Libya: What’s wrong with this picture?

America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.
—Henry Kissinger

Secretary Hillary Clinton is looking happy and relaxed. The man next to her is Mahmoud Jibril, acting prime minister for the National Transitional Council, the rebel government of Libya formed in opposition to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. It is July 15 in Istanbul, and Secretary Clinton has just recognized Jibril’s CIA-backed and funded, National Transitional Council as the “legitimate” authority in Libya. France and 28 other, mostly Western, nations have recognized the Council and Mr. Jibril.

War games go live
According to the Obama administration and the media, the U.S. began its military operation in northern Africa in March of this year as a “humanitarian” mission, to protect the Libyan rebels from the atrocities of dictator Gaddafi. Yet there is much evidence that the intention to invade Libya was solidified at least as early as November, 2010, when French-British war games were announced to take place in Europe March 21-25, 2011. The war games, called “Operation Mistral,” involved a fictitious dictator and a fictitious country called “Southland.” Operation Mistral never took place and “Operation Odyssey Dawn,” the name of the humanitarian mission to save Libya from Gaddafi, went live on March 19.

Military operations of the magnitude of Operation Odyssey Dawn cannot be improvised overnight, and it is likely the war on Libya and the armed rebel insurrection were planned well in advance of the first Arab Spring protests in December of 2010. The Arab Spring was an unexpected boon, providing a convenient cover for the CIA funded anti-Gaddafi rebel group. Representative Dennis Kucinich noted the coincidence between the war games and the start of Operation Odyssey Dawn in a speech he gave on the House floor on March 31.In the words of Rep. Dennis Kucinich:

“While war games are not uncommon, the similarities between “Southern Mistral” and “Operation Odyssey Dawn” highlight just how many unanswered questions remain regarding our own military planning for Libya.”

Is this a humanitarian mission or is the U.S  gunning for Gaddafi?
Of course, the Obama administration is gunning for Gaddafi. Overnight, the “humanitarian mission” became a mission for “regime change.” Libya has great quantities of light sweet crude, and sits atop the famous Nubian Sandstone Aquifer—a vast reserve of “fossil water,” that is tens of thousands of years old and most likely the purest water on Earth. And,  now that the United States has declared the new rebel government “legitimate,” it can start using tens of billions of confiscated Libyan assets to help fund the removal of Gaddafi. If you believe the U.S. media, the Libyan people have been rescued from Gaddafi and the Arab Spring has spread to yet another nation. But there is a little problem with this narrative . . .

It seems many Libyans do not appreciate our humanitarian efforts
The spontaneous and massive demonstrations by the people of Tunisia and Egypt were directed against their corrupt, U.S. backed dictators. In Libya, the biggest demonstrations are in support of the reigning dictator Gaddafi and against the United States and NATO bombings in support of the rebels. Mainstream media refuses to show these massive pro Gaddafi demonstrations against our “humanitarian” intervention.

On July 1st, more than a million Libyans were in Green Square and the surrounding streets of Tripoli, to hear Muammar Gaddafi speak and to rally against NATO. The crowd chanted over and over again “We want Gaddafi” while unveiling a green Libyan flag 6 kilometers longReporter Mahdi Nazemoroaya attended the event for the Canadian Centre for Research on Globalization and provided the following photos.

An Air Force press release celebrates the bombing of Libya
In the early hours of March 20, U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirits, otherwise known as “stealth bombers”, flew out of Missouri’s Whiteman Air Force Base in support of Operation Oddyssey Dawn, on a mission to bomb Libya. The B-2s returned after a more than 25-hour journey having deployed 45 guided joint direct attack munitions, each weighing 2,000 pounds, against aircraft shelters in Libya.:

It was a spectacular display of airmanship watching this coalition come together the way it did to execute the first air strikes on behalf of the Libyan people,” said Maj. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward, Operation Odyssey Dawn Joint Force Air Component Commander. “Our bombers and fighters performed magnificently and we are fully behind protecting the innocent Libyan citizens while ensuring the safety of coalition aircraft.”

Contrary to what Maj. Gen. Woodward says, as demonstrated in the above photos, a large number of Libyan citizens don’t want the “protection” of our bombs.

Rick Rozoff, reporting for Canadian Global Research estimates that 65 Libyan civilians were killed and 150 wounded on this first day of bombing. Oil depots and a medical facility were among the targets of bombing and missile attacks.

Underscoring the fraud of the US and NATO claims that the war is being fought to protect civilian lives, even the western media has been compelled to note that rebel units are indiscriminately firing rockets into Gaddafi-held towns and villages.

The greatest civilian casualties, however, are being inflicted by the bombing missions of American and European aircraft.

How our corporate owned government sells our profit driven wars
Central to an understanding how the United States government sells its wars to the American people is understanding the role of the mainstream media, which grants them legitimacy. Rather than serving the public good, corporate owned media reports the official statements of the government and the military and drives a variety of false narratives based on false premises. These statements are often quoted from “anonymous sources” within the administration. Public relations firms aid the government in shaping the messages to be provided to the media so that the justifications for war are palatable to a misinformed and gullible public. Patton Boggs, a well-known K Street lobbying firm and the Harbor Group, a well-connected DC PR firm have been hired by the U.S. backed rebel group to help sell the war in Libya to the American people.

In all false war narratives, there is usually a good versus evil dichotomy. We are going to war against “communism,” we are intervening for humanitarian reasons against an evil dictator, or fighting “terrorists,” “over there,” instead of here.  The invaded country is described as “hostile” to “American interests” or possessing “weapons of mass destruction.” The United States is portrayed as a noble victim, intervening to save the world from tyranny, as we spread our unique form of democracy and our superior way of life to the world’s grateful and suffering masses.

If someone publicly questions the motives of the United States or its adventurous wars, a pro-war, corporate owned politician or a pundit, whether Democrat or Republican, is quick to accuse him or her of siding with terrorists or dictators. Through this process of selective demonizing of national leaders of nation states that are unfriendly to corporate interests, the U.S. government manipulates its people into acquiescing to its war agenda, and into allowing the use of their tax dollars and loved ones for dubious causes.

Assessing the legitimacy of a war
The photo of the smiling Hillary Clinton and Mahmoud Jibril at the top of this post depicts a predictable step in the violent takeover of an independent nation for corporate profit—the installation of the U.S. puppet government. We have done this over and over again—in Vietnam, in Panama, in Nicaragua, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Egypt, and Indonesia—installed a corrupt dictator who makes sure the countries resources are available to U.S finance capital and corporate interests.

When you assess a war for its legitimacy, it is not necessary to identify with the government or leader in question or even approve of its policies. You may or may not like Gaddafi, and you may not have been a fan of Saddam Hussein. There may be factions within a country that would like to overturn their government for a variety of reasons, some self-serving and some altruistic.

It’s OK to oppose any war on principle, because it can kill hundreds of thousands and displace millions, because it can destroy infrastructure and poison the environment for decades to come, and because it causes massive human suffering. You can also oppose war for specific reasons, as when the United States uses the blood and treasure of this country to steal the resources of another country for the benefit of the wealthy and powerful. And, you can oppose the vampire war industry itself, which bleeds this country as much as it bleeds the countries it invades.

If we begin to listen carefully to the evening news, and question everything we are being told, we can start to challenge our government, our elected representatives, and the media’s lies that present U.S. wars as noble humanitarian undertakings. We can identify when our government is being opportunistic in supporting one faction over another in a country that has assets and resources our corporations want. By doing so, we can begin to see through the lies, and expose war as the criminal activity it is.