Obama’s (and Sarkozy’s) nonexistent ‘casus belli’ in Libya

Hat-tip to Harvard’s Steve Walt for this fine article, in which he identified and linked to two other fine articles that took apart the ‘rationale’ adduced by Presidents Sarkozy and Obama for their decision to undertake acts of war against Libya on March 19.
In this one, the Chicago Tribune‘s Steve Chapman writes,

    In his March 26 radio address, Obama said the United States acted because Gadhafi threatened “a bloodbath.” Two days later, he asserted, “We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi — a city nearly the size of Charlotte (N.C.) — could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”
    Really? Obama implied that, absent our intervention, Gadhafi might have killed nearly 700,000 people, putting it in a class with the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. White House adviser Dennis Ross was only slightly less alarmist when he reportedly cited “the real or imminent possibility that up to a 100,000 people could be massacred.”
    But these are outlandish scenarios that go beyond any reasonable interpretation of Gadhafi’s words. He said, “We will have no mercy on them” — but by “them,” he plainly was referring to armed rebels (“traitors”) who stand and fight, not all the city’s inhabitants.
    “We have left the way open to them,” he said. “Escape. Let those who escape go forever.” He pledged that “whoever hands over his weapons, stays at home without any weapons, whatever he did previously, he will be pardoned, protected.”

He also quotes Alan Kuperman, an associate professor at the University of Texas’ Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, as having said,

    Qadhafi did not massacre civilians in any of the other big cities he captured — Zawiya, Misrata, Ajdabiya — which together have a population equal to Benghazi. Yes, civilians were killed in a typical, ham-handed, Third World counterinsurgency. But civilians were not targeted for massacre as in Rwanda, Darfur, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bosnia, or even Kosovo after NATO intervention.

Chapman also wrote,

    I emailed the White House press office several times asking for concrete evidence of the danger, based on any information the administration may have. But a spokesman declined to comment.
    That’s a surprising omission, given that a looming holocaust was the centerpiece of the president’s case for war. Absent specific, reliable evidence, we have to wonder if the president succumbed to unwarranted panic over fictitious dangers.

The second article that Walt linked to in that section was this March 22 piece by Alan Kuperman himself. Kuperman is a very thoughtful analyst of the uses and many known abuses for the concept of humanitarian “intervention”, whose work I think I have cited here on JWN before.
He argues,

    Proponents of such intervention claim it is the only way to protect Libya’s populace. But intervening actually magnifies the threat to civilians in Libya, and beyond. That is because armed uprisings, such as Libya’s, typically provoke massive state retaliation that harms innocents. By contrast, non-violent movements, as in Egypt and Tunisia, rarely trigger so brutal a response.
    By helping rebels, we thus increase the risk of retaliatory massacres or even genocide. Indeed, The New York Times reported that violence threatening Libya’s civilians was ” provoked by rebels.” Aiding the Libyan rebels also encourages copycat uprisings in other countries, proliferating the risk of atrocities.

Kuperman makes these very poignant points:

    But did Gadhafi massacre civilians or plan to commit genocide?
    His forces certainly harmed innocents while defeating rebels in urban areas, as U.S. forces have done in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he did threaten “no mercy” in Benghazi, but Gadhafi directed this threat only at rebels to persuade them to flee. Despite ubiquitous cellphone cameras, there are no images of genocidal violence, a claim that smacks of rebel propaganda.
    No-win situation
    Indeed, Libya’s rebels started the war knowing that they could not win on their own, and that their attacks would provoke harm against civilians, aiming to draw in outside support — and it worked. Tragically, this same dynamic has cost thousands of lives in other wars.
    In Bosnia’s conflict of the early 1990s, for example, the most influential Muslim politician, Omer Behmen, later told me that his whole strategy was to ” put up a fight for long enough to bring in the international community.” The result? Three years of war and 100,000 dead.
    In Kosovo, a senior ethnic Albanian official, Dugi Gorani, confessed on BBC: “The more civilians were killed, the chances of international intervention became bigger, and the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) of course realized that.” NATO’s intervention backfired by escalating the conflict, leaving 10,000 dead and a million expelled from their homes.
    In Darfur, Sudan, the top rebel leader fought for three years and then rejected a peace offer in 2006, despite retaliation that killed more than 100,000. Abdul Wahid al Nur later explained that he was waiting for greater U.S. and British intervention “like in Bosnia.”

His piece ends with a really helpful, five-point plan to try to ensure that “humanitarian” support does not end up getting used/abused to fuel cycles of violence that increase the suffering of noncombatants.
The three key ones are:

    •Deliver purely humanitarian aid — food, water, sanitation, shelter, medical care — in ways that minimize the benefit to rebels. The United States admirably is delivering supplies to Libyan refugees across the border in Tunisia and Egypt. But we should ensure that relief sites do not become rear bases for Libya’s rebels. If local governments are unwilling to patrol the refugee encampments, we should organize multilateral policing.
    •Expend substantial resources to persuade states to address the legitimate grievances of non-violent domestic groups. Ironically, Obama has applied little pressure on Yemen and Bahrain, which slaughtered peaceful protesters, but he bombed Libya for responding to armed rebels. This sends precisely the wrong message to the Arab street: If you want U.S. support, resort to violence.
    •Do not coerce regime change or surrender of sovereignty unless also taking precautions against violent backlash — such as golden parachutes, power-sharing, or preventive military intervention. If the White House insists on Gadhafi’s departure, it should guarantee asylum for him and a continuing share of power for his senior officials and allied tribes. Simply demanding regime change could drive him to genocidal violence as a last resort, while the international community lacks the will for a preventive deployment of ground troops.

I have to confess I have been in a near-depressive state since March 19, the day Pres. Obama launched the current, extremely irresponsible and damaging (bordering on criminal) NATO-GCC attack on Libya. Okay, I admit that maybe I was naive, believing a good amount of “that hope-changey thing” that Obama promised us when he was a candidate. A good part of why I supported his presidential bid with such energy was precisely because, back in 2003, he’d opposed the decision to attack Iraq… Then he launched the escalation of the war in Afghanistan… And now, he’s launched this other, completely avoidable war.
I’ve been quite depressed, too, to see how many of my friends and close allies have supported this latest war, on allegedly “liberal” or “pro-liberation” grounds that, while I understand what they’re talking about, I find absolutely unconvincing.
As Chapman and Kuperman persistently asked: where was the evidence for the imminence of any act of mass atrocity in Benghazi??
Back on March 27, I blogged about the report the on-the-ground ICRC delegation published about the humanitarian situation in and around Benghazi on March 18. No mention there of any impending humanitarian disaster. Indeed, from the actually humanitarian (as opposed to faux-humanitarian) point of view, the situation in Benghazi was apparently getting a little better on March 18, with aid shipments getting through, etc.
… Oh yes, plenty to get depressed about. But I have two exciting books my publishing company is working on and some pretty exciting (fingers crossed!) developments in the family, as well… And getting depressed certainly doesn’t help anyone build the kind of awareness and the kind of movement that is needed to bring an end to all these insane wars.
Also, lest I forget, the whole of Steve Walt’s piece there, “Is America Addicted to War?”, is definitely worth reading.

36 thoughts on “Obama’s (and Sarkozy’s) nonexistent ‘casus belli’ in Libya

  1. JohnH

    Not to depress you more Helena, but my take on this is that the “international community” has found a new model for intervention in places where it wishes to extend its footprint.
    The strategy of the last decade was to take advantage of elections, perhaps using Florida 2000 as an inspiration. If there were reasonable grounds to dispute and election, then the US-backed opposition could allege fraud, stage massive demonstrations, and effect a “color revolution” with American advice and pressure. That worked until the last election in Iran, where the opposition simply didn’t have the horses or the credibility to pull it off.
    So it was time for a new strategy: encourage an aggrieved minority to stage a rebellion, grossly exaggerate the ruler’s backlash (100,000 civilian dead seems to be the magic number), and declare a “humanitarian” intervention.
    The model is Kosovo, where 13,000 were killed on both sides over 5 years after American predictions of 100,000 dead. The NATO intervention resulted in a gigantic airbase, housed in country most notable for being a narco state.
    I would not be at all surprised to see the US exploit this strategy in places like Nicaragua, Bolivia, and perhaps even Venezuela and Iran. After all, as Walt points out, there seems to be no significant forces restraining the US military these days, except perhaps the government’s debt capacity.
    If NATO gets its way, Libya may well become home to Africom. And you can kiss Social Security and Medicare good-bye, because the military needs to divert those revenues to their purposes.

  2. Domza

    I’m happy to read this post of yours, Helena, because I was worrying that you were NOT depressed like me but were complacent.
    I wish you would put yourself to work now with all your background including the Quaker-qualified expert-on-war part because there is something new here. It’s a claim that The State now longer has the monopoly of violence; it only has a franchise on violence, while the monopoly rights are held by Mr International Community alias Mr NATO alias Mr Africom alias Mr UNSC, all of them reducible to Mr USA, known in Venezuela as Mr Danger – meaning basically, arbitrary, amoral power.
    It’s urgent because as JohnH I think seems to conclude, the recolonisation of Africa by Mr Danger will be a very large enterprise indeed and bloody beyond imagining.
    The depression is righteous and necessary but now we have to get up and sharpen pencil, pound keyboard, and all the rest of it because it’s what we do. It’s time for doing it now.
    Please forgive my impertinence. It’s just what I think. It’s time to rally, and to treat the past as practice – preparation – and the future once again as the main event.

  3. MikeL

    Helena, there are many more disappointed Who took Obama at His Word and He has turned out to be worse than Bush the Lesser. His sales tactic is no less disingenious than Condi Rice’s Nuclear cloud over NYC and the Lesser Bush’s WMD’s or Colin Powell’s shameful “Dog and Pony” show at the UN. As a 73 yr. old lifelong Progressive, Obama is My greatest disappointent. For Someone Who could really have made a difference, He turned out to be a Wolf in Sheeps clothing and has about as much Spine as the Sheep. We have very little to be proud of in America anymore. Instead of fighting Terrorism, We are the Terrorist.

  4. JohnH

    It’s interesting how the pretexts for colonialism have changed over the years. A hundred years ago, the colonial powers lent aggressively to countries, and then installed a “protectorate” when the debtor couldn’t pay.
    A similar phenomenon happened after the 1973 oil price hike, when petro-states deposited their money with New York banks, who lent aggressively to oil-starved, developing countries. When they couldn’t meet their obligations, the IMF stepped in and made these countries sell their banks and other economic crown jewels on the cheap to Western investors for pennies on the dollar.
    Now we seem to have entered a new phase targeting wealthier countries that don’t need Western largess. Besides, the “international community” isn’t awash in cash any more. Now it needs foreign money to keep its own economies afloat.
    So what do we see? New pretexts, like imaginary WMD programs, “democracy deficits,” and “humanitarian” crises.
    Yes, recolonization continues. But changing times require new fig leafs, the latest ones being about as flimsy as you can get. But the “international community” seems to have learned one thing–its foreign puppets need an indigenous face, a flimsy but effective mask in many places.

  5. bevin

    I see the opposite, JohnH, which is that the same excuses, (to protect the people from misrule, slave traders, despotism, endemic civil wars etc)used in the sixteenth century, are being advanced today.
    I don’t blame the imperialists (may they continue to be predictable, conformist and unoriginal)but the public should know better. The entire business, including the use of jingoism to excite the unemployed and the impoverished, ethnic and religious scapegoating, and the Hitler of the Month Club promotions, is transparently false. And yet people pretend not to understand what is happening.
    I suspect that the fault is psychological: most people are reluctant to face up to the reality that their government is a diabolical agency, a thoroughly evil influence in the world, and that our failure to protest against it in a concerted and organised way amounts to complicity.
    Hence the regular falling away of Christopher Hitchens, Juan Coles and Gilbert Achcars whenever the opportunity, in the form of a new chance to re-define ones position with blacklists, granting agencies, publishers, the Establishment, arises. What we see is but a shadow of the re-alignments that took place in the Cold War, when almost the entire western intelligentsia sold out its principles and took the ‘King’s shilling.’
    I think Schorske(?) in his history of the SPD described the fatal moment when the great Socialist party in the Reichstag voted for war credits in 1914, and the relief that many of the Deputies felt-finally becoming part of the “bourgeois” volk, so that for the first time they sang the national anthem. Many were surprised to discover that they knew the words.
    It is hard always to be part of the minority, always to be in dissent, always to be critical: no wonder that so many who had stood up to the pressure of being opposed to Bush-Cheney, questioning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, threw themselves at Obama’s feet when he seemed to offer dissidents a dignified return to the mainstream.
    And he did. And the mainstream is what it has always been, at least since Truman’s day, a state devoted to war, cynical and vicious in its unceasing attacks on labour, the poor, anyone questioning imperialism’s divine right to do what it chooses.
    Everything proposed by a government of imperialists is wrong. Nothing it does is worthy of the support of decent people, because their support (on the rare occasions when virtue and imperial action coincide, as they did NOT in Ruanda) if noticed, is likely to weaken imperial resolve, for it frightens the ruling class to learn that their enemies approve of an action of theirs.
    Funny really that Obama, such an admirer of Reagan, has so many followers who do not see the meaning of the dictum that “Government is not the solution, it is the Problem.” There is no doubt that, in foreign policy, it most certainly is.

  6. Domza

    “the public should know better”, Bevin?
    The public will know better when there is good intellectual work being done.
    Right here and now the problem is not that “they” (the public) don’t know better, but that “we” (intellectuals) are not able to bring the matter to a point.
    Your public does know and accept that its State has a monopoly of violence, and that the State does use this monopoly on a daily basis in their streets. Your public accepts all that and even rehearses it constantly in its mind via police shows on TV, et cetera.
    Maybe you also agree with that – i.e. that your State should have the monopoly of violence in your country. That is your business.
    But where you are failing in the USA is that you do not discriminate between your State and other States. You think that because your State has a monopoly of violence at home, therefore it is o.k. that it can have a monopoly of violence in the world. This is where you must go to work as an intellectual, and wear this problem down.
    You should concentrate on this point, and stop kvetching about Obama’s alleged betrayal. The moment he appeared as the sausage in a white-bread sandwich between Mr Biden and Mrs Clinton you were supposed to know the score, and that was years ago. So stop going on about it, please.
    You cite the betrayal of the 2nd International in 1914. All right, but what did the ones who did NOT turn their coats do? What did Lenin do? What was his study for the next three years? It was Imperialism, and it was The State and Revolution. Lenin’s response was the correct response. So get on with it, people!

  7. JohnH

    Indeed, “the people should know better.” But they don’t. They cannot connect the dots between war and death, war and deficits, etc.
    And why should they know? The media spews the government line. And, worse, many churches stand silent. The last time I attended church, a mainstream Protestant one, was at the beginning of the Iraq war. The preacher delivered mealy-mouthed sermon to his “progressive” audience, expressing his “concern.” On the way out the door I told him he needed to stand up and tell it like it is. Most are too cowed by the societal pressures they face to articulate the moral authority that their religion grants them.
    And so, moral push-back against the constant hypocrisy gets fragmented. And rational questions about the effectiveness of war or the need to pay for it end up getting drowned in the din of Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan.

  8. Domza

    JohnH: Are you a fatalist?
    Why not be the media you want to see? Why not be the preacher you want to hear? Why is it always somebody else’s job?
    I don’t get it. I read US material all the time. Have done all my life. The great monsters like McCarthy, Nixon and J Edgar Hoover are all long gone. Yet you all seem to be more trapped and hemmed in that ever before. It was better in the fifties than it is now.

  9. brian

    FYI
    must read:
    http://nocheinparteibuch.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/hidden-behind-propaganda-a-giant-crime-against-libya-is-fact-part-i/17/
    eg
    February 15, 2011: Two days ahead of an announced uprising on Facebook, violent protests in Benghazi were seen in front of the state secuity building in support of the recently arrested lawyer Fethi Tarbel, who represents victims of the 1996 Abu Salim prison uprising mass killings case. The protests were dispersed by security forces without any loss of life, but leaving some 38 people injured. According to France 24 quoting Benghazi-based, privately-owned Quryna newspaper, which itself quoted Abdelkrim Gubaili, described director of a local hospital, most of the injured were security officials. France 24 cited in it’s also unnamed „witnesses“, of whom France 24 said, their reports are „hard to confirm“, who alleged, that „security officials were driving their cars into the crowd at high speeds.“ France 24 also embedded than a Youtube video of what it said: „Unconfirmed YouTube footage from Tuesday morning shows protesters gathering outside a Benghazi police station when panic sweeps the crowd and gunshots are heard.“ Though the video was unconfirmed, a gun shot sound track can be easily added to a video, and the allegation of security forces shooting into the crowd contradicted all infomation from named sources, the link to this video was spread widely over social media, often called proof that „Gaddafis security forces“ fired into the crowd. Interestingly, this video allegedely proof for „Gaddafis crimes“ at the beginning of the uprising in Libya, was in the meantime – as Youtube informs – „removed by the user“. This video fake was one of the means to incite people to violence in Libya for the planned uprising.

  10. Domza

    Brian, you are trapping yourself and inviting he rest of us into your trap.
    You accept without argument the premise that, if there had been a slaughter of civilians, an external power (practically any external power) was justified in over-riding the Libyan State immediately and without any procedure.
    Of course there was no slaughter of civilians. But in the light of the above this is a mere bagatelle; a mistake, perhaps, but nothing worse.
    If I may return to the 1914 case originally raised by Bevin above, for a comparison, I would say that your point of view is analagous to Karl (“Renegade”) Kautsky’s “imperialist economism”. Kautsky thought that monopoly capitalism would resolve itself into “one big trust”, which would then organically flip over and become socialism.
    You seem to think that it is o.k. to allow the growth of an amorphous global military power with one existence but many heads (“International Community”; NATO; UNSC; ICC; et cetera) because it is all rooted in the USA and the USA is a democracy of which you are a member, right?
    But from outside, like from here in South Africa, it does not look like that. What we can see is that the US democracy does not restrain the US military power, not even at home, and still less abroad. This has been the case in living memory and back into recorded history. Nothing has changed, except for the worse, and one of the changes for the worse is the diminution to vanishing-point of critical dialogue in the USA.
    Such that you, Brian now feel free to take for granted that your readers will let it pass when you presume their acceptance of the international State, which is only the USA and its proxies. Nor can there ever be an international State, by the way. Nor will there be any change for the better without conscious deliberation and consequent action.
    So leave this fruitless pursuit of evidence for the non-existent slaughter of the innocents in Libya, and focus on the underlying global-fascist presumption. Concentrate your critical fire on that. Don’t wait until the monster attacks another of the 54 independent countries of Africa, and another, and another, while resting on the legitimacy that you have granted it by default. If you do so, you will be as guilty as anyone for the decades of mayhem that will follow.

  11. brian

    ‘You accept without argument the premise that, if there had been a slaughter of civilians, an external power (practically any external power) was justified in over-riding the Libyan State immediately and without any procedure.’
    as for the rest of your twaddle: LOLOL
    please dont try to tell me what i think, Domza, i know better than you..and i don think what you think i think.
    The slaughter is what has been on the MSM 24/7 here it bites the dust

  12. epppie

    You were INEXCUSABLY naive. Period. You need to acknowledge this publicly. I say this to you, and not to others who were even more guilty, only because I think there is actual hope that you may realize this. It is long, long, long past time to acknowledge that there are no or virtually no well-intentioned people in the corridors of US power. There may be some on the fringes, but not amongst those who stalk the corridors. To continue to uphold illusions otherwise now amounts to complicity.

  13. Domza

    I know you think “the slaughter” bites the dust, Brian. I know you are mistaken. I know you are not thinking well at all. I am telling you so. You liberals are as bad as anybody else or maybe worse.

  14. JohnH

    Irrespective of the merits of R2P interventions, it is telling that UNSC 1973 was implemented solely by the US and its colonial partners. Kind of like letting the fox settle disputes in the hen house. Also telling is the fact that, among many possible options for intervention, the coalition selected bombing as its principle one.
    It’s time to rescind R2P, unless a totally neutral, humanitarian entity can be found to implement future crises.

  15. Domza

    “unless a totally neutral, humanitarian entity can be found to implement future crises”?
    Are you joking, JohnH?
    Please, don’t offer your people that fatuous starting point. They will take it, in all seriousness.
    You US people are exasperating. Is there nothing there any more? What has gone wrong?
    To be honest, the hasbara-trolls who are trying to wreck these comment-threads might as well not bother.

  16. Salah

    Let see if UN introduce No-Fly-Zone over Gaza
    صرح الأمين العام لجامعة الدول العربية عمرو موسى اليوم الأحد أن المنظمة، التي تنضوي 22 دولة في عضويتها، ستطلب من مجلس الأمن الدولي فرض منطقة حظر جوي فوق قطاع غزة، الذي ظل طيلة الأيام الماضية تحت الضربات الجوية الإسرائيلية.
    http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/6CE7C6FE-0292-4FF0-B1F5-1A1103FA8974.htm?GoogleStatID=9

  17. JohnH

    Brian–if the “international community” was committed to R2P, a no-fly zone over Gaza would be a natural. But it seems that the “international community” chooses to back R2P for nasty regimes it doesn’t like, not ones it does like.

  18. Domza

    I live in Africa and I follow politics in Africa.
    Even so, I had to look up what “R2P” means today, on Google.
    To my surprise I found that the “P” stands for the 19th-century word “protectorate”. How extraordinary!
    How extraordinary that this ancient euphemism has been dragged up by and for the US liberals to justify their imperial adventures. Just as in the days of Gladstone if you did not want to be a jingo you could be a liberal imperialist. The effects were the same of course, or worse. And the legacy is still with us.

  19. Shirin

    Obama is now pressing Iraq to accept 15,000 – 20,000 US troops beyond the end-of-2011 date for their withdrawal.
    Does this surprise anyone? It is not very different from what may of us have expected all along. The only part of it that is surprising is that he is not pushing for a larger military presence. It was 100% predictable that there would not be a complete withdrawal.

  20. brian

    ‘Brian–if the “international community” was committed to R2P, a no-fly zone over Gaza would be a natural. But it seems that the “international community” chooses to back R2P for nasty regimes it doesn’t like, not ones it does like.’
    what?the IC backs regimes that are the opposite of nasty…what is nastier than israel! It attacks those perceived as militarily weak but which are led by independent govts.
    North Korea has now seen the wisdom of keeping its WMDs evidenced once again!

  21. bevin

    Domza this is not an appropriate venue for sectarian disputation.
    No doubt you read my remarks before posting your comment, but you did not understand them, which is, almost certainly my fault.
    Fot your further information and to relieve the, already encumbered, United States of the burden of defending my position, I am not, and never have been, a member of the US citizenry.

  22. mary

    je suis bouleversee par votre commentaire. Bouleversee et deprimee aussi. Que faire, que faire pour que tous ces mensonges cessent, toutes ces tueries qui volent aux hommes leurs vie et aux enfants leurs enfances. Vous n avez pas le droit de vous taire. Parlez, allez partout, faites passer le message.. Surtout ne vous taisez pas.
    Et merci

  23. Patrick

    “It was 100% predictable that there would not be a complete withdrawal [from Iraq].”
    Yes, it was 100% predictable that the US would try to keep troops in Iraq. But I’m not sure this is a done deal. The Americans will certainly put a lot of pressure on Maliki. But there will also be lot of opposition too. His government will likely fall, and the attacks against Americans would restart. Pretty foolish position for Obama to take really.

  24. Bandolero

    I’ld like to criticize this story. My basic point is, that the notion of this story already buys into the unproven claim, that the Libyan government committed attrocities at all. So with the notion of “unhelpful military intervention” the discussion is already out of the focus I would think it should be: the war against Libya was a preplanned war of aggression.
    I agree with the argument, that some attrocities committed by one side of an internal conflict should not be taken as a pretext for the even more grace attrocity of a foreign military intervention.
    But in Libya I see the point even diffrent. There are very clear proofs for grave attrocities, but those proven attrocities were committed by the so-called rebels.
    As it’s correctly outlined by Chapman and Kuperman we have lot’s of unverifyable or obviously false claims of government attrocities in mass media but absolutely no hard evidence of crimes of the Libyan government forces in this uprising.
    But we have clear proof that so called “rebels” lynched a lot of black people. We have also clear evidence that so called “rebels” slaughtered captured and handcuffed soldiers in mass executions, videotaped their own crime scenes and afterwards clamed it was “soldiers killed by Gaddafi forces for not kiling peaceful protesters”.
    So what is happening in Libya, is not only that this intervention on the pretext of protecting civilians was wrong, but the intervention is on the morally wrong side. NATO is intervening on the side which commited the attrocities to protect criminals of being brought to justice.
    Given indications that leading NATO countries were among those who planned the uprising and also planned bombing Libya months in advance, it looks like a classic war of aggression with a “bay of pigs” style pretext – covered by baseless claims against the Libyan government in arab and western mass media propaganda.
    For much of the details for this claim, read the lengthy article behind the link Brian gave above:
    http://nocheinparteibuch.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/hidden-behind-propaganda-a-giant-crime-against-libya-is-fact-part-i/

  25. Domza

    Thank you Bandolero. But even you are too soft. This is a full-blown recolonisation of an African country – the first of the African countries to gain independence after the Second World War. It is not the only instance but it is a blatant, theatrical, deliberate instance, designed to create a political turning point so that these recolonisations can proceed at a faster pace.

  26. Shirin

    Pretty foolish position for Obama to take really.
    And not his first foolish position on foreign policy, nor, I daresay, his last.

  27. bevin

    “Lenin was a sectarian? Is that what you are saying?..”
    That was not what I was saying, Domza.
    What I meant to say was that, in order to comment properly on the disintegration of the Second International, during the First World War, and in particular of the evolution of the Bolsheviks, before and during the long revolution of 1917, it would be necessary to post a fairly screed, of little interest to most JWN readers, and initiate a dialogue of considerable length. And that to do so would serve no important purpose.
    Again, and in a fraternal spirit, I say that this misunderstanding probably arises because of a sloppy and imprecise style on my part.
    As to Lenin, he had more brains and character than to be a sectarian but those who insist upon being regarded as his political descendants have not only formed sects but developed to a high art an acerbic, cheap, stand-up comic’s debating style which, in the name of urgent ‘action,’and simplification cuts logical corners, begs questions and, in a word, cheats where Lenin, to do him credit, was always willing to reconsider, research, ponder and essay in new directions.

  28. bevin

    “Lenin was a sectarian? Is that what you are saying?..”
    That was not what I was saying, Domza.
    What I meant to say was that, in order to comment properly on the disintegration of the Second International, during the First World War, and in particular of the evolution of the Bolsheviks, before and during the long revolution of 1917, it would be necessary to post a fairly screed, of little interest to most JWN readers, and initiate a dialogue of considerable length. And that to do so would serve no important purpose.
    Again, and in a fraternal spirit, I say that this misunderstanding probably arises because of a sloppy and imprecise style on my part.
    As to Lenin, he had more brains and character than to be a sectarian but those who insist upon being regarded as his political descendants have not only formed sects but developed to a high art an acerbic, cheap, stand-up comic’s debating style which, in the name of urgent ‘action,’and simplification cuts logical corners, begs questions and, in a word, cheats where Lenin, to do him credit, was always willing to reconsider, research, ponder and essay in new directions.

  29. bevin

    “Lenin was a sectarian? Is that what you are saying?..”
    That was not what I was saying, Domza.
    What I meant to say was that, in order to comment properly on the disintegration of the Second International, during the First World War, and in particular of the evolution of the Bolsheviks, before and during the long revolution of 1917, it would be necessary to post a fairly screed, of little interest to most JWN readers, and initiate a dialogue of considerable length. And that to do so would serve no important purpose.
    Again, and in a fraternal spirit, I say that this misunderstanding probably arises because of a sloppy and imprecise style on my part.
    As to Lenin, he had more brains and character than to be a sectarian but those who insist upon being regarded as his political descendants have not only formed sects but developed to a high art an acerbic, cheap, stand-up comic’s debating style which, in the name of urgent ‘action,’and simplification cuts logical corners, begs questions and, in a word, cheats where Lenin, to do him credit, was always willing to reconsider, research, ponder and essay in new directions.

  30. Domza

    Hi Bevin,
    I think the matter remains where Lenin left it in his (unfinished) 1917 book “The State and Revolution”.
    The coercive monopoly of violence by the state is not resolved by proposing a democratic state, or by proposing a world state.
    The coercive monopoly of violence is unfreedom, as Lenin saw, and wrote. It can only be resolved and surpassed by institution of universal self-management that will render the state obsolete. This can only finally succeed when the class divisions in society have been fully worked away.
    The removal of the monopoly of violence to a different site (e.g. from Libyan government to NATO, say) has no effect other than to make it more deadly, more devastating, more endemic and pervasive, and more large-scale. In its nature it remains the same: it is the coercion of one part by another, on a basis of class politics.
    This is why, in practice, appeals to higher coercive authority, whether they come from “liberals”, or from “conservatives”, are not different from each other.

  31. tequila

    So what Gaddafi’s forces are doing in Misrata right now does not move any of you? Or perhaps those folks have it coming for rising up against such an “anti-imperialist” leader?

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