Monday, March 7, 2011

Hypocrisy as a National Anthem

The Official Hymn of the US Marine Corps says:
“From the Halls of Montezuma,
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land, and sea”
This recalls the invasion and defeat of Mexico in a land grab in that got Texas and a big chunk of the western US from Mexico and the defeat of the Barbary Coast pirates in the early 19th century.

The US has shown itself ready, eager, and willing to invade anybody when there was money to be made. But when it comes to democratic aspirations, the US pounds its chest and tells others it is 110% behind them, but well behind, so far behind that they aren't even anywhere nearby. They leave people who have risen up for their rights alone and berift in struggling with a tyrant or a dictator or an invading power.

When I was a kid I remember all the blustering words about Eastern Europe under the thumb of the occupying Soviet Army and the US set of "Voice of America" to encourage these people to revolt. But when they did, which they did on many occasions, the US was suddenly nowhere to be found. The most infamous of these was the Hungarian uprising. Those people begged the West to intervene. The West coldly stood by and watched while Warsaw Pact troops crushed the uprising.

We are seeing the equivalent today. The Libyans have risen up and thrown off the tyrant Gaddafi. The US, that lover of "democracy", suddenly went AWOL. Only after a week did Obama and Clinton declare itself in favour of this popular uprising. But the US government still cannot find the guts to intervene. Funny, when the US was a tiny, nearly powerless country in the early 19th century, it had the fortitude to send its newly constructed "navy" to fight the fearsome Barbary Coast pirates and win. But today, when the US has an army bigger than anybody else, bigger than the top 10 other armies in the world, the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, claims that this is "too big" a mission and would require more resources than the US has. Obama shrinks back saying that while the US "loves democracy", it doesn't love it enough to help a people overthrow a dictator. Hypocrites!

The same US who says its hands are tied, bombed Gaddafi's home and killed his daughter. From Wikipedia:
Germany and the United States learned that the bombing in West Berlin had been ordered from Tripoli. On 14 April 1986, the United States carried out Operation El Dorado Canyon against Gaddafi and members of his regime. Air defenses, three army bases, and two airfields in Tripoli and Benghazi were bombed. The surgical strikes failed to kill Gaddafi but he lost a few dozen military officers. Gaddafi then spread propaganda how it had killed his "adopted daughter" and how victims had been all "civilians". The campaign was successful as large portions of the Western press reported the regime's stories as facts.
But today the Secretary of Defense says that the US couldn't possibly interdict air space over Libya because the "air defenses" of Libya are just "too strong". Funny... they weren't too strong to stop a US attack in 1986. And I can't imagine that the air defenses of Libya are any stronger now than they were back in 1986 when Gaddafi was a favoured recipient of military patronage from the Soviet Union! Again, from Wikipedia:
Gaddafi sought closer relations with the Soviet Union. Libya became the first country outside the Soviet bloc to receive the supersonic MiG-25 combat fighters
Whatever weapons he got from the Soviet Union are decrepit and no match for US weapons. So this talk about "too difficult" is just the US saying it is willing to invade if it can seize something or if there is a strategic advantage for the US, but having the world populated by "democracies" is not a strategic interest of the US. The US has always been very happy to work with the most cruel and tyrannical dictators you can imagine. Not a problem for the "land of the free"!

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