With the "liberation"
of Libya from the grip of Muammar
Gadhafi, progressives like E.
J. Dionne and other cheerleaders
for this administration are hailing the joint US-NATO operation
as a new
model for American intervention an exemplar of the "good"
way to push our weight around on the international stage, as opposed
to the "bad"
way pursued by George W. Bush and the neoconservatives in Iraq.
As Glenn Greenwald points
out, the same triumphalist message being trumpeted by this administration's
supporters over Libya was uncritically
broadcast by the "mainstream" media in the wake of
"mission accomplished" in Iraq.
will soon intrude, and correct this "irrational exuberance"
certain Federal Reserve chairman would put it is an absolute
certainty. Indeed, a few skeptical voices are already being raised,
Cockburn, reporting from Benghazi:
black African in Libya is open to summary arrest unless he can prove
that he was not a member of Colonel Gadhafi's forces
claim that many of Colonel Gadhafi's soldiers were black African
mercenaries. Amnesty International says these allegations are largely
unproven and, from the beginning of the conflict, many of those
arrested or, in some cases, executed by the rebels were undocumented
laborers caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
there is no doubt that all black Africans are now under suspicion.
The head of the militia in Faraj, a short bearded man in a brown
robe named Issam, explained how well-prepared local insurgents had
taken over the area on 19 August, telling Colonel Gadhafi's supporters
to hand over their weapons and stay at home. There was almost no
resistance from the demoralized regime and few people had been arrested.
Then Issam added, as an aside, that his men had also detained 'tens
of Africans whom we sent off to prison.' He did not explain why
they had been jailed."
Libya, black Africans are being rounded up by the rebel forces,
and often either summarily executed or else imprisoned. See here,
for more disgusting evidence of the rebels' anti-black campaign.
hired African mercenaries to fight for his regime, and this is the
ostensible reason why the rebels are rounding up blacks, but this
explanation seems more like an excuse than an actual reason in view
of the fact that there have been periodic anti-black riots in the
country, notably in
The idea that
American imperialism could be a
force for "good," with a "progressive" president
holding the reins, was never very convincing. But even I never expected
to be confronted with the ultimate irony: the first African-American
President appears to be responsible, in part, for a large
scale anti-black pogrom. This is his signal foreign
policy "accomplishment" a mass lynching.
We have truly
One could argue,
however, that this is not the fault of the Obama administration,
since it was their Libyan
proxies, and not US troops, who committed that particular atrocity.
We can still see the US as a force for "good" in the world,
albeit not without morally complex anomalies to factor into the
equation. Well, tell that to the people of Ishaqi, a village in
Iraq, where US troops recently conducted a raid:
in the village of Ishaqi, just south of Tikrit, said Iraqi and American
forces opened fire on civilians and threw grenades early Friday
as they conducted the raid. The villagers said the forces were responding
to gunfire from people in the village and then fired back, killing
a 13-year-old boy and an off-duty police officer."
authorities are currently stonewalling, denying any responsibility
for the deaths, and claiming it was an Iraqi operation although
they admit US forces entered the scene when "fighting broke
out." One has to wonder, however, how a 13-year-old boy and
a police officer came to be the targets are these the "terrorists"
we're supposedly fighting in Iraq, whose presence requires
an extended American stay?
It's an irony
that this latest incident which has further complicated Washington's
efforts to persuade the Iraqis they need our continued presence
took place in Ishaqi, the scene of yet another infamous US atrocity
in 2006. As Antiwar.com's John Glaser was the
first to report
earlier this week:
revealed by a
State Department diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks
last week, US forces committed a heinous war crime during a house
raid in Iraq in 2006, wherein one man, four women, two children,
and three infants were summarily executed. The cable excerpts a
letter written by Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial,
Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, addressed to then Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice. American troops approached the home of Faiz
Harrat Al-Majma'ee, a farmer living in central Iraq, to conduct
a house raid in search of insurgents in March of 2006.
would appear that when the MNF [Multinational Forces] approached
the house,' Alston wrote, 'shots were fired from it and a confrontation
ensued' before the 'troops entered the house, handcuffed all residents
and executed all of them.' Mr. Faiz Hratt Khalaf, (aged 28), his
wife Sumay'ya Abdul Razzaq Khuther (aged 24), their three children
Hawra'a (aged 5) Aisha ( aged 3) and Husam (5 months old), Faiz's
mother Ms. Turkiya Majeed Ali (aged 74), Faiz's sister (name unknown),
Faiz's nieces Asma'a Yousif Ma'arouf (aged 5 years old), and Usama
Yousif Ma'arouf (aged 3 years), and a visiting relative Ms. Iqtisad
Hameed Mehdi (aged 23) were killed during the raid. Alston's letter
reveals that a US air strike was launched on the house presumably
to destroy the evidence, but that "autopsies carried out at
the Tikrit Hospital's morgue revealed that all corpses were shot
in the head and handcuffed."
A five-year-old, and a child of five months shot in the head while handcuffed?
September 5, 2011
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.
Copyright © 2011 Antiwar.com