Is America a Force for Good in the World?

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Recently by Justin Raimondo: Fast and Furious

With the "liberation" of Libya from the grip of Muammar Gadhafi, progressives like E. J. Dionne and other cheerleaders for this administration are hailing the joint US-NATO operation as a new model for American intervention — an exemplar of the "good" way to push our weight around on the international stage, as opposed to the "bad" way pursued by George W. Bush and the neoconservatives in Iraq. As Glenn Greenwald points out, the same triumphalist message being trumpeted by this administration’s supporters over Libya was uncritically broadcast by the "mainstream" media in the wake of "mission accomplished" in Iraq.

That reality will soon intrude, and correct this "irrational exuberance" — as a certain Federal Reserve chairman would put it — is an absolute certainty. Indeed, a few skeptical voices are already being raised, notably Patrick Cockburn, reporting from Benghazi:

"Any black African in Libya is open to summary arrest unless he can prove that he was not a member of Colonel Gadhafi’s forces… The rebels claim that many of Colonel Gadhafi’s soldiers were black African mercenaries. Amnesty International says these allegations are largely unproven and, from the beginning of the conflict, many of those arrested or, in some cases, executed by the rebels were undocumented laborers caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"But there is no doubt that all black Africans are now under suspicion. The head of the militia in Faraj, a short bearded man in a brown robe named Issam, explained how well-prepared local insurgents had taken over the area on 19 August, telling Colonel Gadhafi’s supporters to hand over their weapons and stay at home. There was almost no resistance from the demoralized regime and few people had been arrested. Then Issam added, as an aside, that his men had also detained ‘tens of Africans whom we sent off to prison.’ He did not explain why they had been jailed."

Across "liberated" Libya, black Africans are being rounded up by the rebel forces, and often either summarily executed or else imprisoned. See here, here, and here for more disgusting evidence of the rebels’ anti-black campaign.

Gadhafi reportedly hired African mercenaries to fight for his regime, and this is the ostensible reason why the rebels are rounding up blacks, but this explanation seems more like an excuse than an actual reason in view of the fact that there have been periodic anti-black riots in the country, notably in 2000.

The idea that American imperialism could be a force for "good," with a "progressive" president holding the reins, was never very convincing. But even I never expected to be confronted with the ultimate irony: the first African-American President appears to be responsible, in part, for a large scale anti-black pogrom. This is his signal foreign policy "accomplishment" — a mass lynching.

We have truly entered Bizarro World.

One could argue, however, that this is not the fault of the Obama administration, since it was their Libyan proxies, and not US troops, who committed that particular atrocity. We can still see the US as a force for "good" in the world, albeit not without morally complex anomalies to factor into the equation. Well, tell that to the people of Ishaqi, a village in Iraq, where US troops recently conducted a raid:

"Witnesses in the village of Ishaqi, just south of Tikrit, said Iraqi and American forces opened fire on civilians and threw grenades early Friday as they conducted the raid. The villagers said the forces were responding to gunfire from people in the village and then fired back, killing a 13-year-old boy and an off-duty police officer."

The American authorities are currently stonewalling, denying any responsibility for the deaths, and claiming it was an Iraqi operation — although they admit US forces entered the scene when "fighting broke out." One has to wonder, however, how a 13-year-old boy and a police officer came to be the targets — are these the "terrorists" we’re supposedly fighting in Iraq, whose presence requires an extended American stay?

It’s an irony that this latest incident — which has further complicated Washington’s efforts to persuade the Iraqis they need our continued presence — took place in Ishaqi, the scene of yet another infamous US atrocity in 2006. As Antiwar.com’s John Glaser was the first to report earlier this week:

"As revealed by a State Department diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last week, US forces committed a heinous war crime during a house raid in Iraq in 2006, wherein one man, four women, two children, and three infants were summarily executed. The cable excerpts a letter written by Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, addressed to then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. American troops approached the home of Faiz Harrat Al-Majma’ee, a farmer living in central Iraq, to conduct a house raid in search of insurgents in March of 2006.

"’It would appear that when the MNF [Multinational Forces] approached the house,’ Alston wrote, ‘shots were fired from it and a confrontation ensued’ before the ‘troops entered the house, handcuffed all residents and executed all of them.’ Mr. Faiz Hratt Khalaf, (aged 28), his wife Sumay’ya Abdul Razzaq Khuther (aged 24), their three children Hawra’a (aged 5) Aisha ( aged 3) and Husam (5 months old), Faiz’s mother Ms. Turkiya Majeed Ali (aged 74), Faiz’s sister (name unknown), Faiz’s nieces Asma’a Yousif Ma’arouf (aged 5 years old), and Usama Yousif Ma’arouf (aged 3 years), and a visiting relative Ms. Iqtisad Hameed Mehdi (aged 23) were killed during the raid. Alston’s letter reveals that a US air strike was launched on the house presumably to destroy the evidence, but that "autopsies carried out at the Tikrit Hospital’s morgue revealed that all corpses were shot in the head and handcuffed."

A five-year-old, and a child of five months — shot in the head while handcuffed?

Read the rest of the article

Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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