Gestern hielt Präsident Obama in der National Defense University (Washington) eine mit Spannung erwartete Rede über das militärische Engagement der USA in Libyen. Zunächst einige Auszüge, dann unten mein Kommentar:
„Libya sits directly between Tunisia and Egypt -– two nations that inspired the world when their people rose up to take control of their own destiny. For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant -– Muammar Qaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world –- including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.
Last month, Qaddafi’s grip of fear appeared to give way to the promise of freedom. In cities and towns across the country, Libyans took to the streets to claim their basic human rights. As one Libyan said, “For the first time we finally have hope that our nightmare of 40 years will soon be over.”
Faced with this opposition, Qaddafi began attacking his people. As President, my immediate concern was the safety of our citizens, so we evacuated our embassy and all Americans who sought our assistance. Then we took a series of swift steps in a matter of days to answer Qaddafi’s aggression. We froze more than $33 billion of Qaddafi’s regime’s assets. Joining with other nations at the United Nations Security Council, we broadened our sanctions, imposed an arms embargo, and enabled Qaddafi and those around him to be held accountable for their crimes. I made it clear that Qaddafi had lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to lead, and I said that he needed to step down from power.
In the face of the world’s condemnation, Qaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people. Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. Supplies of food and fuel were choked off. Water for hundreds of thousands of people in Misurata was shut off. Cities and towns were shelled, mosques were destroyed, and apartment buildings reduced to rubble. Military jets and helicopter gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assaults from the air.
Confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I ordered warships into the Mediterranean. European allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing. The Libyan opposition and the Arab League appealed to the world to save lives in Libya. And so at my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass a historic resolution that authorized a no-fly zone to stop the regime’s attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.
Ten days ago, having tried to end the violence without using force, the international community offered Qaddafi a final chance to stop his campaign of killing, or face the consequences. Rather than stand down, his forces continued their advance, bearing down on the city of Benghazi, home to nearly 700,000 men, women and children who sought their freedom from fear.
At this point, the United States and the world faced a choice. Qaddafi declared he would show “no mercy” to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we have seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day. Now we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we wanted — if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.
It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.
We struck regime forces approaching Benghazi to save that city and the people within it. We hit Qaddafi’s troops in neighboring Ajdabiya, allowing the opposition to drive them out. We hit Qaddafi’s air defenses, which paved the way for a no-fly zone. We targeted tanks and military assets that had been choking off towns and cities, and we cut off much of their source of supply. And tonight, I can report that we have stopped Qaddafi’s deadly advance. (…)
It’s true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right. In this particular country -– Libya — at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. We had a unique ability to stop that violence: an international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries, and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves. We also had the ability to stop Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground.
To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and -– more profoundly -– our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.“
Die Redewendung „to turn a blind eye to something“ (etwas wissentlich ignorieren) geht übrigens zurück auf den einäugigen Admiral Nelson, der in der Seeschlacht von Kopenhagen 1801 das Signal seines Flottenchefs zum Rückzug ignorierte und dies hinterher damit begründete, er habe sein Fernrohr wohl an sein blindes Auge gehalten.
Die deutsche Bevölkerung ignoriert Gräueltaten in anderen Ländern mehrheitlich gewiss nicht. Auch unsere Regierung war selbstverständlich bestens darüber im Bilde, welche Massaker der libyschen Bevölkerung im Osten des Landes, vor allem in Benghasi, bevorstanden. Merkel und Westerwelle entschieden jedoch, sich herauszuhalten. Die Couragierten, die in letzter Minute eingriffen, um die bevorstehenden Gräueltaten zu verhindern, Frankreich, Großbritannien und die USA, wurden durch nahezu die gesamte westliche Welt unterstützt – mit Ausnahme von Deutschland. Ich kann mich an ein ähnlich beschämendes Verhalten einer deutschen Regierung nach dem 2. Weltkrieg nicht erinnern.
Der Bevölkerung wird immer wieder gepredigt, nicht wegzuschauen, wenn wir – z.B. in öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln – Zeugen von gewaltsamen Übergriffen werden, sondern Zivilcourage zu zeigen und beherzt einzugreifen. Merkel, Westerwelle, aber auch der feinsinnige Herr Steinmeier, haben in einem vergleichbaren Fall in ihrem Verantwortungsbereich nicht nur kläglich versagt, sie haben unsere humanistischen (aber nicht pazifistischen) Wertvorstellungen verraten: „… a betrayel of who we are.“
- „Plädoyer für die humanitäre Intervention“ – Martin Klingst in der „Zeit“, 29.03.2011 – „Entschlossen, pragmatisch, umsichtig: Der US-Präsident hält eine seiner wichtigsten Reden. Einen Seitenhieb auf Deutschland kann er sich nicht verkneifen.“
- „Die Obama-Doktrin und das Totalversagen der deutschen Diplomatie“ – Jörg Lau am 29.03.2011 in seinem Blog bei Zeit online
- „Obamas Schlappe an der Heimatfront“ – die Rede Obamas zum Libyen-Einsatz kommentiert Gregor Peter Schmitz, Washington (Spiegel online, 29.03.2011)