Protesters on Saturday gathered outside the White House to rally against the U.S. military operation in Libya, calling on Washington to quit meddling in the Northern African country, as well as cautioning against the intervention becoming a protracted engagement like the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Carrying signs that say "$ for Jobs and Schools, not War on Libya," "Stop U.S. French and British War on Libya," dozens of protesters lined outside the White House, shouting "We've seen this war before, same story different war," expressing their opposition to the intervention, which entered its second week with U.S. and coalition military enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya by bombing government targets.
|Demonstrators hold placards to protest against the U.S. military intervention in Libya outside the White House in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, March 26, 2011.|
Brian Becker, national director of the ANSWER coalition, an anti-war umbrella group, said they are protesting the bombing of Libya, and "people are doing this all over the United States, Los Angeles, San Francisco."
"United States has no right to bomb Libya. It has no right to pretend it's a champion of freedom and democracy. Only Libya can determine its destiny," said Becker.
The view was echoed by Betsy Harmon, an activist with DC 9/11 Truth Organization. Harmon said that "it's a lie that we are bombing Libya for humanitarian purposes, that doesn't make any sense."
"Libya has oil" that the United States "wants to control," said Harmon, who carries a sign that says "Libya (War) is about Oil, not Human Rights." There is a connection between "American aggression and American lies," she said.
Burdened by the unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while the country slowly recovers from the worst recession in decades, the Obama administration is walking a thin line on Libya, repeatedly saying it won't lead the coalition for the long-run, and is in the process of transferring command of the mission to NATO, a position much doubted by protesters in front of the White House.
"Who runs NATO? Come on," sneered Harmon.
"That's a fraud," said Becker. "When the U.S. hands the mission to NATO, it's handing the mission over to itself." He said NATO has been a U.S.-led military operation since it was formed.
Becker said the situation in Libya should be resolved with peaceful means, and the international society should give the Libyan sides time and space to resolve their conflict by themselves.
"There's been many efforts that try to start negotiations between the Gaddafi government and the rebels," said Becker. " Negotiations are the way to go."