Samantha Power for UN Envoy

Stephen Lendman

Barak Obama, Susan Rice & Samantha Power (A. Wong/Getty)

Obama's cabinet, national security team, and other close advisors reflect a virtual rogues gallery of scoundrels. Susan Rice as National Security Advisor and Samantha Power as UN envoy are on board in new capacities. Rice shifts from UN ambassador to the White House. A previous article quoted the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity saying "she belongs in the big house, not in the White House."

Given her notion of humanitarian intervention, Power belongs there with her. On June 5, Obama announced both appointments. He was right calling Power "a relentless advocate for American interests and values." He was wrong saying doing so reflects "building partnerships on behalf of democracy and human rights." He called Power "an indispensable member of my national security team." He stopped short of explaining her imperial role. Senate confirmation is required.

Expect it to be rubber-stamp. Democrats control the body. Based on John McCain's comment, Republicans aren't likely to object. He called her "well-qualified for this important position." He urged swift confirmation. Other notable neocons praised her nomination. Former Senator Joe Lieberman said he's "very encouraged by the president's appointment." Alan Dershowitz called her "a perfect choice." Uberhawk Max Boot said she's "a very capable and principled advocate of humanitarian intervention." He stopped short of explaining the mass death and destruction it causes. The Islamophobic Anti-Defamation League said "(W)e are heartened that the US will be represented by an individual whose moral resolve and fierce pragmatism will serve our country well."

In accepting the nomination, Power called it "the honor of a lifetime to fight for American values and interests at the United Nations." She stopped short of explaining her interventionist advocacy. Howard Zinn in part addressed it. He did so in an August 2007 New York Times letter. He challenged Power responsibly. "(S)he claims a moral distinction between 'inadvertent' killing of civilians in bombings and 'deliberate' targeting of civilians in suicide attacks," he said.

"Her position is not only illogical, but makes it easier to justify such bombings." Her principles are reprehensible. "The terrorism of the suicide bomber and the terrorism of aerial bombardment are indeed morally equivalent," [Zinn added.] "To say otherwise is to give one moral superiority over the other, and thus serve to perpetuate the horrors of our time."

In May 2004, Edward Herman's article headlined "The Cruise Missile Left: Samantha Power and the Genocide Gambits." The term genocide is "politicized," said Herman. Attaching it to an enemy justifies bombing, invading, and assassinating its leaders. Genocide is what they do, not us. Power and likeminded ideologues think this way. She's a prominent "cruise missile left" adherent.

Francis Boyle calls her husband Cass Sunstein a "lethal neo-con." From 2009 - 2012, he was Obama's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs administrator. For 27 years, he taught constitutional, administrative and environmental law at the University of Chicago Law School. He's now at Harvard Law School. Boyle calls it "the school for torturers." Sunstein deplores First Amendment and other democratic freedoms. He believes rule of law principles are best observed by subverting them. Perhaps Power shares his extremist views. Faux liberals pretend otherwise.

Her book titled "A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide" gained her prominence. She "never departs from the selectivity dictated by the establishment party line," said Herman. In other words, horrendous US genocides are ignored. They're longstanding. They've been ongoing since the republic's inception.

Historian Gabriel Kolko studied the nature and purpose of US power. He calls it "violen(t), racis(t), repressi(ve) at home and abroad (and) cultural(ly) mendaci(ous)."

Howard Zinn said US leaders try portraying America as as a benevolent nation. It never was. It isn't now. For centuries, the US waged genocidal war on Native Americans, African Americans, and targeted countries worldwide. According to Ward Churchill,

[native peoples were] "hacked apart with axes and swords, burned alive and trampled under horses, hunted as game and fed to dogs, shot, beaten, stabbed, scalped for bounty, hanged on meathooks and thrown over the sides of ships at sea, worked to death as slave laborers, intentionally starved and frozen to death during a multitude of forced marches and internments, and, in an unknown number of instances, deliberately infected with epidemic diseases."

Black Africans were captured, branded, chained, force-marched to ports, beaten, kept in cages, and stripped of their humanity. Around 100 million or more were sold like cattle. Millions perished during the Middle Passage. Zinn called US slavery "the most cruel form in history: the frenzy for limitless profit that comes from capitalistic agriculture; the reduction of the slave to less than human status by the use of racial hatred, with that relentless clarity based on color, where white was master, black was slave." Are things any different today?

US history reflects genocide. What began from inception persists. It does so globally. Ideologues like Power pretend not to notice. She looks the other way. America is the solution, not the problem, she claims. "A Problem from Hell" won a Pulitzer prize. Herman called it a "masterpiece of evasion and apologetics for 'our' genocides and call for a more aggressive pursuit of 'theirs.' " Ideologues think that way. So-called liberal and more hawkish ones represent two sides of the same coin. Imperial interests alone matter.

If confirmed, Power will be Washington's 28th UN envoy. Earlier she covered the Balkan wars, East Timor, Rwanda, Sudan and Zimbabwe as a journalist. She did so one-way.

In 1996, she joined the International Crisis Group (ICG). She served as a political analyst.

In 1995, ICG was founded by former World Bank vice president/UN deputy secretary-general Mark Mallock Brown and former US diplomat Morton Abramowitz. It supports power, not populist interests.

From 1998 - 2002, Power served as executive director of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

She was Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy. Until March 2008, she was one of Senator Obama's senior political advisors.

She stepped down early in his presidential campaign. She did so after calling Hillary Clinton a "monster she is stooping to anything," she said. She called her tactics "deceit(ful)."

She was hard on John Kerry during his 2004 presidential campaign. Referring to his Vietnam service, she said: "He must have thought that having got shrapnel in his ass out there bought him some credibility. It didn't."

In November 2008, she joined Obama's State Department transition team. From January 2009 - March 2013, she was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council.

In April 2013, Obama appointed her head of a new Atrocities Prevention Board. She consistently turns a blind eye to the worst ones America commits. She calls US foreign policy "a toolbox." It includes a whole range of options, she says. "There is always something you can do." Her notion of humanitarian intervention is take no prisoners.

She and Susan Rice played leading roles in urging "humanitarian war" on Libya. A previous article said genocidal slaughter followed.

So-called responsibility to protect is code language for show no mercy. When America intervenes, with or without NATO partners, death, destruction, resource theft, exploitation and human misery follow.

Civil rights lawyer Chase Madar called her career "a richly instructive example of the weaponization of human rights." She came to prominence urging belligerent intervention. She did so calling it humanitarian. In Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, she asked: "Why does the US stand so idly by?" America "has made modest progress in its response to genocide," she said. It's not good enough, she stresses. She urges bolder interventionism. So-called responsibility to protect (R2P) shows no mercy. At issue is protecting US imperial interests.

She called NATO's Yugoslav war a stunning success. It "likely saved hundreds of thousands of lives" in Kosovo, she claimed. She turned truth on its head saying so. From March 24 - June 10, 1999, US-led NATO waged lawless aggression. Serbia and Kosovo were ravaged. Doing so was called humanitarian intervention. For 78 days, around 600 aircraft flew about 3,000 sorties. They dropped and launched unprecedented amounts of ordinance. Nearly everything was struck. Massive destruction and disruption followed. Targets included known or suspected military sites, power plants, factories, transportation, telecommunications facilities, vital infrastructure, rail lines, fuel depots, schools, a TV station, China's Belgrade Embassy, hospitals, government offices, churches, historic landmarks, and more.

An estimated $100 billion dollars in damage resulted. So did a humanitarian disaster. Environmental contamination was extensive. Large numbers were killed, injured or displaced. Two million people lost their livelihoods. Many lost homes, communities, and futures. Balkanizing Yugoslavia opened an avenue to Eurasia. Multiple direct and proxy wars followed. They continue with more planned.

American-led genocide slaughtered millions. Many more die daily. Power calls imperial interventions stunning successes. If confirmed as new UN envoy, her mandate is to assure many more like them. Advancing America's imperium for sure reflects "a problem from hell."

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He has devoted his time and efforts to progressive causes and organizations, all involved in working for a more humane and just world for all people everywhere, but especially for the most needy, disadvantaged and oppressed. His efforts since summer 2005 have included writing on a broad range of vital topics ranging from war and peace; social, economic and political equity for all; and justice for all the oppressed peoples of the world like the long-suffering people of Haiti and the Palestinians. He also co-hosts The Global Research News Hour, gives occasional public talks, and appears frequently on radio and at times television. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. Also visit his blog and listen to The Lendman News Hour on Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening. His new book "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War" can be ordered HERE. He can be reached at

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images


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