Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, has been interviewed on numerous occasions on Press TV. Azikiwe has discussed U.S. foreign policy toward Libya and the African continent., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
House of Representative: No war in Libya
Interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor of Pan African News Wire, Detroit, USA
Sat Jun 25, 2011 4:42PM
The US House of Representative has turned down a republication motion to cut funding in the military operations in Libya, withholding President Obama's authority to continue the war for another year.
In this regard Press TV interviewed Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of Pan African News Wire from Detroit. The following is a rush transcript of the interview:
Press TV: Now how do you reconcile first of all the Congress denying President Obama the authority to continue the war in Libya for a year, but turning down a motion to cut funding for the American military operations in Libya?
Azikiwe: Well thank you so much for having me. It sends a very mixed message not only to the people of the United States but also to the people in North Africa and in Libya, as well as people in the entire region. There was a no vote for authorization for the war, meaning that the majority of people in the US House of Representative, 435 members, the majority of them, voted no to authorize the war. This means that they do not agree with the mission, that the mission has not been adequately explained by the Obama administration or by the Department of Defense, but at the same time they voted to continue funding the war as it is.
Now this of course is a contradiction and I think this contradiction is going to come to a head in the next few days because it is not just discontent over the Obama administration's policy towards Libya, but there are also a lot of very very bad feelings about what is going on in Afghanistan as well.
The administration discussed earlier this week about possibly drawing down 30,000 troops from Afghanistan over a period of several months, and there are people who feel that too many troops are being drawn down and of course there are progressive forces inside the Congress who feel it is not going far enough and that the war should be brought to a conclusion as soon as possible. So I think the whole notion that the United States is entering another unending conflict in which there is no clear cut objectives, no clear cut boundaries in regards to what victory is, what defeat is, and I think this is the dilemma of the US Congress and is also the dilemma of the Obama Administration as well.
It's no secret that the majority of the people inside the United States oppose what the US government and military is doing in Libya. I think the vote is a reflection of that, at the same time they don't want to make it appear as if they have been defeated by the Libyan government, or that they are cutting and running from another war.
Press TV : That also brings into question the military operations and its definition as far as Libya goes. For those of us watching on the side lines it does seem like a war being waged by the US as well as NATO, but President Barack Obama seems to have found a loop hole, they are saying this is not in fact a war. Congress seems not to be getting to grips exactly what this military operation is.
Azikiwe: The administration is saying there is no “hostility” involved in this conflict. All we have to do is to read the reports that are emanating from Libya where people are being killed almost on a daily basis. There have been over 13,000 bombing missions flown over that country in North Africa. They have targeted the leadership of the country for assassination and [many] civilians are being killed including the family members of the government and military officials inside the country. There are also carrying out bombing operations against both sides, those who support the government and those who are fighting against the government--so it is clearly a hostile environment that has been created in Libya.
The administration is calling it a kinetic operation, meaning that it is just assisting or just providing tactical assistance to the NATO forces, but it's obvious that the US has supplied the majority of the military equipment, logistics and took the lead in this particular conflict at the same time they have spent over USD 700 million; we already know in this war it could extend way over a billion dollars by the conclusion of this summer.
Press TV: Taking a look at the price this war is bringing with it for the US taxpayers, wouldn't it have made sense considering the high unemployment rate, considering the America's economic growth, to cut funding for this war and put this budget to use elsewhere?
Azikiwe: I agree with you 100%. I think you are addressing the mass sentiment of people inside the United States from all different social classes and backgrounds. The US taxpayers are now putting over $700 billion annually into the military budget; also by adding in the domestic homeland security budget, it is well over a trillion dollars.
In regard to homeland security, as well as foreign and domestic military operations inside the United States, this is totally unsustainable. The people in the United States need money for jobs; they need money for education; the schools are closing; there are over 30milion people who are unemployed or underemployed.
The people in the States need money for housing because we still have a serious crisis of foreclosure and eviction that is affecting millions of people inside the United States. Also inside the country, nearly 50 million people do not have health insurance so if they show up in a hospital they are subjected to enormous bills and it can affect their living, quality of life. So I think yes, people in the United States need money for social needs and not money for war.