[News] 45 Top Lies From Obama’s UN Speech

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 25 12:38:38 EDT 2013


September 25, 2013
http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/25/45-top-lies-from-obamas-un-speech/


*The Fog Machine*


  45 Top Lies From Obama’s UN Speech

by DAVID SWANSON

1. President Obama’s opening lines at the U.N. on Tuesday looked down on 
people who would think to settle disputes with war. Obama was 
disingenuously avoiding the fact that earlier this month he sought to 
drop missiles into a country to “send a message” but was blocked by the 
U.S. Congress, the U.N., the nations of the world, and popular 
opposition — after which Obama arrived at diplomacy as a last resort.

2. “It took the awful carnage of two world wars to shift our thinking.” 
Actually, it took one. The second resulted in a half-step backwards in 
“our thinking.” The Kellogg-Briand Pact banned all war. The U.N. Charter 
re-legalized wars purporting to be either defensive or U.N.-authorized.

3. “[P]eople are being lifted out of poverty,” Obama said, crediting 
actions by himself and others in response to the economic crash of five 
years ago. But downward global trends in poverty are steady and long 
pre-date Obama’s entry into politics. And such a trend does not exist in 
the U.S. 
<http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/09/17/223373452/poverty-rate-unchanged-in-2012>

4. “Together, we have also worked to end a decade of war,” Obama said. 
In reality, Obama pushed Iraq hard to allow that occupation to continue, 
and was rejected just as Congress rejected his missiles-for-Syria 
proposal. Obama expanded the war on Afghanistan. Obama expanded, after 
essentially creating, drone wars. Obama has increased global U.S. troop 
presence, global U.S. weapons sales, and the size of the world’s largest 
military. He’s put “special” forces into many countries, waged a war on 
Libya, and pushed for an attack on Syria. How does all of this “end a 
decade of war”? And how did his predecessor get a decade in office anyway?

5. “Next year, an international coalition will end its war in 
Afghanistan, having achieved its mission of dismantling the core of al 
Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11.” In reality, Bruce Riedel, who 
coordinated a review of Afghanistan policy for President Obama said, 
“The pressure we’ve put on [jihadist forces] in the past year has also 
drawn them together, meaning that the network of alliances is growing 
stronger not weaker.” (/New York Times,/ May 9, 2010.)

6. “We have limited the use of drones.” Bush drone strikes in Pakistan: 
51. Obama drone strikes in Pakistan: 323 
<http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/blog/category/projects/drones/>.

7. “… so they target only those who pose a continuing, imminent threat 
to the United States where capture is not feasible.” On June 7, 2013, 
Yemeni tribal leader Saleh Bin Fareed told /Democracy Now/ that Anwar al 
Awlaki could have been turned over and put on trial, but “they never 
asked us.” In numerous other cases it is evident that drone strike 
victims could have been arrested if that avenue had ever been attempted. 
A memorable example was the November 2011 drone killing in Pakistan of 
16-year-old Tariq Aziz, days after he’d attended an anti-drone meeting 
in the capital, where he might easily have been arrested — had he been 
charged with some crime. This weeks drone victims, like all the others, 
had never been indicted or their arrest sought.

8. “… and there is a near certainty of no civilian casualties.” There 
are hundreds of confirmed 
<http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/blog/category/projects/drones/> 
civilian dead from U.S. drones, something the Obama administration seems 
inclined to 
<http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/24/us-accused-drone-hearing-lawyer-visa-pakistan> 
keep as quiet as possible.

9. “And the potential spread of weapons of mass destruction casts a 
shadow over the pursuit of peace.” In reality, President Obama is not 
pursuing peace or the control of such weapons or their reduction and 
elimination in all countries, only particular countries. And the United 
States remains the top possessor of weapons of mass destruction and the 
top supplier of weapons to the world.

10. “[In Syria, P]eaceful protests against an authoritarian regime were 
met with repression and slaughter. … America and others have worked to 
bolster the moderate opposition.” In fact, the United States has armed a 
violent opposition intent on waging war and heavily influenced if not 
dominated by foreign fighters and fanatics.

11. “[T]he regime used chemical weapons in an attack that killed more 
than 1,000 people, including hundreds of children.” Maybe, but where’s 
the evidence? Even Colin Powell brought (faked) evidence.

12. “How should we respond to conflicts in the Middle East?” This 
suggests that the United States isn’t /causing/ conflicts in the Middle 
East or aggravating them prior to altering its position and 
“responding.” In fact, arming and supporting brutal governments in 
Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Israel, etc., is behavior that could do a 
great deal of good simply by ceasing.

13. “How do we address the choice of standing callously by while 
children are subjected to nerve gas, or embroiling ourselves in someone 
else’s civil war?” That isn’t a complete list of choices, as Obama 
discovered when Russia called Kerry’s bluff and diplomacy became a 
choice, just as disarmament and de-escalation and pressure for a 
ceasefire are choices. Telling Saudi Arabia “Stop arming the war in 
Syria or no more cluster bombs for you,” is a choice.

14. “What is the role of force in resolving disputes that threaten the 
stability of the region and undermine all basic standards of civilized 
conduct?” Force doesn’t have a role in civilized conduct, the most basic 
standard of which is relations without the use of force.

15. “[T]he international community must enforce the ban on chemical 
weapons.” Except against Israel or the United States.

16. “… and Iranians poisoned in the many tens of thousands.” This was 
good of Obama to recognize Iran’s suffering, but it would have been 
better of him to recall where Iraq acquired some of its weapons of mass 
destruction.

17. “It is an insult to human reason — and to the legitimacy of this 
institution — to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out 
this attack.” Really? In the absence of evidence, skepticism isn’t 
reasonable for this Colin-Powelled institution, the same U.N. that was 
told Libya would be a rescue and watched it become a war aimed at 
illegally overthrowing a government? Trust us?

18. “Now, there must be a strong Security Council Resolution to verify 
that the Assad regime is keeping its commitments, and there must be 
consequences if they fail to do so.” Meaning war? What about the U.N.’s 
commitment to oppose war? What about the United States’ violation of its 
commitments to destroy the chemical weapons sitting in Kentucky and 
Colorado? “Consequences” for the U.S. too?

19. “I do not believe that military action — by those within Syria, or 
by external powers — can achieve a lasting peace.” Yet, the U.S. 
government is shipping weapons into that action.

20. “Nor do I believe that America or any nation should determine who 
will lead Syria … Nevertheless, a leader who slaughtered his citizens 
and gassed children to death cannot regain the legitimacy to lead a 
badly fractured country.” The Syrians should decide their own fate as 
long as they decide it the way I tell them to.

21. “[N]or does America have any interest in Syria beyond the well-being 
of its people, the stability of its neighbors, the elimination of 
chemical weapons, and ensuring it does not become a safe-haven for 
terrorists.” That’s funny. Elsewhere, you’ve said 
<http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/obama-to-iran-and-israel-as-president-of-the-united-states-i-dont-bluff/253875/> 
that weakening Syria would weaken Iran.

22. “[W]e will be providing an additional $340 million [for aid].” And 
vastly more for weapons.

23. “We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the 
world. Although America is steadily reducing our own dependence on 
imported oil…” That first remarkably honest sentence is only honest if 
you don’t think about what “free flow” means. The second sentence points 
to a real, if slow, trend but obscures the fact that only 40% 
<http://www.npr.org/2012/04/11/150444802/where-does-america-get-oil-you-may-be-surprised> 
of the oil the U.S. uses comes from the U.S., which doesn’t count much 
of the oil the U.S. military uses while “ensuring the free flow.” Nor is 
switching to small domestic supplies a long-term solution as switching 
to sustainable energy would be.

24. “But when it’s necessary to defend the United States against 
terrorist attacks, we will take direct action.” In Libya? Syria? Where 
does this make any sense, as U.S. actions generate rather than eliminate 
terrorism? Michael Boyle, part of Obama’s counter-terrorism group during 
his 2008 election campaign, says the use of drones is having “adverse 
strategic effects that have not been properly weighed against the 
tactical gains associated with killing terrorists … . The vast increase 
in the number of deaths of low-ranking operatives has deepened political 
resistance to the US programme in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries.” 
(/The Guardian, /January 7, 2013.) Why is Canada not obliged to bomb the 
world to “defend against terrorist attacks”?

25. “Just as we consider the use of chemical weapons in Syria to be a 
threat to our own national security …” We who? How? Congress just 
rejected this ludicrous claim. Ninety percent of this country laughed at it.

26. “[W]e reject the development of nuclear weapons that could trigger a 
nuclear arms race in the region, and undermine the global 
non-proliferation regime.” By Israel which has done this, or by Iran 
which all evidence suggests has not?

27. “We deeply believe it is in our interest to see a Middle East and 
North Africa that is peaceful and prosperous,” we just choose to work 
against that deep belief and to sell or give vast quantities of weapons 
to brutal dictatorships and monarchies.

28. “Iraq shows us that democracy cannot be imposed by force.” This 
could have been true had the U.S. attempted to impose democracy.

29. “Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.” Iran’s what?

30. “Arab-Israeli conflict.” That’s a misleading way of naming the 
conflict between the government of Israel and the people it ethnically 
cleanses, occupies, and abuses — including with chemical weapons.

31. “[A]n Iranian government that has … threatened our ally Israel with 
destruction.” It hasn’t. And piling up the lies about Iran will make 
Iran less eager to talk. Just watch.

32. “We are not seeking regime change.” That’s not what Kerry told 
Congress, in between telling Congress just the opposite. Also, see above 
in this same speech: “a leader who slaughtered his citizens and gassed 
children to death cannot regain the legitimacy….”

33. “We insist that the Iranian government meet its responsibilities 
under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and UN Security Council 
resolutions.” Among Iran, the U.S., and Israel, it’s Iran that seems to 
be complying.

34. “We are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian 
people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course.” More moderate than 
what? Threatening to destroy Israel and creating nukes?

35. “[T]heir own sovereign state.” There’s nowhere left for Palestine to 
create such a separate state.

36. “Israel’s security as a Jewish and democratic state.” Both, huh?

37. “When peaceful transitions began in Tunisia and Egypt … we chose to 
support those who called for change” … the minute everyone else was 
dead, exiled, or imprisoned.

38. “[T]rue democracy as requiring a respect for minority rights, the 
rule of law, freedom of speech and assembly, and a strong civil society. 
That remains our interest today.” Just not in our own country and 
certainly not in places that buy some of the biggest piles of our weapons.

39. “But we will not stop asserting principles that are consistent with 
our ideals, whether that means opposing the use of violence as a means 
of suppressing dissent,” and if you don’t believe me, ask the Occupy 
movement — Happy Second Birthday, you guys!  I SHUT YOU DOWN, bwa ha ha 
ha ha.

40. “This includes efforts to resolve sectarian tensions that continue 
to surface in places like Iraq, Syria and Bahrain.” One liberated, one 
targeted, and one provided with support and weaponry and former U.S. 
police chiefs to lead the skull cracking.

41. “[A] vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill.” 
All criminal outrages /should/ have a vacuum of leadership. “Who would 
bomb countries if we don’t do it?” is the wrong question.

42. “Some may disagree, but I believe that America is exceptional — in 
part because we have shown a willingness, through the sacrifice of blood 
and treasure, to stand up not only for our own narrow self-interest, but 
for the interests of all.” When was that? The United States certainly 
comes in at far less than exceptional in terms of per-capita 
humanitarian aid.  Its humanitarian bombing that Obama has in mind, but 
it’s never benefitted humanity.

43. “And in Libya, when the Security Council provided a mandate to 
protect civilians, America joined a coalition that took action. Because 
of what we did there, countless lives were saved, and a tyrant could not 
kill his way back to power.” The White House claimed that Gaddafi had 
threated to massacre the people of Benghazi with “no mercy,” but the 
/New York Times/ reported that Gaddafi’s threat was directed at rebel 
fighters, not civilians, and that Gaddafi promised amnesty for those 
“who throw their weapons away.” Gaddafi also offered to allow rebel 
fighters to escape to Egypt if they preferred not to fight to the death. 
Yet President Obama warned of imminent genocide. What Gaddafi really 
threatened fits with his past behavior. There were other opportunities 
for massacres had he wished to commit massacres, in Zawiya, Misurata, or 
Ajdabiya. He did not do so. After extensive fighting in Misurata, a 
report by Human Rights Watch made clear that Gaddafi had targeted 
fighters, not civilians. Of 400,000 people in Misurata, 257 died in two 
months of fighting. Out of 949 wounded, less than 3 percent were women. 
More likely than genocide was defeat for the rebels, the same rebels who 
warned Western media of the looming genocide, the same rebels who the 
/New York Times/ said “feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their 
propaganda” and who were “making vastly inflated claims of [Gaddafi's] 
barbaric behavior.” The result of NATO joining the war was probably more 
killing, not less. It certainly extended a war that looked likely to end 
soon with a victory for Gaddafi.

44. “Libya would now be engulfed in civil war and bloodshed.” No, the 
war was ending, and Libya /IS/ engulfed in bloodshed. In March 2011, the 
African Union had a plan for peace in Libya but was prevented by NATO, 
through the creation of a “no fly” zone and the initiation of bombing, 
to travel to Libya to discuss it. In April, the African Union was able 
to discuss its plan with Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi, and he 
expressed his agreement. NATO, which had obtained a U.N. authorization 
to protect Libyans alleged to be in danger but no authorization to 
continue bombing the country or to overthrow the government, continued 
bombing the country and overthrowing the government.

45. [S]overeignty cannot be a shield for tyrants to commit wanton 
murder.”  Says a man who reads through a list 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0> 
of potential murder victims on Tuesdays and ticks off the ones he wants 
murdered.

*/David Swanson/*/ is author of //War is a Lie 
<http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0983083002/counterpunchmaga>. He 
lives in Virginia./

-- 
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863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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