“I believe in one thing: liberty, but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone else” – H.L. Mencken
In just over a weekend, hundreds of millions of dollar’s worth of bombs were dropped on Libya. And now that a Democrat is ordering the missile strikes and rattling his saber, bipartisanship support among the Establishment media has emerged.
The neocon Right is obviously salivating at the prospect of seeing more Muslim Arab blood be spilled at the hands of government ships waving government flags (or as chickenhawk Bill Kristol wants: government “boots on the ground”). Those on the Left are hailing the blitzkrieg as well, praising Obama’s “humanitarian” and “liberal” bombs of exploding democracy.
The Beltway folks, however, are always going to support an expansion of state power, whether it’s printing up billions of dollars or sharpening its fangs overseas. But what I do notice is a much healthier skepticism of this intervention in Libya coming from those that don’t have Pentagon contracts or people to scream at on CNN.
Unlike the war in Iraq – which relied on the same lies, deceptions, propaganda, and utter bullshit as Libya – there is not nearly as much rah-rah, flag-waving, America-is-Number-1! chest-beating that we were pounded over the heads with.
For example, I can remember that speaking out publicly against the Iraq War (or Bush’s Regime in general) could get you tarred and feathered for not having the sufficient amount of red, white, and blue in your veins. Now that this will be the third Muslim country the US has launched significant military force against in the last decade, people (thankfully) aren’t buying it.
Louis Farrakhan has called out Caesar for his imperial aggression, Michael Moore is blasting His Holiness for his refusal to even mention this to the People’s (theoretically at least) Representatives, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich is calling for impeachment. As a libertarian, I may not agree with some or most of what these men believe in, but their consistency and willingness to call a spade a spade should be applauded. War is the health of the state, after all, and opponents of war are at least partial friends in the fight for liberty.
And, of course, Congressman Ron Paul was right as usual, correctly calling a “no-fly-zone” an act of war and warning that US intervention can only backfire.
But as American bread-and-circus politics tends to do, cynicism grips me and I can’t help but feel disheartened at what lies ahead. Perhaps this less crusading-cowboy approach is exactly what the Pentagon was looking for after eight years of Bush. Obama swooped in at just the right time to put a smiling, younger, handsome face on mass murder and empire. From the very first week of his reign, Obama beefed up the military, the secret prisons, the torture, the drone strikes, and gets a Peace Prize as a reward.
Not only expand the contracts and the debt and the killing, but do it while making self-aggrandazing speeches about what a liberal dove he is. Conservatives predictably focused solely on this rhetoric, and pounced all over this terrorist-loving, secret-Muslim, surrender-monkey who hates America.
The Pentagon needed Obama for exactly this reason. Damage control. Especially in this revolutionary age, where information that isn’t spoon-fed from the White House to the New York Times is available worldwide at your fingertips. It’s becoming harder and harder to blindly “support the troops” when, thanks to the web, a story was revealed documenting how US soldiers in Afghanistan are cutting “trophies” off of civilians they’ve killed and posing for photographs.
And now, Libya. Another Muslim country with lots and lots of oil. Who do they think they’re fooling? H.L. Mencken once said that you could never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people, but I’d like to give them a little bit more credit. They see an imperial government spending money it doesn’t have bombing a poor country that did not attack us taking orders from Our Savior that was elected through repeating slogans like the MC at a high school dance.
After two years of the Hope And Change President, what do we have to show for it? An expansion of the war in Afghanistan that even Bush couldn’t have dreamt of, US citizens being targeted for assassination, the de facto suspension of habeus corpus, and a cabinet of bloodthirsty women urging the US government to send other women’s sons to drop bombs on Libya. How progressive.
Sorry, DC, but I believe we are all beginning to see through the racket of your international and domestic empire. You need us, remember? We supply you with endless taxes and loot with which to pay off favored contractors and send Midwestern farm boys to kill and die. But we do not need you.
Be patient, lovers of liberty. We will throw off the yoke of state power eventually, it’s only a matter of time. Empire is not only immoral and evil, it is counterproductive; a parasite can not overwhelm its host. People are waking up to the largest and most destructive aspect of state power – WAR – and the rotten germs of militarism soaking nearly every aspect of American life that saddle a fondness for Mars.
Even if all this talk of “democracy,” liberty,” and “standing with the people” were sincere (which, of course, it isn’t), a massive bombing campaign is the worst way possible to try to achieve these lofty ends.
And what about Yemen and Bahrain, two countries that are experiencing far brutal repression than Libya? Once it was revealed that the US sanctioned the Saudis brutal invasion of Bahrain in exchange for their yes vote for war on Libya in the Arab League, all pretenses of humanitarian motives behind the intervention gave way to the predictable chess-board manueverings of a desperate empire.
The Arab world has suffered too much for too long under the heel of the American Empire, and the best thing that we can do is remove the warships, the bases, and the troops, look inward, and focus on our own problems before we go around spreading blessings around the world at the tip of a cruise missile.
A beacon of liberty, a peaceful commercial republic that dedicates itself to the liberty of every individual, or a Leviathan Empire? The choice, if left to us, would appear to be easy. But like the Libyans who will be buried under “smart” bombs, more and more people are wishing that the Monster off the Potomac would just get out of the way and leave us, and them, in peace.