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The Shameful Truth: "Change" Bombs


The bombing of Libya was solely about power, land occupancy and oil.

We are in a crisis. The world, the U.S., Japan, New York City.

Countries are at war, civil wars, uprisings for democracy, and battles against radiation in water and produce, in air and milk.

I wake in the night thinking about all the children we have bombed in Iraq, Afghanistan and, now, Libya. I think about our children here who go to schools with crumbling plaster, peeling paint, and textbooks that are five years old. I am ashamed that we have chosen political wars over humanitarian conflicts, and most of all I am embarrassed for the President who spoke of change, but has perpetuated the sameness of the industrial military complex– at the great cost to the citizens of this country- rather than boosting the educational, social, community, and other programs of humanity (not to mention the Arts). War, again, has trumped caring for the bottom ninety five percent of society who are not making money from it.

As the whole of Congress and Washington argue about the budget and what to cut and not to cut domestically,  we spend almost a billion dollars a week in Afghanistan. The first day in Libya cost us 100 cruise missiles at 1 million dollars each. That's 100 million dollars. The operation is estimated to cost between almost half a billion and 800 million – so we know it will be more. 

Of course this makes sense considering the President's head of Job Commissions, Jeffrey Immelt, is the CEO of GE – a major war profiteer. The second largest company in the world (according to Forbes 2010), GE, is profiting on the war via military contracts, paying no income taxes and trying to cut its employee benefits, while advising the president on jobs. 

Does this not seem troublesome to anyone else?

Nicholas Kristoff was wrong.  I usually agree with and appreciate his perspective, but I think on Sunday, April 3, his good-natured balance and tempered ideology went too far. The bombing of Libya was not a humanitarian issue. It was a political issue. It was solely about power, land occupancy and oil. We can blindly participate in condoning this ludicrous bombing – or we can spit with the wind and acknowledge that Obama was wrong, and that this was not about selective life-saving, but about the hypocrisy of politics and the historical pattern of U.S. intervention – even by our man of "change."

All this, and we have twice in a week bombed the rebels we are supporting in Libya, killing seven more allies on the 7th of April.

Kristoff mentions the region having oil as if that were an after sight. That's like saying Iraq had nothing to do with oil – or that Halliburton's uncontested contracts had nothing to do with Cheney's connection to them or his scheming to occupy the region.  

There are many places that would have been far less controversial that we might have practiced selective life saving in the past year.  Places that had no ulterior motive other than saving lives. Especially IF Obama was a man of change.

President Obama claims we were averting a mass slaughter in Libya. If that was our reasoning and if we gave a damn about humanitarian concerns, we would have sent troops to Darfur years ago. Or Congo. The numbers of women and young girls who have been and are being raped, and numbers of people who have been killed, far exceed the thousands. And the crises in Congo and the genocide in Darfur have gone on for years. We  have done NOTHING.

Though I find it senseless and hypocritical that we are bombing Libya, Obama did do so legally based on the War Powers Resolution of 1973. Obama had forty-eight hours to notify Congress- which he did- and he has sixty days to keep armed forces engaged before an act of Congress. This discussion on the legalities of Libya is a diversion from our war ethic in this country (or lack of).

So, please study the laws of war, and stop blaming Obama for what he did not do wrong. The Republicans are using Libya against Obama because they are more concerned about Syria and Jordan, not because they think Obama acted illegally or against the Republican party's core values.

It is all a farce...Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq. We have used war as a means for corporations to profit and as a means to overthrow governments that we find unamenable.

Just as our bombing Libya is not about humanitarian concerns, it is also not about democracy. China is one of the biggest offenders of humanitarian rights and has repeatedly stamped out the peoples' voice. Yet they remain an ally without demands by us to change.

Protests of democracy have been squashed in Bahrain. The first to send troops: our ally, Saudi Arabia. Bahrain is now under Martial law. The tanks patrolling the street were made in Detroit in the 1990's.  

The government of Bahrain has gotten violent against its own people.  Just like Libya.

It is not, in fact, Democracy that we are after.

The only thing the U.S. likes more than democracy is a pro-US government. And the only thing we like better than that is oil.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute documented that Washington accounted for 54 percent of arms sales to Persian Gulf states between 2005 and 2009. 

At least one of the war profiteers is funding Obama's campaign (GE), and the reason we are bombing Libya has nothing to do with humanitarian concern. But Libya with Gaddafi is not our ally, and we believe that if we support "democracy" there, it just might be our sort of democracy. A democracy like Bahrain, perhaps, who stifles the Shiites, bans political parties, has an unelected upper government (parliament) and not an entirely free press. But that is, apparently, good enough.

Bahrain, after all, is home of the U.S. Navy's 5th fleet, and our own Robert Gates recently went to visit and give OUR unwavering support.

Saudi Arabia, our ally in oil and currency exchange, is not exactly a democracy either. Yet, like Egypt, we have not called on them for social and democratic change. I might remind you also, that Osama Bin Laden is of Saudi descent. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers on September 11 came from Saudi Arabia – and the ringleader was from Egypt. The two remaining hijackers were from the Arab Emirates. None were from Iraq. 

Still, knowing this, one of the ten war resolutions voted on by congress to go to war with Iraq was:

"Members of al-Qaeda, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq."

This was actually a lie. Al-Qaeda was never in Iraq, and our government knew it.

Why, as a nation, do we not ask, "Why War?" rather than, "Why not?"

What else could we spend our money on?

Twenty five percent of New York Elders live in poverty.

Twenty five percent of children in the U.S. live in poverty.

Thirty five percent of people living in poverty are children. 

We are in trouble.

And that's the shameful truth.

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