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US policy: “You can’t say because they haven’t done something they’re not going to do it.”

01 Feb

When Hillary Clinton testified before a Senate committee on the Benghazi consulate shootings, she inadvertently summed up the entire foreign US policy in one pithy sentence: “You can’t say because they haven’t done something they’re not going to do it.”  She said this specifically in regards to the US helping France in its attacks on Mali, but it captures the essence of our relationship with most of the world today.

“We are in for a struggle, but it is a necessary struggle. We cannot permit northern Mali to become a safe haven,” she said.[…]

U.S. military planes have helped to ferry French soldiers and equipment to Mali after France launched air strikes and deployed some 2,150 ground forces this month to halt a surprise Islamist offensive toward the Mali capital Bamako.

The United States is also helping to train and equip African forces from the ECOWAS regional group of West African countries who are mobilizing to join the battle. U.S. officials stressed there are no plans to dispatch American combat troops.

Clinton said the security situation in northern Mali is complicated by an inflow of weapons from neighboring Libya following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. She said such weapons were used in the Algeria attack.

“There is no doubt that the Algerian terrorists had weapons from Libya. There is no doubt that the Malian remnants of AQIM have weapons from Libya,” she said, referring to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the regional affiliate of the al Qaeda network.

The United States must prepare for the possibility that groups like AQIM could threaten direct attacks on U.S. interests as they gain power, Clinton said.

You can’t say because they haven’t done something they’re not going to do it. This is not only a terrorist syndicate, it is a criminal enterprise. So make no mistake about it, we’ve got to have a better strategy.”

Clinton said she had no information to substantiate a report in the New York Times quoting an Algerian official as saying that some of the militants involved in the Algeria attack had also taken part in the Benghazi attack.

The United States was pressing officials in Libya and elsewhere in the region to keep up the hunt for the Benghazi attackers and improve overall security, she said.

“I have found the Libyan officials to be willing but without capacity. And part of our challenge is to help them build greater capacity because now it’s about them,” Clinton said.

“They are having leaders attacked and assassinated on a regular basis, so we have to do more to help them build up their security capacity.”

(Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Will Dunham and Christopher Wilson)

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-23/news/sns-rt-us-usa-libya-clinton-malibre90m0xl-20130123_1_mali-capital-bamako-benghazi-attack-islamic-maghreb

Although the US previously voiced support for the people in the Arab Spring countries, we now blame their quest for democracy and freedom for the lack of security in the area.  The fact that we interfered, sometimes openly, but more often covertly, in the outcomes in these countries is one of the great unmentionables.

Hillary Clinton on Benghazi: ‘Arab Spring shattered security in region’

Hillary Clinton said the Arab Spring “shattered” security in North Africa, pointing to instability in Mali and Algeria, as she was finally grilled on the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya.[…]

“Benghazi didn’t happen in a vacuum,” Mrs Clinton said at the start of the hearing. “The Arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region.” […]

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9821292/Hillary-Clinton-on-Benghazi-Arab-Spring-shattered-security-in-region.html

The Senate committee was completely incurious as to how Libya’s officials came to be “without capacity” (the US took down its real government and installed a puppet government), where the weapons used in the Benghazi attack originally came from (the US and NATO passed them out to the “rebels” during the invasion of Libya), how Libya suddenly became so destabilized (the US and NATO sent the CIA and some foreign operatives in to stir up trouble and pretend to be “rebelling Libyans”, thus creating a situation specifically designed to lead to a civil war), why some Libyans might be seeking revenge on the US (we bombed schools, food depots, water supply routes, orphanages, television stations, killed Ghaddafi, whom a significant percentage of the Libyan population supported, obliterated a number of cities, and caused the deaths of over 50,000 Libyans).  No-one asked her about the rumored CIA black site in Benghazi or why our “ambassador” might be involved in the collecting of weapons which had previously been passed out to “rebels” like so much candy.

Never in our history have we been less inclined toward introspection, ethics, or logic; rather, facile and dogmatic rhetoric hold sway over not only our leaders, but the entire media and public domain.  There is no such thing as “blowback” or “imperial overreach” as far as we are concerned.  We are entitled to whatever we set our sights on, no matter where it is or how we have to go about obtaining it, and any who question this droit du seigneur or the methods we employ are considered foolish or childish and are scorned.

No-one asked Hillary why she thought the torture and assassination of Ghaddafi was so funny or questioned her mental capacity.    Nor did anyone ask her why the State Dept. posted a bounty on his head – “wanted: dead or alive, large reward”.

Not one senator queried her regarding the statements she and Leon Panetta made admitting that the US was backing al Qaeda in Libya and Syria.  [See: http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/08/is-you-is-or-is-you-aint-aiding-a-terrorist/ ]

No-one asked why we had invaded and ruined Libya in the first place.  The truth is that our senators all know why we did it: because it was there and it looked to have some good stuff that we wanted.  It’s just what we do.

Obama, in his inaugural speech, said this:

Obama: […] We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.

Our brave men and women in uniform tempered by the flames of battle are unmatched in skill and courage.

Our citizens seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace, and not just the war. Who turn sworn enemies into the surest of friends. And we must carry those lessons into this time as well. We will defend our people, and uphold our values through strength of arms, and the rule of law.

We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully. Not because we are naive about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear.

America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe. And we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad. For no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice.[…]
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/president-obamas-second-inaugural-address-transcript/2013/01/21/f148d234-63d6-11e2-85f5-a8a9228e55e7_story_3.html

“We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.”  This comes from a guy who is currently running clandestine shadow wars and directing drone killings in a dozen or so different countries.  He drops a bomb on someone somewhere once every hour and a half or so. [See: http://www.alternet.org/world/bomber-chief-20000-airstrikes-presidents-first-term-cause-death-and-destruction-iraq-somalia  ]  Despite the rhetoric about Lasting Peace, his very next sentence is an homage to the Warriors.  The remark on “uphold[ing] our values through strength of arms, and the rule of law” is simply laughable coming from him.  Perhaps the rule of law bit was added as an afterthought to the original speech.  Take that phrase out, as it is a blatant untruth at this point, and what’s left is the crux of matter.

In our quest for Lasting Peace, we are undertaking plans to place our military in 35 African nations [see: http://rt.com/usa/news/us-deploying-troops-order-749/ ] and are seeking to build a spy drone base in northern Africa; the drones can be militarized rapidly if need be.

U.S. Weighs Base for Spy Drones in North Africa
By ERIC SCHMITT
WASHINGTON — The United States military is preparing to establish a drone base in northwest Africa so that it can increase surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups that American and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.

For now, officials say they envision flying only unarmed surveillance drones from the base, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens.

The move is an indication of the priority Africa has become in American antiterrorism efforts. The United States military has a limited presence in Africa, with only one permanent base, in the country of Djibouti, more than 3,000 miles from Mali, where French and Malian troops are now battling Qaeda-backed fighters who control the northern part of Mali.

A new drone base in northwest Africa would join a constellation of small airstrips in recent years on the continent, including in Ethiopia, for surveillance missions flown by drones or turboprop planes designed to look like civilian aircraft.[…]

The immediate impetus for a drone base in the region is to provide surveillance assistance to the French-led operation in Mali. “This is directly related to the Mali mission, but it could also give Africom a more enduring presence for I.S.R.,” one American military official said Sunday, referring to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

A handful of unarmed Predator drones would carry out surveillance missions in the region and fill a desperate need for more detailed information on a range of regional threats, including militants in Mali and the unabated flow of fighters and weapons from Libya. American military commanders and intelligence analysts complain that such information has been sorely lacking.[…]

American military officials said that they were still working out some details, and that no final decision had been made. But in Niger on Monday, the two countries reached a status-of-forces agreement that clears the way for greater American military involvement in the country and provides legal protection to American troops there, including any who might deploy to a new drone base. […]

Some Africa specialists expressed concern that setting up a drone base in Niger or in a neighboring country, even if only to fly surveillance missions, could alienate local people who may associate the distinctive aircraft with deadly attacks in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. […]

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/29/us/us-plans-base-for-surveillance-drones-in-northwest-africa.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

Obama is now considering intervening in Syria as well, with or without Congressional approval.  Not that Congress disapproves of any sort of warfare at this point in our history, so this is a hypothetical argument Obama need not waste too much time preparing for:

[…] Now, Obama is reportedly debating whether to intervene in yet another civil war — undeterred by the now superfluous constitutional limits on his war-making authority. Israel has also publicly stated that it is considering a preemptive strike on Syria and reserves the right to make such an attack if it feels threatened by events in that civil war.[…]

President Barack Obama said he has been struggling with the decision whether to enter into another war as the 22-month civil war in Syria drags on. Here is what he considers to be the operative question:
“In a situation like Syria, I have to ask: can we make a difference in that situation?”

That is a bit different from the question that the Framers wanted him to ask: “Do I have authority from Congress to engage in a war?” That question is now just a quaint concern for a president who has acquired unprecedented unchecked powers. Once again, the Democrats are silent because it is Obama not Bush who is speaking of war. It is the type of hypocrisy that is not just laughable. It is lethal.[…]

 We have taken a balanced and well-reasoned system and turned it on its head. The result is precisely what the Framers anticipated: continued foreign wars carried out on a unilateral basis.

http://jonathanturley.org/2013/01/28/obama-reportedly-considering-intervention-into-syrian-civil-war/#more-60022

As an update to Turley’s article above, it appears that Israel has indeed taken preemptive action against Syria.  See this: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/31-0 and this: http://www.rferl.org/content/syria-israel-/24888752.html

Barack is not alone; Hillary has been hankering to do away with Assad, Syria’s president, for a long time:

“[…] Late last week, [note: this article was written in Aug. ’12] during a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Turkey, Ankara and Washington agreed that ‘a unified task force with intelligence, military and political leaders from both countries would be formed immediately to track Syria’s present and plan for its future.’

“After meeting with her Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoðlu, Secretary Clinton said that the United States and Turkey are discussing various options for supporting opposition forces working to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad, including the possibility of imposing a no-fly zone over rebel-held territory in Syria.[…]” – http://consortiumnews.com/2012/08/15/would-us-intervention-help-syria/

Remember that she also gave forth with the opinion that “Assad’s days are numbered”; this is our Secretary of State speaking here.  And yesterday, Chuck Hagel stepped up to the plate and proved that, rumors to the contrary, he was no damn hippie liberal – he could monger war with the best of them.  He bared his teeth – no, not at Congress, silly, God forbid he not fit in with that crowd – at Iran and imaginary enemies everywhere.

Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense told Congress he will ensure the US can strike Iran, if necessary. Former Senator Chuck Hagel, who was criticized for his dovish stance on Iran, has made an apparent U-turn by saber-rattling towards Tehran.

Hagel addressed Congress ahead of his confirmation hearing on Thursday, stressing that although there is “time and space” for negotiation with Iran, “the window is closing” on a diplomatic solution.

If confirmed, I will focus intently on ensuring that [the] US military is in fact prepared for any contingency,” Hagel said in a write-up of questions and answers for the confirmation hearing obtained by Reuters. […]

Hagel also outlined his “unshakable” commitment to maintaining the longstanding US alliance with Israel. […]

­Defending his record, Hagel said he’s always believed in the need for a strong American military presence in the world and the use of “all tools of American power” for protecting US interests.[…]

The defense secretary nominee assured he always supported multilateral sanctions, and believed that Iran was a state sponsor of terrorism.[…]

RT’s Gayane Chichakyan suggested that the nomination of Hagel might be a way of toning down the war rhetoric in Washington. However, the possibility of a less aggressive strategy has angered some in Washington.

“Since the beginning of the attack campaign against Chuck Hagel over these two months or so, many of the attackers have withdrawn their objections,” said Chichakyan, suggesting that maybe they received confirmation behind closed doors that Hagel would not do anything drastic upon assuming the post of secretary of defense.

http://rt.com/usa/news/chuck-hagel-iran-prepared-142/

Any talk smacking of peace is now considered “drastic” and unacceptable to our Congress, whose outlook on the rest of the inhabitants of this planet is, “You can’t say because they haven’t done something they’re not going to do it”.  This is also the Congressional point of view on Americans, but that’s a post for a different day.

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Posted by on February 1, 2013 in Congress, Iran, Libya, MIC, State Dept/diplomacy, Syria

 

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