The case of Professor Juan Cole

David North

Libya, imperialism and the prostration of the “left” intellectuals

Among the most striking features of the US-NATO onslaught against Libya has been the widespread support that this “war of choice” has evoked among left-liberal parties and the affluent middle-class milieu that comprise an important part of their constituency. Waving the banner of “human rights”—the most hypocritical and deceitful of all justifications for imperialist war—the liberal left embraced this war as their own. One would imagine that this was the first time in history that imperialism had proclaimed the cause of “human rights” and democracy as a cloak for its predatory interests!

The left-liberal justifications for the US-NATO bombing of Libya are thick with moral outrage against Colonel Gaddafi, but provide virtually nothing in the way of analysis of the motives and interests of the forces, within Libya and internationally, that are seeking his overthrow. The apologists argue and write as if they were members of a society of amnesiacs. There is no history. Nothing that occurred in the past is remembered. The morally-debased and genocidal record of imperialist colonialism is ignored. There is no reference in these writings to Italian colonialism’s extermination of nearly one half of the Libyan population during its occupation between 1911 and 1940. Nor do they note that the last major joint Anglo-French military action in North Africa, in October-November 1956, was the invasion of Egypt. That action, carried out in collusion with Israel, sought to overthrow the nationalist regime of another Arab colonel, Gamal Abdul Nasser, and reclaim control of the nationalized Suez Canal. Nasser was widely denounced in the British press as a “mad dog” and Prime Minister Anthony Eden plotted his assassination. The Anglo-French plan invasion failed because the United States, which had its own plans for the region, would not tolerate the attempt by the European imperialists to restore their colonial empires. President Eisenhower compelled the French, British and Israelis to beat a humiliating retreat.

Those who are hailing the attack on Libya as a triumph for the cause of human rights seem to have no recollection at all of the monstrous role played by the United States in attacking and subverting countries that interfered, in one way or another, with its strategic political and economic interests. It is not only the past that is forgotten (Vietnam, the savage war of the “Contras” in Nicaragua, the fomenting of civil wars in Angola and Mozambique, the overthrow and murder of Lumumba in the Congo, the longstanding support for the Apartheid regime in South Africa, the invasion of Iraq); the present is all but ignored. The pro-war “left” assigns to the United States the task of removing Gaddafi for firing on his people, even as Predator drones rain missiles down upon Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing people every day.

A significant example of the response of left-liberal intellectuals to the war is the statement posted March 27 by University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole on his widely-followed “Informed Comment” blog and subsequently reproduced in the Nation. Entitled “An Open Letter to the Left,” Professor Cole, a well-known historian of the Middle East, vociferously defends his support for the attack on Libya.

America's Permanent War Agenda: Military Keynesianism on Steroids

Stephen Lendman

Previous articles discussed America's culture of violence at home and abroad. Its entire history, in fact, is blood-drenched, glorifying conflicts in the name of peace, waging them every year in US history against one or more domestic and/or foreign adversaries.

Moreover, since WW II, America's had a permanent war agenda for unchallengeable global dominance throughout decades without enemies since Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945.

The Pentagon calls it a "long war." Obama is the latest warrior president following Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, Wilson, F. Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II preceding him, as well as all others in between.

In his 2002 book, "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace," Gore Vidal said:

"(O)ur rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own."

Rhetorically resisting tyranny, supporting free peoples, and promoting democracy, in fact, masks a destructive, immoral agenda to subjugate and control, no matter the cost in dollars, public welfare, or human lives.

A Morning at an Israeli Checkpoint

Alain Salomon & Katia Salomon
The Corner Report

PARIS — We have just returned from a week in Israel and Palestine. We organize a chamber music festival in Southwest France and are interested in bringing Israeli and Palestinian students to our master classes.

We had no trouble reaching Ramallah from Jerusalem by public transportation. But we had problems on our return trip. We reached the Kalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem on Friday, March 11, at 9:30 in the morning. We chose to get off the bus with everyone else, even though as foreigners we could have stayed on.

Victims of war - Iraqi children and families - Depleted uranium and trauma

Gerry Georgatos

Riyadh describes,

"The years of sanctions have deeply affected Iraqi society and people have learned to survive individually and have lost the sense of community and caring for others."

"As a result of the 1991 Gulf War the province of Al Muthanna is littered with thousands of unexploded landmines and missiles." "There are many heartbreaking of disabled children in Iraq."

Most children amputees in non-OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries are victim of wars, those evil scourges flourished by bullets, explosives, bombs, land mines and missiles. During this last decade the Al Muthanna and Basra provinces of Iraq challenged Angola for the highest proportion to total population of children amputees. Basra has been devastated by the war with most families having lost a family member, with many orphaned children and with most families caring for a family member who has been physically impaired. Let us not forget that Iraq’s Al Muthanna and Basra was laid victim to depleted uranium during the war and hence they have levels of cancers unheralded since Chernobyl. Al Muthanna province has been invaded by thereabouts thirty radioactive sites.

Firstly through the Centre for Human Rights at Curtin University and hence through a tertiary student volunteer organisation which I founded in 2005, Students Without Borders, I met Curtin University student and Iraqi Riyadh Al-Hakimi. Riyadh described to me much of the devastation of Basra and its effect on its humanity. I do not forget Riyadh’s description to me of a little Iraqi child dragging himself across the street in their hometown, and his withered deadened-like stump of his right leg creating a painful trail in the dusty street. The child’s parents could not afford a wheelchair nor were wheelchairs readily available. Much of Iraq’s infrastructure had been devastated by the drawn out war. Life had been further complicated by the vehement acrimony between Sunnis and Shi’ites. Riyadh often described to me an Iraq, before the invasion, where it did not matter whether someone was Sunni or Shi’ite, and marriage and business between Sunnis and Shi’ites occurred on a daily basis. I will never forget what Riyadh once said to me, "Till this war was started on us in Iraq, no-one ever asked me whether I am Sunni or Shi’ite. Never."

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