Resist a Larger War in Libya

The Attack on Libya is Not Merely a No Fly Zone—But an Intervention Into Libya

It was hard for some peace activists to look at the planned attack by Col. Gaddafi on Libyan rebels and oppose the no fly zone approved by the U.N.  Col. Gaddafi is a vicious leader who promised to make the streets run red with blood so this was an issue that divided the peace community.

Regardless of how you felt about the original no fly zone, how you feel about the Gaddafi regime or the armed rebels fighting it, we should all recognize that the United States, United Kingdom and France are going further than a no fly zone and are intervening in a civil war for their own reasons that have nothing to do with defending democracy or other humanitarian goals.  Already we are seeing evidence of the broader mission beyond a no fly zone and beyond what President Obama said would be a few days with no troops on the ground.

While in Egypt this week Secretary Gates hinted that the war in Libya may be open-ended.

There is confusion about the goals in Libya.  Does it include removal of Gaddafi as President Obama and Secretary Clinton have said? Putting in place a democracy?  Reaching those goals is beyond the UN mandate and will get the U.S. into another quagmire.

While President Obama promised no troops on the ground in Libya, there are reports that there are already 2,000 marines on the ground in Libya.

Special Forces are developing a role in Libya.  Even before the UN resolution there were reports of U.S. “advisors” on the ground in Libya in early March and Special Forces fighting with rebels in late February, a month before the mandate.

The U.S. is planning on sending National Guard troops to Libya. Is a longer war planned than has been admitted?

It is becoming more evident that this is a foreign intervention into a civil war and we’ve had enough experience with that to know that it will not end well. And there is strong evidence that if this is not already one, it will become a civil war because of foreign intervention.

Due to the expansion of the attack beyond a no fly zone, which the Arab League originally called for, the Arab League now opposes the intervention because it is not a legitimate “no fly zone.” As the Arab League president said, “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians.”

The “hidden agenda” of oil is rearing its ugly head again.  Would the U.S. be in Libya if it produced asparagus?  Why isn’t the U.S. opposing dictators in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia? Now that the Libyan Air Force has been made unable to fight, what is the purpose of the ongoing bombardment?

And how many civilians will the U.S. kill to save civilians from being killed?  Already there are reports of widespread civilian deaths as well as mistaken civilian deaths. Secretary Gates’ denial of civilian deaths are hard to believe when nearly 200 missiles have been launched into Libya.

The Libyan attack raises a persistent issue in U.S. foreign policy.  The U.S. trained the Libyan military and provided them with weapons, including $15 million in arms sales in FY 2009 alone.  Now the U.S. military is destroying that same military and the weapons the U.S. sold them.  Should the U.S., the largest arms merchant in the world which sells nearly 70% of all weapons, be selling weapons to despots, dictators and royalists who do not have the support of their people?  Doesn’t this ensure rebellions seeking democracy will be met with lethal force and the U.S. may need to intervene for “humanitarian” reasons? President Obama has produced record arms sales, in particular the largest arms sale in history to one country with $60 billion n sales to Saudi Arabia, another unpopular regime among its people.

Finally, the Constitutional issue of unilateral military attacks on countries that are not a threat to the United States was violated by the attack on Libya and needs to be faced up to.  When he was running for office, candidate Obama correctly said: “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”  James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution wrote in 1795 that Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which put the power to declare war and fund war in the hands of the legislature, was the most important clause of the constitution.

The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war [and] the power of raising armies. A delegation of such powers [to the president] would have struck, not only at the fabric of our Constitution, but at the foundation of all well organized and well checked governments. The separation of the power of declaring war from that of conducting it, is wisely contrived to exclude the danger of its being declared for the sake of its being conducted.

The founders had seen monarchs unilaterally declare war resulting in mass deaths and economic ruin.  Indeed, the U.S. with an already fragile economy and stretched thin military, faces those risks with the Libyan war.  Already the U.S. has used more than 150 Tomahawk Cruise missiles against Libya, each one costing $1.5 million.  On the first day the U.S. spent an estimated $100 million on the Libyan attack.  And people are estimating that the U.S. will spend $1 billion in Libya in a very short time.  This will all be borrowed money and comes at a time when austerity measures are being put in place by state and federal governments cutting basic services.

Please call President Obama and give him your thoughts about Libya.  Tell him to avoid mission creep and another military quagmire.  The White House switchboard is 202-456-1414.

Kevin Zeese serves as Attorney General in the Green Shadow Cabinet, and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network and an organizer of Popular Resistance. Read other articles by Kevin, or visit Kevin's website.

13 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. MichaelKenny said on March 25th, 2011 at 9:09am #

    That the war in Libya might turn out to be an open-ended fiasco is credible, indeed probable, but that it was, or is, being planned as such doesn’t jibe with the facts, particularly Sarko’s obviously electoral motives, Obama’s manifest reluctance and the very confusion to which Mr Zeese refers. In addition, Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia are not jumping-off points for illegal immigration into Europe, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia are. That’s the difference and it further suggests that this is primarily Sarko’s war into which the US is being reluctantly dragged. Mind-boggling as it is for Americans, maybe America no longer rules the world and can now be dragged into wars by other countries!
    The claim that there are 2000 Marines “on the ground” emanates from WCTI-TV in New Bern, North Carolina (sic!). That there is a Marine Expeditionary Unit off shore on its amphibious assault ship is well known. That ship has helicopters (one of which strafed Libyans trying to assist a crashed American aircrew: “all towelheads look alike”!), and a few Harriers. There is no evidence that any Marine ground troops have landed and you really have to push conspiracy theories to absurd lengths to believe that there might be 2000 Marines in Libya without anybody noticing that they were there! Are they perhaps disguised as belly dancers?
    In addition, the reference to “National Guard troops” is misleading. What is being sent is an Air National Guard unit specialised in in-flight refuelling, not ground troops. With 2000 Marines sitting offshore, why would guardsmen be needed anyway?
    There is no oil “hiden agenda”. The BBC item makes no mention of oil. It reports a comment of the Turkish president about “hidden agendas”, which, common sense would suggest, refers to Sarko’s very obvious, but unstated, electoral agenda.
    A little bit less hysteria, Mr Zeese!

  2. Angie Tibbs said on March 25th, 2011 at 11:00am #

    Perhaps Mr. Kenny can direct us to a credible source which confirms “reluctance” on the part of Obama, much less his “manifest reluctance”, vis a vis the “intervention” in Libya.

  3. Deadbeat said on March 25th, 2011 at 4:06pm #

    Kevin Zeeze writes …

    The “hidden agenda” of oil is rearing its ugly head again. Would the U.S. be in Libya if it produced asparagus? Why isn’t the U.S. opposing dictators in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia? Now that the Libyan Air Force has been made unable to fight, what is the purpose of the ongoing bombardment?

    The pseudo-left is REPREHENSIBLE. There is just no way to say it. I can get more information about the basis of the crisis in Libya from Nation of Islam’s Final Call and the Alex Jones show than what what I’ve seen coming from the “Left”. This War for Oil(tm) garbage has GOT TO GO.

    The link below provide the REAL basis for the revolts and WHO these so-called “rebels” really are. They are THUGS. The “Left” has been utterly BEREFT in providing real information and are COMPLICIT in the propagada and cover up of the actual basis of the “War On Libya”.

    Because White America (unlike Black America who have engage Qaddafi your years) are confused and ignorant about Libya the White Left are able to tag along with the “Liberals and NeoCons” to provide cover for their Zio-Imperial war against the Libyan people. This is shades of 2003-2004 all over again for the pseudo-Left.

  4. Samhain3783 said on March 25th, 2011 at 5:24pm #

    @Deadbeat

    Could you please provide the link you promised to provide?

  5. brianct said on March 25th, 2011 at 6:40pm #

    ‘It was hard for some peace activists to look at the planned attack by Col. Gaddafi on Libyan rebels and oppose the no fly zone approved by the U.N. Col. Gaddafi is a vicious leader who promised to make the streets run red with blood so this was an issue that divided the peace community.’

    dont you get sick of this bullsht! I do..the same lies and character attacks get repeated over and over and over, till even the more shrewd begin to believe i n them.
    No Gadaffi is NOT a vicious leader mr Zeese…

    FYI for those who think Gadaffi is a brutal despot:

    Last year, incidentally, former British MP George Galloway recounted how, in contrast to the Egyptian government’s obstruction of aid to Gaza, his aid caravan had had its humanitarian cargo doubled during a stopover in Libya. Qaddafi long ago turned his back on the Arab world, considering its leaders hopeless, and turned to Africa http://www.counterpunch.org/johnstone03242011.htm

  6. Deadbeat said on March 26th, 2011 at 1:56am #

    The link below provide the REAL basis for the revolts and WHO these so-called “rebels” really are. They are THUGS. The “Left” has been utterly BEREFT in providing real information and are COMPLICIT in the propagada and cover up of the actual basis of the “War On Libya”.

    OOPS! Here’s the link …

    Bombing Libya; 1986-2011 By Thomas C. Mountain
    [http://www.countercurrents.org/mountain220311.htm]

  7. Deadbeat said on March 26th, 2011 at 2:13am #

    brainct post refreshingly provide an accurate picture of Qaddafi. The ad hominum crap coming out from the pseudo-Left reflects its complicity in Zionist program and its RACISM. Just like in 2003 when it sabotaged the anti-war movement, here it is providing cover for Zionist expansionism and constant subordination of Arab/African aspirations.

  8. Deadbeat said on March 26th, 2011 at 3:04am #

    Here’s more reasons why the RACIST pseudo-Left is in LEAGUE with the Zionist imperialists …

    The Truth about the Kennedy Assassination & Obama Told by Gadaffi
    [http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uJ4u-v-PJbs]

  9. Deadbeat said on March 26th, 2011 at 3:20am #

    More LIES purported by the pseudo-Left. The pseudo-Left ALL claims that Qadhafi is a “DICTATOR”. Yet Qadhafi himself in an BBC interview states that he hasn’t been in power since 1977! The POWER is with Libyan people — in the peoples CONGRESS. Here’s the link …

    Full Colonel Gaddafi interview 02 March 2011
    [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEq-n6ciuxc&NR=1]

    Pseudo-Left equates to ZIONIST IMPERIALISM.

  10. brianct said on March 26th, 2011 at 5:34am #

    Life in Gadaffis Libya: what ruthless despot ever did this?

    British economic journalists David Blundy and Andrew Lycett observed: “The young people are well dressed, well fed and well educated. Libyans now earn more per capita than the British. The disparity in annual incomes… is smaller than in most countries. Libya’s wealth has been fairly spread throughout society. Every Libyan gets free, and often excellent, education, medical and health services. New colleges and hospitals are impressive by any international standard. All Libyans have a house or a flat, a car and most have televisions, video recorders and telephones. Compared with most citizens of the Third World countries, and with many in the First World, Libyans have it very good indeed.”

    http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=669913&publicationSubCategoryId=64

  11. Deadbeat said on March 26th, 2011 at 2:05pm #

    Thanks brianct.

    I find it REVEALING that Mr. Zeese goes around saying he wants
    “single-payer” yet joins the “ad hominum” bandwagon against a leader who provides FREE – not just — healthcare but HOUSING and EDUCATION. You cannot have health-care in ISOLATION which is Mr. Zeese’s advocacy. You have to demand an INTEGRATIVE and HOLISTIC approach to health that includes ALL of the provision that through Qaddafi the people of Libya offers their society.

    You see NO SUCH INTEGRATIVE advocacy from Mr. Zeese. It is all piecemeal. Qaddafi on the other hand had the GUTS to overthrow his oppressor and structure his society in a participatory manner. This is kind of society the Zionists wants to destroy and has ALWAYS destroyed. Yet Mr. Zeese has the AUDACITY to misrepresent Qaddafi. No research whatsoever! This article is clearly illustrative of the duplicity that comes out of the pseudo-Left.

    I’m certain the pseudo-Left is most grateful that DV is terminating their open commentary policy.

  12. brianct said on March 27th, 2011 at 3:41am #

    So this is what the cruise missile left is supporting! nice going guys.

    http://ntclibya.org/english/council-members/
    3. Mr. Ali Al Issawi

    A political and education Libyan who was born in the city of Benghazi in 1966. Has a PhD in pivatisation [What is this?] obtained from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest Romania. He occupied the position of Minister of Economy, Trade and Investment in Libya, and was the youngest minister to fill such a post. Before taking the ministerial position, he founded the Centre for Export Development in 2006 and became the first Director General for it. He also assumed the position of Director General for the Ownership expansion program (privatization fund) in 2005.
    ==========================

    Guess what he wants to do!

  13. Luis Cayetano said on March 28th, 2011 at 7:33am #

    ”The link below provide the REAL basis for the revolts and WHO these so-called “rebels” really are. They are THUGS.”

    That goes for the government as well: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/26/libya-woman-silenced-accusing-gaddafi-forces-rape

    These are the people you’re lionising.

    ”Yet Qadhafi himself in an BBC interview states that he hasn’t been in power since 1977!”

    So ‘therefore”, by your inexorable logic, he indeed hasn’t been in power since 1977. Because it’s not like politicians ever lie, after all. I guess that Mubarak was telling the truth all these years when he claimed that Egypt is a democracy and that he wasn’t a dictator.

    ”The POWER is with Libyan people — in the peoples CONGRESS.”

    Hence the mass defections that occurred against the government. This is what you and Gaddafi are saying: that the Libyan people have so much power through their popular organisations, that large numbers of them, backed by significant sectors of the armed forces, turn against themselves and act like ”thugs”, spurred on by drugs distributed by al-Qaeda.

    Why do you imagine that anyone should believe this? Why do you?