Empire burlesque, April 16, 2011
Dear Good Concerned Engaged Enlightened Rule-of-Law Liberal Progressives: Is it clear enough for you now? Does he have to spell it out for you, slowly, using short and simple words, and maybe some cartoons to make it clear? Your noble Nobel Peace Laureate – bringer of hope and change, restorer of the rule of law, world-historical paradigm-shifter, etc., etc. – has just publicly (not to mention arbitrarily) committed the nation to "the supreme international crime": aggressive war.
He has pledged the blood and treasure of the United States to "regime change" in Libya: that is to say, an act of military aggression designed to overthrow the government of a sovereign nation which has not attacked your own country nor posed the slightest threat to it. This is, of course, precisely the same blatantly illegal posture taken by that great monstrous bogey-man of all good concerned engaged enlightened rule-of-law liberal progressives everywhere, George W. Bush, in his invasion of Iraq.
On Friday, Barack Obama scribbled his name at the bottom of a newspaper article written by hired minions of the leaders of Britain and France, pledging to keep killing people in Libya until Moamar Gadafy is driven from power. Nothing short of "regime change" will satisfy these towering colossi of world statesmanship; as the Guardian reports, they utterly reject any calls "for an immediate ceasefire, or a negotiated exit for the Libyan dictator."
Peace? Pah! No, it will be war, war, and more war until these leaders of the great Western democracies get the outcome they demand: the ouster of their clapped-out former client-tyrant, and his replacement by what they hope will be more amenable operators. Or is that too cynical? Surely what these Three Amigos of the Apocalypse are seeking is nothing less -- and nothing other -- than the "freedom of the Libyan people," right?
You know, the kind of freedom where your leader can take your country into an open-ended campaign of military action without the consent of the people or the people's representatives -- and then escalate the conflict far beyond the mandate of an already rubbery UN resolution into outright, undeniable aggressive war, through the oh-so-constitutional method of ... an op-ed piece in the Washington Post.
That's real freedom, baby! Can't you feel it in the air? Can't you feel it all over your body -- like a rash?
Now, you might think that such a brazen act of criminality would raise one or two hackles somewhere out there in God's shining city on the hill. (That is, you might think that -- if you'd been in a deep, dark cave the last ten years and hadn't seen the veritable tsunami of atrocity, deceit and lawlessness that the American people have swallowed without complaint.) In any case, across the length and breadth of freedom's land, scarcely a bit of notice has been paid to this open commitment to a policy that was unequivocally condemned as a "supreme" evil back in the Nuremberg Trials. It seems that nobody bats an eye anymore when an American president adopts Hitler's policies.
No, instead of offering blastments of moral outrage at yet another president launching yet another illegal regime change operation in yet another Muslim country, our Good Concerned Engaged Progressives have nothing to say. They are still too wiggly about Obama's meaningless expectoration of blather on the "budget battle" -- that ludicrous puppet-show where two factions of hirelings strut and bellow over the few infinitesimal differences in their techniques of corporate whoredom. This is what seems to be the most pressing matter of the day to the Good and Engaged -- because of course it may have some bearing on what is their Tillichian "ultimate concern": the re-election of a man who is now embarked on his first wholly-owned war of aggression. That's right, the Peace Laureate is no longer simply following (and extending) the Terror Wars of his predecessor -- he's done gone and started one of his very own! Reason enough to fight tooth and nail to get him another term; after all, you don't want one of those militarist Republicans in there, do you?
(Of course, we don't mean to imply that the Laureate's new war of aggression is some kind of radical departure. Heaven forefend! An arch-conservative like Obama would ever do anything that was not deeply rooted in American tradition. His killing spree in Libya is an echo -- perhaps even an homage -- to similar actions undertaken by one of the presidents that he most admires: Ronald Reagan.)
The Three Amigos' joint declaration of aggressive war notes ominously that Gadafy is so evil that "the international criminal court is rightly investigating [his] crimes committed against civilians and the grievous violations of international law." This would, of course, be the same international criminal court that the Peace Laureate's own government refuses to recognize -- for fear that its own leaders and minions might rightly end up in its dock for "crimes committed against civilians and grievous violations of international law." Such as, oh, say, waging an aggressive war of regime change that blatantly violates your UN mandate.
But of course, that "mandate" was, as usual, just a threadbare fig leaf to mask the hardcore machinations of power politics -- which these days consists largely of soft, weedy cowards finding ways to prove how tough and "credible" they are by shedding other people's blood. Thus you will not be surprised to learn that the Amigos' diplomatic minions are now feverishly "considering how the language of the United Nations mandate can accommodate a more active role on the ground."
So this is where we've come to: from earnest, knitted-brow assurances of a "limited intervention" to outright declarations of open-ended war for regime change -- and "accommodations" to bring in more boots, bullets and bombs "on the ground." This is a crime, "the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole," and it's being committed, openly, proudly, by the Democrat in the White House.
But precisely because this "accumulated evil" is being committed by a Democrat in the White House, the "progressive" movement is silent. They don't care. Aggressive war? They don't care. International law? They don't care. A blanket refusal of ceasefires and peace plans that could spare countless civilian lives? They don't care. An "active role on the ground" -- new mounds of Iraq-style "collateral damage," corpses, chaos, breakdown, extremism, brutality, suffering? They don't care.
And so we end with another address to our Good Concerned Engaged Enlightened Rule-of-Law Liberal Progressives: If you will stand for this, what won't you stand for? And further: If you will stand for this -- what do you stand for?