Pundits across the U.S. are amplifying the calls for further military intervention in Syria, as the Trump administration indicates regime change may be back on the agenda. The U.S. attacked the Syrian government on April 6, launching 59 Tomahawk missiles at a major air base, destroying 20 percent of its planes, according to the Pentagon.
Major media outlets, most politicians from both sides of the aisle and irascible war-hawk writers applauded the Trump administration’s strike with gusto. The uniformity with which the commentariat has embraced the attack hearkens back to six years ago, when many of these same people and publications cheered as NATO overthrew Libya’s government, plunging the oil-rich North African nation into chaos from which it is still reeling.
The 2011 war in Libya was justified in the name of supposed humanitarian intervention, but it was a war for regime change, plain and simple. A report released by the British House of Commons’ bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee in 2016 acknowledged that the intervention was sold on lies — but by the time it was published, the damage was already done.
Today, Libya is in complete ruins. There is no functioning central authority for swaths of the country; multiple governments compete for control. The genocidal extremist group ISIS has, in Libya, carved out its largest so-called caliphate outside of Iraq and Syria.
Perhaps most striking of all is the fact there are now open slave markets in Libya, where black African migrants are bought and sold. Moreover, women have been banned from traveling on their own in the eastern part of the country, which is under the control of a warlord with longtime ties to the CIA.
Far from « freeing » Libyans, NATO regime change pulled them back centuries. And, in the meantime, thousands of refugees and migrants have lost their lives, sinking into the murky water off the coast.
A coalition of neoconservatives and liberal interventionists helped sell NATO’s war to the public, in the lead-up to and during the intervention in 2011. Since then, many of the NATO war’s most vociferous advocates have fallen silent, avoiding any accountability for their colossal errors of judgment and imperial zeal. Virtually no one has expressed contrition.
Given the impunity pro-war pundits have joined, war after war, it’s no surprise that many of the same figures that cheered Libya’s systematic destruction are ginnig up a new war of regime change, this time in Syria.
AlterNet has compiled a list of the big-name pundits and newspapers that helped sell regime change in Libya, and are doing the same now for Syria.
This is part one of a two-part series. Part one identifies the major regime change pundits; part two looks at the editorial boards of some of the top newspapers that justified military intervention in Libya and Syria, explaining how they got absolutely everything wrong.