WASHINGTON, D.C., April 25, 1996 -- At a Defense Department briefing on April 23 a senior defense official stated that the United States would not exclude the use of nuclear weapons to destroy Libya's chemical plant at Tarhunah. This plant, said the official, "is not in the interest of peace, not in the interest of stability, and not in the interest of world order."
Libya was blamed in the 1970s and '80s, writes William Blum in Killing Hope, for supporting "a wide array of radical/insurgent/terrorist organizations . . . in various parts of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia; as well as the IRA and Basque and Corsican separatists in Europe . . . the list is without end." "It is the notion," writes Bill Schaap in Covert Action Information Bulletin, No. 30, "that the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Qaddafi, is responsible for every act of terrorism in the world . . ." Not too long ago native American 'savages' served the same purpose. The 'rogue states' have replaced native American 'savages' as the new all purpose villains.
"Our evidence is direct, it is precise, it is irrefutable," announced US President Reagan in explaining the American bombing attack on Libya of April 14, 1986 in retaliation for the alleged Libyan bombing nine days earlier of a West Berlin nightclub frequented by US servicemen. The German government, however, remained critical and sceptical of the American position linking Libya to the bombing. Five months after the December 21, 1988 explosion of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, the US State Department announced that the CIA was confident that the villains were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine led by Ahmed Jibril based in Syria. But when Syria allied with the US in the Gulf War the blame was shifted to Libya.
Conveniently ignored is US bombing of innocent civilians in Libya, including Col. Qaddafi's young daughter, the calculated devastation of Iraq during the Gulf War, and the suffering and death of countless Iraqi civilians in violation of Christian teaching on Just War.
Conveniently ignored is Israel's arsenal of nuclear weapons, its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, its refusal to abide by UN resolutions, its collective punishment of Palestinians, its continued building of settlements on occupied territories, and its repeated incursions into and bombing of Lebanon.
Conveniently ignored are the US use of Agent Orange in Vietnam which devastated that country long a pawn among the superpowers, and secret experiments on its own citizens with radiation, and chemical and biological weapons.
Conveniently ignored is the continuing need to justify the $262 billion US defense budget which accounts for about 37 percent of global military expenditures. Russia, Japan, and China each will in 1996 spend about $80 billion, $42 billion, and $7 billion. The six "rogue states" -- Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, North Korea -- have a combined annual military budget of $15 billion. The US budget for covert operations (i.e. US terrorism and support of terrorism) alone is over $29 billion.
Regardless of the facts Col. Qaddafi remains the villain who threatens world order. We are frequently reminded that US intervention is needed to extend our version of democracy, and our notions of human rights. The British empire felt it was its duty to civilize the heathen nations of the world. They devastated those nations as a result. Take the case of India and China.
Clifford D. Conner, an adjunct assistant professor of history at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in a letter to The Editor of The New York Times wrote:" . . . in 1750, India produced almost 25 percent of the world's total manufactured goods. By 1914, India's share had dropped to 2 percent. In 1750 India's largest export was cotton textiles. By 1850, its largest export was opium, which Britain used to balance its trade with China." The British forced India to grow opium, and then they went to war with China to force it to buy the opium. The resulting famine killed about ten million Indians in this century, and many Chinese became addicted to opium.
Of course, the US government cannot tell the decent folk of America its real aims outlined in 1948 by "the leading dove and peace prize winner" Mr. George Kennan, for the US Department of State. In his top secret Policy Planning Study 23 Mr. Kennan stated in part: ". . . we have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its population . . . Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity . . . To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality . . . We should cease to talk about vague and . . . unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization."
Just over 200 years ago, on July 4, 1776, the US rallied people to these marvelous words in the Declaration of Independence: "WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness . . ." The proclamation of that lofty ideal followed the holocaust of about 15 million native Americans, and has yet to be fully realized in the US. And beyond the shores of the US, presumably, these 'Truths' do not apply.
The US that threw off the shackles of British colonialism has, with the
collapse of the former Soviet Union, firmly established itself as the
world's colonial power, and the holocaust of the weaker nations
continues. Now the US guns are aimed at Libya. And next? Sudan, Iran . . . ?
[In Late Victorian Holocausts, the historian Mike Davis documents that as
many as 21 million Indians died unnecessarily in famines criminally imposed
by British colonial policies.--John Pilger, "Iran May be the
Greatest Crisis of Modern Times," New Statesman, April 12, 2007]
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