Even before the ink was dry on the meaningless platform resolutions passed at last week’s Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, the administration of President Barack Obama has bombed the North African state of Libya.
This latest attack continues the more than five year war against the people of Libya, once the most prosperous state in Africa, now destroyed at the aegis of U.S. imperialism, NATO and its regional allies. Under the cover of fighting the so-called Islamic State (IS), the White House seeks to further cover-up its culpability in creating the worst humanitarian crisis since the conclusion of World War II.
In 2011, the Obama administration deployed hundreds of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) personnel to facilitate the counter-revolutionary militias that were funded by imperialism to overthrow the Jamahiriya government under the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi. Tens of thousands of people died in the war which relied upon the blanket bombing of the civilian and state institutions reducing the North African state to destitution, impoverishment and the center of destabilization throughout the region.
This latest round of aerial bombardments are being presented to the U.S. and world opinion as a defensive measure against the Islamic extremists who have a base in the embattled country along the western coastal cities including Sirte, the home area of Gaddafi. However, it was the U.S. which created the conditions for the formation of ISIS in their war against Iranian influence in Iraq and the attempts to remove the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
According to the Washington Examiner, “A Pentagon statement says the airstrikes were conducted at the request of the new Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) and were authorized by President Obama acting on the recommendations of Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford. Forces aligned with the new government have already captured territory surrounding the city of Sirte, and the Pentagon said American airstrikes were designed to enable the Libyan government-backed forces ‘to make a decisive, strategic advance.’” (Aug. 1)
The article goes on to say
“While the U.S. has conducted unilateral strikes aimed at individual Islamic State members, this is the first time the U.S. has provided air cover for Libyan fighters on the ground. The strikes were described as consistent with the U.S. approach to combating the Islamic State by working with ‘capable and motivated local forces.’ The Pentagon said it plans more strikes in the coming days.”
Nonetheless, as per usual, the administration provides no end-game to the bombings. In 2011, Obama called the U.S. involvement in Libya as “limited” and that the Pentagon was “leading from behind.” Yet the deployment of CIA operatives even prior to the beginning of the bombings on March 19, 2011, was revealed in a report published by the New York Times.
The-then NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said of this notion of a limited leading from behind that without the assistance of the Pentagon the mission in Libya could have never been carried out. It is the U.S. that supplies much of the war material such as fighter jets, bombs, intelligence mapping and diplomatic cover in all modern-day wars of regime-change and imperialist conquest.
The Democratic Party and the War Machine
These military actions in Libya are by no means a surprise to those who watched the Democratic National Convention (DNC) during the week of July 25. There was never any acknowledgement from anyone speaking from the podium of the failures of Pentagon and CIA military adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other geo-political regions.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who served in the first administration of Obama voted in favor of the intervention and occupation of Iraq carried out by President George W. Bush, Jr. Although Obama claimed that he opposed the Iraq war when he got into office the war was continued despite the drawing down of thousands of ground troops. However, the redeployment of Pentagon troops and intelligence operatives in Iraq is escalating into the thousands.
It was Obama who accelerated troop deployments in Afghanistan where the war also moves forward with an announcement at the recent NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland that there would be an increase in western troop levels in Central Asia as well as Eastern Europe targeting the Russian Federation in a renewed Cold War. Moreover, Clinton served as the public face of the Pentagon-NATO bombing of Libya to the point of calling for the capturing and killing of Gaddafi, where she joked and laughed in its aftermath on October 20, 2011.
During the week of August 1, it was the Democratic leadership that maintained a posture of support for the families of slain war soldiers. Nevertheless, it has been quite obvious that under the Obama administration the plight of currently serving and discharged military personnel has been far less than adequate. Many Afghan and Iraq war veterans are homeless, incarcerated and suffering from numerous physical and psychological ailments.
Despite the vast funding through the tax dollars of working families and the expropriation of resources of other countries, the services for veterans in many cases are non-existent. Suicide rates among veterans are reported to be as high and over 220 per day in the U.S. This grim set of circumstances involving the economic draft of youth due to the structural unemployment and poverty wages; the deployment to wars aimed exclusively for the acquisition of natural resources, strategic land masses and waterways; combined with blatant disregard towards the needs of the no longer enlisted soldiers has resulted in a human services crisis of monumental proportions.
A Political Economy of Imperialist War
The only rationale for permanent war in the age of imperialism is for economic gain along with maintaining a political advantage over other regional blocs such as the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, political alliances that have emerged in South America, Central America and the Caribbean and the rival European Union (EU). Even though the EU is a subordinate inter-imperialist rival to the U.S., the recent withdrawal from the EU by the British electorate has sent shockwaves through the world capitalist markets.
Consequently, there is the prospect for a continuation and even expansion in the production of military hardware which will be a source of profit for the defense industry and Wall Street. Declining energy and commodity prices have placed a dent in the profitability margin for the oil industry which reaped a windfall in the aftermath of the above-mentioned wars waged in the Middle East, Central Asia and the African continent. Other avenues of exploitation are needed by the capitalist system and these are the imperatives which are driving the dominant factions within both the Democratic and Republican parties.
Although the capitalist parties in Britain and the U.S. are facing internal rebellions from both the right and the social democratic left, these institutions appear to have outlasted their functionality as instruments for the social containment of the working class and the nationally oppressed. This is why even the semblance of bourgeois or parliamentary democracy are absent within the context of intra-party affairs. Trump can walk in and take over the Republican Party without ever having to hold public office. Clinton with her laundry list of indiscretions and racism towards African Americans and other oppressed peoples is being sold to the electorate as a defender of “diversity” and stability.
The renewed bombing of Libya signals the escalation of war against the peoples of the so-called Global South and those oppressed nations and communities within the imperialist states themselves whether in Europe or North America. To counter these provocations an international anti-imperialist movement must be built. This is the task of the organizations committed to reversing the tide of imperialist war and economic exploitation.