Babble Fish Enabled

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blowback Betty

Every time I used to see her, I would know what's up
Blowback Betty better blow me up 
As the United States continues to wage its global war on terror, it can count on a silent partner reinforcing the notion that America should act as world police. Any time the populace starts to question the validity of a never ending war on an ill-defined enemy, she makes an appearance and reminds us why we need to keep pouring billions of dollars into the military industrial complex. Her name is Blowback Betty, and she never fails to get America up.

Muammar Gaddafi , Americans were told, was a bad man and world safety was compromised with such a rogue agent using the resources of one the most oil-rich countries to suit his whims. A complicit news media sold the story that somehow Gadaffi, after decades of autocratic rule in Libya, needed to get ousted. Despite his reign as America's scary foreign dictator of choice having long been over, he presented such a grave threat that he must be removed.

The international community agreed with the U.S assessment, and NATO, along with various rebel factions, fought to overthrow Gaddafi.

Slightly more than a year since his demise, and Libya is no more a stable country than it was under Gaddafi's rule. Though I'm not sure stability was ever the point. In fact, it seems quite the opposite was true. Twice now there have been events in North Africa that were touted as cause for military intervention. Both came bore the signature of Blowback Betty.

The first event was the widely publicized attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi. The mission, by virtue of being a less official, less visible location than an embassy, had been used as a meeting place to recruit for and plan attacks on the al-Assad regime in Syria. Details are sketchy but it seems despite efforts to maintain a low-profile, the mission drew the attention of armed former rebel groups, who coordinated an attack on the building, sparking an international incident.

The attack allowed the U.S to station two Naval destroyers off the Libyan coast, and reallocate a significant number of troops to better protect U.S interests in the country. Blowback Betty wiped off her mouth, and waited for the next time her services were needed. She knew it wouldn't be long.

Out of Gadffi's toppling, the seeds for Mali's coup d'etat were sewn, and the stage was set again for an appearance by ol' girl.  Gaddafi's security force was made up of ethnic Touregs, who were expelled from Libya after the dictator's demise. The Tuaregs returned to their home country, Mali, with dreams of a Tuareg nation-state, overthrowing the current government to achieve their goal.

The horror stories coming out of Mali, allegations of gross human rights violations were enough to convince normally passive France get involved, The Brits followed their lead, and even America is looking to get on the action. When it comes to getting politicians all hot and bothered, Blowback Betty is a pro.

Her x-rated exploits make for sensational headline fodder, and reinforce the notion that America would be left besieged by its enemies were it not for its formidable defense apparatus. That the country's clandestine military actions drive locals to groups like al-Qaeda, increasing Blowback Betty's presence, is not an unfortunate side-effect, but rather quite the point.

So next time you hear someone – a pundit, an administration official, a senator, even the President himself– talk about how the latest acts of violence in some far away country necessitate swift military action, just remember who invited  Blowback Betty to the party in the first place.

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