Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 26: Why is Nato in Libya? and why a Canadian in command? and why is Allen Abel?

That a Canadian air force officer has been named head of the Libyan NATO mission at least made it into The Moncton Times&Transcript. But it has so far not occured to anybody (in most of Canada's media) to ask why this is happening.

1. Why is NATO, an organization formed to protect European nations against attack, being used to attack Libya which, for all its faults, has not attacked Europe? Why has the UN made itself irrelevant by handing over responsibilities like Libya to what has become the equivalent of the old British Empire (the white part) when it became an organization to fight Dutch settlers in South Africa back in 1899?

2.Why this sudden passion for the rights and freedoms of the Libyan people when we have been a close ally of their dictator for well over a decade? Why did the western world supply Ghadaffi with the tanks we are now bombing? Why did we give him the money to hire the mercenaries we are attacking?

It was the same with Egypt. Obama came down on the side of the rebels to get rid of Mubarak. But he, like earlier presidents, had been the major supporter of Mubarak, and the major supplier of the weapons that his army (largely paid for by the US) used to shoot at the rebels. He also seems to be interested in making sure the new rulers of Egypt will be pretty much the same people as the old ones.

2. Why was a Canadian named the commander of the NATO operation in Libya? It's an  honour, of course, and I hum O Canada as I write this. But we are a relatively small player in that war. We are also one of the few air forces there to have had no experience in aerial warfare for over fifty years.

As well, Canada, once a  highly respected country around the world, has fallen deeply into disrepute in the Harper years, and had begun to do so well before Harper. (That's why we didn't get a Security Council seat at the UN.) So -why are we suddenly being honoured? Could it be possible that it has something to do with Obama wanting to keep his distance - but also wanting an obedient lapdog to be in charge?

That brings us to Allen Abel, the T&T's man in Washington. Well, he does have two things in common with the T&T.  1. He has never written anything but trivia.  2. He has never criticized anybody who had real power. (When he wrote an expose of corruption in the US, it was notable that almost all of it was devoted to small-timers.) Added to that, he is the least observant observer I have ever read.

Today, for example, is about the National Mall in Washington, devoted to Americans who died in wars. An interview at the end of the column pretty much sums up his the tone of the whole thing. He asked a man what he thought of the Libyan war. The reply (clearly intended as the punch line for the column )was, "Somebody needs our help and asks for it, we got to help them."

Right. That's why the US will no doubt send help for the rebels in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the ones in the Emirate of Bahrain, and the ones in Syria. That's why the US government rushed to help the people of Haiti; (so far, it has not sent a penny of its promised aid.)

Among those monuments at a mall dedicated to Americans who died in war, where is the one to the native peoples who died in their millions? Where is the one to those who died in the two American invasions of Canada?  To those brave Americans who died in fighting the evil Mexicans when those Americans crossed into Mexico to take lands and settle them with their slaves. Mexico objuected to slavery on its territory, so the American land grabbers rose in righteous indignation. Remember Davey Crockett? He was a land speculator and slave trader.

The result of that ware was that Mexico lost a third of its land. That third became the southwest US.

How can there be no monument to the millions of Americans (so they would come to be) who died under the harsh conditions of slavery?

Of course, they couldn't cover all the wars in one mall. It has only 19 memorials. The US has had close to two hundred wars. There were all those Central American countries like Haiti, Cuba, Guatemala, invaded to establish dictatorships. There was the conquest of The Phillipines. There was the nineteenth century attack on Japan to force it to trade with the US. There was the forcible takeover of Hawaii. (When you next watch Dog, The Bounty Hunter, notice how many of the poor in Hawaii are native Hawaiians).

Abel, in all seriousness, quotes "Americans came to liberate, not to conquer, to restore freedom and to end Tyranny." Sure. That's why they, with the British and French, overthrew the democratic government of Iran to install a dictator in 1950. Then overthrew the democratic government of Guatemala about the same time. That's why they happily recognized Pinochet who overthrew democracy in Chile.That's why they supported Chiang Kai Sheck in China - a ruthless dictator who was also a world leader in drug selling.

There is, curiously, a monument to the holocaust. There certainly should be monuments to the holocaust, of course. But why in a site dedicated to Americans who died in war? No Americans, unless they were American Jewish tourists caught in Germany in 1939, died in the holocaust. The US did not go to war because of the holocaust. Nobody did. Both Canada and the US were passionately anti-semitic at the time.

Most of the people of the western allies knew nothing of the holocaust until the war was almost over. Even then, Canada and the US persisted if maintaining strict Jewish quotas long after the war, and the anti-semitism in both countries was easily visible into the 1960s.

The Washington Mall doesn't represent those who died as they were killing millions of Africans, native peoples, Mexicans, Central Americans, Phillipinos, Canadians,Vietnamese (who didn't want them there)....

Why do they commemorate a slaughter they never founght against and, in fact, was publicly supported by Henry Ford and by Lindbergh? (Ford was a key source of the money that brought Hitler to power. He was also the owner of a virulentaly anti-semitic newspaper.)

So why does The Moncton Times and Transcript, a paper that largely ignores most of the world, have a weekly column on Washington when it doesn't even have a regular column on Fredericton?

There's a hint in today's column. It twice take snide cracks at Obama. There's the one about Obama winning a Peace Prize, then getting into three wars. There's the one about his "Obama Doctrine of both prosecuting a war and hightaling from it at the same time." And there's the use of loaded words. When Obama is asked a question, Abel does not say that he replied. He says that "Obama muttered..." That's how you write propaganda.

Obama's Peace Prize was a fraud, of course. But getting into wars has been a characteristic of most presidents. As well, it has scarcely been a peculiarly Obama doctrine to proseucte a war and hightail it at the same time. Remember Vietnam?

Why is Abel in The Moncton Times and Transcript. Look at his tone; look at his choice of words; look at those he criticizes (and doesn't criticize) in "reports" like his series on corruption.  We get hime because he's part of the breed of neo-conservatives that Irving and friends like - just as they like all those propaganda "think-tanks".

Canadian big business has been desparate for years to make relations with the US ever closer. That's why Mulroney became the first Conservative leader in Canadian history to be in favour of free trade. That's why we have troops in Afghanistan. That's why we have aircraft in Libya. Let's not kid ourselves that Harper sits up at night worrying about those poor people in Libya and their lack of democracy.

After all he's never shown any such worry about Canadians.

Allan Abel is in the T&T because he's a propagandist who sends us warm and fuzzy pictures of Washington. That's why he's our teddybear in Washington.

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