By Danny Schechter
HARK, THE ANGEL SPEAKS ON YOUR TV: Barack Obama To Explain The Libryan Intervention Tonight
By Danny Schechter, Author of the Crime Of Our Time
President Obama is slated to give a big speech to the Nation tonight celebrating the great Libyan offensive.
As you may recall, the President already has cast the mission solely in humanitarian terms on his Saturday radio show, as the LA Times reported:
“President Obama said Saturday that he sent U.S. warplanes into Libya a week ago to avert a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ and a ‘blood bath’, and he denied that the U.S. is being drawn into a wider war there.
“The United States should not — and cannot — intervene every time there’s a crisis somewhere in the world,” the president said in his Saturday radio address. “But I firmly believe that when innocent people are being brutalized, when someone like [Moammar] Gaddafi threatens a blood bath that could destabilize an entire region, and when the international community is prepared to come together to save many thousands of lives, then it’s in our national interest to act. And it’s our responsibility. This is one of those times.”
As his advisors huddled to turn these comments into TV special, they realized they have to try to pacify Republicans who accuse him of bypassing Congress and liberal Dems who are upset with the two wars he is commanding and chiefing and don’t want a third. Its hard for them to put in the context of the “DUTY TO PROTECT” when so many people in protest around the world are going unprotected.”
Recall that the this war came along at an opportune time for Washington, just after the Egyptian people kicked Mubarak out and a wave of pro-democracy sentiment challenged leaders we have long supported, in Yemen, In Bahrain,
The American people were beginning to develop a glow of solidarity with people who we have been long taught to hate, fear, and ignore. Thanks to the media attention–on TV and in social media–we admired their courage and felt a connection.
Suddenly, Washington was on the defensive for less than stellar and timely support for Egyptian aspirations and, before that, Tunisia, Our policicy gobbledygook about stability uber alles was being seen as a not so thinly veiled form of support for an oppressive status quo.
How to bounce back, seize the initiative, show how concerned we truly are for the people of the Middle East?
That’s been hard to do also because of our back pedaling on justice for the Palestinians and actually voting against A UN resolution denouncing settlements, a policy we ourselves had espoused, as just about put the final kaboosh on the peace process. (Prensa Latina reports: At least 17 Palestinians, including children, were injured in five Israeli air strikes on Gaza, considered the fiercest of recent weeks, medical and resistance sources reported Tuesday.)
What a great time for Gadaffi to surface at the top of the news agenda, as the Arab leader everyone can all love to hate, as the person we can demonize and wage war upon, all in the name of ”our values,” of saving civilians even if many of these civilians are an armed force that no doubt have been covertly supported by intelligence agencies. His brutality, well reported by many media outlets, lends credibility to the NATO operation. No doubt, he is his own worst enemy, hardly a sympathetic victim. We still don’t have a figure on civililian casualties. Do you really believe there have been none?
Since the UN resolution is drenched in humanitarianism as the rationale for the no-fly zone, we can’t openly set out to topple the colonel or bump him off as the excreable John Bolton suggests, so we speak from all sides of our mouths.
We are letting the mysterious no-name “Rebels” do our work for us. The New York Time reports this morning; “There were unconfirmed reports early Monday that rebel forces had routed pro-government defenders in Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s tribal homeland of Surt.”
The Washington Post reports that Tipoli is under heavy bombardment today-so many days of bombardment in the name of a non-fly zone?
Does anyone remember a long history of masking our objectives by ostensibly supporting others—surrogates—like the ”free” Iraq forces. etc. etc. There is a long and ignoble history of this as the narrative remains vague and ever shifting.
We are in, we are out. It will be quick, but maybe it won’t. Its costing a lot, it’s not costing a lot. We hate him, we don’t care about him.
It’s a dance and no one knows where we all will be when the music stops.
Don’t worry, this will go on until K is gone, and we are in control. CLG: “Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked on ABC’s “This Week” if that would mean a U.S. military commitment until year’s end, Gates said, “I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that.” The lack of clarity on that question reflects a worry for lawmakers clamoring to hear fuller explanations from the administration on why the U.S. was embroiling itself in another Muslim conflict and what the ultimate goals of the intervention are.”
We know all of Gadaffi’s weaknesses. Many of the planes he bought from us were never shipped.
We now have a Libyan Chalabi wooing Congressional support, according to the Boston Globe:
“WASHINGTON — He arrived in a suit, without an entourage. One day after US missiles began striking Moammar Khadafy’s forces, the balding, US-educated professor met Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts at a hotel in Cairo to outline his vision for Libya’s future.
“He makes a case that people (DS: WHICH PEOPLE?) want to hear,” said an aide to Kerry who was not authorized to be quoted by name. “He seems to represent the kind of moderation that people want to see in a new Libyan government.”
Those who have met him — including Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France — have emerged from their meetings more confident that Libya’s fledgling opposition is steered by democratic and Western-leaning visionaries, not Islamic extremists.
But Jibril, who earned a PhD in political science from the University of Pittsburgh, also underscores a major weakness of the movement to topple Khadafy: their lack of military might. Seven members of the 31-person interim council set up to coordinate the opposition are university professors, while only three are generals, according to a US official who has met with the opposition.”
How reassuring! It’s almost as if an old script has been up dated and rewritten.
And, more to the point –probably THE point. CLG reports:
‘Libyan rebels’ to start oil exports soon
Oil fields in rebel-held territory in Libya are producing between 100,000 and 130,000 barrels a day, and the opposition plans to begin exporting oil “in less than a week”, a rebel representative said on Sunday. “We are producing about 100,000 to 130,000 barrels a day, we can easily up that to about 300,000 a day,” said Ali Tarhoni, the rebel representative responsible for economy, finance and oil, at a news conference. He said the [US-funded] rebel government had agreed an oil contract with Qatar, which would market the crude, and that he expected exports to begin in “less than a week”.
But, in the meantime, the President has to look strong and reasonable and tout the progress, and explain how there wasn’t really time to go to Congress with so many lives at stake. Wars tend to mobilize pubic opinion. They make presidents appear decisive, especially in their early days. And in this case , they blow other issues–like the deficits the Republicans want to focus on, out of the water.
There is a method to this madness. Obama plays his commander in chief card since he has dealt so many others away. Also lost in the news are his two other wars, in Afghanistan, and yes, in Iraq.
In the run-up to the BIG speech, the Washington Post reports: “As the president keeps the White House press corps at a distance, he has sat for interviews with their colleagues from local stations — with sometimes illuminating results.”
Illuminate me, Barack, Illuminate Me.