Revolution Online, March 21, 2011

U.S. & European Allies Attack Libya: Imperialist Aggression Under Cover of "Humanitarian Intervention"

On Saturday, the U.S., along with France, Britain and other powers launched vicious military aggression against Libya. Once again, the U.S. launched an air war against another country in the Third World, or global south. Once again, the U.S. has arrogated to itself the right to use force to punish and control any country that crosses it.

On Saturday, the U.S. hit Libya with a barrage of some 112 cruise and Tomahawk missiles launched from U.S. submarines and destroyers in the Mediterranean, off the Libyan shore. French and British warplanes attacked targets in the east. The attacks continued Sunday and are continuing at this writing. Radar and anti-aircraft installations, military fields, air bases, and military convoys have all been attacked—both in the west in and around Tripoli, as well as in the east near Benghazi. On Sunday, the U.S. struck with Harrier jump jets and B-2 stealth bombers, attacking the Qaddafi government's ground forces and air defenses. Qaddafi's residence was also hit, even as the U.S. claimed it was not targeting him. So far there are reports of dozens of military personnel killed along the road to Benghazi and over 64 dead and no doubt more wounded or injured in the western half of Libya.

The U.S. rulers and their allies claim they're doing this out of "humanitarian" concern for the Libyan people who are being attacked by Qaddafi's forces, and that their military aggression is justified because it's been sanctioned by the UN, joined by other world powers, and approved by the Arab League.

These are lies.

Qaddafi's reactionary effort to brutally crush an uprising against his 42-year-long rule does not change the fact that the war launched by the U.S. and its allies has nothing to do with concern for humanity or the Libyan people. These are the same U.S. imperialists who launched wars of aggression, based on blatant lies, against Afghanistan and Iraq, murdering, maiming, torturing or displacing literally millions of civilians in the process. This is the same U.S. government responsible for the slaughter and torture of civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other places... the torture chambers of Guantánamo and Bagram and who knows where else... and the wholesale backing of the apartheid Israeli government—and its criminal wars on the Palestinians in Gaza.

At this very moment, when U.S. officials denounce Qaddafi for systematically abusing "the most fundamental human rights of Libya's people," the U.S. is backing violent despots savagely repressing their own people in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia because it conforms to U.S. imperial interests. On Friday, March 18 alone, at least 45 people were killed and 200 wounded by the pro-U.S. Yemeni government in the capital Sana'a. On the same day in Pakistan, a U.S. drone strike killed 26 people—mainly tribal elders and local civilians.

But now, suddenly, the U.S. finds violence against civilians "unacceptable" in Libya—why? Because it conflicts with the U.S.' imperialist interests.

(For an in-depth analysis of Qaddafi and Libya, see, "Revolution Interviews Raymond Lotta: The Events in Libya in Historical Perspective... Muammar Qaddafi in Class Perspective... The Question of Leadership in Communist Perspective," Revolution #226, March 8, 2011)

The fact that this is being carried out under UN auspices means nothing. The UN is a cabal of reactionary states dominated by the world's big imperialist powers. The UN is an institution whose purpose is maintaining capitalism-imperialism's domination of the planet, including when necessary legitimizing its violent aggression against those who stand in the way of the U.S. and other big powers. The UN authorized the 1991 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, whose purpose was to maintain U.S. imperialist control of the Persian Gulf, which resulted in the slaughter of over 200,000 Iraqis and the destruction of Iraq's civilian infrastructure. The UN approved sanctions against Iraq that led to the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi children and probably over a million other Iraqis during the decade of the 1990s. Just as the U.S. has fully backed Israel and all the crimes it has committed against the Palestinians, the UN has refused to act against Israel, not even putting sanctions on them, despite being in flagrant violation of UN resolutions for over 40 years!  Now, suddenly, at the U.S. behest, the UN is acting.

European imperialist powers have joined the U.S. in the slaughter, hoping to carve up Libya in the post-Qadaffi era, even bring the old colonialism back: Italy, which carried out massacres in Libya when it dominated it as a colony... France, which killed over a million Algerians to maintain its grip... and Britain, which dominated Egypt and many other parts of the Arab world for decades. This is the imperialist "multi-lateralism" that the U.S. claims legitimizes this criminal enterprise.

These forces now see an opening to violently reassert their power and to actually tighten the imperialist noose around Libya's neck, and to project military and political power deeper into a region that is now full of upsurge against regimes long supported by these imperialists. In fact, while the uprising against Qaddafi began with strong elements of justice to it, the vicious military attacks by the U.S. and its allies have now fundamentally altered the situation and made it necessary for everyone to oppose this gangster attempt to take advantage of the situation for imperialist ends.

Then there's the Arab League—made up of pro-U.S. lackeys and despots, like Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who are widely hated by their own people, many of whom are now rising up against them. The Arab League has never fought for UN actions against Israel, but now finds its voice when it comes to Libya.

All this calls to mind Malcolm X's point: "Uncle Sam's hands are dripping with blood, dripping with the blood of the black man in this country. He's the earth's number-one hypocrite. He has the audacity—yes, he has—imagine him posing as the leader of the free world."

The United States is the greatest single purveyor of violence against ordinary people in the world today—and has no right to carry out aggression against anyone, anywhere.

People within the U.S. have a special responsibility to condemn U.S.-sponsored military aggression against Libya. We call on people all over the U.S.—especially students—to act against this outrage.

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