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 Left unchecked, we have every reason to believe that Qaddafi would commit atrocities

against his people.  Many thousands could die.  A humanitarian crisis would ensue. 

The entire region could be destabilized, endangering many of our allies and partners.



Books by Barack Obama

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance  / The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

Obama's Greatest Speeches (CD set) / Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters

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Speech on Libya Situation

By President Barack Obama


18 March  2011

East Room


Good afternoon, everybody.  I want to take this opportunity to update the American people about the situation in Libya.  Over the last several weeks, the world has watched events unfold in Libya with hope and alarm.  Last month, protesters took to the streets across the country to demand their universal rights, and a government that is accountable to them and responsive to their aspirations.  But they were met with an iron fist.

Within days, whole parts of the country declared their independence from a brutal regime, and members of the government serving in Libya and abroad chose to align themselves with the forces of change.  Moammar Qaddafi clearly lost the confidence of his own people and the legitimacy to lead.

Instead of respecting the rights of his own people, Qaddafi chose the path of brutal suppression.  Innocent civilians were beaten, imprisoned, and in some cases killed.  Peaceful protests were forcefully put down.  Hospitals were attacked and patients disappeared.  A campaign of intimidation and repression began.

In the face of this injustice, the United States and the international community moved swiftly.  Sanctions were put in place by the United States and our allies and partners.  The U.N. Security Council imposed further sanctions, an arms embargo, and the specter of international accountability for Qaddafi and those around him.  Humanitarian assistance was positioned on Libya's borders, and those displaced by the violence received our help.  Ample warning was given that Qaddafi needed to stop his campaign of repression, or be held accountable.  The Arab League and the European Union joined us in calling for an end to violence.

Once again, Qaddafi chose to ignore the will of his people and the international community.  Instead, he launched a military campaign against his own people.  And there should be no doubt about his intentions, because he himself has made them clear.

For decades, he has demonstrated a willingness to use brute force through his sponsorship of terrorism against the American people as well as others, and through the killings that he has carried out within his own borders.  And just yesterday, speaking of the city of Benghazi—a city of roughly 700,000 people—he threatened, and I quote: "We will have no mercy and no pity"—no mercy on his own citizens.

Now, here is why this matters to us.  Left unchecked, we have every reason to believe that Qaddafi would commit atrocities against his people.  Many thousands could die.  A humanitarian crisis would ensue.  The entire region could be destabilized, endangering many of our allies and partners.  The calls of the Libyan people for help would go unanswered.  The democratic values that we stand for would be overrun.  Moreover, the words of the international community would be rendered hollow.

And that's why the United States has worked with our allies and partners to shape a strong international response at the United Nations.  Our focus has been clear: protecting innocent civilians within Libya, and holding the Qaddafi regime accountable.

Yesterday, in response to a call for action by the Libyan people and the Arab League, the U.N. Security Council passed a strong resolution that demands an end to the violence against citizens.  It authorizes the use of force with an explicit commitment to pursue all necessary measures to stop the killing, to include the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya.  It also strengthens our sanctions and the enforcement of an arms embargo against the Qaddafi regime.

Now, once more, Moammar Qaddafi has a choice.  The resolution that passed lays out very clear conditions that must be met.

 The United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Arab states agree that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately.  That means all attacks against civilians must stop.  Qaddafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya, and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas.  Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.

Let me be clear, these terms are not negotiable.  These terms are not subject to negotiation.  If Qaddafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences, and the resolution will be enforced through military action.

In this effort, the United States is prepared to act as part of an international coalition.  American leadership is essential, but that does not mean acting alone—it means shaping the conditions for the international community to act together. 

That's why I have directed Secretary Gates and our military to coordinate their planning, and tomorrow Secretary Clinton will travel to Paris for a meeting with our European allies and Arab partners about the enforcement of Resolution 1973.

  We will provide the unique capabilities that we can bring to bear to stop the violence against civilians, including enabling our European allies and Arab partners to effectively enforce a no fly zone.  I have no doubt that the men and women of our military are capable of carrying out this mission.  Once more, they have the thanks of a grateful nation and the admiration of the world.

I also want to be clear about what we will not be doing. The United States is not going to deploy ground troops into Libya.  And we are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal—specifically, the protection of civilians in Libya.  In the coming weeks, we will continue to help the Libyan people with humanitarian and economic assistance so that they can fulfill their aspirations peacefully. 

Now, the United States did not seek this outcome.  Our decisions have been driven by Qaddafi's refusal to respect the rights of his people, and the potential for mass murder of innocent civilians.  It is not an action that we will pursue alone.  Indeed, our British and French allies, and members of the Arab League, have already committed to take a leadership role in the enforcement of this resolution, just as they were instrumental in pursuing it.  We are coordinating closely with them.  And this is precisely how the international community should work, as more nations bear both the responsibility and the cost of enforcing international law.

This is just one more chapter in the change that is unfolding across the Middle East and North Africa.  From the beginning of these protests, we have made it clear that we are opposed to violence.  We have made clear our support for a set of universal values, and our support for the political and economic change that the people of the region deserve.  But I want to be clear:  the change in the region will not and cannot be imposed by the United States or any foreign power; ultimately, it will be driven by the people of the Arab World.  It is their right and their responsibility to determine their own destiny.

Let me close by saying that there is no decision I face as your Commander in Chief that I consider as carefully as the decision to ask our men and women to use military force.  Particularly at a time when our military is fighting in Afghanistan and winding down our activities in Iraq, that decision is only made more difficult.  But the United States of America will not stand idly by in the face of actions that undermine global peace and security.  So I have taken this decision with the confidence that action is necessary, and that we will not be acting alone.  Our goal is focused, our cause is just, and our coalition is strong.  Thank you very much.

2:31 pm. EDT 

Source: IBTimes

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Obama Supports Multilateral Action in Libya 18 February 2010

Obama Condemns Violence in Libya 23 February 2011

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Speech on Libya Upheaval

By Barack Obama

White House, February 23, 2011

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UN Approves Airstrikes to Halt Attacks by Qaddafi Forces

Rebel leaders boasted about their broader arsenal of weaponry—some aged warplanes and a helicopter—as well as their putative gains in Ajdabiya. . . . Despite the bluster by rebel leaders, some in the rebel strongholds were growing fatalistic about their hopes without international help. “People here are terrified,” said Ahmed al-Hasi, a former diplomat who left Benghazi on Wednesday for Bayda. “People are saying, ‘We fight until we die, or we surrender and we are humiliated and then we are killed,’ ” he said. “It will be a very, very bloody fight, and I know I will fight to the end.”—NYTimes

U.N. Security Council approves no-fly zone over Libya

The United States, France and Britain—three of the five veto-wielding permanent Security Council members, and seven other countries approved the resolution, which passed by one vote more than was required. China and Russia, the two other permanent members, and three other nations abstained. There were no votes against it.

Airstrikes were expected against dozens of Libyan air defense missile sites to eliminate threats to planes enforcing the no-fly zone. The resolution's key provision also authorized countries enforcing the zone "to take all necessary measures . . . to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack . . . including Benghazi," but it ruled out a foreign occupation force "of any form on any part of Libyan territory."—MiamiHerald

U.S. Missiles Strike Libyan Air Defense Targets

American and European forces began a broad campaign of strikes against the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on Saturday, unleashing warplanes and missiles in the first round of the largest international military intervention in the Arab world since the invasion of Iraq. . . . The missile strikes were the start of what Admiral Gortney called a “multiphase operation” to create a no-flight zone that would allow coalition aircraft to fly all over Libya without the risk of being shot down. He would not say whether American aircraft would be involved in the no-flight zone, but he said that no American warplanes aircraft were directly over Libya on Saturday afternoon.

Admiral Gortney cast the United States as the “leading edge” among coalition partners in the opening phase of attacks on Libya. But in keeping with Mr. Obama’s and Mrs. Clinton’s emphasis that the administration was not driving the efforts to strike Libya, he and other Pentagon officials repeated that the United States would step back within days and hand command of the coalition to one of European allies. The United States has at least 11 warships stationed near the coast of Tripoli, including three ballistic missile submarines—the Scranton, the Florida and the Providence—and two destroyers, the Stout and Barry.

All five fired cruise missiles on Saturday, the admiral said. Other coalition ships in the Mediterranean included 11 Italian ships, one French ship, one British ship and one Canadian ship.—NYTimes

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Africans Beware the Saviors of Libya (Asante)  /  Libya, Africa, and the Victorians (Manheru)

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Responses to Obama's War on Libya

Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish

The president’s speech was disturbingly empty. There are, it appears, only two reasons the US is going to war, without any Congressional vote, or any real public debate. The first is that the US cannot stand idly by while atrocities take place. Yet we have done nothing in Burma or the Congo and are actively supporting governments in Yemen and Bahrain that are doing almost exactly—if less noisily—what Qaddafi is doing. Obama made no attempt to reconcile these inconsistencies because, one suspects, there is no rational reconciliation to be made.

Secondly, the president argued that the ghastly violence in Libya is destabilizing the region, and threatening world peace. Really? More than Qaddafi’s meddling throughout Africa for years? More than the brutal repression in Iran? And even if it is destabilizing, Libya is not, according to the Obama administration itself, a “vital national interest.” So why should the US go to war over this?

None of this makes any sense, except as an emotional response to an emergency. I understand the emotions, and sympathize with the impulse to help. But I can think of no worse basis for committing a country to war than such emotional and moral anxiety.—NYTimes

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Ezra Klein at The Washington Post

I didn’t find President Obama’s remarks on Libya comforting. The point of the speech, as I understood it, was both to announce that we were engaging but also assure America that our engagement was going to be limited. But consider the promises made. “The United States is not going to deploy ground troops into Libya. And we are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal, specifically the protection of civilians in Libya.” Those two sentences are at war with each other. Protecting civilians might well require more than bombing runways. If Gaddafi is deposed and the state collapses into tribal warfare, does our pledge to resist ground troops trump our pledge to protect civilians? Or will it be the other way around?

The easy response to this is to ask how I can be so diffident in the face of slaughter. But consider Obama’s remarks. “Left unchecked,” he said, “we have every reason to believe that Gaddafi would commit atrocities against his people. Many thousands could die.” Every year, one million people die from malaria. About three million children die, either directly or indirectly, due to hunger. There is much we could due to help the world if we were willing. The question that needs to be asked is: Why this?—NYTimes

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Adam Serwer at The Plum Line

The problem is that we still don’t know very much about who the rebels are or what they ultimately want. Libya’s internal politics were opaque to the West even before the war. We don’t know how much international involvement will be required to ensure Gaddafi falls, or what level of commitment the United States, as the world’s only superpower, will ultimately be forced to make. In other words, none of the key questions looming over the crisis have been answered—even though we’ve already learned the hard way in Iraq what happens when we fail to plan for the peace before we start a war.

All we really know right now is that America is destined to own the outcome in Libya.—NYTimes

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Simon Tisdall at The Guardian

It’s plain that whichever way the stated aims of the intervention are defined, achieving them will be highly problematic. The least of them—a genuine ceasefire—would effectively freeze the current confrontation in place, with rival camps entrenched in the east and west. The conflict could degenerate into a prolonged stalemate, as in the Korean peninsula or Georgia. Meaningful negotiation would be impossible while Gaddafi remained in power.

Interventionists cannot achieve Gaddafi’s removal, another key aim, by force of arms, bar a ground invasion or a lucky shot. (The same goes for democratic governance.) The west is relying instead on more mass defections, an army mutiny or a palace coup—what analyst Shashank Joshi of the Royal United Services Institute has called “regime breakdown.”

By withholding immediate attacks on Friday despite French impatience to get stuck in, Obama and Cameron appeared to be hoping the pressure on Gaddafi and his supporters would lead to internal rupture and an implosion.—NYTimes

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Glenn Greenwald at Salon

As our other good friends Saudi Arabia and Bahrain collaborate on attacking civilian protesters, there are no calls for U.S. intervention there—even though that’s arguably more serious than what’s happening in Libya—because those governments serve our interests.  Nor is there much anger among Americans (as opposed to Egyptians) over our decades-long support for the dictator of Egypt (and most of the other tyrants now suddenly being vilified).  That’s because our conduct in the Middle East isn’t driven by humanitarian objectives no matter how manipulatively that flag is waved.  It’s driven by a desire to advance our perceived interests regardless of humanitarian outcomes, and exactly the same would be true for any intervention in Libya.  Even if we were capable of fostering humanitarian outcomes in that nation—and that’s highly doubtful—that wouldn’t be our mission.—NYTimes

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Daniel Larison at Eunomia

The intervening governments may have caught a lucky break in that Gaddafi’s desire for self-preservation has given them a way out of going through with the folly of attacking Libya. This is temporarily a good outcome for Libya’s rebels, but there are several reasons why this may still prove to be bad for the U.S. and our allies. Intervening governments that have committed to providing defense for civilian areas in Libya and enforcing a no-fly zone are now stuck with that commitment for the foreseeable future. That could tie up military resources for as long as the conflict continues, and there’s no telling how long that might be. We can expect to see a lot more agitation from hawks here and in Europe that Gaddafi cannot be allowed to remain in power, and they are likely to see Gaddafi’s acceptance of a cease-fire as an unacceptable maneuver to buy time. Interventionists sold a Libyan war primarily on humanitarian grounds (“saving” Benghazi, etc.), but they will not be satisfied at all by a cessation of hostilities.—NYTimes

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G8 summit: major powers discuss how to contain “Arab Spring”—By Bill Van Auken—27 May 2011—On the eve of the summit, France and Britain revealed that they are deploying attack helicopters in a qualitative escalation of the imperialist intervention, while NATO warplanes have carried out successive nights of heavy bombardments of Tripoli, the Libyan capital. Russia, which, sees the US-NATO intervention as a direct threat to its own extensive interests in Libya’s oil and gas industry, has condemned the bombing as a violation of UN resolutions. It has stepped up its own diplomatic initiative, meeting with representatives of both the Libyan regime and the so-called rebels backed by Washington and NATO in an attempt to promote a cease-fire. In the Libyan war, the real aims of the US and the Western European powers emerges clearly: the recolonization of the oil-rich regions of the Middle East and Africa as part of an attempt to offset the deepening crisis of their economies.—wsws

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Africans Beware the Saviors of Libya  / US Senate discusses sending troops to Libya

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Last Days of Kenya Colony

This autobiographical documentary revisits the Mau Mau Rebellion of the 1950s. More than 50 years after the conflict, in which the director participated as a young British soldier stationed in Kenya for his national service, he confronts his past with audacity and unflinching self-inquiry. Combining McWilliams' own photographic record of the times with original animation and archival imagery, A Time There Was crafts a thoughtful account of the Mau Mau Rebellion – one of the most contentious episodes in Britain’s imperial endgame.

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At War in Libya: NYTimes Editorial

Planning for a Post-Qaddafi Libya

Rehabilitating U.S. Military Intervention in the Age of Obama

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#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
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#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

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#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

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#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

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#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Malcolm X

A Life of Reinvention

By Manning Marable

Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.

Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 19 March 2011 




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Related files:  Oedipus and Ordinariness     Obama, Political Cynicism, and the Tea Party   Gaddafi: A System of His Own    Libya Getting it Right: Pan-African  Libya Geopolitics  

Qaddafi Apologizes for Arab Slave Trade    Black Enslavement Arab and European    A Theology of Obligation    Delivering Good News to the Oppressed