Former U.S. President Barack Obama recently put out a tweet with a link to organizations that may be of some help to the people of Libya due to recent floods. NATO was absent from the list.
If you’re looking to help people impacted by the floods in Libya, check out these organizations providing relief: https://t.co/Vc9kbNgFuE
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 15, 2023
Whoever runs the former president’s social media is likely unaware why some responded with sarcasm or dismay that the former commander in chief who presided over the intervention that caused the ruination of Libya would post such a token tweet. That is, after all, the nature of politics: a distinct disconnect from outcomes and consequences by those who lie, cheat, and charm their way to the top of the pyramid of power.
In 2011, in the wake of the Arab Spring, energies washed across the region as people (and other elements) sought to overthrow dictators. Some were supported by the West, others like Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi were sacrificial foes to be toppled. In a media campaign to justify their war, U.S. and NATO warmongers invented claims about the tyrant when in reality the truth of his regime should have been sufficient. They needed another villain, so Ronald Reagan’s foe from the 80s was back. The U.S. supported opposition warlords, terrorists, and foreign fighters as Libya fell into a terrible civil war. Qaddafi was toppled and executed in the dirt, NATO airstrikes blasted away his kingdom, and to this day the destruction and repercussions remain. The Obama regime pushed for NATO and UN missions to stop “genocide,” but Libya ended up with slavery, terror, endless war, and poverty. U.S. involvement led to a catastrophe that will last a generation or more for the people of Libya, and Obama and Hilary Clinton are the chief architects of such misery.
President Obama certainly had charm; he was articulate and a stark contrast to the bumbling butt of Michael Moore and Will Ferrell punchlines, George W Bush or “Junior.” Obama was seductive to progressives and wealthy liberals. He even said antiwar things. He was the “Hope and Change” president, a contrast to the McCains and Romneys that ran against him. Obama seemed slightly human, not in a Bill Clinton sleaze manner but as a person who (to a degree) meant what he said. Instead, he would go on to boast about his ability to perform extra judicial killings and expand the legacy of his predecessor. He was nothing more or less than another U.S. president.
Outside of the ritual of American party politics, words like liberal, neocon, conservative, or progressive don’t really mean much to the rest of the world. Only the constant of another U.S. president and permanent fixture of a powerful U.S. government forces those words into conversations within an empire of lies, conveniently short term memories, and supposedly benevolent violence. So it is with such an insolent tweet that one could come to expect a man like Obama to make, without any sense of ownership. It’s much the same way that Junior could paint victims of the wars he helped make possible. Presidents are liars. They lie to themselves as much they do to the rest of the world. It is how they ascend the ranks of a hierarchy built on lies.
The astounding thing is that every cycle a population of enablers participate in the democratic ritual of selecting the political zombies who linger on like a miasma of death to the new up and comers, who seemingly come from the outside to shake things up. Obama was one such candidate, along with Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, and even Richard Nixon in many ways. Although these presidents have a tendency of growing the thing they promised to shrink (or at least expand it in other areas), President Obama expanded the debt, the wars, and launched a new one against journalism. But he also looked nice on television, so for those who did not pay attention he was a leader to be proud of. Most voters don’t seem to pay attention. It’s the facade and packaging that matters most.
Politicians have an ability the world over to wear multiple masks. It’s the ancient deception of power. It requires more than one participant to make the dance of deceit work, however. An eagerness to believe is what makes the lies fly. Obama had a war weary population, tired of the NeoCon Bush and his gaffes of incompetence, not to mention the global perception of the United States being seen as a warlike nation. The enthusiasm to murder foreigners a decade after the 9/11 attacks had begun to wane. Perhaps Obama himself did believe his lies—maybe they all do. The nature of government is so rigid and self-serving that even a great reformer would struggle to make any dent or at the very least cut away just a bit of the fat. So despite any promises, Guantanamo Bay was kept open and the Global War on Terror remained under Obama.
To have a man like Obama publicly “forget” his role in the destruction of Libya and the carnage that has been wrought across the globe in the name of U.S. hegemonic policy is not so much insensitive as it is merely typical. We can sit back and say “shame on him” for such indifference, but maybe we need to look in the mirror and reserve the shame for ourselves. We are the ones who have continued to make it possible. At some stage in our lives we believed the lies that lurked beneath those charming eyes. We looked to a political solution where none could be found, the words spat being so pretty that we ignored the fowl breath of each and every leader, outsider or not.
Human beings have an ability of forgetting, or at the very least omitting responsibilities and ones own culpability in cruel events. In fact, many have the capacity of turning themselves into the victim, conceiving a narrative in their own mind where they are the wronged party. Rapists, murderers, and those responsible for domestic violence have shown this ability. It’s a survival mechanism for the mind to go on and do more harm. It is not unique to those in government, warmongers, or even the collective of the public itself. Maybe in his mind, just like he is in the mind of many others, Obama is a good man. Just as Reagan, Truman or Roosevelt are seen as being men who had to make certain decisions and had to act in a manner that led to the misery and death of the sacrificially insignificant. That’s what made them great commanders in chief.
The world must suffer the cycle of U.S. presidential politics again, a religious exercise in government that will likely be another “most important” in history ordeal. The outcome is assured: the U.S. government.
For the people of Libya, it was not George W. Bush or any Republican that destroyed their lives but a peace candidate named Barack Obama. The U.S. government has a habit for war the world over, as children loose limbs to mines in South East Asia, babies die from depleted uranium in the Middle East, and others wake up from nightmares of U.S. policies in South America. Wherever the next location on the map happens to be, you can guarantee that years after Uncle Sam visited it with carnage, a former president will brush it aside with little thought and millions of voters will elect the next head of state to repeat the cycle. A goldfish has no excuse for its short term memory. Human beings on the other hand should be ashamed for theirs.