 50,000 U.S. troops still remain in Iraq, along
with more than 100,000 private contractors. The war of occupation against the
country continues with an escalation in casualties among U.S. forces since the
beginning of 2011.
Obama claimed that “in Afghanistan, we’ve broken the
Taliban’s momentum, and this July we will begin to bring our troops home
and continue a transition to Afghan leadership. And after years of war against
al-Qaida and its affiliates, we have dealt al-Qaida a huge blow by killing its
leader, Osama bin Laden.”
Nonetheless, the war of resistance against the U.S. and NATO has escalated in
both Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Afghanistan there have been more deaths among
U.S./NATO occupation forces as well as civilians since the administration
intensified the war in December 2009.
In Pakistan, there have been mass demonstrations against the U.S. raid that
brought the execution of Osama bin Laden and against the continuing drone
attacks that kill more civilians than Taliban and al-Qaida fighters hunted down
by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon. More attacks on
NATO’s fuel supply lines are taking place in Pakistan and the military
operations by the resistance forces in Afghanistan have hit key installations
of the occupation forces.
Obama’s speech claims that the U.S. supports the democratic movements
that have swept North Africa, but says nothing of the decades-long U.S. backing
of neocolonial client regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. The administration’s
response to the existing military-backed governments in Tunis and Cairo is a
“Trade and Investment Partnership,” which will only increase debt
and dependency for the masses within these North African states.
In response to the Obama speech, Dr. Gideon Polya wrote, “Obama’s
speech on the Middle East is extraordinary for its comprehensive dishonesty
involving egregious deceit, lying by commission and lying by omission.
Obama’s ignoring of the U.S.-imposed Muslim genocide (about 12 million
indigenous deaths in Palestine, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan) is far worse
than genocide denial or holocaust denial because at least ‘denial’
admits the possibility of public discussion.” (The Nation, May 23)
U.S. foreign policy is still guided by imperial aims, which is reflected in the
backing of the counterrevolutionary rebels in Libya and the more than two
months of bombing of that oil-rich state. In relationship to Libya, Obama
stated, “As I said when the United States joined an international
coalition to intervene, we cannot prevent every injustice perpetrated by a
regime against its people, and we have learned from our experience in Iraq just
how costly and difficult it is to try to impose regime change by force —
no matter how well-intentioned it may be.”
Nonetheless, the bombing of Libya is not the result of an international
coalition but rather an alliance of imperialist states in North America and
Western Europe. The rebel destabilization campaign and the U.S./NATO bombing
have resulted in the displacement of nearly 1 million people and the deaths of
United Nations Resolution 1973 was merely a cover for launching a full-scale
war designed to overthrow the Libyan government and to impose a puppet regime
compliant with imperialist objectives in the region. This war against Libya is
also attempting to place on hold any genuinely revolutionary movement in either
Tunisia or Egypt since the naval blockade, sanctions and bombings imposed by
U.S./NATO military forces threaten the entire region.
Obama said of the leadership in Libya, “Now, time is working against
Gadhafi. He does not have control over his country. The opposition has
organized a legitimate and credible Interim Council. And when Gadhafi
inevitably leaves or is forced from power, decades of provocation will come to
an end, and the transition to a democratic Libya can proceed.”
However, the so-called “credible” counterrevolutionary forces would
have been weakened and possibly defeated had it not been for the military
intervention of U.S./NATO forces. Therefore, despite the stated reason for the
bombing being to “protect” civilians, the administration’s
real agenda is regime change.
U.S. gov’t violates War Powers Act
Just as the U.N. resolutions against Libya were in actuality designed to
destroy the political and economic system inside the country, the flagrant
disregard of U.S. law has gained almost no response from Congress. The War
Powers Resolution of 1973, which was a byproduct of the popular opposition
inside the U.S. to the genocidal war in Vietnam during the post-World War II
period, has been blatantly violated in the Libyan war.
A recent online petition initiated by the International Action Center states
that the War Powers Act “requires a president involved in a military
conflict lasting longer than 60 days to come before Congress for authorization
to continue the war. We believe the people of Libya, North Africa, the Middle
East, the U.S. and the world deserve a debate on the need to immediately end
this war.” (www.iacenter.org)
The petition explains that a May 13 NATO bombing that resulted in the deaths of
11 Islamic religious leaders and the injuring of 47 others, who were part of a
peace delegation to end the war, represented “a most grievous war crime.
It is an unprecedented new level of international lawlessness and it reveals a
dangerous escalation of the war on Muslim people. It comes on top of the
ongoing criminal assassination attempts on Col. Gadhafi, which have already
killed his son and three of his grandchildren.”
Obama did submit a request for authorization to continue the war to the U.S.
Congress, which has yet to act on it. Even though the 60 days that the War
Powers Act allowed the president expired the day after his speech, the attacks
against Libya are escalating. Jeffrey Feltman, Washington’s assistant
secretary of state for the Near East, traveled to Benghazi and met with
representatives of the rebel National Transitional Council in a further
provocation against the government in Tripoli, which is being bombed daily.
Irrespective of the outcome of the congressional discussion on the U.S./NATO
war against Libya, the imperialist states are committed to the ongoing
destruction of this North African country, which had the highest income level
and standard of living on the continent. The only real hope for ending the war
is the continuing resistance of the people in Libya against this military
onslaught and the opposition to the regime-change strategy by people in the
U.S. and around the world.
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