Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hypocrisy Hypocrisy Hypocrisy Libya Line-up



Washington and the Civilians of Libya
By Professor Lawrence Davidson

March 19, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- Whether you believe that the United Nations resolution authorizing extensive intervention in the Libyan civil war is justified or not, and whether you believe that the admittedly eccentric forty two year rule of Muammar Gadhafi over a complex and fractious tribal society has been cruel or not, there is one thing that all objective observers should be able to agree on. All should agree that the rationale put forth by the United States government for supporting the impending NATO intervention, that this action is to be taken to bring about an immediate end to attacks on civilians, is one of the biggest acts of hypocrisy in a modern era ridden with hypocrisy.

There is, of course, no arguing with the principle put forth. The protection of civilians in times of warfare, a moral good in itself, is a requirement of international law. Yet it is a requirement that is almost always ignored. And no great power has ignored it more than the United States. In Iraq the civilian death count due to the American invasion may well have approached one million. In Afghanistan, again directly due to the war initiated by U.S. intervention, civilian deaths between 2007 and 2010 are estimated at about 10,000. In Vietnam, United States military intervention managed to reduce the civilian population by about two million.

And then there is United States protection of the Israeli process of ethnic cleansing in Palestine. America’s hypocrisy as Washington consistently does nothting about the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the slow reduction of a million and half Gazans to poverty and malnutrition. And, finally, the unforgettable hypocrisy inherent in U.S. support for the 2009 Israeli invasion of that tiny and crowded enclave. The 2009 invasion was the most striking example of an outright attack on civilians and civilian infrastructure since the World War II. And the American government supported every single moment of it.

Thus, when President Obama gets up before the TV cameras and tells us that Libyan civilians have to be protected, when UN ambassador Susan Rice tells us that the aim of the UN resolution is to safeguard Libya’s civilian population and bring those who attack civilians, including Gadhafi, before the International Criminal Court, a certain sense of nausea starts to gather in the pit of one’s stomach. If Washington wants regime change in Libya, which is almost certainly the case, government spokespersons ought to just say it and spare us all a feeling of spiritual despair worthy of Soren Kieregaard!

It was Oscar Wilde who once said that "the true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity." I think that politicians learn, some easier than others, to live their lives like this. And, as I have said before, the only way they can be successful in sharing their delusions with the rest of us is that the majority do not have the contextual knowledge to analyze and make accurate judgments on their utterances. The successful hypocrite and his or her ignorant audience go hand in hand. ICH





U.S. launches missile strike in Libya

WASHINGTON — Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Libya came under a fierce attack from a U.S.-led coalition of warplanes, ships and submarines on Saturday.

A senior U.S. defense official said it was believed Gadhafi's air defenses suffered substantial damage.

While some cautioned that it was too early for an assessment, the official said that given the precision targeting of the Navy's cruise missiles, they believed that Libya's defenses suffered a good deal of damage. The official spoke on grounds of anonymity because the mission is ongoing.

President Obama authorized limited military action against Libya.

"We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy," Obama said Saturday from Brazil.

U.S. and British ships and submarines fired more than 110 cruise missiles at more than 20 Libyan air defense targets, Vice Adm. William Gortney, director of the Joint Staff, told reporters on Saturday. Most of those areas are in and around the capital Tripoli.

The first Tomahawk cruise missiles struck at 3 p.m. ET, Gortney said, after a one-hour flight from U.S. and British vessels in the Mediterranean.

No U.S. aircraft fired missiles or dropped bombs, Gortney said.

The strike's intent, Gortney said, was to stop further attacks on civilians by forces loyal to Gadhafi and to allow for allied warplanes to safely enforce a no-fly zone in Libya.

Libyan air defenses are similar to those U.S. and coalition forces faced in Iraq during the 2003 invasion, he said. They consist of older, Soviet-era technology, which still has "good capability."

"Odyssey Dawn," as the operation has been dubbed, is being led by U.S. commanders during the initial phases, Gortney said.

U.S. ships and warplanes will take the lead in the first round of attacks because of their "unique capabilities," said a senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss ongoing military operations.

The strikes are designed to prevent Gadhafi from attacking civilians, particularly those around the besieged city of Benghazi. Attacking missile defenses will allow a coalition of allied warplanes to enforce a no-fly zone. Flights will be denied in northern Libya from west of Tripoli to east of Benghazi and south to the city of Sabha.

At least 11 U.S. Navy ships and submarines are patrolling the Mediterranean off Libya and are prepared to take part in the attack. The first strikes hit targets that included defenses near Tripoli and Misratah, according to a briefing slides shown to reporters at the Pentagon.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates delayed a trip to Russia on Saturday to remain in Washington and monitor the first phase of the attacks. The military official could not say how long the attacks would last.

"The U.S. will be at the front end of this," he said.

The American military's unique capabilities include the ability to launch cruise missiles, logistics, electronic attacks designed to thwart radar and air defense and the ability to synchronize and command attacks, he said.

Four other countries announced that they would take part in enforcing the no-fly zone. They are Great Britain, France, Canada and Italy, the official said. Other countries are expected to announce their participation in coming days, he said. USA Today





Libya, Hypocrisy and Betrayal by the United Nations
By Felicity Arbuthnot

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - for ever." - George Orwell.

March 19, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- The bombing of Libya will begin on or nearly to the day, of the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the destruction of Iraq, 19th March, in Europe. Libya too will be destroyed - its schools, education system, water, infrastructure, hospitals, municipal buildings. There will be numerous "tragic mistakes", "collateral damage", mothers, fathers, children, babies, grandparents, blind and deaf schools and on and on. And the wonders of the Roman remains and earlier, largely enduring and revered in all history's turmoils as Iraq, the nation's history - and humanity's, again as Iraq and Afghanistan, will be gone, for ever.

The infrastructure will be destroyed. The embargo will remain in place, thus rebuilding will be impossible. Britain, France and the US., will decide the country needs "stabilising", "help with reconstruction." They will move in, secure the oil installations and oil fields, the Libyan people will be an incidental inconvenience and quickly become "the enemy", "insurgents", be shot, imprisoned, tortured, abused - and a US friendly puppet "government" will be installed.

The invaders will award their companies rebuilding contracts, the money - likely taken from Libya's frozen assets without accounting - will vanish and the country will remain largely in ruins.

And the loudest cheerleaders for this, as Iraq, will be running round tv and radio stations in London, Europe and the US, then returning to their safe apartments and their UK/US/Europe paid tenures, in the knowledge that no bombs will be dropping on them. Their children will not be shaking uncontrollably and soiling themselves with terror at the sound of approaching planes.

And this Libyan "Shock and Awe"? Shame on France, shame on Britain and the US and a UN avowed: "... to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." Every shattered body, every child maimed or blown to bits, every widow, widower, orphan, will have their name of those countries, and the UN., written in their blood in their place of death.

And the public of these murderous, marauding Western ram raiders, will be told that we were bringing democracy, liberating Libya from a tyrant, from the "new Hitler", the "Butcher of Bengazi."

The countries who have ganged together these last days to overthrow a sovereign government have, again, arguably, conspired in Nuremberg's: " ... supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole", and yet again, plotted to overthrow a sovereign government, with a fig leaf of "legality" from an arm twisted UN. We have seen it all before.

Ironically, as I write, here in the UK., on the day Prime Minister Cameron is to make an announcement in Parliament on the proposed attack on Libya, it is Red Nose Day, founded in 1988, out of 1985's Comic Relief - which came from a refugee camp in Sudan, which borders Libya - to raise money for the children in need, in Africa. This red nose day, we plan to bomb them.

In time, it will emerge, who was stirring, bribing, de-stabilizing - and likely few will be surprised at the findings. But by then, Libya will be long broken and its people, fleeing, displaced, distraught.

When it comes to dealing with the usual "liberators", be careful what you wish for. In six months or so, most Libyans, whatever the failings of the last forty years rule, will be ruing the day. ICH





Libyan TV claims 48 killed in allied attacks


BENGHAZI, Libya — Libyan state TV is quoting the armed forces command as saying 48 people have been killed and 150 wounded in the the allied assault by U.S. and European forces. The report can't be independently confirmed.

The U.S. and European nations have begun pounding Moammar Gadhafi's forces and air defenses with cruise missiles and airstrikes in the broadest international military effort since the Iraq war in support of an uprising that had seemed on the verge of defeat.

Libyan TV says most of the casualties are children.

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — The U.S. and European nations pounded Moammar Gadhafi's forces and air defenses with cruise missiles and airstrikes Saturday, launching the broadest international military effort since the Iraq war in support of an uprising that had seemed on the verge of defeat.

The longtime Libyan leader vowed to defend his country from what he called "crusader aggression" and warned the involvement of international forces will subject the Mediterranean and North African region to danger and put civilians at risk.

The U.S. military said 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from American and British ships and submarines at more than 20 coastal targets to clear the way for air patrols to ground Libya's air force. French fighter jets fired the first salvos, carrying out several strikes in the rebel-held east.

President Barack Obama said military action was not his first choice and reiterated that he would not send American ground troops to Libya.

"This is not an outcome the U.S. or any of our partners sought," Obama said from Brazil, where he is starting a five-day visit to Latin America. "We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy."

Thousands of regime supporters, meanwhile, packed into the sprawling Bab al-Aziziya military camp in Tripoli where Gadhafi lives to protect against attacks.

Anti-aircraft guns could be heard firing overnight in Tripoli.

The strikes, which were aimed at enforcing a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone, were a sharp escalation in the international effort to stop Gadhafi after weeks of pleading by the rebels who have seen early gains reversed as the regime unleashed the full force of its superior air power and weaponry.

Gadhafi, who has ruled Libya for 41 years, said in a telephone call to Libyan state TV that he was opening weapons depots to allow his people to arm themselves in defense.

He said the international action against his forces was unjustified, calling it "simply a colonial crusader aggression that may ignite another large-scale crusader war."

He also said the U.N. Security Council and the international community were responsible for "stopping this unjust flagrant aggression against a sovereign country immediately."

His regime also acted quickly in the run-up to the strikes, sending warplanes, tanks and troops into the eastern city of Benghazi, the rebel capital and first city to fall to the rebellion that began Feb. 15. Then the government attacks appeared to go silent.

Operation Odyssey Dawn, as the allied assault has been dubbed, followed an emergency summit in Paris during which the 22 leaders and top officials agreed to do everything necessary to make Gadhafi respect a U.N. Security Council resolution Thursday calling for the no-fly zone and demanding a cease-fire, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.

"Our consensus was strong, and our resolve is clear. The people of Libya must be protected, and in the absence of an immediate end to the violence against civilians our coalition is prepared to act, and to act with urgency," Obama said earlier.

Fuck me! you couldn't make it up. more Chron





Robert Fisk: First it was Saddam. Then Gaddafi. Now there's a vacancy for the West's favourite crackpot tyrant

So we are going to take "all necessary measures" to protect the civilians of Libya, are we? Pity we didn't think of that 42 years ago. Or 41 years ago. Or... well, you know the rest. And let's not be fooled by what the UN resolution really means. Yet again, it's going to be regime-change. And just as in Iraq – to use one of Tom Friedman's only memorable phrases of the time – when the latest dictator goes, who knows what kind of bats will come flying out of the box?

And after Tunisia, after Egypt, it's got to be Libya, hasn't it? The Arabs of North Africa are demanding freedom, democracy, liberation from oppression. Yes, that's what they have in common. But what these nations also have in common is that it was us, the West, that nurtured their dictatorships decade after decade after decade. The French cuddled up to Ben Ali, the Americans stroked Mubarak, while the Italians groomed Gaddafi until our own glorious leader went to resurrect him from the political dead.

Could this be, I wonder, why we have not heard from Lord Blair of Isfahan recently? Surely he should be up there, clapping his hands with glee at another humanitarian intervention. Perhaps he is just resting between parts. Or maybe, like the dragons in Spenser's Faerie Queen, he is quietly vomiting forth Catholic tracts with all the enthusiasm of a Gaddafi in full flow.

So let's twitch the curtain just a bit and look at the darkness behind it. Yes, Gaddafi is completely bonkers, flaky, a crackpot on the level of Ahmadinejad of Iran and Lieberman of Israel – who once, by the way, drivelled on about how Mubarak could "go to hell" yet quaked with fear when Mubarak was indeed hurtled in that direction. And there is a racist element in all this.

The Middle East seems to produce these ravers – as opposed to Europe, which in the past 100 years has only produced Berlusconi, Mussolini, Stalin and the little chap who used to be a corporal in the 16th List Bavarian reserve infantry, but who went really crackers when he got elected in 1933 – but now we are cleaning up the Middle East again and can forget our own colonial past in this sandpit. And why not, when Gaddafi tells the people of Benghazi that "we will come, 'zenga, zenga' (alley by alley), house by house, room by room." Surely this is a humanitarian intervention that really, really, really is a good idea. After all, there will be no "boots on the ground". more Independent





The real reasons behind the United Nations' Libya vote

A new war has been declared in the Middle East. With the bloody and failing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan still in place, the USA, Britain and France are now committed to an escalating armed intervention in Libya.

The decision to attack Libya and impose regime change – for that is what the UN resolution means – may have been authorised by the Security Council. But it was instigated by the despots of the Arab League, desperate to secure deeper western involvement in the region to save them from their own peoples. And it will be implemented by the same powers which have wreaked such mayhem throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds over the last ten years and longer.

The imposition of a “no-fly zone”, air attacks on Libyan defences and Gaddaffi’s troops, and naval bombardments will not bring peace to Libya nor a resolution to the conflict there.

They will, however, cost more civilian lives and they will set Britain and the world on an escalator of military intervention which risks ending up with an occupation of at least part of Libya.

While few people are admirers of the Gaadaffi regime, the experience of Iraq underlines the dangerous futility of trying to impose “regime change” from without. It also reminds us that genuine democracy and freedom cannot grow from aerial bombardment and foreign occupation.

Attacking Libya and sponsoring the Gulf oligarchies’ invasion of Bahrain to prop up the threatened monarchy there – under the noses of the US fifth fleet - are of a piece. They represent a concerted effort by the western powers to first control and then bring to a halt the Arab revolutions, leaving the essentials of imperial power in the Middle East in place.

David Cameron’s decision to place Britain in the vanguard of efforts to topple the Gaddafi regime is dictated by the same considerations which led Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to embrace that same regime – a desire to maintain BP’s profitable access to Libyan oil.

Stop the War believes that there should be no external military intervention in Libya. In supporting the Arab revolutions, we believe that these will be strangled, not supported, by western military action.

We call on the British government to keep its hands off the Middle East and demand that it refrain from all involvement in military action in Libya or elsewhere in the region. We urge the anti-war movement to campaign throughout the country to arrest and reverse this slide to war and British participation in it. stopwar.org





Selective nature of UN intervention

When Israel bombed Gaza at the end of 2008 in a brutal action which killed 1,300 people and destroyed 20,000 buildings, there was no question of the US allowing the UN to impose a no-fly zone over Gaza to protect its people, 50% of which are children. Those who support the UN security council's authorisation of a no-fly zone over Libya (Britain, France and US line up for air strikes against Gaddafi, 18 March) need to reflect on the selective nature of UN intervention throughout the world and in the Middle East in particular.

The UN will not be intervening in the Libyan revolution to protect civilians from Gaddafi's brutality. It will go in to further the interests of the world's major powers in the region. It will be an imperialist action, not a humanitarian one. After the bloodshed it produced in Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan, the doctrine of "humanitarian military intervention" should be discredited beyond rehabilitation. The west is a major source of the problems of the Middle East and north Africa. It's not part of the solution, even when its troops wear blue helmets.

Sasha Simic Guardian letters




H/T ICH

3 comments:

SteelMagnolia said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/arab-league-condemns-broad-bombing-campaign-in-libya/2011/03/20/AB1pSg1_story.html?hpid=z3

We knew it would all end in tears ...but so soon?

m.sharp643 said...

Gadaffi "admittedly eccentric" - do me a favour!

Talk about fascists? If you had your way we'd all be speaking german now.

Himself said...

I don't understand you.