Juan Williams Wrong on Iraq and Wrong on
Michael S. Rozeff
by Michael S. Rozeff: Love
It or Leave It?
thought the Iraqis should be grateful for the U.S. destruction of
their country. At the end of 2008, he
called Iraqis "ingrates" who didn't welcome American forces
with open arms:
"But on a serious
level, how many American lives have been sacrificed to the cause
of liberating Iraq? How much money has been spent while theyíre
not spending their own profits from their oil? American money. So
I just think itís absolutely the act of an ingrate for them to behave
in this way. Just unbelievable to me."
thinking on Libya?
that"We can't argue with American policy now, Quaddafi's dead
and the results speak for themselves."
And what does
he say is American policy? It's this:
"A man who
was an enemy of the American people, someone who killed Americans
aboard Pan Am 103, someone who was taking out Americans and acting
against our interests in the Middle East for decades has finally
been eliminated from the scene."
an enemy of the American people? No, he was not. See
here and here
for details. This photo of a half-smiling and/or friendly Obama
shaking hands with Quaddafi, taken in mid-2009, illustrates that
he was no enemy.
kill Americans on Pan Am 103 in 1988? Mr. Jalil, who heads Libya's
NTC, said in February that he had evidence of this, but he hasn't
released it yet. Some relatives of survivors are demanding today
that it be released. Some regret that Quaddafi is dead, because
he might have shed light on the atrocity. One, Dr.
Jim Swire, says
is much still to be resolved. Gaddafi, whether he was involved or
not, might have been able to clear up a few points," Dr Swire
he is dead we may have lost an opportunity for getting nearer to
we have not a scrap of evidence that Gaddafi himself was involved
in causing the Lockerbie atrocity, my take on that was that he would
have at least known who was."
was suspected of giving the order, we cannot at this time be sure
of his role in the bombing. We surely cannot applaud an American
invasion and bombing of Libya because, in the words of Williams,
it "eliminated from the scene" someone who "killed Americans aboard
Pan Am 103." We don't know if that is true.
Even if it
is true and even if voluminous evidence appears that proves it to
be true, we can't congratulate Obama or the U.S. government for
making an undeclared war in order to "eliminate" or kill
Quaddafi. We cannot take joy in flouting any semblance of due process
of law, even in international politics. We cannot feel proud that
the U.S. extensively bombed an entire country as the means to eliminate
him, in the course of which a great many innocents were killed and
maimed. And so, Mr. Williams is wrong on this score too.
Mr. Williams claims the justification that Quaddafi was "acting
against our interests in the Middle East for decades." The fact
is that Quaddafi was cooperating with the U.S. for the past decade.
He gave up any nuclear ambitions. He compensated survivors of Pan
Am 103. He was cooperating with the CIA.
he did have interests that ran counter to American interests, and
vice versa. So what? No two nations have identical interests. The
interests of Great Britain, considered in knee-jerk fashion to be
a close ally, have run considerably against American interests.
France's interests often conflict with those of the U.S. These kinds
of conflicts do not justify invading a country or participating
in mass bombing attacks that wound their leaders or result in their
not at war with the U.S. He sent no terrorists here. He was against
al-Qaeda. There was not the remotest threat to America from Libya,
a faraway nation of only 6.4 million people. How can Mr. Williams
possibly argue in any rational way that Quaddafi was an American
enemy and that this justifies the American policy of sending armed
forces to Libya and over Libya to bomb one government into oblivion
while supporting a coalition of replacements?
is badly mistaken. His justifications for not arguing with American
policy, as he defines it, add up to a big fat zero.
We canít argue
with American policy, we are told, because America has won this
one. Thatís a phony-baloney argument in and of itself. Winning is
not everything. We have to count the costs of winning. We always
have to compare the gains with the losses (costs). We have to do
that over the course of all such interventions. Libya is not a one-shot
deal. There are also Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen,
Vietnam, Korea, and many other wars, some worldwide in scope, to
consider. We have to consider the costs to all sides in these and
other wars. Does Libya cancel out Iraq? Hardly.
prove that American policy is now right because the U.S. has succeeded
in finding another country that it can bomb into submission? Hardly.
Suppose that the U.S. had possessed the means to launch a surprise
attack on the Soviet Union and had utterly destroyed that country
because its leader was deemed an American enemy and its interests
conflicted with U.S. interests. Would that have justified a U.S.
preemptive attack? Not at all.
We have to
argue with American policy, not only because of the evident costs
in human and economic terms but more broadly in terms of the moral
costs and the kind of world order that is being built.
of a natural law basis for international order among rivalrous states
is quite fragile, but it is better than nothing. In the existing
order of states, we rightfully want justifications rooted in justice
for going to war. We especially want such justifications when we
unilaterally start a war in some foreign nation, as in Iraq and
Libya. We want appropriate procedures too. Without such justifications
and procedures, we go straight downwards into "might makes
right". And might makes right is basically what Mr. Williams
is saying too.
reject might makes right, from Juan Williams or from anyone else.
We cannot realize our humanity with might makes right. The world
that the U.S. is building under might makes right is going to be
a brutal and terrifying place to live in. Any government that has
the might will believe that it has the right to use that might,
both domestically and overseas. It will act and concoct thin or
fake justifications when it wants to.
If there is
one thing we can be sure of, it is that a government with might
will not use it in justice and for justice unless it is severely
constrained and limited by the people under its rule. This is certainly
not today the case with the U.S. government. The U.S. government
thinks it is right or at least says it is right, and it finds plenty
of commentators like Juan Williams, who believe this and repeat
it for public consumption.
U.S. exercise of might in Iraq was totally wrong. Juan Williams
was wrong to think of the Iraqis as ingrates. Today he is equally
wrong to applaud the U.S. use of might in Libya. He thinks the U.S.
is right because its might has succeeded at removing Quaddafi. That
removal is entirely irrelevant in view of how this removal has been
brought about. The U.S. and NATO participation have flouted civilized
canons of international justice that have been built up only painstakingly
and are all too fragile to begin with. Bringing Quaddafi to his
death in the way it has been done may be viewed by U.S. leaders
as some sort of "justice" and victory, but it has been
bought at the high price of once again wounding the moral heart
of true justice.
If and when
Obama and Hillary attempt to spin the Libya story as a victory for
justice, donít believe a word of it.
S. Rozeff [send him mail]
is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.
He is the author of the free e-book Essays
on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book
The U.S. Constitution
and Money: Corruption and Decline.
© 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
Best of Michael S. Rozeff