Caution Needed with Libya

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This morning, I shared some of my reactions on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown to the then breaking news of Gaddafi announcing he was going to abide by a cease fire and halt military operations. In my view, he is buying time. Then again, so are we.
In these remarks, I make the comment that we need to be sure that what we do to “help” does not delegitimate or harm the opposition in Libya.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

57 comments on “Caution Needed with Libya

  1. Super Acai 1200 says:

    I’m kind of wondering if the war in Libya was left alone it would have been over faster. This just gets a few other countries involved hoping that there will be money made out of another nation’s problems.

    Reply

  2. Paul Norheim says:

    Dirk, thanks for the info! I’ll check it out. Almost every
    Friday, I klick on the tab in Die Zeit for the literary section.
    I guess this is the week to check out Der Spiegel again –
    unfortunately – due to their horrible pics and feature from
    Afghanistan…

    Reply

  3. Tom Moss says:

    Fxkd News on Sunday had their superneocon Billy Kristol spewing his kill/war Libyan strategy that he was virtually foaming at the mouth.
    “Bill Kristol calls for U.S. ground forces in Libya”
    The operation to create a no-fly zone in Libya has just begun, but already conservative Fox News pundit Bill Kristol is wishing the U.S. would send in ground troops “sooner rather than later.”
    U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday the “Odyssey Dawn” operation launched under a UN Security Council resolution was a “limited military action,” and he pledged no U.S. troops would be deployed on the ground.
    Fox News Chris Wallace asked Kristol Sunday if it was a mistake to limit the mission in Libya.
    “Let’s talk about the mission,” Wallace began. “You heard Admiral Mullen, earlier in the show, say his orders are clear: protect the civilians, don’t overthrow Gaddafi. That’s not the point. Is that a mistake? Can we live with Gaddafi in any sort of power? He can create a lot of trouble.”
    “No, we cannot leave Gaddafi in power,” Kristol agreed. “And we won’t leave Gaddafi in power.”
    “The immediate military mission, Admiral Mullen correctly described but the political goal is to remove Gaddafi and ultimately military assets will serve that political goal.”

    Reply

  4. Dirk says:

    Paul, I think Die Zeit, SZ (Sued Deutsche Zeitung) are excellent papers but because of time constraints I generally just read/view the news at tagesschau.de, which I pick up from ard.de and click on “nachrichten” – since ARD has other interesting tabs. Just click on “Letze Zendung” for the latest broadcast.
    I read Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ.de) whenever I want special economic news/background. Also FAZ and Die Welt (welt.de) are good for conservative viewpoints.
    Also, because I’m really interested in 1.FC K

    Reply

  5. James says:

    Just saw neocon (Iraq war architect) Paul Wolfowitz on ABC’s ‘This Week’ with Christiane Amanpour as what he said seems to fit with what friend Steven Sniegoski wrote in the following updated version of his piece posted prior:
    Neocons

    Reply

  6. James says:

    PressTV – Americans protest US involvement in Libya
    http://www.presstv.com/detail/170831.html

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    Dirk, you’re German, right? May I ask you which German language internet
    newspapers/ magazines/blogs do in your opinion have the best reports and
    analysis of the events in the Middle East right now?
    Die Zeit? Spiegel? Frankfurter Allgemeine? Or other sources? I recall that Die
    Zeit was great during the first Gulf war two decades ago (and Der Spiegel too,
    before editor Rudolf Augstein died); but I’ve not been so impressed with what
    I’ve seen on the web recently. Do I need to buy the print editions to get the
    good stuff? Or have I overlooked it while browsing randomly?
    Any recommendation would be appreciated. I want more good sources that
    are less US-centered…

    Reply

  8. Dirk says:

    Well just like Paulo said in an earlier entry; where do we stop with the intervention. (Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria, Oman, S. Arabia, Morocco)?
    According to German reports the Yemeni opposition protesters, having read/heard about the Libyan intervention, are asking for foreign intervention, after being ambushed by the regime with burning tires and snipers in Sanaa.
    I certainly support the Libyan opposition but the implications for several other countries raise troublesome questions.
    A golden opportunity and everyone is broke. Maybe secret support…

    Reply

  9. Carroll says:

    Posted by sanitychecker, Mar 19 2011, 2:14PM – Link
    1. If the Arab League is so gung-ho on attacking Libya, then why is France and not Saudi Arabia, with one of the world’s largest air forces, doing the bombing?
    2. Why isn’t anyone asking question 1. ?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Because we already know the answer.
    First they weren’t gung-ho about it.
    Second the US deal with Saudi has always been we do their heavy lifting and they sit on their oil reserves for the USA.
    Saudi has warehouses full of US planes, F-22’s and more collecting dust, and weapons that they never use and don’t even have the military members trained to use them.
    Last year they bought 39 billion in US fighters and weapons.
    By comparison Egypt has half the planes but twice the military Saudi does.
    The Saudis will send tanks to protect a royal cousin as in Bahrain, but that’s about it.
    They are our oil babies with dollar bills for diapers.

    Reply

  10. Carroll says:

    Posted by sanitychecker, Mar 19 2011, 2:14PM – Link
    1. If the Arab League is so gung-ho on attacking Libya, then why is France and not Saudi Arabia, with one of the world’s largest air forces, doing the bombing?
    2. Why isn’t anyone asking question 1. ?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Because we already know the answer.
    First they weren’t gung-ho about it.
    Second the US deal with Saudi has always been we do their heavy lifting and they sit on their oil reserves for the USA.
    Saudi has warehouses full of US planes, F-22’s and more collecting dust and weapons that they never use and don’t even have the military members trained to use them.
    Last year they bought 39 billion in US fighters and weapons.
    By comparison Egypt has half the planes and twice the military Saudi does.
    The Saudis will send tanks to protect a royal cousin as in Bahrain, but that’s about it.
    They are our oil babies with dollar bills for diapers.

    Reply

  11. DakotabornKansan says:

    “C

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    And if you buy the distraction theory, you could just as well turn it around, and
    claim that the media used Japan as a distraction from the fact that Obama,
    Sarkozy, and Cameron has led us into another war in the Middle East – or use
    both Libya and Japan to distract us from what is going on on the Arab peninsula,
    or whatever. I just don’t buy it in this case. I see lots of covering of events in
    Japan today from the three channels I am watching – CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera.
    Whether I agree with their take of the respective takes is another issue.

    Reply

  13. Paul Norheim says:

    “…in directing our attention away from Japan, or diminish the
    corporate media’s willingness to milk the distractive power of the
    Libyan story.”
    Well they didn’t allow much to distract them until the important
    UN resolution came up. I don’t know about the rest of US Media,
    but CNN (and BBC in UK) covered it more or less non stop for a
    week, as far as I remember – at a time when both Charlie Sheen
    and Bahrain was available for “distractions”, if they really wanted
    to focus on something else than Japan. Look, I am not defending
    the general priorities and angles of the MSM here, or the quality
    of the info they present – but claiming that they use Libya to
    “distract us” from Japan seems pretty far out.

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “C

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    And finally…..
    Brave new climate dot com is more relaxed than it was — they are, again, kind of pro-nuclear, but then they got very worried, but now they are a little more relaxed again. But I think the worry will become part and parcel of a lot of thinking.
    This whole Brave New Climate link is worth the read for the day.
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/03/20/fukushimasat-19-march/#more-4171
    The commenters on Brave New Climate do a good job of updating — always worth reading comments there.
    The Wiki page has a nice chart under the heading:
    “Solutions considered or attempted”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_I_nuclear_accidents
    ***
    Once again, sorry for the intrusion and ultiple posts. I’d have done it in one, save for this odd system of no more than two links. And I couldn’t figure out how to break the links into unrecognizable, but useful, formats.
    I hope that by now, you (whoever you are) have recovered from the shock of interruption and topic change.

    Reply

  16. Paul Norheim says:

    “2. Why isn’t anyone asking question 1. ?”
    That question was just asked at CNN an hour ago, minutes
    before refocusing on the events in Japan.

    Reply

  17. questions says:

    Below, this one says things are stabilizing to some extent and the power line is working its merry way to where it’s needed. I’m not sure about how well the pumps and pipes will work….
    http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/201/03/79674.html
    ****
    I have read in places that they are now using trucks that usually pump cement up high for skyscraper construction. With this technique for spraying water, they can spray for up to 7 hours at a time, and be far more precise. If the temps are dropping, which seems to be the case, then perhaps this is working.
    The news has eased up because there are a few other major issues in the world, and because the novelty of the nuke disaster is wearing off, and because the changes in Japan are now slower and more subtle — a few more feet of the 5000 foot long “wire” connecting high voltage electricity isn’t exactly headline news, but that’s what is happening a little at a time there.
    There is certainly concern about food contamination, and I would guess that someone will have to figure out how to dispose of contaminated milk, grass, and spinach or whatever else has gotten radioactive dust into it. Up the food chain is worse than down, I think, because of bioaccumulation.
    There are some economic concerns beyond the immediate now because of a lack of parts manufacturing and shipping.
    The brilliance of just-in-time delivery is biting the world on the ass, even as it revolutionized production at some point. There were savings, people got rich, and now comes payback. It’s amazing how often that sort of extraction happens.
    ***
    It looks like “recriticality” is a non-issue. MIT NSE has a piece up. The big issue is that only certain geometric arrangements of nuclear material are capable of sustaining reactions (going critical), so even if there’s a non-zero chance of its happening, it’s not really going to happen. The one good bit of news out there…..

    Reply

  18. questions says:

    Here’s the radiation in water story from Kyodo news. I’m going to break the link so it’s not a hyper link and I don’t have to do multiple posts. I hope this system works.
    [OK, it didn’t work, so I’m going to mess more with the links. It went to the moderator’s page where it will be lost for all eternity. I will delete the http: part of each link and see if that helps.
    Ok, that didn’t work either. It’d be nice to do multiple links. I will break this up and do multiple posts. Sorry for the intrusion.]
    http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/201/03/79683.html
    Below, this one says things are stabilizing to some extent and the power line is working its merry way to where it’s needed. I’m not sure about how well the pumps and pipes will work….
    http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/201/03/79674.html

    Reply

  19. sanitychecker says:

    1. If the Arab League is so gung-ho on attacking Libya, then why is France and not Saudi Arabia, with one of the world’s largest air forces, doing the bombing?
    2. Why isn’t anyone asking question 1. ?

    Reply

  20. Paul Norheim says:

    C

    Reply

  21. DakotabornKansan says:
  22. Don Bacon says:

    “Libya is flouting the world community.”
    Let’s look at the UNSC vote.
    Voting for the resolution:
    United States, Britain, France, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa
    Total population: 711m
    Abstentions:
    Russia, China, Germany, Brazil, India
    Total population: 2,949

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Do you think Aris will give the Obama kids lolli pops??? Gosh, I sure hope so! Or maybe one of those little glass globes that snow when you shake them, with a nice nuclear reactor encased inside. Look kiddies, at the pretty little buildings. Aren’t they nice??? Your daddy is gonna let ‘ol Uncle Aris build some of these pretty little buildings!!
    ARIS CANDRIS – CEO, WESTINGHOUSE
    “Aris Candris became president and CEO of Westinghouse Electric Company on July 1, 2008. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Candris served as senior vice president, Nuclear Fuel, providing fuel fabrication, components and services to commercial nuclear power plants worldwide. He began his Westinghouse career in 1975 as a senior engineer in the former Advanced Reactor Division. Dr. Candris holds a B.A. from TransylvaniaUniversity in Lexington, Kentucky, and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from CarnegieMellonUniversity”
    But just to show the world that Obama is an equal opportunity cocksucker, we can round out the Rio party with an oil guy…..
    JAMES T. HACKETT

    Reply

  24. Don Bacon says:

    The usual colonial suspects . .except other Arab states are involved and Obama hinted that the U.S. would stay in the background.
    “We will provide the unique capabilities that we can bring to bear to stop the violence against civilians, including enabling our European allies and Arab partners to effectively enforce a no-fly zone,” Obama said.
    Speaking of whom, the 0-man is in Brazil, which didn’t support this venture.

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Various levels of radiation found in foods 65 miles from the disaster, exceeding safe standards. Tokyo tap water showing positive for radiation.
    Nothing to worry about though, our plants on the San Andreas are humming along, earthquake friendly. Can’t happen here.
    Hey, how ’bout them Libyans, eh? We better protect them, since we are so safe here at home.
    Haven’t you heard, we ain’t had a big one on the San Andreas for years now. So whats to worry about? Besides, it costs money to shut these plants down, and Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, and Libya needs that money more than we do.
    I mean fuck, why would we shut down unsafe forty year old Mark 1 reactors that sit on an active faultline, when we can save in other areas, like defunding NPR, and other entities that might wanna question why we are keeping forty year old unsafe reactors that sit on an active faultline running???
    How’s the weather in Rio these days? I hope Obama has a good time. Meeeting with the head of GE, doncha know. Gee, I wonder if he’ll tell him, “Contribute, or else”??? Doubt it. Obama is too much a coward. He’s probably just sucking the guy off for a million or two, eh? Figuratively speaking, of course.
    “Jeffrey Robert Immelt is the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the U.S.-based conglomerate General Electric”
    “On January 21, 2011, President Obama announced Immelt’s appointment as chairman of his outside panel of economic advisers.. “Immelt will retain his post at G.E. while becoming “chairman of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, a newly named panel that President Obama is creating by executive order.”
    So, uh, with this relationship blooming, how prone is Obama to make a stink abvout GE’s role in this unfolding nuclear disaster??? After all, the Mark 1 reactor is GE’s baby. And we’ve got two of those puppies humming along on the San Andreas fault. Is it a coincidence that Obama is yukking it up in Rio with Immelt while Japan cooks in the radioactivity of a series of GE reactors that are widely recognized to be unsafe, even WITHOUT the added danger oif natural occurring disasters????
    Obama is even takin’ the kids, the little lady, and his mother in law. How nice that world events have calmed down enough for him to engage in a little off time, eh? I understand Rio is pretty nice right now. Perhaps Barack can get in a round or two of golf while the kiddies play at the beach.

    Reply

  26. rc says:

    “Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told journalists at the summit in Paris that he believed British, French and Canadian aircraft would launch the first airstrikes, the BBC’s Carole Walker in Paris reports.” (BBC, above)
    It’s already starting to sound like Iraq all over again.
    Will they find the WMDs?
    Will Saddam … ooops, I mean Gaddafi, run to his fox hole?
    Will they hang him?
    Or will he get a free holiday package to Saudi Arabia (nice neighbors) or even exotic Iran?
    So many questions in this new episode of Foreign Legion …. with a famous cast of the usual suspects.

    Reply

  27. rc says:

    Baaaa,… be honest POA, you’re missing your friend nadine aren’t you!
    BTW: French military jets are now reported to be “preventing forces loyal to Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi from attacking the rebel-held city of Benghazi.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12795971
    No doubt with a few future aircraft sales in mind, the greatest air show on earth is about to start.
    And the winner gets the next contract with …..

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Interesting. After promising that we could view radiation detectors online, most of them seem to have gone offline. With our asshole “representatives” telling us that “miniscule” levels of radiation are being detected, they have removed the tools by which we can check the veracity of their claims.
    Besides, the bulk of the contamination is not going to reach the West Coast until Monday. It will be interesting to see how many monitors we are “allowed” to view on Monday night. My bet? Not many, if any.
    Like the “disappearing” oil in the gulf, which has not disappeared, the claims surrounding this nuclear event should not be trusted. What makes this more difficult for us, as citizens, is the inability to actually “see” the contamination, like we can with oil. We are being asked to “trust” government officials who have proven time and again that they are the last people
    on earth we should trust, PARTICULARLY in matters affecting our health. Another huge difficulty is the hype the media is devoting to Libya, while toning down the coverage of the unfolding nuclear disaster in Japan. And it looks like the TWN lemmings are marching right along in lockstep, casting their gaze in whatever direction the cheerleaders demand.
    QUICK, LOOK OVER THERE!!!
    Baaaaaahhhhhh, baaahhhhhhhh, like sheep to a slaughter.

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    Latest from Syria:
    “Syrian security forces have fired tear gas to disperse crowds at
    the funeral of two people killed in anti-government protests on
    Friday, witnesses say.
    Thousands had gathered for the funeral in the southern city of
    Deraa, and began chanting anti-government slogans.
    Rights activists said at least one mourner was arrested by
    secret police.
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose Baath party has
    dominated politics in the country for almost 50 years, tolerates
    no dissent.
    Activists said the mourners had been chanting “God, Syria,
    freedom” before security forces intervened.
    Eyewitnesses told the BBC that the mood at the funeral was
    angrier than at Friday’s protest.
    The witnesses said the funeral had taken place outside the city,
    and that the city itself had been sealed off by security forces
    making it difficult for mourners to get back in.
    A rights activist told AFP news agency that several people had
    been injured as the protesters struggled to run away from the
    security forces.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12796020

    Reply

  30. Don Bacon says:

    factoid:
    The U.S. budget deficit last month ($222B) is 58% of Norway’s annual GDP ($381B).

    Reply

  31. DakotabornKansan says:

    Indeed, thank you Barry, constitutional lawyer, Nobel Peace Prize winner.
    Delusions are always more alluring than facts.

    Reply

  32. Don Bacon says:

    Where does it say in the UN Charter that the United Nations has the authority to do this?
    It doesn’t.
    The UN was set up to control and mediate international relations, not intra-national conflicts (civil wars).
    The “Right to Protect” (RtoP) is sometimes quoted, but that provision affirmed by the UNSC specifically specifies peaceful remedies, not war as in the recent resolution.
    And a no-fly zone is an act of war by the UN against a state which hasn’t threatened or attacked any other state (as the U.S. has done).
    It is interference by the world community in the affairs of one state, which is wrong and sets a bad, illegal precedent.

    Reply

  33. Paul Norheim says:

    The March 2012 version could actually involve an implementation of UN resolutions against the Syrian and Iranian leaderships
    “with the aim of protecting the civilian populations against the brutality of their leaders” – implemented by an eager Europe in a
    coalition with a reluctant America (at the time bogged down in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya), and some Arab nations hostile to
    Syria and Iran (Egypt, Jordan…).
    Add to that the Lebanese and Israeli dimensions, and ferocious opposition from Istanbul and Moscow. (China keeping silent).
    Likely?
    Certainly not impossible, and not even the worst case scenario. There is a potential for WW3 in the events unfolding right now.

    Reply

  34. Don Bacon says:

    People out of work, a daily U.S. budget deficit of $7B last month, housing problems, food and fuel prices zooming upward — so why not illegally interfere in an African civil war? No, not that one in Ivory Coast, the one in Libya, which has oil, which will probably when this is over end up in Chinese gas tanks.
    Makes sense to me.

    Reply

  35. rc says:

    (DB 10:00AM) — Cool, care to have a go at the March 2012 version?
    “The U.S.-Libya relationship has rapidly expanded to include much more than cooperation in nonproliferation and science and technology. Today, Libya remains a strong ally in pumping oil and countering terrorism in the region. It has fought the expansion of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, has condemned kidnappings, has taken a position against the paying of ransom to kidnappers and has overthrown the evil tyrant Gaddafi.” Libyan President speaking from the new capital in Bengazi.
    The King is dead! Long live the King!

    Reply

  36. Don Bacon says:

    What a difference a year makes.
    June, 2010:
    “The U.S.-Libya relationship has rapidly expanded to include much more than cooperation in nonproliferation and science and technology. Today, Libya remains a strong ally in countering terrorism in a volatile region. It has fought the expansion of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, has condemned kidnappings, and has taken a position against the paying of ransom to kidnappers.” — Gene A. Cretz, US ambassador to Libya
    March, 2011:
    The United States is bracing for possible Libyan-backed terrorist attacks, President Obama

    Reply

  37. Dan Kervick says:

    Egypt is voting today in a referendum on transitional constitutional amendments.

    Reply

  38. DakotabornKansan says:

    Lebanese editor Rani Khouri writes,

    Reply

  39. rc says:

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch in the ‘Land of the Free’ …

    The spectre of Bradley Manning lying naked and alone in a tiny cell at the Quantico Marine Base, less than 50 miles from Washington, DC, conjures up images of an American Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, where isolation and deprivation have been raised to the level of torture.
    In fact, the accused Wikileaker, now in his tenth month of solitary confinement, is far from alone in his plight. Every day in the US, tens of thousands of prisoners languish in “the hole”. …
    No one knows for sure what their true numbers are. Many states, as well as the federal government, flatly declare that solitary confinement does not exist in their prison systems. As for their euphemistically named “Secure Housing Units” or “Special Management Units”, most states do not report occupancy data, nor do wardens report on the inmates sent to “administrative segregation”.
    Prosecutor, judge and jury
    By common estimate, more than 20,000 inmates are held in supermax prisons, which by definition isolate their prisoners. Perhaps 50,000 to 80,000 more are in solitary confinement on any given day in other prisons and local jails, many of them within sight of communities where Americans go about their everyday lives.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/03/201137125936219469.html

    Reply

  40. Kotzabasis says:

    To call for caution when one is entering the field of battle, is to show how out of depth one is in matters of war. Now that the U.S. and its European and Arab allies, with the backing of the UN, have decided and are preparing to cross swords with Gaddafi, what is needed is a resolute, clear, swift, and decisive strategy to crash the Gaddafi forces in a series of prompt and sudden attacks. However, before they do that, the U.S. and its allies should make a threatening declaration addressed to the Gaddafi loyalists and mercenaries, that if they refused to abide to the conditions as set up by the United Nations, then they would be totally destroyed by the arms of the Coalition. As I

    Reply

  41. rc says:

    “A fighter jet has crashed in flames after apparently being shot down over the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya,…”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12794589
    Excuse my cynicism, but just the sort of thing a soon to be defeated tyrant would do (not, I suggest). But we need a media fest.
    So that accounts for one of Libyan jets which few off to European shores a while back.
    I would not be surprised if the other one self immolates in the skies over Libya sometime just before the Nato invasion to help legitimate it.

    Reply

  42. rc says:

    “We have seen young, modern, hopeful and globally connected people in the street, and the contrast between them and the decrepit old-timers clinging to power, corruption and dynastic privilege is too striking to be ignored.” (Dan Kervick, Mar 19 2011, 2:12AM) — agree.
    But having seen the peace-nik 1960’s cohort mature nicely into the BMW class, I am less optimistic that anything changes much in the long run. It’s likely just another inter-generational run for power by those who don’t have it yet.
    As for the Saudi dictatorship in Arabia — the recent media web-pages have been cleansed of references to the dictator’s trembling voice and not looking at the camera — and it seems of the ‘sit down’ money cash handouts for the 40% unemployed youth.
    “Saudi Arabia faces a problem that was a major driver of protests in Tunisia and Egypt to begin with: Youth unemployment. Data by the Central Department of Statistics & Information (CDSI) estimates that 39% of Saudis between the age of 20 and 24 were unemployed in 2009

    Reply

  43. Dan Kervick says:

    “The fact that Obama pivoted on a dime shows that the White House is flying without a strategy and that we have a reactive presidency right now and not a strategic one.”
    When the world shifts suddenly on its axis the wise man has to pivot with it. No matter how hard we try to control and steer the world, the globe doesn’t always stay controlled and well-behaved, and it sometimes runs off on its own course. The White House is necessarily adapting and improvising in a rapidly shifting global environment.
    Nobody predicted the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. Nobody predicted that Mohamed Bouazizi, a young fruit-vendor from the small town of Sidi Bouzid, who was working to put his sister through university and yet still gave free fruit to the poor in his town, would set himself on fire one day in front of a government building.
    Nobody predicted that Bouazizi’s act would light his whole region on fire with an authentic wave of popular revolt, and that the fire he set would ultimately bring down the octogenarian strongman of the most populous country in the region.
    And these axis-shifting events, which began only three months ago – have changed the whole picture of the Middle East. We can no longer pretend that we must support tired and despotic governments because the capos of the governments are “modernizers” and better than the alternatives. They are clearly no longer better than the alternatives. That’s evident to everyone who is looking. We have seen young, modern, hopeful and globally connected people in the street, and the contrast between them and the decrepit old-timers clinging to power, corruption and dynastic privilege is too striking to be ignored.
    It was fortunate, and easier, for our leaders in Washington that the Egyptian Army was determined not to kill its own people. All our President had to do during the Egyptian revolution was stand back, insist that the right of peaceful protest be respected, exert subtle unseen pressure, and declare how inspiring it all was.
    But the cracked and malevolent ruler of Libya is constrained by none of the professionalism or solidarity with his people that the Egyptian Army showed in Tahrir Square. It’s good to want this movement in Libya to retain its authentic character. Those are the right instincts. But it makes no sense to say we must stand by as the people who have shown the courage to rise up against one of the foulest men on Earth are killed on the streets and slaughtered in their beds – just because we don’t want to be seen as interfering with the authenticity of the movement. Authentic and legitimate dead people are still dead. While they are alive and have a chance they need help.
    And as we have already seen in Syria, when people know they have external support – real support, not just speeches – they are encouraged, and willing to take risks they might not otherwise take.
    The old strategies and old strategy documents that float around in Washington think tanks and government departments? You can start tearing them up and pitching them into the fire. Here’s the new strategy: democracy for Tunisia, democracy for Egypt, democracy for Libya, democracy for Bahrain, democracy for Yemen, democracy for Syria, democracy for Saudi Arabia, democracy for Palestine.
    Steve, on your next trip back to the Middle East, you can tell all of those kleptocratic despots who rule the region, and their young scions in waiting, and the playboy parasites and hangers-on who flock to their gaudy pleasure palaces, that their days are now numbered. The young princelings had better get pro-active about transitioning their societies to more democratic, equal and popularly responsive forms of government, or they can start picking out their own desert islands.
    Turning on a dime looks smarter right now than sticking with the sick and decadent strategies that were previously in place. Those strategies were written by the same idiot elite rulers and professionals who crashed a few dozen Western economies, and have plunged the world into unemployment, austerity, stagnation and dismal insecurity. The predators have thought the high times could go on forever; but the fruit-sellers have had enough.

    Reply

  44. Paul Norheim says:

    I bet that if seen as “necessary measures”, US boots will not
    be deployed in Libya, but British boots will. And I’m sure
    Obama and Cameron have discussed this little detail too.

    Reply

  45. Paul Norheim says:

    More on ground forces – from Asian Times Online:
    “Although touted generically as a no-fly zone resolution, the scope and range of 1973 and the use of force
    authorized under it are open to interpretation. Which means that the ostensibly limited involvement by the
    international community for the specific purpose of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya with the humanitarian
    intent of protecting the civilian communities, can open the door to large-scale military intervention as time
    passes.
    (…)
    This proposal, however, seems to have met with resistance from Russia and the final text of 1973 instead
    authorizes “all necessary measures” to protect civilians. The compromise formula, actually, opens up all sorts
    of dangerous possibilities to stretch the type and scope of military operations.
    On the one hand, 1973 expressly forbids any boots on the ground – “excluding a foreign occupation force of
    any form on any part of Libyan territory”. On the other hand, it gives authorization “to take all necessary
    measures

    Reply

  46. Carroll says:

    Posted by Paul Norheim, Mar 19 2011, 12:44AM – Link >>>>>>>>>
    I wouldn’t go bonkers over that possibility yet…Gaddafi reads the news too. Rattling the monkey cage is standard psy-ops.

    Reply

  47. Carroll says:

    Ha!…it may be my musings long ago about Obama tossing Israel to Europe behind the scenes for them to presure — so to avoid being on the political AIPAC hot seat here at home might not have been totally off…..I think I am begining to see similarities in Obama’s handling of some FP problems, despite his ‘advisors’..but then again maybe I am just looking for them.
    From The Economist:
    ‘If Mr Cameron offers Israel mixed messages, he does so with the blessing of America

    Reply

  48. Paul Norheim says:

    No boots on the ground? Really?
    Here’s a couple of quotes from “The Independent” (UK):
    “British government officials even left open the prospect of western land forces being sent as a last resort into Libya
    to protect civilians, while the European Union imposed an asset freeze and an arms embargo in a bid to tighten the
    noose on Gaddafi. (…)
    Later, officials repeatedly refused to rule out the prospect of a land invasion, although military chiefs, still bruised
    from their experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, are bound to be wary of such a dramatic step.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/cameron-says-world-could-supply-arms-to-libyan-rebels-
    2228510.html

    Reply

  49. Paul Norheim says:

    “Looks like the neocons have been successful again…” (James)
    I think this is more the work of liberal interventionists – people like Susan Rice and
    Samantha Power, and not the neocons.
    For thousands of years the Scandinavians were hopeless binge drinkers, like the Brits.
    Then, in the 1980’s and 90’s, we suddenly adopted “continental habits”, i.e. daily glasses
    of wine to the meals, just like the French and the Italians – in addition to the binge
    drinking. That’s why we Scandinavians are constantly drunk nowadays – 24/7 – just like
    the permanent wars initiated in Washington DC is a result of the efforts of liberal
    interventionists on top of the war mongering neocons.

    Reply

  50. Carroll says:

    My sentiments exactly…not only for the human rights benefits but because an empowered and hopeful population will eventually create a more stable ME than the US old power balance policy even if it’s a bumpy ride for a long time.

    Reply

  51. Thomas says:

    The decision to take military action against Libya is just another step towards the final destination: attacking Iran. The Israelicons are thinking ahead and setting up the necessary precedents.
    Enjoy permanent war America.

    Reply

  52. James says:

    Following is the Afghan resolution Kucinich mentioned in above MSNBC interview from earlier today which came after Steve’s on the same program:
    House rejects call to leave Afghanistan in 2011
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42138885

    Reply

  53. James says:

    “No Fly Zone is Act of War” – Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbyXyG2DYOE

    Reply

  54. James says:

    Looks like the neocons have been successful again in getting US to go to war with yet another Arab country (in Libya with the UN Security Council resolution that passed yesterday approving military action to be used against Libya) setting the stage for their long desired war for Israel with Iran (see the article by friend Steve Sniegoski linked below if interested further). Let the Saudis and Egyptians (with all the jets that we sell to/give them) via the Arab League deal with Libya as we don’t need to get involved with a third war in the Middle East with yet another Arab/Muslim country. Meanwhile the Chinese get richer and richer laughing at US as we go broke paying for such! ūüôĀ
    Neocons

    Reply

  55. Dan Kervick says:

    According to Shibley Telhami’s annual Arab public opinion survey, the French have a much better reputation in the Arab world than the Americans. So let the French do the deed. Or let some Arabs do it. The US can just provide technical support.
    But if the whole point of this exercise is just to protect civilians without forcing the uprising to a resolution, and if the international community plans to count to 1000 to give Qaddafi the chance to put his guns back in his holster and then settle in for an interminable period as the King of Tripoli, then the outcome is going to be very unsatisfying indeed. Are they looking for a checkmate or a stalemate?

    Reply

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