by Claire Bernish
At this point, it is fair to say no one would be surprised by further military engagement initiated by the government of the United States anywhere on the planet — so it won’t come as a shock that the U.S. is preparing for war in Libya. Again. And no, legal justification didn’t miraculously manifest itself this time, either.
“President Obama today convened his National Security Council to discuss the intensification of our campaign to degrade and destroy ISIL,” said the White House in a press release Thursday [all emphasis has been added]. “The President emphasized that the United States will continue to counter ISIL terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary. Noting that ISIL affiliates and other violent extremists attempt to find safe haven in areas with limited or poor governance, the President directed his national security team to continue efforts to strengthen governance and support ongoing counterterrorism efforts in Libya and other countries where ISIL has sought to establish a presence.”
Of course, Libya, as a whole, certainly qualifies as such an area of both limited and poor governance after the U.S.’ first military action to depose Muammar Qaddafi left the country in utter turmoil.
“We came, we saw, he died,” Hillary Clinton “sociopathically boasted about the mob rape and murder of Qaddafi while guffawing on 60 Minutes” — as Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept so aptly characterized that alarming 2011 interview. Clinton’s sociopathy appears truly maniacal when considering the original U.S. and allied motivation for ousting Qaddafi included his government’s plans to abandon the petrodollar in favor of the gold dinar — a theory critics long suspected, now proven true in a batch of Clinton’s notorious emails released on New Year’s Eve.
Now President Obama seeks to extend military action in Libya under the guise of fighting ISIL, which — though likely superficially true — would be a hard sell for a public now keen to the disarray left in the wake of the U.S.’ true, yet covert, original motives. But the administration and presidential hopefuls are nonetheless actively propagandizing armed engagement with ISIL in Libya, even with such absurdly contradictory statements as what Clinton crafted during the CNN Democratic Forum last week:
“Every situation is different. So I want to make sure I stay as close as possible to the non-intervention,” she said, though it remained entirely unclear whether she was reminding herself or attempting to convince the audience. “That’s why I say no American ground troops in Syria or Iraq. Special Forces, trainers, yes. Planes to bomb, yes. No ground forces.”
That “non-intervention” already intervened in November, when the U.S. employed one of its F-15 fighters to kill alleged Islamic State leader Abu Nabil in an airstrike — in Libya. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Joseph Dunford, also greased the gears for war last week when he asserted ISIL’s expansion must be thwarted and the U.S. “need[s] to do more.” This includes the urgency to identify the appropriate fighters on the ground to support.
In December, Obama’s own hypocritical double-speak also bolstered the narrative of an inevitable, approaching military engagement, when he said:
“You know, when I said no boots on the ground, I think the American people understood generally that we’re not going to an Iraq-style invasion of Iraq or Syria with battalions that are moving across the desert.”
His emphatic insistence of “no boots on the ground” — an assertion he’d made 16 times previously — amounted to little more than an obligatory farce intended to somehow pacify an ‘American’ public already weary of perpetual warfare and its literal and figurative costs. In fact, no boots should touch the ground — nor bombs drop, drones strike, nor any military presence be excused — until the military authorization, required under the law and by the Constitution, is approved by Congress. Despite the ongoing U.S. military campaign against ISIL — which began in earnest in August 2014 — that approval has yet to occur. As The Guardian pointed out, Obama unintentionally — or perhaps lackadaisically — attempted to maneuver past that pertinent illegality in an address in early December:
“[I]f Congress believes, as I do, that we are at war with ISIL, it should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists.
“For over a year, I have ordered our military to take thousands of airstrikes against ISIL targets. I think it’s time for Congress to vote to demonstrate that the American people are united and committed to this fight.”
Though it may, indeed, be ‘time’ for Congressional approval, as The Sunday Times reported yesterday, Obama isn’t planning to wait for it. A “secret reconnaissance mission” to plot airstrikes against ISIL in Libya was undertaken last week by a team from the West, which included British military and intelligence officials. According to the Times, “Six RAF officers flew to an airbase in Libya, controlled by pro-western militia forces, along with a group of MI6 operatives, diplomats from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and U.S. and French military personnel.”
Full military engagement in Libya is evidently a foregone conclusion; and no matter our objections or concerns, we are left to witness the government’s propaganda circus spin yet more war into something ostensibly palatable — even if we’re forced to swallow it with our hands tied behind our backs.
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