Why Isn't Obama 'Racist' for Ignoring Black Africa?

Larry Elder

4/14/2011 12:01:00 AM - Larry Elder

Suppose President John McCain, as with President Barack Obama, justified military force in Libya to avert "a humanitarian crisis." But then gave no thought of using the military to stop the human slaughter in places like the Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe and the Congo.

How long would it take before the Congressional Black Caucus and the Rev. Jesse Jackson call him "racist"?

In 1994, President Bill Clinton sent 20,000 troops to Haiti, restoring to power that country's first democratically elected president. Ten years later, when violence threatened to further destabilize Haiti, the Congressional Black Caucus again argued for American military intervention. President George W. Bush refused. He properly understood that a commander in chief should put the military in harm's way for one reason only -- to protect, defend and advance national security.

Black detractors called Bush racist.

Jackson said: "It is clear that the right wing in this country does not support that democracy. (Bush) is, in fact, supporting overthrow of this government in this hemisphere."

"Black Americans," wrote MSNBC.com, "have contended that such a policy smacks of racism. They say the United States is unwilling to risk sending soldiers into the chaotic Caribbean nation, the Western Hemisphere's poorest, because its people are of African descent."

Obama refuses to argue that intervening in Libya is part of the fight in the war against Islamofascism and therefore a matter of national security -- the only defensible rationale. For to say so would concede that President Bush was right. Bush's "freedom agenda" strategy, including the "dumb" war in Iraq, was to fight and win the War on Terror by encouraging the replacement of hostile Arab and Muslim autocracies with democracies.

Obama instead justifies the use of the military in Libya -- a country that poses no imminent threat and from which we get virtually no oil -- on the desire to avert a "humanitarian" crisis. If that's the reason, why stop there?

Ivory Coast, Africa -- Los Angeles Times, April 3, 2011: "The Red Cross reported an ominous development in the increasingly brutal struggle for control (of the Ivory Coast): the massacre of up to 1,000 civilians in a western town. ...

"'We were shocked by the magnitude of the brutality of the event,' said (a Red Cross official). 'Our colleagues found a huge amount of bodies.' ...

"The killings occurred in an area where ethnic and communal tensions over land have been deepened by the recent political crisis, which began when (Laurent) Gbagbo, the incumbent (president, now under arrest), refused to leave office after the international community declared (Alassane) Ouattara the winner in the U.N.-certified election in November."

Zimbabwe -- NPR, March 30, 2011, interview of Zimbabwe-born journalist Peter Godwin, on the 2008 "election" of longtime dictator Robert Mugabe: "They had ... lists of the opposition party office-bearers right down to ... village level. And they basically, they sent their own people out across the country and picked up the opposition members and took them into newly set up torture bases, which ironically were mostly sited in the schools, which also had stopped operating.

"And they tortured tens of thousands of people, basically. And it's quite interesting because they didn't kill thousands of people. They killed hundreds and hundreds of people, possibly more than 1,000, but they tortured vast numbers of people.

"And then they released them back to their communities so that they were like -- they acted like human billboards, that they were advertisements for what happens if you oppose the regime, and they sort of set off these ripples of fear and anxiety back in their home communities. ... It was literally like a torture factory."

Democratic Republic of the Congo -- U.N. Refugee Agency, March 16, 2011: "Marie (not her real name) was first raped three years ago during a raid on her village that left her husband and 10 children dead -- she was about 70 years old at the time.

"In January, the Congolese grandmother was raped again by armed men. ... 'I told them I was a poor old woman and that I was not interested in politics. They then asked me if I preferred to die or be raped. I told them, 'Rape me then,' Marie, struggling with her emotions, recalled of the second incident.

"'There were six of them. When one finished, another took his place. They hit me and broke my knee. Other women were also there in the forest and, after being raped, the men pushed pieces of wood inside them and the women died,' she told UNHCR. 'I was lucky, they did not kill me.'"

The world is full of hellholes, including several in black Africa with mass killings, genocide and civil wars. Why a "humanitarian" intervention in Libya, but not there?

"We don't make decisions about questions like intervention based on consistency or precedent," said the deputy national security adviser off-camera to reporters before Obama's speech on Libya. "We make them based on how we can best advance our interests in the region."

Doesn't this make Obama ... racist?