September 12, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
– Op-ed by Tom Winter –
|NATO fulfilling the UN mandate to protect civilians. Tripoli, Libya 2011
“This time it was neither too hot nor too cold. It was just right and so delicious that she ate it all up.” — Robert Southey, Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
And now there is this:
“there are times when we have gone in way too heavy, and that’s caused problems, and times when we’ve gone in too light, and that has caused problems.”
The intervention, like the chair, the porridge, and the bed that Goldilocks tried out in the house of the three bears, has to be just right. “Must we intervene?” is rarely asked, and the intervention itself is rarely questioned. We “have to” as President Obama observes in expressing an aggressive gradation of “various” measures: “we occasionally have to twist the arms of countries that wouldn’t do what we need them to do if it weren’t for the various economic or diplomatic or, in some cases, military leverage that we had…
The panoply of intervention goes from the cheapest to the most costly, from coups d’etat to horrors like “boots on the ground” that no modern politician wants to touch. (You have to call them ‘advisors’ and when advisors come home in body bags nobody prints it.) A brief look at the steps remaining…
War: On the cheap, it is a coup.
Our overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran cost us nothing, but kept British Petroleum afloat. Our overthrow of Salvador Allende, the same, but we did it more from doctrine, than for a corporation: We could not let a Marxist be in charge, notwithstanding the voice of his people. So Kissinger and Nixon plotted his overthrow laid the groundwork by having the head of the Chilean army, General Steiner, who pledged to support the incoming Allende, murdered. And then we cemented the fascist dictatorship of Pinochet.
Two recent US coups have a striking parallel. Here is Hillary Clinton, in the hardbound edition of her Hard Choices:
“We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot.”
An admission that our State Department’s policy was that the coup should stay in power. Zelaya, as the world knows, was kidnapped by the army in his pajamas and flown out of the country. Same outcome as in Chile, since Honduras is in the hands of the Nationalist party.
Compare the words of Hillary with the words of President Obama in the January interview with Fareed Zacharia:
“And since Mr. Putin made this decision around Crimea and Ukraine – not because of some grand strategy, but essentially because he was caught off-balance by the protests in the Maidan and Yanukovych then fleeing after we had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine.”
“We settled on a plan,” and then “we brokered a deal.” Same? Same. The further parallel: in each case, the seal was put on the coup by immediately “holding elections,” to stymie the return of the elected president, Zelaya in Honduras, Janukovich in Ukraine. Again, the same outcome: a right-wing government, with control of the press and murder of oppositionists and journalists.
The plan is parallel and so are the coups. This is aggression of the highest order — you know, throughout most of recorded history it was difficult for a government to stay in power after losing a war. And for the victors, the victory was costly, victories could be Pyrrhic Victories. The State Department has realized that you don’t need a war! Here there is no overt war, just war’s ultimate achievement: there is no cheaper war of aggression than a coup.
Or, as William F. Wechsler put it to Congress:
“For decades U.S. presidents from both parties have relied on a combination of both direct and indirect action to combat terrorists. U.S. direct actions – including air campaigns, targeted strikes, capture operations and precision raids – are both necessary but not at all sufficient in order to achieve our counterterrorism objectives against the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. These actions can disrupt and even degrade a terrorist group, but rarely defeat and almost never destroy them. In military terms, direct action is often an important line of operation but is only rarely the decisive line of operation. The decisive line of operation is more often indirect action.”
— William Wechsler, Testimony to Congress, March 1.
Then it’s “No-fly Zone” with airstrikes
When NATO took charge of fulfilling UN resolutions 1970 and 1973, there were three stated goals: enforce, enforce, and protect: “enforce an arms embargo, enforce a no-fly-zone, and protect civilians and civilian populated areas.” This, of course, was a fig leaf: the exception for humanitarian flights cited in Resolution 1973 turned into arm-supply flights for the “rebels.” So much for the arms embargo.
“Protect civilians and civilian populated areas” was an open joke. Our cost was approximately a billion; our involvement under the fig leaf was crucial: “at NATO headquarters outside Brussels, the U.S. was intimately involved in all decisions about how the Libyan rebels should be supported as they rolled up control of cities and oil refineries and marched toward the capital, Tripoli” — John Barry, America’s Secret Libya War.
A no-fly zone is easy to pass, but is actually a declaration of war. In the January 19 debates, Martha Raddatz asked “Secretary Clinton, I’d like to go back to that if I could. ISIS doesn’t have aircraft, Al Qaida doesn’t have aircraft. So would you shoot down a Syrian military aircraft or a Russian airplane?” Yes, she would, and hoped the Russians would go along:
“I am advocating the no-fly zone both because I think it would help us on the ground to protect Syrians; I’m also advocating it because I think it gives us some leverage in our conversations with Russia […] The no-fly zone, I would hope, would be also shared by Russia.”
“Protect Syrians”! Mad fantasy, doubtless envisioning President Assad’s dead body being mutilated like Gaddafi’s, by “moderate rebels.” In Libya and in Syria — if it came to that — outcomes would be identical: chaos.
War by Proxy
James and JoAnne Moriarty were living in Libya. They write: “Because there was no popular support for this so called revolution in Libya, it was necessary for NATO, the US, UK, France, UN, Qatar and Israel to funnel in thousands of Al Qaeda mercenaries into Libya. We are witnesses to the hordes of terrorists, that were armed, funded and trained by the aforementioned group.”
And that UN mission to protect civilians?
“The 21st of August NATO decided that they had waited long enough for the Libyan people to get behind their coup d’état so they forcibly took Tripoli. We were in a big hotel near the seaport. We saw NATO bring in their Apache helicopters and mow down the innocent people in the streets. In the first hour of NATO’s takeover of Tripoli 1,300 people were killed in the streets and 5,000 wounded.”
Proxy fighters @ One hundred million apiece:
In the wake of the 500 million dollar train-and-equip scandal, US Central Command wanted more money from Congress. How many vetted trained and equipped did they have so far? “We’re talking four or five,” General Lloyd Austin, commander of US Central Command replied. That was September 16, and “progress” was nil: Austin conceded that “there was “slow movement at the tactical level” but defended the strategy he had overseen for a year. “There haven’t been any dramatic gains on either side,” Austin said, although earlier this year Isis seized the Iraqi city of Ramadi and the Syrian city of Palmyra.” — The Guardian
No dramatic gains on either side, and the date was September 16. On September 30, Russia’s parliament approved a request by President Vladimir Putin to launch air strikes in Syria.
Within hours, the bear was dealing with Goldilocks.