Intervention by any other name

Imagine for a few moments what political life must have been like in Antebellum America. As the Civil War erupted, high ranking politicians abandoned the “Unionist” side and joined the Rebels. A former member of Congress became President of the new Confederate States of America.

The Rebels had their own flag–The Stars and Bars–which was distinct from the American flag–Old Glory, The Stars and Stripes.

Soon, some of the finest graduates of the U.S. Military Academy were casting their lots with the insurgents. Indeed, President Abraham Lincoln’s first choice to command the Union Army–Gen. Robert E. Lee–defected to lead the Rebel Army in its campaign against his native land, against the Constitution he had sworn to defend.

The traitorous Rebels hoped that Britain and France–where they shipped much of the cotton they produced with free labor from millions of African slaves–would support their cause by restricting the Union Navy’s ability to control the shipping lanes. They wanted an Allied “No Sea Zone,” if you will.

You see Abe Lincoln, that tall, “Rail-Splitter” as he was known, who was the American leader would likely end up “killing his own people.” Which he did. The Civil War remains the bloodiest war in American history.

But in the end, the Europeans stayed out of that fight. It was an internal affair, to be decided by the Americans, and only the Americans, without any foreign intervention, they determined in the end.

Now fast forward 150 years. The scene is the North African country Libya. Several high ranking diplomats and even some military commanders have defected and joined a motley band of rebels waging war to overthrow their country’s government. They are armed (albeit poorly). And they even have their own flag.

This band of traitorous rebels, fighting to bring down their own country, wanted (and got) foreign intervention by Britain and France (with the hidden hand of the United States), under the rubric of a United Nations resolution “preventing civilian casualties.” That’s because in putting down the rebellion against his government, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi would surely “kill his own people,” and this cannot be tolerated.

So, before the ink even dried on a sham United Nations Security Council resolution, establishing a Libyan “No Fly Zone,” allied forces launched hundreds of air strikes against not just Col. Qaddafi’s air defenses, but also against ground troops poised to attempt to retake the rebel stronghold, Benghazi. These attacks were launched ironically on the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

This was not simply an effort to prevent Libyan attacks on civilians, this was an outright intervention on the side of the rebels–military support and cover! Before the attacks were launched, the rebels foresaw their doom. When the attacks were reported, the rebels cheered, perceiving their saviors had jumped into the fight on their side.

Now, ironically on the day before these foreign military fighters rushed to intervene in Libyan affairs, dozens of civilians were massacred in Yemen, a country allied with the United States, and the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid. That same day, dozens of civilians were massacred in Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa, where a recalcitrant president who lost a popular election refuses to yield power in anything resembling a peaceful transition of power.

Have there been any U.N. resolutions condemning those tinhorn dictators? Has there been any “no fly zone” imposed in those countries? Have there been any military attacks against their troops or supporters? Hint. The one-word answer to each question is the same. You have three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

What may be most shocking about this is that there is no alternative in place to the Qaddafi government. There is no organized leadership of the opposition, but there is evidence that U.S. and “allied” military forces even targeted places where Col. Qaddafi might have been, as if to assassinate him. Military custom usually avoids assassinating “enemy” leaders, except in battle, but in this case the clear motivation is not simply “regime change,” rather it is ABQ–anybody but Qaddafi.

Intervention into the “internal affairs” of any country, by any other name reeks just the same.

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