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Peace and Prosperity

A New Large-Scale US Military Attack in Libya


In 2011 President Barack Obama directed, without any congressional authorization, a US military attack on Libya that was marketed as “humanitarian intervention.” As RPI Director Daniel McAdams observed in August of 2014, the result of military action by the US and other governments against Libya was destruction, violence, and chaos, not the promised “democracy, prosperity, and freedom from tyranny.”

Glenn Greenwald warns in a new Intercept article that the US government is planning another go at attacking Libya. Writes Greenwald:
Just as there was no Al Qaeda or ISIS to attack in Iraq until the U.S. bombed its government, there was no ISIS in Libya until NATO bombed its. Now the U.S. is about to seize on the effects of its own bombing campaign in Libya to justify an entirely new bombing campaign in that same country.
The new military action appears to be an example of the crisis and leviathan process that Ron Paul Institute Academic Board Member Robert Higgs has pointed out governments use again and again. Higgs explains the process in a March 2009 aricle:
How do once-free people lose their liberty? The formula may be stated succinctly: crisis and leviathan. Alternatively, and somewhat more fully stated, the procedure for the government officials and their supporters who hope to gain by quashing the people's liberties is (1) cause a serious crisis, thereby heightening the public's fears, and (2) blame others for the crisis, pose as the people's savior, and thereby justify the seizure of new powers allegedly necessary to remedy the crisis and to prevent the recurrence of such crises in the future. This gambit is as old as the hills, yet, given the right ideological preconditions, it works every time. Strange to say, the people never learn (in part because these experiences produce ideological change that fortifies the fiscal and institutional changes the government makes during the crisis).
More US military intervention in Libya will cost Americans in dollars and, potentially, lives. It may also inspire blowback attacks. US military intervention, with its history of creating “hellholes on Earth,” can also be trusted to make even worse the dismal conditions in Libya. But, Greenwald comments in his article, some people would benefit from a new large-scale military attack:
As it turns out, one of the few benefits of the NATO bombing of Libya will redound to the permanent winners in the private-public axis that constitutes the machine of Endless Militarism: it provided a pretext for another new war.

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