Libya: The Empire conducts a war fest (or business as usual) By William Bowles

8 April 2011

To paraphrase, the first casualty of capitalism is the truth and the outrageous and totally illegal invasion of Libya, launched with so much super-heated air, has degenerated into a vile exposé of the true nature of imperialism. The Tonkin Gulf of Libya that was the excuse for this sordid and disgusting operation rested on the claims of two allegations: bombing of civilians and Gaddafi’s use of ‘African mercenaries’. Both claims have proved to be complete fabrications, but guess what?

Mercenaries could be drafted into Libya to help rebel forces because British military chiefs believe the war against Colonel Gaddafi cannot be won with air strikes alone.

Senior commanders have told David Cameron that the rebels lack the numbers and the organisation to oust the dictator without fresh arms supplies and professional military expertise.

As a result, they have proposed drafting in highly-paid ‘dogs of war’ to train and lead the opposition forces towards the capital Tripoli in a battle to end the military stalemate. — “Send in the dogs of war: Mercenaries could help the rag-tag rebels say UK generals” — Mail Online 6 April, 2011

The thing is, the ‘dogs of war’ are already there in the form of the CIA, MI5, Mossad and who knows what other agencies are anxious to do their master’s bidding in the scramble for the place? Note that the UK generals are not advocating that British soldiers should do the shooting (and dying). Oh no, rent a ‘private military contractor’ to do your dirty work for you. And you know why? Because sending in British soldiers would be a step too far for our domestic audience to take in spite of the blanket propaganda onslaught. What a cynical and despicable bunch of bastards are the ruling class.

But just in case:

“The U.S. may consider sending troops into Libya with a possible international ground force that could aid the rebels, the former U.S. commander of the military mission said Thursday, describing the current operation as a stalemate that is more likely to go on now that America has handed control to NATO.” — ‘General says US may consider sending troops into Libya as part of any international force‘, Google News, 7 April, 2011

The MSM is even being attacked in public by its own, one who works for the Financial Times no less and an assistant news editor.

A leading Financial Times journalist accused the British media today of “buttering up” the population to support the war on Libya.

At a Stop the War Coalition fringe event at the NUJ conference the paper’s assistant news editor David Crouch accused the Times and the Evening Standard of running a campaign to bring about Western intervention.” — ‘FT journalist accuses press warmongers‘, Morning Star, 8 April 2011

Meanwhile, back in the real world, whilst we’re all meant to have our eyes firmly fixed on Gaddafi, we read:

Asked at a news conference if the US administration was considering withholding military aid due to unrest and violence against demonstrators [in Yemen], press secretary Geoff Morrell said: “As far as I know, it has not been [considered].” — ‘No plans to suspend military aid to Yemen: US‘, AFP

And:

“You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a “yes” vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya — the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973.” — ‘The US-Saudi Libya Deal‘ by Pepe Escobar, MRZine, 3 April, 2011

I rarely, if ever issue exhortations to my readers, it’s not for me to tell you what to do but do you really intend to stand by and let your governments wage war on the planet and do it all in your name? In the space of a few, short weeks, the Empire has launched not one but two wars of aggression against sovereign states neither of which have done anything to threaten the ‘international community’ in any way.

A gaggle of the world’s most powerful, militarized states led by the US, UK, France and Canada are busy pulverizing countries around the planet, with the Ivory Coast being the latest addition to the orgy of destruction being carried out in the name of ‘humanitarian intervention’. This is ‘gunboat diplomacy’ in the era of the global, corporate/state stranglehold on the media. It makes the amateur airbrushing that went on at Pravda, look- well amateur.

How has this dire situation come to pass? It looks more like 1811 than 2011. Yet it’s a fact that the UK has been conducting wars pretty much without a break for over 600 hundred years and the endless wars of imperial/colonial aggression have supplied the wealth that subsidizes the imperial working classes and keeps us all in our place. Well anyway that’s the theory and it seems to have worked quite well, until now that is.

This is a thought to ponder: Following the end of WWII and in spite of the Cold War already set in motion, the second, ‘war to end all wars’ brought us to the brink of an entire wave of revolutions. Revolutions that were for the most part stopped– by Western intervention. This was true of France and Italy where both were on the verge of electing Communist governments. Enter the CIA, OSS, SAS, MI5…

Elsewhere, the Empire fought vicious wars against ‘communist rebels’ and ‘terrorists’ in Greece, Malaya, Kenya, Yemen, Cyprus, Vietnam, Iran, Burma, the Phillipines, Algeria… the list is a long one. It fact, with a few exceptions, most countries in the world have experienced being ‘civilized’ (if not ‘democratized’) by the West in one form or another.

The Brits were good at doing ‘behind the scenes engineering’ for example, Nigeria, or more benignly Zambia comes to mind, but then there was much less at stake in Zambia. Nigeria was viewed as the real potential powerhouse of Africa (and by the Nigerians themselves). Thus it was vital to make sure that ‘independence’ worked out entirely in Britain’s favour, so they rigged the elections and made sure nobody back home knew what was going on.

In the UK, sensing that the same fate awaited the capitalist state unless it took steps to sideline the demands, [it] instituted a Keynesian-based ‘contract with organised labour’, massive state takeovers (mostly of bankrupt private corporations and essential infrastructure), led by the ‘party of labour’ with their allegedly socialist programme.

In reality, in exchange for ‘industrial peace’ capitalism (with a ‘socialist’ face) was preserved. The trajectory of reformism was complete. I can’t emphasize too much just how important this was, especially the British working class’s relationship to the UK’s colonial and ex-colonial possessions and of course, the Cold War. We are now living with the end-product of this process; so-called neoliberalism.

Thus began the ‘interregnum’ brief though it was (c. 1945-79) when countries actually tried to get control of their own economies, firstly by throwing out the colonisers and then trying to sort out the mess the former masters had left behind.

Some of the former colonial countries opted for a quasi-socialist, state-directed economy with direct links to the former Soviet Union and to China and via the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to other Third World countries. This meant that all the major resources, land, minerals, water, infrastructure, were held in common ownership with the state theoretically the ‘steward’ of the nation’s wealth.

Importantly, it meant that Western capital was being denied access to these markets. Many, like India had protective trade barriers around key products and markets else their own burgeoning economies would have disappeared, much as has happened in the post-Thatcher/Reagan period in many of the former colonial possessions. But in a capitalist world, socialism, whatever its form, isolated and cut off from the global economy, simply couldn’t survive. It couldn’t ‘compete’ on capitalism’s terms and therein lies the rub as they say. It seems it’s all or nothing, hence Marx’s call for workers of the world to unite.

What we now think of fondly, those pre-Thatcher/Reagan days was unfortunately a deviation from the ‘norm’, due entirely to the pressure of working folks in the post-WWII period who forced a bunch of concessions out of the ruling class using mostly trade union power as the lever.

In turn, the organized working class largely turned a blind eye (as did successive Labour governments) and kept quiet about the fact that the Empire’s possessions subsidized our relatively high standard of living and were quite happy to see Tory and Labour governments wage war on various and sundry black and brown people. So nothing has changed in that regard except the label used to justify the slaughter.

Just how easy it is to wage war can be seen from the fact that only 13 UK MPs voted against bombing Libyans and in the US they didn’t even bother to vote!

What today we call neoliberalism is in reality a return to the days of old, essentially an attempt to turn clock back to the 19th century when the Empire acted with impunity, untroubled by such nonsensical terms as human and civil rights, or the rule of the law. They were the law. And today, they do it under the cover of the United Nations, which is now openly a tool of the Empire. Failing that, they go ahead and do it anyway. Whose going to stop them?

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