by Lee Wrights
And so it begins. After dropping thousand of tons of bombs and missiles on Libya in an ineffective and inefficient effort to bring about regime change, President Obama has decided to send $25 million in “non-lethal” assistance to the Libyan rebels, including vehicles, fuel trucks, protective vests and non-secure radios.
On top of this “non-lethal” assistance, the president has also authorized the use of the very lethal Predator drones despite the fact that killing by “remote control” has proven somewhat less-than-reliable in Afghanistan and Pakistan and often results in the murder of friendly forces and innocent civilians. The more bombs we deliver to foreign targets, the more enemies we make. The more war we make on other people, the more revenge will be sought by the survivors in years to come. The president would do well to learn from mistakes made by his predecessors rather than repeating them blindly.
Now the United Kingdom, France and Italy are sending military advisers to assist the rebels, who have not been able to make any headway against Moammar Gadhafi’s forces despite the massive NATO bombing. However, British, French and Italian officials insist that their “advisers” will not provide “combat training,” but merely help the Libyan rebels get better organized.
So, NATO and U.S. support will result in a better-dressed and better-organized rebel movement. This would be comical if it were not so duplicitous.
Even while these latest inept and ill-advised escalations of our aggression in Libya were being announced in Washington, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that NATO air strikes had degraded Gadhafi’s main ground forces by 30 to 40 percent but that the conflict was “moving towards a stalemate.” “Degrading” an enemy’s forces is a military euphemism for destroying things and killing people.
Remember back in March when the director of national intelligence, Gen. James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Gadhafi’s forces “would prevail?” Republicans and Democrats went apoplectic at his candid and honest assessment, almost falling over themselves calling for the general’s removal. The senators couldn’t handle the truth, especially since it didn’t fit into their preconceived notion that bombing a country that had not attacked us for “humanitarian” reasons was in our “national interests.”
It turns out, apparently, that the intelligence chief was correct. Once again, an American president is going “knee deep in the big muddy” without having any idea of the consequences of his actions. What is worse is that President Obama is oblivious to the fact that he is repeating the same pattern every president since John Kennedy has followed to get us involved in foreign military adventures. He is either unaware of where he is taking our country, which is dangerous and irresponsible, or doesn’t care, which is reprehensible.
The military also has a euphemism for this phenomenon: “mission creep.” I prefer to call it what it is: interventionism and aggression. Unlike the president, those of us who grew up watching body bags coming home from a far away jungle in a place called Vietnam know all too well where this is going. Already our NATO allies have told rebel leaders they will intensify the air strikes on Libyan government targets, while complaining that the United States is not doing enough, which is making it difficult to get timely and precise target information and as a result causing civilian casualties.
This supposed lack of U.S. help is also being given as an excuse for why most of the 28-member nations of the alliance are not participating in the operation. Apparently, America is damned if we do and damned if we don’t. We either kill people by bombing them; or, we cause people to be killed by not bombing them enough. Of course, it could be possible that the NATO members who have chosen not to participate in this madness see this operation for what it really is – aggression – and also realize it is illegal, immoral and ultimately ineffective. Perhaps they also realize that what is happening to Libya now, could be happening to them tomorrow.
As I said when I announced that I will be seeking the Libertarian nomination for President, my first order of business, if I am honored to be elected, will be to disengage the United States from the tangle of misguided, immoral and unconstitutional military conflicts we are involved in. I’ll use the same authority and power as Commander-in-Chief that so many presidents have abused to get us mired in these quagmires in the first place. Only I will declare peace instead of war.
I’ll make this intent clear to everyone — the incumbent president, the Congress and most significantly the Joint Chiefs of Staff — during the campaign.
In the months prior to my inauguration, I’ll communicate directly to the Joint Chiefs and tell them straight out: I fully expect you to have a withdrawal plan in your hands, ready to be implemented, by the time I put my hand on the Bible to take the presidential oath. I expect that plan will cover a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Afghanistan and all other “wars of choice” and combat areas to be completed no more than 90 days from my inauguration. I expect the plan will allow for complete removal of U.S. troops from non-combat areas, including Korea, Japan and Germany, within one year from my inauguration.
I’ll also order the joint chiefs to immediately cease any U.S. operations in Libya, including assistance to NATO and aid to the rebels.
Finally, I will tell them they are authorized to use whatever force is necessary to respond to any direct attack on U.S. forces during these withdrawals.
My goal will be that by January 20, 2014, the only U.S. troops abroad (unless we’ve been attacked and are fighting our actual attackers) will be U.S. embassy guards. But that is just the beginning. Again, using the power and authority many presidents have abused and misused, I will stop the wars on the American people and refuse to enforce any law that is unconstitutional.
R. Lee Wrights, 52, a libertarian writer and political activist, is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. To that end he has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states. Wrights is a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and co-founder and editor of of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., he now lives and works in Texas.