Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Stop comparing Obama to Bush
By Ray Hanania
President Barack Obama is no George W. Bush. But that’s what many of the rightwing conservative fanatics in this country would want you to believe.
They want you to believe that in attacking Libya and its tyrant “President,” Moammar Qadhafi, Obama is just like Bush who ordered an attack against Iraq and its tyrant president Saddam Hussein.
But there is a big difference. While the assault on Libya is justified, the Bush attack was not justified.
Obama attacked Libya because Qadhafi, an insane megalomaniac, had ordered his forces to attack and kill his civilians in an effort to respond to an armed rebellion.
The issue of whether or not the United States or any nation has the right to side with armed rebels against a foreign government is another issue. Hamas is an armed rebellion against Israel and no one is condemning Israel for killing Palestinian civilians in its response to Hamas. We do have our double standards when it comes to Israel in both the Obama and Bush administrations, but that’s as far as the comparisons goe.
Bush attacked Iraq because Saddam Hussein had insulted is father and mouthed off that he hoped to assassinate the president’s father, who was also a former president who led a justified military assault on Iraq in the 1990s to free Kuwait from Iraq’s occupation.
Bush the father freed a country from a tyrant who murdered innocent Kuwaitis, although there is some issue about whether he did it to benefit the oil business interests of his pals in Texas since the Kuwait rulers were and are tyrants themselves.
But that’s another issue, too.
Is the war on Libya the same as the second war on Iraq?
The answer is a solid and resounding and unequivocal no.
The first attack on Iraq was on March 19, 2003. At that time, Bush had targeted Saddam Hussein and his maniacal sons, Uday and Qusay. Bush tried to assassinate them using our military and fighter jets.
It didn’t work.
Iraq was also already under one of the most oppressive United Nations sanctions ever, lasting almost 10 years. And while the sanctions did not force Saddam Hussein out of office, they were never intended to do that. They were intended to pressure him to end his oppression of his citizens, many of them he killed in the 1980s during the war against Iran that Iraq fought in part on behalf of the United States.
Yes, Iraq was being funded and armed by the United States specifically to undermine the new tyrants in Iran who replaced the old tyrant in Iran, the dictator and mass murderer the Shah of Iran.
We conveniently forget that Saddam Hussein was of American creation. Whe he allegedly gassed his own people in the 1980s, we knew about it and we did nothing about it. We only used those claims later in 2003 to justify the war on Iraq in order for Americans to take over the Iraqi oil fields and to insure they were feeding oil to the United States and the West.
The vast majority of the oil from Libya did not go to the United States. In fact, Libya was under an international sanction imposed by the United States and European nations. Those sanctions were lifted when Libya agreed to accept blame for the bombing of the Pan Am passenger plane that crashed over Lockerbie Scotland.
No, George W. Bush was being pushed by two former war criminals, Dick Cheney, the “former” CEO of Halliburton that received and supervised almost all of the hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq war contracts, and Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense.
Cheney and Rumsfeld were two remnants of the administration of the former President Bush who led the assault to free Kuwait from Iraq’s occupation. Their sole purpose wasn’t to protect the citizens of Iraq but rather to extract revenge and to kill Saddam Hussein.
They used the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 as a justification to attack Iraq even though Iraq had nothing to do with al-Qaeda.
Now, there is similarities between Cheney and Rumsfeld trying to justify the murder of Saddam Hussein, whom they openly hated, and the cries from some journalists in America like Wolf Blitzer and Roger Simon who have asked why the United States just doesn’t strike and kill Libya’s Qadhafi. Well, in America, we are supposed to be a land of freedom and justice, not revenge and murder. Purportedly, America doesn’t engage in war crimes like many of our allies, specifically Israel.
But that’s another issue for another time.
Is Libya like Iraq. No. The assault on Libya is limited to protecting the civilians who are being attacked by Qadhafi. If that assault and the no fly zone result in Qadhafi being overthrown or forced out, so be it and good riddance. But America is not planning to assassinate Qadhafi and take the nation’s oil field as Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld did in Iraq.
The best evidence is to watch Halliburton. Is it preparing to begin the occupation of Libya? Not under Obama.
Obama is correct that we have a moral obligation to prevent a massacre of innocent civilians. Not just in Libya but in any country where a massacre is taking place.
We do not have a moral obligation to create facts to justify the control of another nation’s oil fields, as we did in Iraq.
They are two different battles and two different wars.
It’s possible that the non fly zone in Libya might turn in to an all out war and the United States will have to engage Libyan military forces with air and ground assaults. That would be tragic. Especially since we haven’t finished the other two wars that Bush began, in Afghanistan and in Iraq where our soldiers have been muddled and swamped and overwhelmed.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and media consultant. He can be reached at www.Hanania.com)