Jeremy Scahill Attempts To Remove Ed's Lips From Obama's Ass (unsuccessfully)
"Renaissance Thinking About the Issues of Our Day"
I think Ed is well intentioned. However, he has that unconscious patriot thing going on. He wants to kill Kadafhi because "he killed Americans" - referring to the Pan Am bombing. It seems he can't see beyond his righteous nationalism. A progressive good ol boy.
That is who Ed is. I think he adds to the mix, and the fact that he takes a side instead of staying ambiguous is not terrible either. In this case, there are smart people on both sides. I am of the opinion that for all the downsides of military interventions, this one instance might require it. Italy and France have good reason to worry about refugees, and the democracy movement in Tunisia and Egypt could do without a hostile, al Qaeda friendly, Iran connected pissed off Qaddafi. (I am loving the spelling variants showing up, so I think we ought to invent our own).
The old Lockerbie crime just adds to the consensus that he has to go. But the real reason he has to go is that Libya is in the middle of too much fragile social change around it and we don't piss off the Saudis by doing him.
That we are an Empire is the fact of life here. Getting out of Empire involves more than packing up and leaving. Obama is doing this in proper internationalist frame, and those of us who wish we had never gone imperial would like it to go away so we could have a different global politics. I think the critics are doing a great job of counterpoint and that Obama is playing emperor with competence. It is not a great game even if it calls itself that.
I don't necessarily disagree that "something" should be done, but why by us? Is it the opinion of the international community that Italy, France, etc., who are within easy striking distace of Libya, don't have enough fire power to take down one tin horn dictator? Does the US have to sign up for military actions wherever they exist?
The thing for me is, the US has no credibility when our moral sense demands action because we are just as willing to engage others militarily for financial reasons. I mean, why even waste time debating the moral necessity of action? Is there a dollar to be made? Americans care more about winning than being right.
Regardless of general conclusions about the correctmess of attacking Libya, the way it is being played needs attention. There are rarely clear staistics about deaths of innocent civilians, and the conflation between innocent protesters with armed resistance really stands out for me. Libya has the highest stamdard of living in Africa. Libya also fits the pattern of those who defy the world bank and the IMF which includes Cuba, Panama, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Cuba, Iraq, etc. Chomsky's quote that a humanitarian war is a oxy-moron works for me
I think Scahill was right, only for the Ollie comparison to be accurate the US would have had to create the rebel force. I wouldn't doubt that they already did. For another viewpoint:
(1) The Six Myths about Libya: Right and Left
The principle imperial powers and their mass media mouthpieces claim they are bombing Libya for “humanitarian reasons”. Their recent past and current military interventions present a different picture: The intervention in Iraq resulted in well over a million civilian deaths, four million refugees and the systematic destruction of a complex society and its infrastructure, including its water supplies and sewage treatment, irrigation, electricity grid, factories, not to mention research centers, schools, historical archives, museums and Iraq’s extensive social welfare system.
Demons and angels aside, this conflict began as a civil war between two sets of Libyan elites: An established paternalistic, now burgeoning neo-liberal, autocracy with substantial popular backing versus a western imperialist financed and trained elite, backed by an amorphous group of regional, tribal and clerical chiefs, monarchists and neo-liberal professionals devoid of democratic and nationalist credentials – and lacking broad-based mass support.
If not to prevent genocide, grab the oil or promote democracy (via Patriot missiles), what then is the driving force behind the Euro-US imperial intervention?
A clue is in the selectivity of Western military intervention: In Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Qatar and Oman ruling autocrats, allied with and backed by Euro-US imperial states go about arresting, torturing and murdering unarmed urban protestors with total impunity. In Egypt and Tunisia, the US is backing a conservative junta of self-appointed civil-military elites in order to block the profound democratic and nationalist transformation of society demanded by the protesters. The ‘junta’ aims to push through neo-liberal economic “reforms” through carefully-vetted pro-Western ‘elected’ officials. While liberal critics may accuse the West of “hypocrisy” and “double standards” in bombing Gaddafi but not the Gulf butchers, in reality the imperial rulers consistently apply the same standards in each region: They defend strategic autocratic client regimes, which have allowed imperial states to build strategic air force and naval bases, run regional intelligence operations and set up logistical platforms for their ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as their future planned conflict with Iran. They attack Gaddafi’s Libya precisely because Gaddafi had refused to actively contribute to Western military operations in Africa and the Middle East.
The key point is that while Libya allows the biggest US-European multi-nationals to plunder its oil wealth, it did not become a strategic geo-political-military asset of the empire. As we have written in many previous essays the driving force of US empire-building is military - and not economic. This is why billions of dollars of Western economic interests and contracts had been sacrificed in the setting up of sanctions against Iraq and Iran – with the costly result that the invasion and occupation of Iraq shut down most oil exploitation for over a decade.
The Washington-led assault on Libya, with the majority of air sorties and missiles strikes being carried out by the Obama regime, is part of a more general counter-attack in response to the most recent Arab popular pro-democracy movements. The West is backing the suppression of these pro-democracy movements throughout the Gulf; it finances the pro-imperial, pro-Israel junta in Egypt and it is intervening in Tunisia to ensure that any new regime is “correctly aligned”. It supports a despotic regime in Algeria as well as Israel’s daily assaults on Gaza. In line with this policy, the West backs the uprising of ex-Gaddafites and right-wing monarchists, confident that the ‘liberated’ Libya will once again provide military bases for the US-European military empire-builders.
I'm sure a simulated sequestered or broken up Libya has been drawn up and shown to many parties involved in this Washington Rules exercise. I wonder if they have plan for when Gadaffi feels he has to leave, which oil platforms will be scorched earthed? Here are the countries there, and who is not bombing them.
(2) War for Oil or Oil for Sale?
The ‘critical’ Left’s favorite cliché is that the imperial invasion is all about “seizing control of Libya’s oil and turning it over to their multi-nationals”. This is despite the fact that US, French and British multinationals (as well as their Asian competitors) had already “taken over” millions of acres of Libyan oil fields without dropping a single bomb. For the past decade, “Big Oil” had been pumping and exporting Libyan oil and gas and reaping huge profits. Gaddafi welcomed the biggest MNC’s to exploit the oil wealth of Libya from the early 1990’s to the present day. There are more major oil companies doing business in Libya than in most oil producing regions in the world. These include: British Petroleum, with a seven-year contract on two concessions and over $1 billion dollars in planned investments. Each BP concession exploits huge geographic areas of Libya, one the size of Kuwait and the other the size of Belgium (Libyonline.com). In addition, five Japanese major corporations, including Mitsubishi and Nippon Petroleum, Italy’s Eni Gas, British Gas and the US giant Exxon Mobil signed new exploration and exploitation contracts in October 2010. The most recent oil concession signed in January 2010 mainly benefited US oil companies, especially Occidental Petroleum. Other multi-nationals operating in Libya include Royal Dutch Shell, Total (France), Oil India, CNBC (China), Indonesia’s Pertamina and Norway’s Norsk Hydro (BBC News, 10/03/2005).
Despite the economic sanctions against Libya, imposed by US President Reagan in 1986, US multinational giant, Halliburton, had secured multi-billion dollar gas and oil projects since the 1980’s. During his tenure as CEO of Halliburton, former Defense Secretary Cheney led the fight against these sanctions stating, “as a nation (there is) enormous value having American businesses engaged around the world” (Halliburtonwatch.com). Officially, sanctions against Libya were only lifted under Bush in 2004. Clearly, with all the European and US imperial countries already exploiting Libya oil on a massive scale, the mantra that the “war is about oil” doesn’t hold water or oil!