the U.S. has more blood on its hands


The shameful U.S. role in the 2011 Egyptian revolution will never be forgotten, above all in the Middle East.

The Mubarak regime (and the army?) has clearly planned and executed today's violent confrontations in Tahrir Square and in Alexandria in order to retain power. It hopes to create a situation where it will be able to depend upon the loyalty of the lower military ranks when it orders the army to do its duty to protect the nation from those the regime portrays as its enemies, and it has to attract support from those, including some people who have supported the protests so far, who have become frightened by the violence initiated by its paid thugs and mustered civil servants.

Part of the plan is to silence the foreign journalists, who are the only source of information for people both within and outside Egypt (obviously the state monopolization of broadcast news and the continued shutdown of internet and cellphone service wasn't enough).

The execution of this plan began today.

But Mubarak has help. The Obama administration, like governments around the world, remains complicit in the crimes of an Egyptian government which had already lost its legitimacy, but today joins the ranks of regimes which will be forever associated for their iniquity.

In addition, Obama's neglect of the Mubarak regime's assault on the press and communication systems has not gone unnoticed (note: many have suggested that our own government is working on a "kill switch" which would allow the White House to disconnect the Internet and all electronic communications at its will, "for security purposes"). "Many people make the very important point: Obama made NO mention of internet and mobile phones. The silence is deafening.," tweeted Evan Hill (yesterday evening, New York time), responding to the President's statement earlier. Even if Obama wanted to argue that what happens in Egypt is up to the Egyptians, silence is not a neutral act: The government's monopoly of all means of communication is a huge advantage for reaction and repression.

None of this was necessary; none of this would have happened had our democratically-elected President done something more than ask "both sides" to avoid violence.

The MSM seems obsessed about the fact that the Egyptians in the streets have no leader; why isn't it interested in the fact that neither do the Americans?

Mark LeVine has a very, very wise and beautifully-articulated piece on the Opinion page of the Al Jazeera site, "It's time for Obama to say Kefaya!," answering the question of why we persist in a disastrous foreign policy. I hadn't read it yet when I borrowed the image at the top for my own post. Now I'm totally depressed: It seems only a revolution could alter our posture in the world. This is LeVine:

Such a position [supporting the status quo in the Middle East] is as tragic as it is stupid, as the president has been offered an unprecedented and until a few weeks ago unimaginable opportunity to back radical but peaceful change that is not stained by Western intervention in a region that everyone believes must undergo such change in order to prevent it becoming even more of a hotbed for terrorism and anti-Western sentiments.

. . . .

So the question really needs to be asked - whose interests is President Obama serving by remaining silently supportive of the status quo when he could, and by any measure, should, be lending vocal, public support for the peoples of the Arab world as they finally rise up against their leaders?

Is it companies like Lockheed Martin, the massive defence contractor whose tentacles reach deep into every part of the fabric of governance (as revealed by William Hartung's powerful new book, Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military Industrial Complex)?

Is it the superbanks who continue to rake in profits from an economy that is barely sputtering along, and who have joined with the military industrial complex's two principal axes-the arms and the oil industries-to form an impregnable triangle of corrupt economic and political power?

It's hard to think of any other candidates at the present time.

[image of President Obama during the 2011 State of the Union speech from Al Jazeera (GALLO/GETTY)]