Libya, Obama And The “Other Wars”

Impeachment: If Not Obama, Who?

Glen Ford. BAR. 7.20.11

President Obama’s insistence that the U.S. is not at war with Libya, even as Washington and its allies methodically assault the country’s military and infrastructure, reveals that the many “Other Wars” around the globe have become, collectively, “the main arenas of conflict” with the Empire. Yet, “many whites who consider themselves anti-war activists also recognize as wars only those conflicts that kill Americans, make great drains on U.S. treasure, or create palpable distortions in the ‘American Way of Life’ – for example, significant losses of their civil liberties. Imperial aggressions that kill, starve, displace and imprison millions, at home and abroad, go unrecognized as wars – an obscene “left-wing” mimicry of Obama, himself.

Libya, Obama and the “Other Wars”

“Historically, white-led anti-war movements in the United States have been as selective as President Obama in what they consider to be bona fide wars.”

Barack Obama has infuriated a wide spectrum of political opinion with his bland denial that the U.S. is in a state of war – or even “hostilities” – with a small African nation whose military and infrastructure are being systematically destroyed by Washington and its allies. The monumental disconnect between the president’s assertion and observed reality leads some critics and apologists, alike, to dismiss Obama’s words as mere lawyer’s craft, a semantic contortion to avoid compliance with the War Powers Act. But there is much more to the president’s formulations on peace and non-peace than cynical, tongue-in-cheek legalisms designed to overcome some temporary political problem.

Obama’s denial of America’s war on Libya is of a piece with his constant concoctions of phony ends to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, wars of occupation and counter-insurgency that he and his generals have no intention of actually terminating through a physical exit. Rather, Obama simply changed the nomenclature of U.S. combat units in Iraq to “trainers and assistance” personnel, and will scheme till the last possible minute to maintain a military and mercenary presence in the country far beyond the previously negotiated pullout at the end of this year. Obama has so often declared, with a straight face, that the U.S. dearly wants to quickly turn over its combat role in Afghanistan to the locals, U.S. policymakers fear the people of the region might actually believe him, and hold the U.S. to it.

Obama is always pretending to be on the road to peace, even as he expands America’s theaters of war. Since the aim of U.S. imperialism is to dominate the world, against the world’s wishes, U.S. wars must widen to the extent that peoples and nations resist, or must be pre-empted from resisting at some time in the future. There is no way to avoid the lengthening list of wars on Obama’s watch, but to deny they exist. Thus, the U.S. is not at war with, or in, Libya. Or Somalia. Or Yemen. And, certainly not Pakistan.

“Obama is always pretending to be on the road to peace, even as he expands America’s theaters of war.”

This president, whose self-image is that of a man who does “big deals” and formulates grand strategies that forever alter previous paradigms – and who is, therefore, capable of infinite arrogance – has ambitions to eclipse General Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) and V. I. Lenin (1870-1924) on the philosophy of war. Von Clausewitz said that “war is a continuation of politics by other means.” Lenin said, similarly, that “war is a prolongation of politics by other means,” adding: “Every war is inextricably connected with the political system from which it arises.”

Barack Obama declares, simply: War is whatever I say it is.

Which means Obama sees clearly that he will preside over many more wars in the future, an endless stream of them on the “road to peace” – a peace that can only come with total U.S. global domination. Such wars are written in the DNA of imperialism, no matter what the aggressor chooses to call them.

War also includes the preservation of the fruits of previous wars. For the United States and western Europe, that means retaining the spoils and privileges of 500 years of violent predation, which demands the constant reapplication of force against oppressed people within the “pacified” regions at home as well as abroad. Europe is eternally engaged in intrigue and terror in her former colonies, wars by other names that are extensions of the wars that made them colonies in the first place. Latin Americans are painfully familiar with U.S. wars to enforce the Monroe Doctrine, by which Washington formally assumed generalship over Europe’s centuries of wars against the peoples of the Americas and the Africans forcibly transplanted to the hemisphere through war. The United States’ relations with non-whites within her borders is rooted in wars of genocide against the natives and the enforced captivity and containment of Black people.

“Obama sees clearly that he will preside over many more wars in the future, an endless stream of them on the ‘road to peace’ – a peace that can only come with total U.S. global domination.”

Faulkner said “the past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” Neither are the European wars against the rest of the peoples of the planet.

Historically, white-led anti-war movements in the United States have been as selective as President Obama in what they consider to be bona fide wars. Obama justifies denying that “hostilities” exist between the U.S. and Libya, partly on the grounds that no Americans have been killed – due, of course, to U.S. “full spectrum dominance” over the North African skies. Many whites who consider themselves anti-war activists also recognize as wars only those conflicts that kill Americans, make great drains on U.S. treasure, or create palpable distortions in the “American Way of Life” – for example, significant losses of their civil liberties. Meanwhile, a whole world of wars bring death and devastation to people of color in places like Haiti (a victim of U.S. armed conquest and occupation), Congo (six million dead since the mid-Nineties, but not to be found among most U.S. anti-war groups’ lists of wars), and Black America (one out of eight prisoners on the planet are African American, so there must be a huge war going on).

The assault on Libya by the arrayed aggressors of the 500 Year War, all embodied in NATO, and Obama’s denial that the U.S. is even engaged in a war with Libya, serves to bring into focus the full spectrum of “Other Wars” waged against people of color. The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations has taken the lead in agitating that all who make a claim to the anti-war label recognize these “Other Wars” and expand their vision and scope of activities, accordingly. The United National Anti-War Committee (UNAC) and a host of other organizations have endorsed Black is Back’s “Day of Action Against the Other Wars,” August 20, which will see mobilizations in Washington, DC, New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Milwaukee, St. Petersburg, Florida, Oakland and San Diego, California, London, Toronto, Nassau, Bahamas, and a growing list of cities.

“The United States’ relations with non-whites within her borders is rooted in wars of genocide against the natives and the enforced captivity and containment of Black people.”

This summer, former congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney is crisscrossing the country with the “Eyewitness Libya” tour, with speakers elaborating on much the same theme of undeclared and unrecognized wars, domestic and foreign. McKinney is scheduled for Newark, New Jersey (July 28), New York City’s Riverside Church on June 30, Boston (August 6), and Los Angeles (August 7). And on August 13, a coalition of organizations holds a Millions March in Harlem as a “mass protest to end the attack on Libya, Zimbabwe, and Blacks in the U.S.,” featuring Min. Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam.

U.S. Empire, with Barack Obama at the helm, is attempting to impose its will on the planet by force of arms. It blurs the lines between war and not-war to mask a general offensive against…everyone, at all times. The “Other Wars” become the main arenas of conflict, as witnessed in Libya and the rapid militarization of Africa. Massed capital assaults the very states it has constructed in Europe and the U.S., all the while scapegoating non-whites as the cause of the crisis.

The new anti-war movement will directly confront imperialism and white supremacy, or vanish in the rubble of the 500 Year War.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

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