Arguments against bombing Libya


1:47 pm - March 20th 2011

by Owen Jones    


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The Arab Spring has given way to a cold snap: Tiananmen Square-style massacres of protesters in Yemen, the Saudi invasion of Bahrain and full-blown Western intervention in Libya.

Of course, it was never going to be easy. The Middle East is the most strategically important region on Earth, and also boasts the biggest concentration of brutal dictatorships: no coincidence, of course.

With United Nations approval, Western bombs are now raining down on Libya. I’m aware of all the arguments in favour of intervention. Even if you support this war, I think it’s important to at least be aware of some of the key arguments against. So, here they are.

The stated aim is to prevent Gaddafi from massacring his own people. In practice, of course, supporters of the campaign hope that it fatally undermines Gaddafi’s current military superiority and ends with rebel forces sweeping into Tripoli, thus freeing Libya from four decades of tyranny.

Let’s be clear. Other than a few nutters, we all want Gaddafi overthrown, dead or alive. In both his anti-Western and pro-Western incarnations, his record is that of a brutal and unquestionably slightly unhinged dictator.

I will not caricature supporters of the bombing campaign as frothing-at-the-mouth neo-cons or born-again Paul Wolfowitzs. There are those who otherwise sing from the same hymn sheet as me on the other side of this debate. Similarly, I hope I’m not caricatured as a Green Book-reading Gaddafi lackey, or as a heartless cynic who is indifferent to mass slaughter.

The history of Western intervention in the Middle East

Pro-interventionists shrug this argument off. Forget the past: judge this intervention on its own merits. But there are 360 million Arabs living daily with the consequences of a century of Western interference in the region.

Western power has a long and sordid history in the Middle East: overthrowing unsympathetic governments (like Mossadegh in Iran in 1953); backing Israel to the hilt as it oppresses Palestinians, wages brutal wars of aggression and flouts international law; taking Iraq’s side in the bloody war with Iran in the 1980s; launching a spectacularly catastrophic war with Iraq in 2003 (after over a decade of sanctions which inflicted a terrible human toll); and, of course, arming, funding and supporting dictatorships across the region – including Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain and, until recently, the toppled regimes of Egypt and Tunisia.

You might not think this is relevant. It’s certainly relevant to the people who have suffered, and continue to suffer, because of the largely destructive role played by the West in the Middle East.

The West cannot be an honest broker in the Middle East

Western civilization as we know it depends on oil from the Middle East. Even if (God forbid) a government of my politics came to power, it would face tough choices dealing with regimes ruling over countries which supply us with oil. Given the West’s reliance on Middle Eastern oil, it simply cannot be trusted to prioritise the future of the people who live there (and, as we’ve noted, there’s no evidence it ever has).

Take Italy and Libya as an example. The planes dropping bombs over Libya are using Italian bases. Italy depends on Libya for a quarter of its oil. Do we really think Italy – which until very recently backed Gaddafi to the hilt because of this very reason – is acting without this in mind?

Managing the Arab revolution

Like all of us, the Middle Eastern revolutions took Western governments by surprise. We can be sure that, in capitals across the Western world, policy-makers held emergency meetings discussing all of the possible outcomes. Entirely plausible scenarios will have included the coming to power of governments hostile to the West, or protracted periods of chaos which would wreak havoc with the oil supply and bring the global economy crashing down.

So let’s not pretend that the West is not determined to try and manage the Arab revolutions. The bombing of Libya opens the way for further Western interventions in the turmoil sweeping the Arab world.

A war for democracy and human rights?

We’ve heard much boasting about Arab League support for this intervention, supposedly conferring it with legitimacy it would not otherwise have.

But the Arab League is the biggest cartel of despots on Earth. Many of the regimes now backing the bombing of Libya on the basis of defending the rebels are massacring protesters in their own countries. Do we really think that they are motivated by democracy and human rights?

And what’s the position of neighbouring revolutionary Egypt? “No intervention, period.”

Full-blown military intervention beckons?

By the time you’re reading this, Gaddafi might have been Ceaucescued on Libyan television and the war will be over. But there is a real danger of a protracted military conflict. Originally, the talk was of just a No Fly Zone: but what we’re witnessing over the skies of Libya goes far beyond that. The Kosovo bombing campaign went on for 78 days, for example. Or we could end up with a long-term partition of Libya: after all, Saddam Hussein looked like toast when the Shia and Kurds revolted in 1991, leading to the No Fly Zones in the north and south, but his regime lasted another twelve years.

Playing into Gaddafi’s hands?

Gaddafi is already predictably playing the anti-colonial card. It may well be that Libyans who would otherwise be sympathetic about overthrowing the regime will now mobilise behind it. Libya has a long tradition of providing recruits for anti-Western jihad. Presumably this means there is a wider pool of people with hostile feelings towards the West – and that means a possible new constituency for Gaddafi to fall back on.

The West’s recent love-in with Gaddafi

Even the most dedicated pro-interventionists must be appalled at the cynicism of the recent history of Western-Libyan relations. The countries now bombing Libya provided it with hundreds of millions of pounds worth of arms, which it is now using to slaughter rebels. To go from courting and arming a regime to bombing it – in a matter of weeks – looks absurd, at best.

Elements of the regime have a prominent role in the rebel command

A number of leading figures in the rebellion were, until a few weeks ago, elements – sorry, pillars – of the old regime. The military chief is Abdul Fattah Younis al-Obeidi, effectively Gaddafi’s former number two. He is undoubtedly complicit in many of the crimes of the dictatorship. What if the West is helping to bring power a part of the regime that has fallen out with Gaddafi?

What about tribal divisions?

Do you know anything about tribal politics in Libya? No, neither do I, and I suspect neither do many of the supporters or instigators of the bombing campaign. So I was alarmed to read an article by Robert Fisk, pointing out that the red, black and green flag of the rebels (i.e. Libya’s pre-Gaddafi flag) is a flag of the Senoussi tribe. The Senoussi is the most powerful of the tribal families of Benghazi. But Fisk asks – what will happen if they reach the capital? Will they be welcomed by the other tribes of Tripoli? Or are we laying the foundations for an all-out sectarian war?

Civilians will die

It’s easy to call for bombing campaigns: those who will die as a result will remain faceless to us. But civilians will inevitably be killed in these campaigns, and almost certainly already have been. Look at the number of civilians being slaughtered by US air raids in Obama’s undeclared war in Pakistan. Supporters of intervention will hope far fewer will die than if the West refrained from getting involved, but if the war escalates this may not be the case.

What about Bahrain and Yemen, for example?

The Yemeni dictatorship is waging a campaign of terror against the democratic opposition. Dozens of protesters were shot dead – with bullet wounds to the head – on Friday. There is no international uproar, let alone talk of Western intervention. Why?

Or take Bahrain, which is also violently repressing its protesters. The Saudis last week invaded the country, much like the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 (also at the “invitation” of an illegitimate government). Former British diplomat Craig Murray has good reason to believe that this invasion was sanctioned by the US government.

So while the West intervenes in Libya, it is complicit in – or even in support of – violence being committed against protesters by Western-backed dictatorships.

Why no No Fly Zone in Gaza?

Gaza was pounded by Israeli bombs in 2009, leading to 1,400 deaths. Again, the sort of example many supporters of intervention in Libya will dismiss out of hand. It certainly won’t be in the Middle East, however.

What about other examples – e.g. the Ivory Coast?

Weren’t you horrified by the murderous shelling of a market in Abidjan by Ivory Coast’s dictator, Laurent Gbagbo? Didn’t even know it had happened? I don’t blame you: because there has been no international uproar over what has been going on in the Ivory Coast. And no-one called for a No Fly Zone over the Ivory Coast when its government bombed rebels a few years ago.

Pro-interventionists dismiss this argument as ‘whataboutery’. Just because we don’t intervene everywhere, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t intervene at all, they say. But if they are selective about intervening – hysterically demanding it in some cases, remaining completely silent in other near-identical situations – then they should expect to be scrutinised.

Other than trying to shut the question down, pro-interventionists should at least try to explain why the West gets involved in one case but not another.

Equally, pro-interventionists simply can’t fall back on the ‘So you’d just let them die, would you?’ argument against opponents of the Libya bombing campaign. You could ask them the same question about the Ivory Coast, unless they are going to start yelling for bombs to fall there equally as vocally.

How much support will Western intervention get in Libya?

Originally, when the rebels seemed to be on the march, there was widespread opposition to foreign intervention in Libya (see the photo above). Understandably, when they began to be routed, the mood became desperate. But will their position change again? The Catholics of Northern Ireland initially welcomed British troops in 1969 because they thought they were being saved from a loyalist pogrom. That jubilation didn’t last long. Similarly, some of the Shia who welcomed Western troops into Iraq ended up taking arms in the Mehdi Army uprisings.

The derailing of the Arab revolution

A big danger is that despots across the Middle East will warn their people: revolt, and you will invite Western bombs. In a region which regards Western interference with justifiable suspicion, this may well discourage many from taking to the streets. I certainly hope not: but it is difficult not to have deep concerns for the future of the Arab revolution.

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About the author
Owen Jones is author of ‘Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class’, to be published by Verso in May 2011. He blogs here and tweets here.
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Reader comments


Once we’ve destroyed Gadaffi’s army and air defences, we can sell the next regime some more…. good business.

Excellent article.

3. David Boothroyd

Help me, after reading this article I think I’ve just overdosed on ‘whataboutery’.

The fact that you’re equating the Saudi intervention in Bahrain to the Soviet Invasion in Afghanistan is quite frankly absurd.

Yep.

Some arguments are stronger than others but what we are doing is wrong, selfish, cynical, hypocritical, barbaric, stupid and likely to be counter productive.

It seems we never learn……………

To be honest Owen, I’m not sure this sheds a lot more light on the whole situation…altho’ I have little doubt it may generate a fair bit of heat on both sides of the argument. I suppose I might fit into your “friendly, but wrong” category. I wouldn’t charicature you or others on the opposite side of the argument as a “Green Book-reading Gaddafi lackey, or as a heartless cynic who is indifferent to mass slaughter”, however I’m still waiting to hear a convincing (or indeed ANY) explanation of what those opposed to intervention would actually do to stop Gaddafi slaughtering thousands of his own people.

Irrespective of the nuances of “whataboutery” which we can all get mired in, it is surely incumbent on those opposed to intervention to deal with the most urgent issue up front: how do you propose to stop thousands dying during and after a Gaddafi victory, and why do you think the risks you forsee in intervention (which are real but not inevitable) outweigh ALL other considerations?

Answer me that first, and we can talk about the other items in the OP.

March 26 London
Protests against conservative party cuts broken and disbanded by police and troops. when asked why troops were on the streets of London a government spokesman said, “We asked a local territorial army unit to be available to assist police in keeping the peace during the savings marches. During this time of UK armed forces actions in Afghanistan and Libya the government feels we should be prepared to act immediately in a military capacity following a terrorist attack on home soil. This is purely a safety measure designed to protect Uk citizens”.
“I would like to take this opportunity to assure the public this homeland troop deployment is in no way designed to quell or dissipate national feelings of anger following the announced country-wide savings programs”.
An inside source has revealed MI5 monitored a possible Libyan terrorist bomb threat targeted at London during the time of the savings protests.
meanwhile in other news:
Disabled man forced into conspiracy theory program initiated by Tory business interests.

@ 4 pagar

“Some arguments are stronger than others but what we are doing is wrong, selfish, cynical, hypocritical, barbaric, stupid and likely to be counter productive.”

Yes, some arguments are stronger than others. Like all such situations, this one necessitates a balancing of future risks, against the dangers of the current situation being allowed to continue. It is of course possible to argue that the future risks outweigh those dangers, but is by no means evident that your take on the issue is objectively correct. Thankfully it seems your view is not shared by the majority of people, and that the right thing is now being done, albeit belatedly.

It would in the view of those of us supporting intervention be wrong, cynical, hypocritical, barbaric, stupid and likely to be counter productive to sit on our hands.

Feel free to come up with some other policy you feel will attain the same results, or at least if you can’t explain why it is better to let the Libyan revolution fail than to hasten the end of the Gaddafi regime. The future is unknowable, but you can’t simply assume that the best default answer is to do nothing.

This is an excellent article (as I said earlier, but the comment disappeared or else I’m going mad).

I think you have been overdosing on the ‘ Nirvana ‘ fallacy. I did not support the NFZ intervention because I think it is intervening in a civil war. However, now the decision has been made we ought to try and do the best job we can in the circumstances to minimise bloodshed. That may well mean offering an escape route for the regime leaders rather than them staying on to fight in a protracted battle. Joining their friend in Venezuela seems highly appropriate.

The Nirvana fallacy is through assuming that there are ever any easy foreign policy choices in the ME and NA. The Western nations have supported or being involved with some awful dictators in the region, they do not do it because they like brutal dictators. Invariably they see regime X as the least worse scenario. The region is riven with sectarian and tribal loyalties and there are no good choices. Sure, the region is all about oil. Moreover, the internal tribal tensions and conflict are exacerbated by the presence of oil. However, the price of oil in the market today is the same whether it is sold by a dictator or a liberal democracy. Let us not pretend that we somehow benefit from ME and NA oil being under the control of dictators because we do not. Oil would still exist if the whole region was democratic. There is a premium on the price of oil because so much of it is in unstable regions. Therefore, a liberal democratic ME would be more stable and oil cheaper for the rest of the world.

Possibly the best thing that could happen in the ME is for it to break up into its tribal areas rather than the somewhat artificial borders left through the colonial period.

Even though I agree with every point made in the article, I still think it would be morally wrong to stand by and do nothing. It’s an impossible situation. Taking action is risky and problematic for all the reasons given in the article, yet doing nothing when supporters of democracy are being brutally suppressed would also make us look like hypocrites.

To quote Flying Rodent

Practical plans are one thing. Half-arsed military wheezes designed to make westerners feel better about the awful things they’re seeing on their televisions are another entirely. Which is this?

The answer – Anyone who opposes intervention is joyfully urinating into the pleading faces of Gaddafi’s victims, and is a big Commie who would probably have appeased Hitler. The idea that we should refrain from bombing other countries is the lunatic conceit of a much despised political fringe. That should set alarm bells ringing, I think.

I’ve yet to see any practical plans or desired achievements outlined yet. Mainly shouting of something needs to be done, and given that Sarkozy and Cameron have been straining at the leash the strongest for this, and they are hardly what you would call revolutionary champions, I can’t help but think that the NFZ is not so much about saving/assisting the Libyan rebels as it is about saving our nation’s own vested interests.

Hopefully I’ll be proven completely wrong, and that’ll be the happiest I’ve ever been to have been wrong too.

Isn’t the name “Odyssey Dawn” messing with mythology a bit? After all, the original Odyssey took 10 years to complete: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/messing-with-mythology/

14. Nigel Cooper

The article is full of inaccuracies and ‘generalisms’.

For a start getting the geography correct would be an improvement. Libya is in North Africa which makes it geopgraphic significance very different from nations in the Middle East.

The UN is currently on the gound in Ivory Coast and there is no need for a NFZ there.

In Yemen they haven’t used anti-aircraft guns on unarmed civilians yet.

The situation in Libya is not comparable to previous Middle East interventions.

I can’t believe people take such inaccurate twaddle seriously.

1. The history of Western intervention in the Middle East

I’m not shrugging the argument that our past track record is bad: I agree the history of Western intervention in baleful. I certainly don’t think it is irrelevant, but picking over the scabs of our past crimes isn’t going to help the people of Libya right now, nor will it help the Arab world more generally, or the international commmunity as a whole. Are we to use our collective guilt as a catch-all response, wash our hands of any appeals from people who request help, and insist that some problems are greater than men?
Of course if you don’t accept that ANY intervention in such cases is acceptable, then we’re at an impasse. However, if you accept that it can be justified, you then have to answer the question of who is going to do it. If you can’t come up with a solution which excludes the western powers, then you are effectively saying that our “colonial guilt” is more important than stopping thousands of deaths.

2. The West cannot be an honest broker in the Middle East

We (as in “the West” ) buy oil from Russia, the USA, all over the Middle East, Venezuela, Mexico, Norway and the UK. Unless you are going to undertake a breakneck speed reversal of the world energy system, the producing nations have an interest in selling it. You can of course make an argument to only trade or have any realtions with like minded liberal democracies, but it might severely limit your economic prospects.
Libya produces 1-2% of world production: if it all evaporated overnight, it would hardly cause the sky to fall down. Even the Italians would no doubt be able to find replacements suppliers.
Of course the Middle East is more strategically important due to the oil. That’s realpolitik; what else would you suggest .. energy supply autarchy?

3. Managing the Arab revolution

I’m not convinced that western chancelleries are either that smart, or that well prepared. Experience certainly suggests otherwise. Surely it is only sensible to try and use any and all resources we have at our disposal to effect outcomes which are both in our interests, and those of the people of Libya, or anywhere else for that matter? Either we can do nothing and see what happens, take what limited action we can involving as many nations as we can short of boots on the ground, or we could just try and occupy the place and impose a solution. All three have risks, and it is disingenuous of those opposed to intervention to try and convince us that their policy is risk free.
If we don’t do it, who will? If we don’t do it now, when should we do it?

4. A war for democracy and human rights?

I suspect the Egyptians have their plates pretty full just at present, as do the Tunisians. Of course nobody thinks the Arab League represents the people on the street… but what other pan-Arab body is there? It would be nice if there were other Arab democracies prepared to intervene, lead the coalition, provide bases and even if necessary invade Libya and deliver Gaddafi in chains to the Hague….. but there just aren’t.
They aren’t motivated by democracy and human rights…. But they might be more inclined to, or indeed be forced to, if their own people have the example and future support of a number of democratic (hopefully) secular Arab states including Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.

5. Full-blown military intervention beckons?

You can’t have it both ways; NFZ’s on their own would not necessarily stop a ground assault if all they did was stop Gaddaffi using his air force, so it makes sense to stop his armour and armed forces on the ground carpet shelling Benghazi, yes?
Full blown intervention isn’t impossible… it is a risk. But the western powers have specifically said they don’t intend to do it, and the Libyan opposition doesn’t want it either. Saying it is possible does not make it inevitable.
Bear in mind in the Balkans that had NATO and or the EU acted faster and taken out Serb heavy weapons, armour and air power, thousands fewer would have died. Exactly the same could be said in Libya – intervention came too late; if it happened earlier it would have saved hundreds if not thousands of lives, and may have seen Gaddafi and his henchmen already in the Hague, if not strung up on lamp-posts in Tripoli.

6. Playing into Gaddafi’s hands?

So we should do nothing, because it might provoke a murderous dictator who is shown he can’t be trusted, and might serve to radicalise some people? Of course there are Gaddafi loyalists… just as there were (are?) convinced Nazis, supporters of Pol Pot, al-Qaeeda, Stalin. Being scared of provoking a backlash from extremists wing nuts isn’t a sufficient excuse to chose non-intervention.

7. The West’s recent love-in with Gaddafi

I happen to agree with you on this one. We shouldn’t supply arms to anyone but liberal democracies in my view, but I accept that it is a minority view. The armaments industry isn’t going to disappear overnight. Even if no wetern power had sold Gaddafi any supplies, do you think others would be as scrupulous? During the Cold War, countries usually looked to either one side or the other for arms, altho’ some were happy to buy from both, or indeed to produce their own where possible. Even pretty advanced neutrals like Sweden (rather than pretend neutrals like Ireland) still had to rely on outside sources for some equipment.
There is also an argument (which I don’t really accept, but it is “out there”) that however odious a regime, it is better to try and involve them than isolate them. Things might be a good deal worse if we were now confronting a Gaddafi who had continued down the path he used to follow. Similarly some people argue it is better to accept the Chinese regime wart and all, despite it’s appalling human rights record. I’d much prefer to direct our energies, investment and trade towards a democratic emerging country like India… but that would have economic costs.

8. Elements of the regime have a prominent role in the rebel command.

It’s a difficult one to call. Hopefully the Libyans can deal with the crimes committed by such people themselves; it is often distasteful to have to deal with such people, or see them included in a post-revolutionary regime….but what else would you suggest? We’re not likely to be in a position like we were in Germany and Japan post 1945. We should certainly be pushing for anyone implicated in crimes against the people of Libya under Gaddafi to face justice in their own country or in front of the ICC if required. The same goes for people responsible for killing innocent protesters in Bahrain, Yemen and elsewhere.

9. What about tribal divisions?

An unknowable, but still not sufficient cause to say that no intervention can be justified. It just isn’t possible to guarantee future outcomes. Robert Fisk may be right…or he may not. There is no religious sectarian divide in Libya, it’s a tribal thing. There is not certainty that tribal divisions will lead to civil war, but if seperation and a division of Libya is what they want…who are we to stop them?

10. Civilians will die

Civilains are already dying in large numbers, and have been for weeks. Many fewer would have died if the international community had acted more quickly. The fact that some may die due to the intervention doesn’t somehow outweigh those who have already been killed, or the others who would no-doubt fall vistim to Gaddafi were he victorious. Why should we value them less than the (likely) smaller number who might die as a result of intervention?

11. What about Bahrain and Yemen, for example?

I don’t think it is accurate to say there has been no international outcry. In my view, there should be talk of intervention… but I can’t see it happening in a hurry given how long it took in Libya. Hopefully if things go well in Libya, they can be next on the agenda? It would be good to see the President of Yemen in the next cell to Gaddafi in the Hague… hopefully to be followed by the Emir of Bahrain and others like him?
I don’t think the intervention of the Saudis and GCC in Bahrain was analogous to Afghanistan. If the “former” diplomat is right, then it is reprehensible; hopefully the Emir of Bahrain and his cronies will go the same way as Mubarak and Ben Ali…. The chances of that happening aren’t increased by opposing intervention in Libya however, they are very much decreased.

12. Why no No Fly Zone in Gaza?

It will and should be dimissed out of hand, because equating Gaddafi with the Israelis is something most people in the UK and the West simply won’t recognise. The best hope for a just settlement in Palestine, is the triumph of democratic regimes in the Arab world… it isn’t helped by the Palestinians clamping down against their own people demonstrating in spport of the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

13. What about other examples – e.g. the Ivory Coast?

Yep, I think we (as in the international community) should have intervened in the Ivory Coast. And Sudan. And Zimbabwe. And Burma. The list is a long one, almost a slong as the list of reasons why that isn’t likely to happen. I’d rather like to see North Korea free, and those responsible for Tienanmin Square in China brought to justice, and the Iranian theocrats deposed… but the last 3 in particular aren’t likely to happen.
Few countries have the logistical and military capability to intervene, even if it is done under UN flag. As Rwanda showed, even when a force is in place, and some countries contribute troops, the richer states are usually reluctant to provide the resources and back up. What else would you suggest? A standing UN army with adequate offensive capability? Who would pay for it?
Unpalateable as it might be, we have to work with what we have. No doubt people in Libya would agree with your point too, but I’m betting they’s still prefer intervention to happen in their case. It really is that simple… if we can do something about this situation we should.

14. How much support will Western intervention get in Libya?

They’d have gotten a lot more if they’d acted sooner I suspect. There is no clear reason I can see that the situation will end up like N. Ireland or Iraq; there is no religious divide, and no reason that the tribal differences will automatically lead to civil war and/or partition.
Once again, this is a desperately weak argument to use against intervention.

15. The derailing of the Arab revolution

Your concern, whilst not totally unfounded, is certainly rather laboured. People in the Arab world may not like the thought or reality of western intervention… but presumably it depends what the intervention is in place of? Reports are that the people in Benghazi were dancing for joy and cheering the Americans and the French when the intervention was announced… no doubt the imminent arrival of Gaddafi’s cohorts, and the shelling of their town concentrated their minds somewhat?
Isn’t it considerable MORE likely that democratic secular regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya will be making the dictators in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Algeria, Saudi et al a touch more nervous?

I’m completely against western military intervention for the very reason that we’re simply going to yet again FUBAR things up in the middle east as we always have.

I really do support those who want democracy, but someone is very obviously behind all these repressed nations suddenly up rising.

The very fact the now ‘rebels’ are suddenly armed to the teeth with RPG’s, tanks, fully automatic weapons and military body armour.

Considering these nations all have secret police and employ disappearing and torture to keep the population under control, you’d have to be mad not to sniff.outside involvement.

Too many people would benefit from Arabic uprisings against the west, and getting rid of Arab leaders with links to the west.

The question is who. Iran? Al Qaeda? North Korea? USA?

17. Daniel Curwood

I don’t think there can be an argument against intervention. Quite apart from sitting there and doing nothing, why has the same not been done with other regimes around the world? I take the point that it is not a one-size fall situation. In the case of Libya there have clearly been outcries for change. I think foreign forces should not directly instigate this, however creating the conditions where people can live safely with freedom of expression – I fail to see how this can be a bad thing. I wish the UN had more teeth in the world, I hope this challenge to undemocratic regimes continues. Gaddaffi should do the decent thing and allow democracy to take place, under the watchful eye of international observers.

The title of this post seems to be a misnomer. I should have been “questions concerning the bombings in Libya”.

I didn’t read any arguments, only a list of facts and worries. Not that they are unimportant when considering the level of engagement that is required in Libya. But an actual argument would try to weigh the pros and cons against each other and *explain* why the cons outweigh the pros.

I also think you should engage more with the argument of the supporters instead of just dismissing them out of hand.

Libya and Tunisia are the jump off points for the majority of the refugees attempting to enter Europe illegally. Without stability we will see the bodies of many of these migrants strewn across the beaches of southern europe as criminals exploit their hopes of freedom.

The two halves of what we know as Libya, Cyrenaica and Tripolitania might be better off returning their ancient boundaries

20. tom mcghee

interesting article especially on the question of tribalism which is perhaps the biggest danger in the longer term. as someone who has worked in east and central africa for the last ten years including chad, somalia and the drc, the most worrying thing is that the nfz is being coordinated by us africa command. since its inception its record has been abysmal!! has armed and trained some v questionable groups and shown v little understanding of regional issues and balances.
simply libya is a islamic country in africa so it up to either the au or the arab states to intervene. western governments indulged in hand wringing and looking the other way when bashir was using his chinese bought airforce to bomb villages in west and southern sudan. it is reassuring though to see the child cameron so determined to support bp shareholders!

Interesting points, for sure. I want to point out however that there are 9000 active UN troops on the ground in the Ivory Coast allready. They hav been there for some time to make sure a full blown civil war doesn’t break out. In addition, there are 2000 more troops on the way as a reinforcement caused by the latest violence. Surely 11000 troops on the ground must qualify as an UN intervention? In fact, you could argue that is actually more of an intervention than what’s going on in Libya right now.

at the end of all this is the main prize is iran and all thease so called freedom fighters will wake up and smell the coffee and find out its all one big lie and u move from one slavery to another all thinking its all better but deep in there hearts they all know they have all know they have been lied to all ther lives and nothin gets better while the rich get richer and u just plod on thinking ur livin the dream but u all aint wake up peeps its all a lie

@15 UKcuts

“I’m completely against western military intervention for the very reason that we’re simply going to yet again FUBAR things up in the middle east as we always have.”

Being totally against it at all possible timees and for any possible reasons is a ridiculous position.

“I really do support those who want democracy, …”

So basically you are in favour of offering them all possible support….short of actual help? I’m sure the Libyan revolutionaries will be thrilled as they tried to fight off Gaddafi’s forces. How about some tea and sympathy.. that ought to work a treat.

“……but someone is very obviously behind all these repressed nations suddenly up rising.”

Mayday! Mayday! Outrageous and totally unjustified conspiracy theory alert!! There are shadowy forces at work… or of course you just have an overactive imagination? Please tell me you don’t think the Israelis were behind the (/11 bombings…pretty please?

“The very fact the now ‘rebels’ are suddenly armed to the teeth with RPG’s, tanks, fully automatic weapons and military body armour.”

Hint: it probably wasn’t the CIA/Israelis/Green lizards who secretly rule the world OK? It is MUCH more likely that the equiment was already there, or perhaps was shipped to them by the Egyptians..as some reports have suggested.

“Considering these nations all have secret police and employ disappearing and torture to keep the population under control, you’d have to be mad not to sniff.outside involvement.”

No, but you’d have to be more than a bit mad to make the leap from “this happened suddenly” to “it was planned by sinister outside forces”.

“Too many people would benefit from Arabic uprisings against the west, and getting rid of Arab leaders with links to the west. The question is who. Iran? Al Qaeda? North Korea? USA?”

Nurse! Nurse!! NUUUURRSE! Quick, the syringe…. we’ve got a right one here! Thunk. Feeling better now? Good, good.. just relax and come back when the medication kicks in right? We’ll all thank you for it…. no, really.

24. Brett Gasper

The US has had a long history in the Middle East… and it has been a give and take sort of thing. US gets a large amount of oil from these countries – but exports food and wealth for the development of these countries. Often, the US faces a paradox;

If we do have a relationship with a country, we support a dictator;
If we do not have a relationship with a country, we make their people suffer.
If we overthrow a tyrant, we exercise our “evil empire status” to install a puppet, steal their resources or establish a colony… hogwash!

Many governments explain their shortfalls by presenting a scapegoat. I believe that Saddam Hussein was at least partially responsible for the suffering of the Iraqi people. In the same sense, Shah Pahlavi played a small part in the death of Dr. Mosadeq… If the US played any role, it was a minuscule amount.

I’m very saddened at what is happening in Libya.Western crusaders are trying to destroy our beloved country.

I seem to remember that Western air power was absolutely crucial in Northern Iraq when RAF tornados and 42 Commando helped protect the Kurds from Saddam Hussein. Obviously though that doesn’t count though does it Owen?

But if you insist I guess we could just sit idly by and I guess we could let Gaddafi storm into Benghazi and Torbruk and I guess we could just sit about and watch a massacre happen under our noses. I mean, hey, thats what we did in Srebrenica!

Because hey that was a formerly friendly regime attacking a ragtag group led by former regime elements being protected by a UN mandate with vague aims and endgames. People were questioning why we were in Bosnia at all.

So I’ve got more than 8,000 reasons why we should enforce a no-fly and no-drive zone in Libya and if we do follow your advice Owen and stay out I’d have probably another 250,000+ reasons why your advice was patently wrong.

Because thats the number of civilians who will be killed, tortured or imprisoned against their will and you know it.

And the reason why there isn’t a no-fly zone over Gaza or Lebanon? Well why don’t you try and plan an intervention against possibly the 4th or 5th most advanced military power in the world (and NUCLEAR ARMED I’ll add).

And the reason why we’re not intervening in Bahrain or Zimbabwe because neither of those countries are butchering people in their 1,000s like Gaddafi has been doing this past month.

Also I think you’ve forgotten that we *have* intervened in Ivory Coast there is already a UN force there and France has eliminated the state’s ability to cause havoc with its air force years previously.

Isn’t it exciting? British Forces in action – again. It’s now the lead item in every news bulletin and the unprecedented efficiency savings being required of the NHS and the Police – because of that record budget deficit – barely rate a passing mention. Top marks for Government Communications.

Mind you, British Forces have been “in action” in Afghanistan since 2001, with no end in sight, as yet. And WW2 took less than 6 years.

This is just more political opera but with Cameron cast as the diva this time round.

Who in government has made any protest about the scores demonstrating for more democracy in Bahrain and the Yemen who have been shot?

Who in this government or the last has given a flying fig for the hundreds of thousands – literally – who have been killed in continuing conflicts in Algeria and DR Congo over decades, often with appalling brutality?

28. Adrian Evitts

The Western powers don’t give two hoots about the welfare of the Libyan people. Otherwise, why were we cosying up to Gaddafi so recently, even selling a PhD to his son? This little picnic is about oil, pure and simple. We wouldn’t lift a finger against him – let alone spend a fortune on all these armaments – unless we thought we’d get our hands on that.

So what do you think should be done then? Let’s assume the starting point is today – what is your strategy for dealing with this? Grandstanding of the highest order if i’m not mistaken.

@ Andreas Moser
but “Odyssey Dawn” is implying something else ( then 10 years long travel) and much worst – that the so called “coalition” is returning home. if this is not a perfect exemple of imperialist and colonialist thinking i don’t know what it is …

It would seem that the only safe option is to do nothing, lest the West be accused of some sort of evil.

The UN resolution called for the protection of those protesters (which began peacefully before Gaddiffi’s forces started slaughtering them), if action had not been taken then we may have had a massacre on in cities like Benghazi. Action probably has been taken before an after plan exists, but I think it is better that action is taken rather than see something like Rwanda happen again.

To address a couple of points raised. It is true that the West doesn’t have a particularly good record in the Middle East nor North Africa, but again should history really prevent us for doing what seems to be right? Actions should be judged on the outcome not the past; if UN intervention protects the people who are protesting for freedom and enables them to create a freer Libya then the action will probably be justified. History reminds of of our failures and should guide us, it doesn’t preclude us from doing what is right in the present.

I think many people are overstating the oil factor about Libya, as if it is the only motivation. Libya does produce oil and would appear to have reasonable reserves (a few percent of current world total) but actually produces comparatively little. Canada and the US produce more, so too do the Gulf States who are also involved, Libya only produces a little bit more than the UK even (and if reports about the Falklands are true the UK has bigger reserves). It is only something like the 15th biggest producer in the world, and as has been pointed out elsewhere the cost of oil doesn’t seem to vary if the producer is a brutal dictator or democratically elected. Perhaps the foremost reason that the UK, US and France are taking the lead is not because of greed but because they have 3 of the 5 best funded militaries in the world and have the ability to take action in Libya?

Lets judge what happens in Libya after it happens not before on whatifs and guesses. Rather than assuming and pointing out all the negatives this action could bring about a lot of positives. We may end up with a free and fair Libya run by Libyans, the actions of the West might receive positive reactions in the area if things get better, the sight of the UN protecting citizens who are protesting for freedom might embolden others and spread the ‘Arab Spring’ and create a new period of mutual respect and understanding in western/arabic relations. Just because our records contains more than enough blemishes we should still try to do what is right for humanity. After all, who would have thought that Tony Blair would one day meet Kosovan children named after him.

32. flyingrodent

I hate to be so short about this, but the only question that matters is Is this going to work? Everything else is bullshit.

I’ve been asking this for three weeks, and every time I do I get told that only scumbags would oppose intervention, because Gaddafi is a horrendous, violently inclined lunatic.

Well, yes, so he is. And? Libya will be there in five years, in fifty years. There’s much, much more at stake than the makeup of North Africa tomorrow. I think the short term results so far have been good, and now that the war has started I hope we blow up as many of Gaddafi’s tanks as possible.

But. Still. Is there a plan? Nothing I’ve seen so far indicates that there is. I try and fail to see how babysitting our own African South Ossetia is a good idea in the long term. My problem with the liberal interventionists is that they’re fucking brilliant at jumping on their high horses and demanding action, and at blaming the results of non-intervention on some fringe far lefties.

When it comes to taking responsibility for, say, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, suddenly it’s Al Qaeda ate our homework and This is nothing to do with us. Moral Titans on the way in, and whining, What, Us? saps on the way out.

I hope that this isn’t the same scenario, just as I hoped that Iraq would end in flowers and democracy, even though I fully expected a new Vietnam. I really hope it’s good this time. Really.

I’m not confident, though. Nothing we’ve seen in the past few decades suggests it.

33. J. Chris R.

It saddens me that so many are prepared to pass by on the other side when fellow humans, in whatever country, are in need and danger.

I suppose the idea that “it’s nothing to do with me, mate” is the way to keep safe if one is a well-fed middle class Brit with a good job, own home with dg, gsh and two-car garage but is it really right?

Or have the concepts of “right” and “wrong” just relative, these days?

34. J. Chris R.

Forgive me: last sentence should read “are” not “have”. It’s been a long day!

JCR

@ J. Chris. R

ah pass me your pathetic thinking.

help human in danger : so mate why then you pass on it
when they are RIGHT NOW murdered in Bahrein, Yemen and Soudan ?????
because you are this well fed mid class Brit who needs his government to make, from time to time, a little colonial war in order that the little Bret is good fed and corectly pay – so that the Queen, who’s fortune is made on a dictatorship 1000000 times more cruel then the one of Gaddafi, can still take her little puddle on walk at the palace meadow etc etc J. Chris you are what is called a reactionary ignorant middle class worker —-

It saddens me that so many are prepared to pass by on the other side when fellow humans, in whatever country, are in need and danger.

I’d like to know how many of the folk who voice these sentiments have, say, gone to feed the hungry in Somalia. I agree and disagree with points that Owen’s made but it’s an argument about what’s going to help, not over who’s the most caring.

Although I agree with many of the points in this post I think the conclusion is overly cynical.

Although I’m sure there are selfish reasons behind the actions of countries involved, I don’t believe they’re the primary motivations. If the deal is indeed made sweeter by potential gains for us, perhaps that’s not even something to complain about. Although I’m sure most of us want to see moral government, we elect them primarily based on how well we believe they will look after our country, not others’. And even countries with good reason to discourage such intervention (Russia, China and various Arab nations) are convinced (Russia and China didn’t vote but, considering their veto powers, I think it’s fair to consider abstaining some form of agreement) so clearly there is a convincing argument for the actions of the UK, France, the US etc. beyond merely their own interests.

Many of us in the West are overly apologetic for historical events. Although there is a long list of things we have done to harm the Middle East, we are often too quick to cast ourselves as the villains in the scramble to reject past imperialist ideas (much like how Pokemon is now incredibly uncool). The Middle East’s history is full of havoc and oppression wreaked by various empires, many of them not Western. And simply put, these oppressive regimes are popular. Gadaffi isn’t in power only because of Western support. Iran’s regime, one that makes Gadaffi seem quite jolly, is in power despite the best efforts of the US, Israel and the UK.

The “whataboutery” are valid points and not ones I disagree with, but I’m hoping (perhaps in vain) that this is the opportunity for a new dawn in relations between the West and the Middle East. By this I don’t so much mean relations with Middle Eastern governments, but with the people who are, no doubt, largely cynical of Western actions. I think the one greatest thing we could do to combat terrorism and war in general is refute the “Westerners are evil imperialists” rhetoric used by those with violent agendas. If this is played right it might go some way towards that.

My hopes go even further, in fact. This “whataboutery” (new word to me – I like it) doesn’t just work one way. Let’s say Libya works out as we’d like it – everyone happy and democratic – and then Israel shells Palestinians. Then would come the whataboutery, and it would be very convincing.

@ 31 flyingrodent

And I’ve been asking this question for weeks, with no reponse from those opposed to intervention:

Why are you happy to use all sorts of spurious “whatiffery” arguments about the potential pitfalls of intervention, and proclaim that they therefore trump ALL possible arguments in favour of intervention, including of course the clincher that intervention will save thousands of lives.

It really is that simple sorry… no ifs, no buts. Forget all the whineing and what ifs about other parts of the world, the west’s terrible past, etc., etc.

Doing nothing is NOT some value free choice which will result in fewer deaths: it will result in a bloodbath.

39. flyingrodent

Why are you happy to use all sorts of spurious “whatiffery” arguments about the potential pitfalls of intervention…

Fuck everything else – you are a moron, if that’s seriously your argument. Considering contingencies is central to any kind of war planning, for the protection of your own troops, if nothing else. The fact that you dick it off like it’s nothing shows how much consideration you give to the causes you advocate for, you clown.

Whatiffery, indeed. Stick to white facepaint, slapstick and pratfalls, idiot.

i love this tender and sensible western soul that can not stay home and watch
the suffering of the people in a far away country ( by the way the suffering of the people in their country is never a problem). but once they go in those far away country to help the suffering once we realise that they value their lives more then the lives of the people – so it’s easier to bomb from 2000 km with the risk of “collateral damage” ( means : killing the civil people) then to put in danger their
little-bourgeois-western lifes. i’m really dreaming of a human intervention lead by Brazil, Bolivia, Cuba and India against the Tony Blairs. the Camerons, the G.W. Bush, the Sarkozys with some little bombing of the military instalation in USA, France and UK so that the hypnotized reactionary masses could finally experience what it means to be the people they are helping !!!!!!!

I wonder what the situation in Libya will be after Kadhafi steps down. The intervention of the Western countries will be regarded as a promise of bringing stability and economic prosperity to the region and I am afraid if this prosperity is not finally achieved the Libyan people will accuse the West of promising something which can hardly be obtained.

@37

Doing nothing is NOT some value free choice which will result in fewer deaths: it will result in a bloodbath.

I remain unconvinced that intervening will not also result in a bloodbath, especially with Is this going to work? still being an unanswered question. I suppose it might allow you to place the word protracted in front of the word bloodbath however, I’ll give you that one.

Have you noticed how the MSM just loves a new war. Never mind the clusterfuck of previous wars, and the fact that we still have people being killed in Afghanistan. Nope, lets just move on to the next one. Oh, look over there….. cruise missiles flying through the air …. Weeeeeee….. and BANG!

And how much is all this going to cost? Seeing as this is austerity Britain. Funny how we have to cut back, but if it’s bailing out bankers or funding the military industrial complex then …..spend ,spend, spend. And before some dipstick brown shirt troll comes on here saying Labour did it, I opposed that as well.

It seems to have become a right of passage for every new prime Minister to blow shit up. If he can’t stand at a podium and say…..”military operations have begun” then he is not viewed as a real Prime Minister.

44. Just Visiting

Oh dear just read this ‘may be killing children’ unhelpful emotion from CND:

Chairwoman Kate Hudson told fellow protesters at a rally in Downing Street: “We don’t think the massive aerial bombardment is going to help bring about peace and democracy in Libya. Cruise missiles may be killing children as we speak.”

45. Just Visiting

Sally

interesting for you to mention your concern over costs. But no mention as to what is right or wrong.
Saving the UK money is more important than doing the right thing, is it?

@just visiting

false options

what Uk and co. are doing is
the WRONG thing which makes their BUISNEES GROW

47. Just Visiting

Vladimir

Any chance of making an actual argument, and not just making statements?

Rebels have asked for outside help – why would letting Gaddafi killing many more people be the right thing to do?

48. Just Visiting

Cylux 41

How does this sound then:
* doing nothing would result in a bloodbath
* intervening may possibly result in one.

So the latter is preferable, if it’s blood-baths in other countries that we aim to prevent.

@just visiting

is it your nickname or a way to be in thinking ?

……. because

1 we didn’t saw civilians killed but armed rebels

2 the coalition is also killing soldiers and it’s not making problems

3 the coalition is not intervening to stop a slaughter
( it’s obvious it’s making it worst)

4 but for the needs of it’s inner politics ( Sarkozy has just started the campaign for his reelections in 2012 for exemple) and for the western companies who will come to “reconstruct” the country once it’s been demolished

try to stay awake

@ justvisiting

you want an actual argument, you just had it on BBC live, lybian civilians who are AGAINST GADDAFI are AGAINST THE BOMBINGS. so who are you to decide on their place what to do ? the once who asked for bombings are armed rebels wich are leaded by Gaddafi ex-minister of justice and ex-minister of interior. so, you think that he is a dictator but his minister of interior is an enlightened revolutionary ???
ma dai !

* doing nothing would result in a bloodbath
* intervening may possibly result in one.

So the latter is preferable…

True, sometimes, except that “bloodbath” is way too simplistic. Twenty people being shot is a “bloodbath”. Twenty thousand people being shot is a “bloodbath”. Yet, in human terms, there’s clearly a difference of some note.

@47 Personally I’m inclined to believe that the second answer will look more like – Intervening will result in a greater bloodbath with prolonged consequences for both Libya and those nations intervening.
Perhaps I’ll be proved wrong however. But for now I remain pessimistic.
Also here’s an interesting link that should make everyone question just how welcome western intervention is by the rebels.

53. flyingrodent

Vladimir your comments are oozing with assumptions of greater knowledge and wisdom, but you certainly don’t sound more englightened or “awake” to me, just angry and full of hate for the West whatever they do. I wonder if you supported Russia’s invasion of South Ossetia?

55. flyingrodent

I mean, I assume Ben’s chat about South Ossetia was a joke. Not a funny one, necessarily, but I can get with that.

Given the way things are going, South Ossetia in north Africa might be the best option open.

@Ben

absolutely not.
Putin politics is as imperialist and as revolting as the US and UKs.
It’s Time who chosed him as the man of year. It’s the same logic.

But the topic here is this invasion.

And this western behavior is outraging!.
It’s the third war in ten years.
I think for every normal person it’s being simply too much.
US and UK lost all moral right to make an intervention in a foreing country.
Like Germany in 1946.

And what makes once feel anger and sadness
is to see that US and UK citizens are AGAIN
accepting the same plot patern in order to justifie a war.

Irak lessons where not enough ?
So back up your citizen responsabilities
and stop destroying other countries !

57. Just Visiting

Cylux

> Intervening will result in a greater bloodbath with prolonged consequences for both Libya and those nations intervening.

I guess that is the crux of the issue. If this true – then intervention would be the wrong thing.

But are there no scenarios you can imagine, where our intervention is small enough to avoid the greater bloodbath?

Is there no chance that our intervention may help Gaddafi leave the country, and allow a more Egyptian/Tunisiam way ahead.

(Of course the outcome in Egypt/Tunisia are not sure yet…they could at worst case end up in equally despotic regimes as before, or as islamic fundamentalist Taliban-style regimes.

@ 38 flyingrodent

“Fuck everything else – you are a moron, if that’s seriously your argument. etc. etc…. ”

Come back and post when you’re an adult and have a vocabulary: until then, spare us your peurile mind farts.

The West cannot be an honest broker in the Middle East

No countries are cleaner than clean in this world. To use this as a reason for doing nothing amounts to saying that nothing should be done, which rather contradicts your earlier statement: “Other than a few nutters, we all want Gaddafi overthrown”.

Or we could end up with a long-term partition of Libya

I think this is unlikely. If the rebels manage to hang on for the next few days (which i think they will), then the west can supply them with arms and help to train and organise them. Then, they will be able to beat Gaddafi’s forces, most of which will not stay loyal once they realise they are on the losing side.

60. Just Visiting

Cylux 51

That web link you provide, is not very conclusive.

Without knowing whether Gaddafi did facilitate eastern-Libyans going to Iraq to fight…

Anyway, if the intervention in the very short term prevents a masacre – won’t that be good PR that the West does do good things too: and thus reduce the number of people there that will listen to the Benghazi islamic fundamentalist hot heads?

(And as everyone knows on LC – I have strong views about islam and it’s illiberal nature; so I am definitely not disagreeing that there are probably more western-hating islamists there than most LC would allow)

According to a quote on the BBCR4 Westminster Hour on Sunday, maintaining the No Fly Zone costs the UK national exchequer from £10 to £15 millions a week.

But not to worry, bring forward that network of those Harold Shipman Centres to resolve all those challenging costs of population ageing? That should finally deal with the problem of the unsustainable budget deficit.

Btw as reported on Sunday: “CAIRO (AP) — The head of the Arab League has criticized international strikes on Libya, saying they caused civilian deaths.

“The Arab League’s support for a no-fly zone last week helped overcome reluctance in the West for action in Libya. The UN authorized not only a no-fly zone but also ‘all necessary measures’ to protect civilians.

“Amr Moussa says the military operations have gone beyond what the Arab League backed.”
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iRRC-Ij_xoxpHpSxJd-LVDd1JHXQ?docId=999067b967b7412c83d7cce7921da560

62. Just Visiting

Bob B

I know the UK problem of an ageing is close to your heart -and I know it’s a real problem.

But you are not seriously arguing that the UK govt should say No to any and all discretionary overseas spending? Without asking whether it is a good idea or not?
You think we should not have sent money and teams to help find survivors in Japan?

So you’ll need to address whether the LIbyan intervention is a good purpose or not.

@Just Visting: I can see you are beginning to see my point even if you still disagree with it.

But are there no scenarios you can imagine, where our intervention is small enough to avoid the greater bloodbath?

Is there no chance that our intervention may help Gaddafi leave the country, and allow a more Egyptian/Tunisiam way ahead.

The answer is of course, yes, I can imagine certain scenarios where everything goes as best as it can and everything is resolved favourably with the minimum of bloodshed.
Making that imagination into reality however is the main stumbling block, the rebels are not exactly united on the issue of foreign intervention, we would essentially be backing a faction within the rebels. A faction that contains former members of the regime we wish stopped. Plus, as I mentioned up @11, our own leaders are probably not quite as concerned by Libyan deaths as we might like them to be. Expect strings to come attached to those bombs and expect other rebel factions to violently resent those strings. (and probably the bombs as well, expect “collateral damage” from the outset)

In short to the question of will this work? we still do not really have an answer, it’s a blind gamble. One that might work out about as close to peaches and roses as you can get with a military intervention, or descend into bloody chaos and make things much worse off than if we had stood by and not rolled the dice.
Given the history of our past interventions I think the chances of things not turning up peaches and roses are significantly high.

Of course it matters little what I think, it’s done now. Best just to hope for the best, but expect the worst.

@61: “But you are not seriously arguing that the UK govt should say No to any and all discretionary overseas spending?”

Heaven forbid – and I’m not saying that Cameron should desist from breathing entirely either. If we have affordable humanitarian concerns for distant places, I feel sure charities in Japan would appreciate a donation amounting to £10 to £15 millions a week to help alleviate the suffering of the victims of the earthquake and tsunami there.

“So you’ll need to address whether the LIbyan intervention is a good purpose or not.”

As is usual with governments, its declared motivation may not be the same as its undeclared motives. After all, there’s been some dithering among the allies over whether regime change in Libya is the real objective of the armed intervention – and that would be illegal in international law. Intervention which leaves Gaddafi in power could have “interesting” downstream results.

Expressions of good intentions are never enough. We need to look both at the consequences of the adopted policy as well as the social costs of the foregone alternatives.

What we know from the news is that the Arab League has withdrawn its support for the UN Security Council authorised intervention in Libya. We can also observe that the exciting news about British forces in action has driven out from the bulletins all those embarrassing reports about opposition to the unprecedented “efficiency savings” being required of the NHS and the Police.

I’m a natural sceptic about governments and their declared motives for any policy.

Successive British governments have not exhibited concerns about the hundreds of thousands killed in the course of continuing conflicts in Algeria and DR Congo – or atrocities such as the Caravan of Death in Chile during the early 1970s – so I’m instinctively suspicious about the concerns expressed about Libya, coupled with the government’s deafening silence about the shooting of scores of demonstrators in Bahrain and the Yemen.

65. Arthur Seaton

Owen Jones – your article is very good, and your many points expressed well. I find it hard to disagree with any of them. And yet the single brute fact of the rebellion being crushed if this intervention hadn’t ocurred still sways me to the other side. Of course arming the rebels would have been better, of course bombing is not the right way, of course the West having a presence there is utterly counterproductive to any progressive democratic movement, and of course there is no reason to believe there is any altruism at work on the part of this intervention – there never is. And yet at the same time, I can’t help but think the crushing of the rebellion, Gadaffy triumphant, the massacring of thousands of brave and righteous fighters for freedom would have been even worse. Tortuous times. Bear this in mind though – unlike with Iraq, it is clear the Western powers have been caught on the hoof on this. They didn’t want it, not really. But the rebels needed it.

@64

The morality of wars is seldom clear cut.

On 1 September 1939, Nazi German troops invaded Poland with the declared motive of protecting the (relatively large) German-speaking population of the Polish city of Danzig, a justification which had some merit in fact. After the issue in 1938 over the sovereignty of parts of Czecho-Slovakia with predominantly German-speaking populations, the Poles and their government were understandably apprehensive about the loyalties of the German-speaking population of Danzig.

Britain and France issued an ultimatum to Germany to cease the invasion of Polish territory and, failing any response, declared war in 3 September 1939 in honour of a treaty with Poland to guarantee its territorial integrity. By the end of the ensuing international conflict, between 40 and 50 million people had been killed, most of whom had no say whatever in the issues which led to their slaughter.

67. So Much For Subtlety

“The Arab Spring has given way to a cold snap: Tiananmen Square-style massacres of protesters in Yemen, the Saudi invasion of Bahrain and full-blown Western intervention in Libya.”

How the West deserves to be there with China’s massacre I don’t know. But in China people protested peacefully. In Yemen they have not. Thousands died in China in an unprovoked attack. 90 has allegedly died so far in Yemen.

“no coincidence, of course.”

Actually it is a total coincidence, or if you think it is not, explain why not.

“Other than a few nutters, we all want Gaddafi overthrown, dead or alive.”

I am utterly unconvinced of that.

“I will not caricature supporters of the bombing campaign as frothing-at-the-mouth neo-cons or born-again Paul Wolfowitzs.”

How about not caricaturing neo-cons or Wolfowitz either?

“But there are 360 million Arabs living daily with the consequences of a century of Western interference in the region.”

Yeah, there are 360 million Arabs for start. Who are well fed and comparatively well educated. All thanks to the West.

“Western power has a long and sordid history in the Middle East: overthrowing unsympathetic governments (like Mossadegh in Iran in 1953)”

We did not overthrow Mossadegh. The Iranian Army did. Which they would have done whether we were there or not. The Arabs have overthrown the vast majority of governments that have been overthrown themselves. This is just a useful stick to beat the West. There is no evidence the locals give a flying rat’s arse.

“backing Israel to the hilt as it oppresses Palestinians, wages brutal wars of aggression and flouts international law”

Big deal. Half of this is untrue, the other half is irrelevant. They may hate us because we back the Jewish state but it doesn’t look like it. None of these protests have so much as mentioned Israel or America. Again, as with Mossy, the Left’s obsessions are not necessarily their’s.

“taking Iraq’s side in the bloody war with Iran in the 1980s”

As did the entire Arab world with a few minor exceptions.

“launching a spectacularly catastrophic war with Iraq in 2003 (after over a decade of sanctions which inflicted a terrible human toll)”

But not catastrophic because of us. Because of the locals’ desire to murder each other and other Arab’s desire to go to Iraq and murder Shia. The bloodshed was an internal problem caused mainly locals for local reasons.

“and, of course, arming, funding and supporting dictatorships across the region – including Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain and, until recently, the toppled regimes of Egypt and Tunisia.”

And yet we did not put those regimes in place. The locals did. The Bahraini monarchy, it is true, pre-dates us, but most of those regimes took power by throwing our friends out of office. Mubarak because Nasser threw out the King. Not exactly our friend but less of an enemy. The Saudis threw out the Hashemites who have been friends of a sort. Tunisia threw out the French. Notice that Nasser was popular as long as he was supporting the murder of Westerners. This might make you pause as to the real reason these regimes were unpopular.

“You might not think this is relevant. It’s certainly relevant to the people who have suffered, and continue to suffer, because of the largely destructive role played by the West in the Middle East.”

We cured smallpox. Oh woe is us. Our role in the Middle East has been mainly positive and it has been our enemies that have done virtually all the bad things. It is not relevant simply because it is not true. Nor is anyone suffering because of us.

“know it depends on oil from the Middle East.”

That is true for Europe but it is less and less true for America. America’s response to OPEC was to lower its dependency on OPEC oil. Now it is Japan and Europe that depends on the Middle East.

“Given the West’s reliance on Middle Eastern oil, it simply cannot be trusted to prioritise the future of the people who live there (and, as we’ve noted, there’s no evidence it ever has).”

This is just self-loathing. If we were still in control of the Middle East we would have prioritise the future of the people there into vast better countries.

“So let’s not pretend that the West is not determined to try and manage the Arab revolutions. The bombing of Libya opens the way for further Western interventions in the turmoil sweeping the Arab world.”

As if managing these revolts is a bad thing. God forbid that the Middle East should try to learn something from people who have modern, functioning, liberal democratic states about how to run a democracy. They don’t have any problem learning science from people who have it, why not democracy?

As for interventions, these are generally bad ideas. But no worse than what is there already. Why should Soviet interventions be excused and not ours?

“And what’s the position of neighbouring revolutionary Egypt? “No intervention, period.””

Except they seem to be arming the rebels.

“Gaddafi is already predictably playing the anti-colonial card.”

Which, no doubt, works a treat in Islington and at the UN. Elsewhere?

“Even the most dedicated pro-interventionists must be appalled at the cynicism of the recent history of Western-Libyan relations. The countries now bombing Libya provided it with hundreds of millions of pounds worth of arms, which it is now using to slaughter rebels.”

No they did not and no they are not. The French, perhaps, but not America and not Britain. The weapons being used to kill rebels are Soviet. As usual.

“So I was alarmed to read an article by Robert Fisk, pointing out that the red, black and green flag of the rebels (i.e. Libya’s pre-Gaddafi flag) is a flag of the Senoussi tribe.”

The Senusi, last time I checked, were not a tribe but a Sufi order. That provided the last King of Libya.

“Or are we laying the foundations for an all-out sectarian war?”

Tribal != sectarian.

“But civilians will inevitably be killed in these campaigns, and almost certainly already have been.”

And civilians will die if we allow cars on the road. Shall we ban them?

“The Yemeni dictatorship is waging a campaign of terror against the democratic opposition.”

They would have to find a democratic opposition first. But one rogue state at a time. After Libya we can decide about Yemen. Just because we cannot make the world perfect in one easy step doesn’t mean we should not try to make it better in 27 difficult ones.

“Or take Bahrain, which is also violently repressing its protesters. The Saudis last week invaded the country, much like the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 (also at the “invitation” of an illegitimate government).”

Sorry but the first thing the Soviets did was shoot the president of Afghanistan. They were not invited in. This comparison is absurd.

“Former British diplomat Craig Murray has good reason to believe that this invasion was sanctioned by the US government.”

Nothing Murray believes has good reason.

“So while the West intervenes in Libya, it is complicit in – or even in support of – violence being committed against protesters by Western-backed dictatorships.”

Oh woe is me! Even if it is true, so what?

“Why no No Fly Zone in Gaza?”

Because Hamas are murderous genocidal terrorists. This is lame.

“What about other examples – e.g. the Ivory Coast?”

What about Sierra Leone? If the Left stops obstructing there is no end to the good we can do in the world. As long as we have to fight case by case, we will only do one country every decade or so. We will get around to it or they will settle down of their own according.

“But if they are selective about intervening – hysterically demanding it in some cases, remaining completely silent in other near-identical situations – then they should expect to be scrutinised.”

Yeah, but rationally.

“Other than trying to shut the question down, pro-interventionists should at least try to explain why the West gets involved in one case but not another.”

Because Libya is on TV. It doesn’t matter. There is no secret cabal trying to run the Middle East. Because we can. And we should.

“You could ask them the same question about the Ivory Coast, unless they are going to start yelling for bombs to fall there equally as vocally.”

Absolutely.

“But will their position change again?”

Of course. It is an honour-based society. We have shamed them. They were not manly enough to free themselves. They will have to redeem their honour by attacking us the second it is safe to do so.

“A big danger is that despots across the Middle East will warn their people: revolt, and you will invite Western bombs.”

Although a more rational outcome is the rebels warning their leaders that if they suppress them they will invite the bombs. We are not dropping bombs on the people but on a dictator.

68. So Much For Subtlety

65. Bob B – “By the end of the ensuing international conflict, between 40 and 50 million people had been killed, most of whom had no say whatever in the issues which led to their slaughter.”

And by the end of it Poland was not free. Freer. But not free.

So what?

@67: “So what?”

Why not try reading the post before asking silly questions? As said: The morality of wars is seldom clear cut.

With the government’s deafening silence on the shooting of scores of demonstrators pressing for democracy in Bahrain and the Yemen, more than a few in Britain are starting to wonder whether the declared motives for the continued bombing of Libya are as solid and valid as the government claims, especially since the Arab League has now expressed its reservations about the scale and scope of the bombing.

But the government is doubtless delighted that the start of hostilities against Libya has knocked reports like this out of the news bulletins:

David Cameron’s health reforms risk destroying the NHS, says Tory doctor

David Cameron is warned by a Tory MP and family doctor that his health reforms could “destroy” the National Health Service.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8392556/David-Camerons-health-reforms-risk-destroying-the-NHS-says-Tory-doctor.html

70. So Much For Subtlety

68. Bob B – “As said: The morality of wars is seldom clear cut.”

I am sorry but you’re holding World War Two up as an example of a war that was not clear-cut in the moral sense? Oh really? Why?

“With the government’s deafening silence on the shooting of scores of demonstrators pressing for democracy in Bahrain and the Yemen, more than a few in Britain are starting to wonder whether the declared motives for the continued bombing of Libya are as solid and valid as the government claims, especially since the Arab League has now expressed its reservations about the scale and scope of the bombing.”

The Arab League are, of course, weasels. It was surprising they endorsed it to start with. Can’t think what they were thinking. But why do you think the British government even needs to comment on Yemen? What difference does it make? We are not running the Middle East any more. What happens there is not really any of our business. We can intervene in Libya and so we should. After we have done so, we ought to think about intervening elsewhere too. Although Yemen would be so low down the list it would hardly rank at all.

71. the a&e charge nurse

Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya – where next?

I’m sure those demanding military action would be fully prepared to sacrifice their own lives in pursuit of the west’s agenda in the region, or maybe they just want other people do so on their behalf?

I get the impression some are great at talking the talking but not necessarily so great at walking the walk?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoQ_WfId1RY

@70

Where next? That kind of depends on which crazed dictator starts killing his own population by the thousand doesn’t it?

What is happening in Yemen and Bahrain is bad enough, though it hasn’t gotten to the state of the Libyan revolution yet…. presumably you’re another of those who would prefer the international community just left them to their fate too?

Your subsidiary point is apparently that nobody who isn’t going to fly to Libya to stand shoulder to shoulder with the rebels is allowed to have an opinion, because of course they must have some sinister agenda, rather than weighing up the options and deciding it would be worse to allow a mass slaughter.

Have you been dipping into the drugs trolley at work, or have you just had a subsidised compassion bypass to make it easier on what remains of your conscience?

@69: “I am sorry but you’re holding World War Two up as an example of a war that was not clear-cut in the moral sense? Oh really? Why?”

By the end of WW2 between 40 and 50 million people had been killed, most of whom had absolutely no say in deciding the course of events which determined their fate and can in no way be held responsible for the event which led to the war.

I fail to see how we can uphold that eventuality as morally justifiable when the scale of possible consequences of war had not been widely and properly debated at the outset. Governments made the presumptive claim of knowing better than their citizens what was in their best interests even if their citizens were killed as a result.

The regular and so predictable denunciations of appeasement fail to take account of entirely rational concerns by some during the 1930s about the foreseeable consequences of starting another pan-European conflict.

“The Arab League are, of course, weasels.”

In the run-up to the UN Security Council debate on resolution 1973, the support of the Arab League was help up as critical to the justification for creating a No Fly Zone and protecting the Libyan opposition to Gaddafi from the barbarities of his regime on humanitarian grounds.

Now that the Arab League has reservations about the scale and scope of the bombing of Libya, the League can be dubbed “weasels” and disregarded. I feel certain that paticular perfidy will be remembered in much of the Middle East for a long time to come.

I’m sure too that many will also recall that the government’s declared humanitarian concerns didn’t extend to those who were shot while demonstrating for democracy in Bahrain and the Yemen.

74. the a&e charge nurse

[71] “That kind of depends on which crazed dictator starts killing his own population by the thousand doesn’t it” – no, it depends on how much oil and arms business there is for interested protagonists.

And yes, I did have a quick blast on the entonox – I find the arguments for war unconvincing, and I think Owen gives some very good reasons why.

@73

Seems to me that an entonox habit is the least of your worries.

Of course falling back on the old “it’s all about the oil, and the wicked imperialists” narrative is so much more comforting than actually having to think for yourself, or answer the question of how you would prevent the slaughter of the Libyan revolutionaries absent some intervention.

@72 Bob B

Quickly, here’s some more cake for you to have as well as the stuff you are eating….!

The Arab League is a deeply flawed organisation representing (apart tentatively from Tunisia and Egypt) a number of murderous authoritarian dictatorships, none of which were elected; it behoves us to bear that in mind when we are thinking about questions of legitimacy. Abu Moussa rowed back from the earlier support expressed (but only in his Arabic comments interestingly, not his English comments) because he has pretentions to run for President of Egypt. He’s playing to the gallery, not articulating any genuine thread of anti-intervention amongst Arabs in general.

The west stood by and watched hundreds die in Libya as the wrung their hands, and tried to get the deeply unpleasant regimes in the rest of the Arab world to act as their fig leaf. Now those same Arabs are trying to have their cake and eat it too. Stun me with another.

@72

“I fail to see how we can uphold that eventuality as morally justifiable when the scale of possible consequences of war had not been widely and properly debated at the outset. Governments made the presumptive claim of knowing better than their citizens what was in their best interests even if their citizens were killed as a result.”

So you are seriously arguing that WW2 was not justifiable, and that we should have done what exactly? Taken the appeasers advice and allowed Hitler to have his way? I suppose at least you are being consistant in your wrong-headedness. I mean, allowing Gaddafi free reign is a small thing when set against the idea that splendid isolation in 1939 would have been a good thing.

Well done Bob B, just when I thought you couldn’t fall much lower in my regard, you manage to limbo on down there!

“Well done Bob B, just when I thought you couldn’t fall much lower in my regard, you manage to limbo on down there!”

Ad hominem abuse is so much less challenging for those incapable of engaging in rational argument about the issues being discussed.

@77

“Ad hominem abuse is so much less challenging for those incapable of engaging in rational argument about the issues being discussed.”

When you actually come up with a rational argument for once Bob. B, we’ll let you know. In the meantime keep up the good work in the google cut and paste mine.

Perhaps you can get acces to a&e’s entonox…? At least then we might be spared your pointless and off topic posting about WW2 and why the evil menz closing down your local old folks home is more important than anything else.

@78: “When you actually come up with a rational argument for once Bob. B, we’ll let you know. In the meantime keep up the good work in the google cut and paste mine. ”

That’s just more personal abuse in place of rational argument. Try and get a grip.

The cut ‘n’ paste that you found so offensive in a previous thread related to commentary from independent sources about what motivated the French government in its declared enthusiasm for bombing Libya – and why Alain Juppé, the newly appointed foreign minister, personally attended the UN Security Council debate on Libya to make the case.

I thought more might like to know about Alain Juppé. Few in Britain appreciate how deeply embedded are the qualities of governance in France – try: Jonathan Fenby: On the Brink – the trouble with France
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brink-Trouble-France-Jonathan-Fenby/dp/0349114919

Btw Jonathan Fenby was a correspondent for The Economist living in France in case anyone here thinks he is another left-wing subversive. Much of his concerns about pervasive political corruption there relate to the Mitterrand presidencies preceding Chirac. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

81. the a&e charge nurse

[74] “how you would prevent the slaughter” – can’t you see the slight irony once BOMBING becomes the preferred solution?

I just don’t buy gunship diplomacy.

Put it this way – if there was a similar conflict in the UK how much support would there be for Libyan bombing?

@75: “The west stood by and watched hundreds die in Libya as the wrung their hands”

C’mon. Who in government has expressed any humitarian concerns about the shooting of scores of those demonstrating for democracy in Bahrain and the Yemen in recent days?

Who in successive governments in Britain have cared a proverbial toss about the (literally) hundreds of thousands who have been killed in the course of continuing conflicts in Algeria and DR Congo in recent decades?

IMO the sudden conversion of the present government to humanitarian concerns in Libya – although not in Bahrain or the Yemen – has more to do with crowding out unwelcome news reports about mounting opposition to the unprecedented “efficiency savings” being required of the NHS and the Police.

@79 Bob B

It’s all of a piece: most of us don’t need screeds of cut and paste “sources” about Alain Juppe – if we wanted to know about it we could do it ourselves. You can make a case without gunging up the threads with screeds of google mined information that, in your mind at least, represents “proof”: it doesn’t.

We get it that your opinion is that there are simplistic reasons why the West is interested in intervention. We also get it that you think your flawed objections are more important than saving thousands of lives in Libya.

@80 a&e

So on balance you don’t think it is right for forces under a UN mandate to attack Gaddafi’s forces, destroy his air defences and armour attacking Benghazi because they *might* kill non-combatants? You really aren’t capable of weighing that against the near certainty of thousands who were in imminent danger of being killed in Benhazi, both in an all out attack by Gaddafi’s forces, and in the months and years after you and your supporters had thrown them to the wolves?

That’s a nice line in hand washing you have there…..

@ 81

Think about sitting in a room next year with someone from Benghazi who had lost family and friends to Gaddafi’s thugs because we hadn’t intervened, and tell me you would be comfortable saying:

“Oh, we couldn’t possibly intervene and save your loved ones because we didn’t do it elsewhere in the past, and anyway we had better things to spend the money on….. sorry about that…..”

86. the a&e charge nurse

[84] on balance, I think the risks associated with the west bombing yet another non-European state are too great – certainly our involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan provide worrying portents (and drag on to this very day).

Isn’t there a danger that violent conflict in Libya may become just as protracted with various unsavoury characters looking to assert themselves in a post civil war environment?

85

“on balance, I think the risks associated with the west bombing yet another non-European state are too great – certainly our involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan provide worrying portents (and drag on to this very day).

Isn’t there a danger that violent conflict in Libya may become just as protracted with various unsavoury characters looking to assert themselves in a post civil war environment?”

Yes of course it is one risk out of all the possible future histories. It is a risk that has to be weighed against others. your view, and that of others, is however flawed in as much as it simply dismisses the risk inherent in doing nothing (i.e. a high probability of thousands of deaths, happenng imminently in Benghazi and elsewhere in Libya), and vastly inflates the “possible” risks of intervening to stop that happening.

What anti-interventionists never spell out of course, is that there are risks in NOT interveneing too.

Thankfully most people have arrived at a different conclusion from you and Bob. B.

A well-balanced and insightful piece.
I have to admit that I’m wavering between the pros and cons of intervention and non-intervention.
Most key questions are raided there.
Just a few more:
– Why has French president pushed so hard and so fast? We should suspect domestic political considerations, before any other?
– Why an intervention there and full laisser-faire on Saudi Arabia and Yemen? It smells like oil out there.
– Won’t the intervention speed up outlows of refugees to Europe, which is precisely what some -not least Berlusconi and Sarkozy- would like to avoid?

That said, besides rejoicing about peoples fighting for (more) freedom and democarcy, let’s also face the possible outcome of an islamic winter following the spring. Intervention or not. And that wouldn’t be funny, either for those people of for Western democracies.

89. the a&e charge nurse

[86] well, if it’s any consolation I hope the path the UN have now embarked on proves decisive, or if nothing else, the least bloody.

America has experience of air strikes in Tripoli wiping out Gaddafi’s baby daughter in ’86 – for Reagan the only good Gaddafi was a dead Gaddafi?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/15/newsid_3975000/3975455.stm

Isn’t there a danger that violent conflict in Libya may become just as protracted with various unsavoury characters looking to assert themselves in a post civil war environment?

Yes, there’s a very serious risk of this or an array of other unforeseen consequences, up to and including turning Libya into an ultraviolent, murderous basketcase for decades.

Not that this bothers the laptop bombardiers, of course. Even if Libya melts down totally in a few months, they’ll be shouting for intervention in some other country by then, and will be just as annoyed to be reminded of “guilt trips” about Libya.

That’s what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq, remember. Two years of fervent “Iraq will show the way for something or other” quickly gave way to bitching about how the Neo-Conservatives had messed up their pet project, then to complaints that Al Qaeda ate their homework. For the last few years, nothing – hardly a mention.

Nowadays, when Iraq gets a mention, it’s usually some self-righteous arse telling us that we mustn’t allow the horrifying bloodbath in Iraq to distract us from bombing some new country.

That’s what happened last time, and it’s what will happen re: Libya, if it all goes horribly wrong. If it works, they’ll be the first to claim victory in an epic orgy of moral grandstanding. If it doesn’t, then don’t expect any of these people who are currently jumping on their high horses and demanding that we listen to their good ideas to take any responsibility for the consequences, years down the line. They’ll have a new and more pressing issue to beat us all into insensibility with by then.

Careless people, who smash up things and creatures, then retreat back into their vast carelessness and let other people clean up the mess they’ve made.

if I hear any more of galen’s keening about “watching 100s of innocent Libyans die while we did nothing” (or is it 1000s…is it any at all?), I might just throwup. Stop playing on the emotional chords and please justify precisely why you want other people to risk their lives bombing Libya on your behalf. Justify why killing 100s or 1000s of Libyans in a bombing campaign is better than just standing by and trying to work out what is actually happening in that country. What are the aims of these rebels? I notice that the leadership used to be highly placed members of Gadaffi’s government. Does that lead you to believe that they are ardent, pro-West democrats?

@ Gallen

Have you got shares in Bae perchance?

Vietnam? Balkans? Iraq? Afghanistan?

Do you learn nothing from the history of intervening in the fate of others?

It is we who have blood on our hands and you are asking for more.

@91

No, I don’t have BAe shares, (altho it is possible that some of my pension plans might I suppose…. who knows?) not that it would make any difference to the point in hand.

Yes, I do learn from history. That would be the result of the degree in history and politics and further degree in International Relations perhaps.

Do you learn nothing from the failure to prevent humanitarian disasters in Bosnia, Kossovo, Rwanda….? You want to compound it by sitting on our hands and letting Gadaffi roll into Benghazi on his golf cart and start hanging the opposition from lamp-posts?

Your attempts at future history don’t give you some magical “get out of jail free” card so you can avoid the awkward question: how else would you have stopped Gaddafi’s forces crushing the revolution by taking Benghazi. It’s not rocket science.

@90 diogenes

“if I hear any more of galen’s keening about “watching 100s of innocent Libyans die while we did nothing” (or is it 1000s…is it any at all?), I might just throwup.”

Aw, diddums. Your failure to come up with any convincing counter arguments makes me queasy… but then you’re obviously pretty sanguine about letting tyrants in any given situation have their way.

“Stop playing on the emotional chords and please justify precisely why you want other people to risk their lives bombing Libya on your behalf.”

Because I’m not a member of the armed forces, and that’s what we have them for. They are doing it to protect innocent Libyan civilians from being sheeled by heavy artillery and tanks, and attacked by Gaddafi’s air force.

“Justify why killing 100s or 1000s of Libyans in a bombing campaign is better than just standing by and trying to work out what is actually happening in that country.”

Hundreds and possibly thousands of Libyans have already died at the hands of Gaddafi’s forces; you seem curiously unwilling to show any sympathy for them, or rage against those carrying it out. We know what is happening in Libya, and should have intervened weeks ago. the same thing happened in Bosnia, Kossovo and with the Iraqi Kurds. Tens of thousands of innocent civilains in these areas could have been saved if we had taken action….. but we didn’t.

“What are the aims of these rebels? I notice that the leadership used to be highly placed members of Gadaffi’s government. Does that lead you to believe that they are ardent, pro-West democrats?”

That remains to be seen… but it has to be better than the alternative of Gaddafi re-imposing his rule, yes? Why do you automatically conclude it will all end in ruins, or something worse than they already have? Do you think sitting back and doing nothing is a risk free strategy?

Try actually answering the questions for a change.

…but it has to be better than the alternative of Gaddafi re-imposing his rule, yes?

No, it doesn’t. There’s no reason at all to believe that. It may be better, about the same or it could be worse. It could be lots better or massively worse, in fact.

On the one hand, we have a country locked in a civil war with lots of weaponry and battlefield munitions around; thousands of trained military men on both sides; irreconcilable differences between the two, both seeking total victory, in a region that has seen a fairly large number of horrible insurgencies. This is red alert territory for ongoing, decades-long violence by the losing side, if it all goes wrong.

On the other, we have Galen insisting that everything is fine, and that any deviation from the Panglossian line is tantamount to cheering on Gaddafi.

Well. I do hope this all works out in the end, but my psychic powers don’t extend that far. The one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that whatever happens, it won’t be pretty in the short term.

@22

Being totally against it at all possible timees and for any possible reasons is a ridiculous position.

Who said about not helping? There are plenty of ways to help without bombing the crap out of a country.
It’s also very 2 faced to get involved whilst we watch other repressed nations and do nothing. I don’t see us bombing them do you?

So basically you are in favour of offering them all possible support….short of actual help? I’m sure the Libyan revolutionaries will be thrilled as they tried to fight off Gaddafi’s forces. How about some tea and sympathy.. that ought to work a treat.

See above. Those are your words not mine. This had been happening in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya etc for years and now suddenly everyone has a conscience? Please do me a favour.

Mayday! Mayday! Outrageous and totally unjustified conspiracy theory alert!! There are shadowy forces at work… or of course you just have an overactive imagination? Please tell me you don’t think the Israelis were behind the (/11 bombings…pretty please?

Why is it so difficult to think of? We’re talking of repressed police states here. You can be subjected to intimidation, torture or even killed for views differing the rulers and suddenly everyone has the balls to stand up? Seriously if you believe that you are the deluded one
The question is who gains from either a leader change or destabilising the region? Remember for all their sins, these are west friendly dictators that are being toppled where the main opposition parties are very anti-west like the brotherhood in Egypt. These groups are also even more repressive than the current leaders
You don’t see any issues this will cause long term?

Hint: it probably wasn’t the CIA/Israelis/Green lizards who secretly rule the world OK? It is MUCH more likely that the equiment was already there, or perhaps was shipped to them by the Egyptians..as some reports have suggested.

Do another question. Why are Egyptians with their own problems, still under military rule, getting involved? Why isn’t the west alarmed if this is indeed the case? How do we know the end intentions of the rebels are good? Just look at when we did this on Afghanistan in the 80’s, creating the Al Qaeda monster.

No, but you’d have to be more than a bit mad to make the leap from “this happened suddenly” to “it was planned by sinister outside forces”.

See earlier comment.

Nurse! Nurse!! NUUUURRSE! Quick, the syringe…. we’ve got a right one here! Thunk. Feeling better now? Good, good.. just relax and come back when the medication kicks in right? We’ll all thank you for it…. no, really.

You really can’t comment without rudeness can you?

The people of Libya want then don’t want our help. The Arab league, mainly dictatorships themselves, keep changing their minds too.

The middle east is very hostile to the west right now. The best thing we should do is leave it to the Arab nations to sort rather than stirring yet more hatred at us by bombing & arming groups during a civil uprising

@94 flyingrodent

“No, it doesn’t. There’s no reason at all to believe that. It may be better, about the same or it could be worse. It could be lots better or massively worse, in fact.”

Nonsense. There is of course a RISK it could be made worse by intervention, but as in all such situations, a judgement has to be made as to whether that is more likely than the other possible alternatives. Even that calculation does nothing to answer the immediate near certainty that a Gaddafi victory (which was perilously close due to our lack of action) would have resulted in a bloodbath. The reason you continually fail to address that particular issue is that you know your view simply condemned many more Libyans to death. It is the same argument that was used by opponents of intervention in Bosnia and Kossovo…. remember where that ended… yes, that’s right Srebrenica.

“On the one hand, [….blah, blah, hand wringing, self loathing……] if it all goes wrong.”

Yes IF. You don’t know that, neither does anyone else. Waht about IF it results in a victory for the revolutionaries, free elections, and the establishment of a democratic regime? That’s worth fighting for, even taking risks for. It is at least as likely as your opposing nightmare scenario.

“On the other, we have Galen insisting that everything is fine, and that any deviation from the Panglossian line is tantamount to cheering on Gaddafi.”

I’ve never said everything is fine, as a cursory glance thru’ my posts will demonstrate. I’ve said it’s a calculated risk worth taking, and also that it is a moral imperative. Taken together I find that a very convincing argument in favour of intervention. Most of the post opposing intervention are less measured, insisting that intervention will inevitable lead to disaster. None of the opponents of intervention have come up with a convincing response to the question about the imminent threat to Benghazi; if they have no convincing answer, and still oppose any intervention, then yes, they are effectively enabling Gaddafi’s regime. You and they may be able to stomach that; I can’t.. and luckily neither can the majority of people.

“Well. I do hope this all works out in the end, but my psychic powers don’t extend that far. The one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that whatever happens, it won’t be pretty in the short term.”

Of course it won’t be pretty. However, your opposition to intervention isn’t going to guarantee a rosy outcome either is it? What do you think would have happened if no intervention had occurred last Friday… I’m genuinely interested to find out what your alternative is, and how you feel that would have played out. Even assuming we can trust Gaddafi’s media that 64 people died in the allied raids (and interstingly as pointed out by the BBC all the wounded shown on TV were adult males…. so it is at least possible the casualties were pro-Gaddafi military ones), how many do you think would have died in Benghazi and in the rest of rebel-controlled Libya if no intervention had taken place?

If nothing else, this thread seems to be dividing and alligning commentators in unusual combinations…

For what it’s worth, Galen10 seems to be on the money here, although no doubt those who accept that the slaughter of thousands of distant people in a strange land (to badly paraphrase Neville Chamberlain) is better than our intervention would disagree.

@ Gallen

Yes, I do learn from history. That would be the result of the degree in history and politics and further degree in International Relations perhaps.

Oh.

My sincere apologies, your highness, if only I’d known I was debating someone with qualifications I’d probably have said something different…………..

Since you keep talking up the triumph for interventionism in the Balkans, you will understand that the situation arose because of the power vacuum after the collapse of Yugoslavia.

And yet you advocate creating the same conditions of tribal anarchy in Libya?

Still, the people of Srebrenica were grateful for our intervention………

@95 UKuncut

“Who said about not helping? There are plenty of ways to help without bombing the crap out of a country.
It’s also very 2 faced to get involved whilst we watch other repressed nations and do nothing. I don’t see us bombing them do you?”

It’s too late for that. Sanctions, asset freezes, referral to the ICC…all are great ideas, but what makes you think that was about to stop the tanks and artillery pounding Benghazi over the weekend prior to air strikes on them?

No, I don’t see us bombing other countries which are repressing their people; but I’d rather we did something in this case, than sat on our hands because of some misplaced sense of guilt that we weren’t solving every problem, in every part of the world, right now. This is about Libya, and we (finally) have a UN resolution to cover intervention. Let’s cross other bridges when we come to them.

“This had been happening in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya etc for years and now suddenly everyone has a conscience? Please do me a favour.”

The difference of course (which you conveniently gloss over) is that the loss of life in each was much less severe, and the armed forces in both places didn’t start gunning down the protesters with the glee exhibited by Gaddafi’s forces. This argument that we should do nothing because we haven’t helped elsewhere is pathetically weak.

“Do another question. Why are Egyptians with their own problems, still under military rule, getting involved? Why isn’t the west alarmed if this is indeed the case? How do we know the end intentions of the rebels are good? Just look at when we did this on Afghanistan in the 80?s, creating the Al Qaeda monster.”

Possibly because they’d rather see a democratic regime in Libya, rather than a nutter like Gadaffi? The west shouldn’t be alarmed… they should encourage the Egyptians to intervene more. also bear in mind, Egypt would no doubt be the destination for hundreds of thousands of refugees if Gadaffi was victorious. Looks like a pretty good rationale to me.

“You really can’t comment without rudeness can you?”

Yeah, I really can…. but some prople just ask for it; particularly deluded conspiracy theorists.

“The people of Libya want then don’t want our help. The Arab league, mainly dictatorships themselves, keep changing their minds too.”

Well Gaddafi, his henchmen and their shills and enablers in the West don’t.. but that’s a different thing. The people of Libya do want our help, and were loud in their calls for an NFZ, even when saying they didn’t want boots on the ground. Abu Moussa of the Arab League was playing to the gallery, because he wants to be elected President of Egypt…. what a shocker. How much credence should we give to the views of an organisation representing other dictatorships that fear they will be next?

“The middle east is very hostile to the west right now. The best thing we should do is leave it to the Arab nations to sort rather than stirring yet more hatred at us by bombing & arming groups during a civil uprising”

So again, your answer is to offer no assistance at all, and let them slug it out themselves? You honestly think that option carries zero risks… ? (quite apart from the fact it morally repugnant, which obviously has no power to move you more’s the pity).

It is the same argument that was used by opponents of intervention in Bosnia and Kossovo…. remember where that ended… yes, that’s right Srebrenica.

We were in Srebrenica protecting the Bosnian Muslims remember?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/july/11/newsid_4080000/4080690.stm

98 pagar

It’s not a sin to be ignorant pagar, but it is a sin to be proud of it.

You obviously don’t know jack about the Balkans. The history of the situation there isn’t the issue. The fact that the international community / west / NATO / EU stood by and watched it descend into a nightmare scenario IS the issue. It wasn’t inevitable, and it could have been avoided. The fact it wasn’t led to tens of thousands of deaths.

Those who are opposing intervention in Libya (and who contributed to the environment in which intervention was delayed) are making the same mistakes as were made in the Balkans, and share the same culpability.

@100 pagar

Srebrenica should never have happend, because we should have intervened earlier, harder. The Dutch UN troops there never had a chance, because they were given an impossible task, and had their hands tied in the face of a superior force. The international community left the Bosnian Muslims hanging in the wind for far too long before they intervened.

You are advocating exactly the same thing for the revolutionaries in Libya.

Srebrenica should never have happend, because we should have intervened earlier, harder.

Yes, we could have nuked the whole of the Balkans.

The Dutch UN troops there never had a chance, because they were given an impossible task, and had their hands tied in the face of a superior force.

They were 400 strong and they stood aside and never fired a shot while 1500 massacred 8000.

Not a great advert for UN humanitarian intervention however you want to spin it.

pagar,

They had no mandate to intervene – and being soldiers, they stuck to their orders (otherwise the army becomes a bit of a danger…). The record shows the Dutch commander tried everything other than force (not allowed) or putting his men in danger (again, outside orders) to stop the massacre.

Also, if your argument against intervening in Libya comes down to the fact that an inadequate UN mission was unable to stop a massacre in a previous intervention, you may need to consider how many massacres were stopped when proper intervention was deployed.

103

Wow, you really don’t know the value of staying down when beaten do you?

The situation in the Balkans ought never to have happend, because an ounce of judicious intervention would have obviated a pound of cure. Because we basically abandoned the Bosnian Muslims to their fate, thousands died. The Serbs ethnically cleansed swathes of BH, butchered thousands, and used Sarajevo as a turkey shoot. We could and should have stopped this, either by arming the Bosnian Muslims to give them a chance to defend themselves, or by taking out the Serb C3 and heavy weapons systems, or intervening on the ground sooner.

At first I just thought you were misguided and a bit ill-informed. I’m not sure what your agenda is, but I know it is deeply repugnant.

@94: “Well. I do hope this all works out in the end”

Confusion reigns supreme at the highest levels. Quote:

“Gaddafi may become target of air strikes, Liam Fox admits”
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jameskirkup/100080619/target-gaddafi-britain-says-maybe-the-us-says-no/

But not according to Britain’s military, who don’t believe that UN Security Council resolution 1973 authorises regime change by assassination:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12776418

What about ground troops?

Downing Street has so far strenuously sought to dampen down any suggestion that there could be ‘boots on the grounds’, but it has carefully not ruled out the possible use of special forces.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12804204

Mission creep already. To avoid the debacle last time British special forces landed in Libya at the dead of night, I do hope they go properly equipped and in full disguise when they go.

The government’s humanitarian concerns are strictly for export only and don’t extend beyond the Libyan borders – to such places as Bahrain, the Yemen or to closing care homes for the aged in Britain because of the need to pay down that record budget deficit. But there’s no problem about finding £10 to £15 millions of extra public spending every week to finance Britain’s contribution to maintaining the No Fly Zone.

@ 106 Bob B

You keep bringing up (with monotonous regularity, but we know that’s your modus operandi) the 2 issues of “What about Yemen/Bahrain” and “What about the closure of care homes”.

On the first, why do you believe it is right to do nothing in Libya just because there are no imminent plans to do the same elsewhere, or because we haven’t done so in the past? Can’t you see how deeply flawed that is as an argument? We aren’t planning to do the same in China or Russia over their past massacres either… does that mena it is never permissable?

Care homes are obviously a subject close to your heart: but it doesn’t mean they are more important than any and every other policy or issue.

News update

al-Jazeera headline: “Troops and tanks deployed in Sanaa to protect anti-government protesters as senior military officials back uprising.”
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011320180579476.html

Will the government now extend assistance to support the uprising in the Yemen – on the government’s recently discovered humanitarian concerns, naturally?

@108

If it was called for, and we were capable of doing it, yes we should!

However, if the reports are accurate it may be unnecessary if the Yemeni army takes the same decisions as the Egyptian army. A democratic Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and hopefully Libya would be a good start.

It seems there have also been anti-government demos in Syria….

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/03/21/syria.clashes/

@107: “Care homes are obviously a subject close to your heart: but it doesn’t mean they are more important than any and every other policy or issue.”

I mention care homes for the aged since my local LibDem controlled council is closing its last specialist care home while voting to proceed with a revamp for the civic offices costing £14 millions – which shows just how substantial the council’s humanitarian concerns are.

@96 There is of course a RISK it could be made worse by intervention (immediately ignores this risk and goes back to accusations about condemning people to death).

There is a substantial risk that intervention could make things worse. An attack on Benghazi and subsequent reprisals would be bloody, murderous and horrific, but no matter how bad things get, there’s always the possibility for them to get much, much worse. Like I said, the differences between the two sides are irreconcilable and there’s lots of weaponry around. The potential for a full Iraq-style insurgency conducted with roadside bombs and power drills is very real. Even if its only a small possibility, the mere fact that it is possible should give people pause. I notice that you blow it off without a second’s thought. With that attitude, I wouldn’t trust your judgement on football, let alone buy into your thoughts on wars.

These risks, then – we call these “unintended consequences” and they’re the reason why people should think long and hard before intervening in civil wars. You clearly haven’t thought about this at all because your response has been, at every turn, to change the subject to others’ supposed indifference to suffering.

And while we’re on casualties… The reason you continually fail to address that particular issue is that you know your view simply condemned many more Libyans to death.

Intervention may well lead to decades of instability and political violence, with many thousands more deaths than would’ve otherwise happened. We know this because that’s exactly what happened the last time.

Still, on the issue of “condemning people to death”. How many people died in the Congo this decade? One or two million? I wasn’t calling for intervention there. Did I condemn those people to death? What about, say, Ivory Coast, or the Iranian protests, or those in Burma? By not calling for airstrikes, did I similarly “condemn” them?

If I did, then surely that means that literally every death in Libya from now on is on your hands, and those of the other internet warriors. If it goes horribly wrong and we wind up with tens of thousands of deaths, will you be back here begging forgiveness for the atrocities that resulted from your preferred policy?

No sir, you will not. The reason that you won’t is that your tactic here – demanding intervention now, and accusing others of compliticity in murder – is not a valid argument. It’s a lot of windy, manipulative, childish wank dressed up as an argument. You can tell, especially when your response to inconvenient counterarguments is to double down on it.

Waht about IF it results in a victory for the revolutionaries, free elections, and the establishment of a democratic regime? That’s worth fighting for, even taking risks for.

It’s a distinct possibility, but it’s one of many possible outcomes. Plus, it may have escaped your attention, but you are not fighting. You are not taking any risks. Other people are risk and fight on your behalf.

I’ve always thought that the chickenhawk argument is unfair. If somebody sincerely believes that military action (x) will be effective, they don’t need to serve in the army to make that point.

On the other hand, anyone who says that while also denouncing everybody who disagrees as moral cowards and confederates of murderers, has crossed a line from advocacy into trolling bullshit. I suggest you pipe down and take your loud mouth off to the army, where you can test your theories with your own hide rather than somebody else’s.

The situation in the Balkans ought never to have happend

A historian should know that the “situation” in the Balkans has existed for hundreds of years and will not be solved by intervention from outside no matter how well meant.

I’m not sure what your agenda is, but I know it is deeply repugnant.

Eh????

Why can’t you just debate without being offensive to those who disagree with you. Like this Libyan rebel who has just buried his best friend, killed by Gadaffi’s regime.

Nor do I favour the possibility of a limited air strike for specific targets. This is a wholly popular revolution, the fuel to which has been the blood of the Libyan people. Libyans fought alone when western countries were busy ignoring their revolution at the beginning, fearful of their interests in Libya. This is why I’d like the revolution to be ended by those who first started it: the people of Libya.

So as the calls for foreign intervention grow, I’d like to send a message to western leaders: Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy. This is a priceless opportunity that has fallen into your laps, it’s a chance for you to improve your image in the eyes of Arabs and Muslims. Don’t mess it up. All your previous programmes to bring the east and the west closer have failed, and some of them have made things even worse. Don’t start something you cannot finish, don’t turn a people’s pure revolution into some curse that will befall everyone. Don’t waste the blood that my friend Ahmed spilt for me.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/mar/01/libya-revolution-no-fly-zone

But no, you’ll no doubt tell me this man is wrong too and you’ll persist in trying to curse his revolution in order to prove to yourself what a brave keyboard hero you are.

@112 pagar

“A historian should know that the “situation” in the Balkans has existed for hundreds of years and will not be solved by intervention from outside no matter how well meant.”

Try responding to what I actually said, rather than what you wished I said, or to something else altogether. The hundreds of years of historical enmity weren’t going to be solved, the issue was stopping the slaughter of innocent non-combatants in Bosnia….so just the same as Libya then. Only outside intervention was capable of stopping it in both cases. Who else was going to do it?

“Why can’t you just debate without being offensive to those who disagree with you. Like this Libyan rebel who has just buried his best friend, killed by Gadaffi’s regime”

You are espousing views, and advocating a policy, I find morally repugnant and politically and strategically ignorant. It doesn’t make you a bad person… it just means you need to grow a pair and stop being so defensive about the fact you are condoning the killing of innocent civilians.

The testimony of one Libyan, however hearfelt, doesn’t make it right. Are you telling me there aren’t plenty of Libyans with contrary views, like the ones who danced in the streets of Benghazi supporting the bombing of Gaddafi’s forces who were shelling them?

Of course I think the man is wrong, just I believe you to be wrong.

pagar,

A historian should know that the “situation” in the Balkans has existed for hundreds of years and will not be solved by intervention from outside no matter how well meant.

Remind me what happened once Milosevic was overthrown…

A historian should not know a situation has existed for hundreds of years, because no situation ever exists for very long – stories of the past are reinvented and recycled to suit current needs and prejudicies. So the Balkans was just another area of Europe with different levels of identity available (European, Slav, Yugoslav, religious-tribal identities, local identities etc), and some nationalistic fools decided to promote some of these to further their own agenda, and did so by creating a ‘situation’ in which there had been enmity between the various religious-tribal groups for centuries. But that is not the only way the evidence could be used – remember that in 1919 there was a ‘situation’ whereby those same groups basically came together to celebrate a shared history of oppression and occupation and formed a nation that lasted 70 years.

Basically, a historian should know that there is no such thing as received history – there are simply facts (or assumed facts) and manipulations.

@111 flyingrodent

“On the other hand, anyone who says that while also denouncing everybody who disagrees as moral cowards and confederates of murderers, has crossed a line from advocacy into trolling bullshit. I suggest you pipe down and take your loud mouth off to the army, where you can test your theories with your own hide rather than somebody else’s.”

At least have the courage of your convictions. You either agree with the recent intervention or you don’t. If you don’t, in my book you ARE a moral coward and advancing a course of action which encourages murderers, even if that isn’t your intention.

Of course, you can feel free to call it trolling if you like, but (surprise, surprise) you still haven’t answered the $64,000 question about what you think was going to happen in Benghazi over the weekend absent the intervention that took place.

sorry Galen…there is no point attempting to debate anything with you – all you supply to the argument is a tearful appeal to the emotions and a total inability to admit that this has all the signs of a humanitarian disaster that you will do nothing to clear up.

@ 116 diogenes

I have no interest in debating with a closed mind like yours. You have not produced any coherent argumet on this issue, any more than you have done on previous threads.

The imminent humanitarian disaster in Benghazi was averted by (belated) intervention over the weekend. Your chosen policy would have resulted in thousands of deaths, a huge refugee tide heading for Egypt and other countries, and the re-imposition of Gaddafi’s regime on the poor unfortunates who couldn’t escape.

You haven’t offered any counter arguments, because you don’t have any that are in the least convincing.

Try this: Arab League slams air strikes on Libya . .
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3hYtfvsKto

That effectively finishes off all those dubious claims made by Cameron and his allies about wide support among Arab countries for the air strikes on Libya.

It’s patently clear that there is no wide support across Arab countries for the scale and scope of the bombing operations in Libya.

120. flyingrodent

you still haven’t answered the $64,000 question about what you think was going to happen in Benghazi

I mentioned this on a number of occasions in previous threads, but if it’ll make you happy – a very large number of people would’ve been killed by Gaddafi’s goons in Benghazi. The intervention averted that risk, which is a good thing.

Now, we’ve got a new problem – a stalled civil war, and calls for escalation are in the post. How many people are going to die in that, more or less than would’ve died in Benghazi? Who knows – not me. Precedent bodes ill, though. Not that you give a shit, as you’ve repeatedly demonstrated.

Will you be back here in a year with a mea culpa if the death toll far exceeds the likely outcome of non-intervention? No, you won’t. You’ll have something else to grandstand over by then, while somebody else deals with the mess.

You either agree with the recent intervention or you don’t. If you don’t, in my book you ARE a moral coward and advancing a course of action which encourages murderers…

Yes, I did pick that up, since it’s been the only point you’ve made in about fifty comments. It’s a cretinous argument, put forward in an intentionally offensive manner. This is why I’m being so rude to you, when I’m usually polite to everyone else.

And, what you just said to Diogenes… I have no interest in debating with a closed mind like yours.

Ahahahahaha, dear God man, you’ve just declared that everyone who disagrees with you is a moral coward in cahoots with mass killers. You don’t get to lecture anyone on closed-mindedness, or basic logic for that matter.

Is there any possibility that some of you could continue this interesting discussion on our fledgeling website? MSN closed its UK discussion boards today, and some of the “refugees”, including myself, have started our own forum. Any support would be much appreciated.
http://cuttingedgeuk.proboards.com/index.cgi

@96

I’m not glossing over anything.

Suddenly your moral high horse rides into town, but where is your military intervention in Zimbabwe?

No?

How about:
Syria?
Burma?
Ivory Coast?
Somalia?
Iran?
North Korea?
Sudan?
Uganda?
Chad?
Cambodia?
Nigeria?
India? (Naxalite-Maoist insurgency)
Pakistan? (War in North-West Pakistan)

All of these have civil conflicts with high death rates far beyond Libya.

Or do you think we shouldnt get involved in these, thus by your very own definition, making you a moral coward and murderer by proxy? Why are you glossing over these conflicts and focusing solely on Libya, Egypt and Tunisia?

It really makes me laugh at the number of people oblivious to Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia etc prior to February yet suddenly they have a moral ‘solidarity’ with these peoples suffering which is historic.

If you need any evidence getting involved is a bad idea, look at the amount of Islamic media sources calling this UN approved action as the “new Crusades”.

Being a historian, you’ll be fully aware how the original Crusades panned out wont you, and why references are being drawn to our involvement?

That’s before we get onto discussing ‘Rebel’ Groups. How many Terrorist groups can you spot in this list? How many did the west ‘help’ as you advocate we do in Libya?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rebel_groups

123. Revd Frank Gelli

This is all very well but the writer, while telling us many things we knew before, fails to answer a simple question: was he willing to allow Ghaddafi’s army to slaughter the people of Benghasi? He had promised to show them ‘no mercy’. So, would the writer have washed his hands of their blood, like Pilate, and just looked on?
It might have satisfied his conscience. It would not satisfy me.

“Other than trying to shut the question down, pro-interventionists should at least try to explain why the West gets involved in one case but not another.”

Because of oil. Obviously.

But if it dramatically shortens a very bloody civil war and probable long term anti-Gaddafi insurgency, and enables a democratic revolution in Libya (as our military planners seem to think it will) – does that matter?

Libya’s economy and politics are going to be dominated by western oil companies either way (and already are).

Yes, if the military planners are wrong and the result is a different and worse civil war than *they already have going*, then a huge error has been made. If not, then I find it hard to see why I should oppose it.

I suppose opposing any military action of any sort anywhere outside Britain for any reason is at least consistent, although it does require a certain indifference to the fate of foreign nationals, even when you agree with them.

@122 & 123

As you can see from the ample evidence above, there are indeed plenty of misguided individuals who exhibit indifference to the fate of people in Libya (or feign concern, but then rationalise their moral cowardice with reference to a lot of spurious “whatiffery” along the lines of the OP).

Luckily their view appears to be held by a minority.

@121 ukcuts

“I’m not glossing over anything.”

Yes, you are: you still haven’t adequately responded to the points in my post; you simply rehash the points you made before. Repetition makes them no more convincing.

“Suddenly your moral high horse rides into town, but where is your military intervention in Zimbabwe? No? How about: [etc., etc.] All of these have civil conflicts with high death rates far beyond Libya. Or do you think we shouldnt get involved in these, thus by your very own definition, making you a moral coward and murderer by proxy? Why are you glossing over these conflicts and focusing solely on Libya, Egypt and Tunisia?”

I’m not glossing over them: as I’ve said above and on other related threads, I think the international community SHOULD have intervened in many of these cases (so either you have problems with reading comprehension, you are too lazy to follow the thread, or you are deliverately misrepresenting what I say). I’m focusing on Libya right now, because that’s what the thread is about. I’ll ask again (because of course you never answer) why do you feel we should compound past mistakes by doing the same again in Libya?

“It really makes me laugh at the number of people oblivious to Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia etc prior to February yet suddenly they have a moral ‘solidarity’ with these peoples suffering which is historic.”

You have a warped sense of humour then. Why am I not surprised given that you appear to have no conscience or moral compass?

“If you need any evidence getting involved is a bad idea, look at the amount of Islamic media sources calling this UN approved action as the “new Crusades”. Being a historian, you’ll be fully aware how the original Crusades panned out wont you, and why references are being drawn to our involvement?”

The fact Muslim wing-nuts call any western involvement a crusade doesn’t make the analogy valid, though given your tacit support for Gaddafi’s actions, it will hardly come as a surprise that you approve of his characterisation of the intervention as a crusade. Yes, I am aware of how the crusades almost 1000 years ago panned out…. but I’d hesitate to be using them as a meaningful guide policy in 2010. You sound more and more like the Serbs going on about the Field of Blackbirds in the 14th century, and how hard done by they were; it may be well even have an element of truth in it, but events centuries ago don’t give you a license to behave in a medieval manner.

“That’s before we get onto discussing ‘Rebel’ Groups. How many Terrorist groups can you spot in this list? How many did the west ‘help’ as you advocate we do in Libya?”

The debate about one man’s terrorist being another man’s freedom fighter is probably one left for another thread. You seem to have enough problem presenting a coherent argument about this topic without derailing yourself with another.

@119 flyingrodent

“I mentioned this on a number of occasions in previous threads, but if it’ll make you happy – a very large number of people would’ve been killed by Gaddafi’s goons in Benghazi. The intervention averted that risk, which is a good thing.”

No, don’t temporise it wasn’t just “a risk” was it? By late last week, Gaddafi’s forces were already subjecting Benghazi to heavy artillery and tank shelling, and air assault. It is a racing certainty that thousands would have been killed and injured over the weekend but for the (belated) French attacks on Gaddafi’s forces. So you accept it was a good thing it happened, but because of the unknowable potnetial risks (which may or may not happen) you’d actually still have preferred no intervention to have taken place? You aren’t making any sense.

“Now, we’ve got a new problem – a stalled civil war, and calls for escalation are in the post. How many people are going to die in that, more or less than would’ve died in Benghazi? Who knows – not me. Precedent bodes ill, though. Not that you give a shit, as you’ve repeatedly demonstrated.”

I do give a shit. I’ve been consistant throughout saying that I thought the future risks were less likely, and that the scale of lives lost would be less even if conflict continued. Since these risks are unknowable, it is right to concentrate on saving the much larger number of lives which were under imminent threat. To maintain otherwise leads you into the ridiculous situation demonstrated in your first response; namely approving the results of the intervention, but arguing strenuosly against it taking place.

“Will you be back here in a year with a mea culpa if the death toll far exceeds the likely outcome of non-intervention? No, you won’t. You’ll have something else to grandstand over by then, while somebody else deals with the mess.”

In that event, yes I will. Will you come back in like fashion and admit you were wrong if the opposite happens?

“Yes, I did pick that up, since it’s been the only point you’ve made in about fifty comments. It’s a cretinous argument, put forward in an intentionally offensive manner. This is why I’m being so rude to you, when I’m usually polite to everyone else. ”

The point was repeated because those opposed to intervention continually ducked the issue, or attempted to deflect it with reference to spurious comparisons, and “whatiffery” while failing to address the point at hand. We’ve seen the logical somersaults you’ve had to perform in your first answer above. I suspect in your heart of hearts you aren’t even convinced of the non-intervention case yourself… you’re glad the intervention saved lives in Benghazi, but you’d have been willing to sacrifice them on the altar of your ideological purity.

“And, what you just said to Diogenes… I have no interest in debating with a closed mind like yours. Ahahahahaha, dear God man, you’ve just declared that everyone who disagrees with you is a moral coward in cahoots with mass killers. You don’t get to lecture anyone on closed-mindedness, or basic logic for that matter.”

Diogenes has past form in previous threads relating to the Balkans, where he took a similar line that intervention was wrong. Anyone who weighs up the evidence in this case, and continued (or still worse continues) to insist intervention is not the right thing to do has no moral compass. Sitting on our hands as Gaddaffi’s troops stormed into Benghazi, having “angels on a pinhead” discussions like those in the OP do represent moral cowardice, and the enabling of mass killers.

Still churning out your turgid pap then, moveanymountain?

@125

Please show me where I have supported Ghaddafi? Now you’re simply making things up to bolster your own comments

I can imaging you with a street warden uniform sticking your oar sorry moral compass in where ever you go.

The world isn’t as black and white as you make out. You have to look at the bigger picture, and beyond then of your nose.

For a historian you seem to like to ignore past mistakes in the west intervening in conflicts which don’t concern us.

I have a conscience and my morals are quite good thanks. But I know when intervention isn’t good. You then also have to factor do the people want our involvement or are we simply being used to be turned on at a later date. Thus us very likely given the rebel list I offered you earlier, yet you ignored how many if those helped by the west are considered terrorist groups.

Sadly, as immortalised in startrek “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”. See the 50 brave nuclear workers in Japan if your moral compass needs calibrating.

You seem to also ignore that the alternative groups who would fill the role of leader hate the west, and in many cases are strict Muslims: The same ilk as the taliban and how they ran Afghanistan. I can’t see how you find this a positive democratic outcome for the people or the world.

All the points you say you’ve raised and I’ve ignored she to lack of reading comprehension is a joke. You’re trying to claim you’ve adequately answered questions when you yourself have simply repeated the same arguments without answering anything.

If your best form of discussion is offence then you really should seek help for that. Perhaps anger management classes? I can’t decide of you’re an older jaded 40 something, or a fresh from uni opinion on everything.

Either way, if you stop being so offensive with people who have differing views, people may listen to you more and debate with you. I’m guessing you have this issue in the real world as well.

@128

Tendentious nonsense. The fact you are so touchy suggests a nerve has been hit. Nobody has said it’s totally black and white (least of all me), and I’ve gone out of my way to emphasise that there are risks.

In the end however it’s quite a simple equation: those opposing intervention by (over) emphasising the possible risks, are guilty of giving tacit support to Gaddafi and his nauseating regime, because their proposed course of action would have been overwhelmingly likely to result in a bloodbath. We’re not talking about some “whatiffery” about the indeterminate future, but over the weekend just past.

You don’t know what the alternative post-Gaddafi regime will be; none of us do. It could equally well be a democratic, secular state. Floating the radical islamist bogey man makes you look about as convincing as Gaddafi claiming it was a drug fuelled, al-Qaeeda inspired plot, or indeed that all Libyans support him and his forces have declared a ceasefire.

If you believe the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, why are you unwilling to accept that the intervention directly saved thousands in Benghazi in the short term, thousands more from reprisals if Gaddafi had won, and prevented a humanitarian catastrophe as refugees flooded towards the Egyptian border.

You don’t have to be out in the streets of Tripoli waving a green flag to be indirectly supporting the Colonel; all you have to do is what you and your fellow non-interventionists have been doing.

http://yorkshire-ranter.blogspot.com/2011/03/status-its-complicated.html

I just wonder what anyone makes of this? It casts a fresh light on the question that I have asked a lot and to which I have never seen an answer – probably because I am too busy gloating at the deaths occurring in Libya if you want to believe galen – just who are the rebels and what are there aims?

@130 diogenes

It is not impossible there are some unpleasant types amongst the rebels, even some defectors from the Gaddafi regime…. but from the TV picturesand interviews it’s also obvious many “ordinary” Libyans are anything but islamist extremists; they want much the same thing as the Tunisians and Egyptians who overthrew their governments.

On balance (not something that comes to you easily I realise diogenes) the rebels in Benghazi and in the West of Libya have to be a better bet than the odious Gaddafi regime you are doing so much to enable.

From memory some of the 7/7 bombers were from Yorkshire … but I doubt you can draw a correlation that most of the inhabitants of God’s own county are militant islamists!

@129

You really are amusing.

The only nerve you’ve hit is how you can make the connection between opposing military intervention and being pro-Gaddafi. I’m going for wet behind the ear fresh out of uni know it all.

So by YOUR delusional train of thought I should send the Police round to your place as they investigate the armed off-licence robbery the other week, as you didnt exactly stop them did you? So you were either in on it or dont care. Armed robbery and beating a shop worker, your morals are very low.

So we cant tell whats going to happen eh? Lets see. We have nations totally anti-west, those with pro-west are sadly ruled by dictatorships keeping extremist groups under control.

Yes we cant tell what will happen in Libya, so lets see some other historical clues. Having been subjected to 3 years of wars and conflicts in my school days some 20+ years ago helps.

Afghanistan. The west arm the mujahidin to repel the soviets. They succeeded, then turned on the west. The US failed to kill Bin Laden and his crew, so we now have Al Qeada. Invaded in 2002, the countries elections although democratic in principle, are rife with fraud. Terrorist insurgency rife.

Iran/Iraq War. The west support Saddam Hussain against Iran. Iran hatred to the west, still boiling over since the Iran revolution in the 70’s and black Friday.

Iraq, Saddam Hussain overthrown, stability paves way to terrorist insurgents and brink of civil war between warring muslin factions kept stable under Hussain.

Israel/Gaza….

We have a history of messing up trying to instil our values on anothers culture. As a result anti-west feelings are rife. The majority of middle east countries have terrorist training grounds.

The fabel of the Frog and the Scorpion (I assume you’re familiar with it) just keeps happening time and again when the west gets involved in the middle east.

There are enough well armed nations neighbouring Libya to sort this out. WE dont need to. The Arab League is very keen for the west to get involved. Why? To help them, by there request under humanitarian guilt, to remove the last west-friendly leaders (yes evil dictators as well, but we’ve turned a blind eye for years).

So these pro-west leaders are replaced with the main opposition in these countries who are anti-west by in large, regardless of being freely and democratically elected. Strict Islamic groups who like the Taliban are likely to obliterate everything YOU are seeking for us to save. Freedoms, choice.

So now we have a heavily armed, 100% anti-west region with at least one state with Nuclear weaponary, or at least facilities to develop them.

And all because people like yourself were itching to launch a military offensive, and siding with ‘rebel groups’ whose true intentions and feeling we dont fully understand without trying other methods 1st.

and galen’s argument never changes…disregard any evidence, just point at the dead babies.

well done ukcuts for persisting with trying to argue with this monstruously stupid person.

@130

This is interesting as well: http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawama/2011/03/rebels-love-us-right.html

Seems Benghazi is home to a lot of anti-west sentiment, with a high number heading to Iraq as insurgents.

Yes, I cant see helping and arming them ending badly at all. *rollseyes*

@133

The thing is, you cant have a knee-jerk reaction and support rebel groups with unknown intentions. We know nothing about them. People like Galen are seizing an opportunity for one goal and short sightedly overlooking the bigger picture.

I tried to bring up the rebel list and asked Galen how many were labeled terrorist groups globally. Pretty much all of them is the answer, and pretty much all of them the west helped in their cause.

But dont let that cloud your judgement. Let your heart rule your head we’re being told time and again 😉

Yet another link of interest – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_insurgency#Foreign_fighter_nationality_distribution

See any familiar countries?

nothing to worry about ukuncuts…just count the babies killed by Gaddafi

revises previous co0nclusion that galen is a maker of bodybags….his family name is Gaddafi

@132 ukuncut

Talking of amusing:

“We have a history of messing up trying to instil our values on anothers culture. As a result anti-west feelings are rife. The majority of middle east countries have terrorist training grounds.”

Ah yes, of course.. because democract and free speech aren’t universal values at all…wicked western imperialists like us shouldn’t be imposing foreign value systems on “brown folks”… they might not like it. The same argument has been made by others of your type in the past, and is of course as offensive to those being denied democracy as it is wrong headed. Still, at least we know now that as well as being an apologist for Gaddafi, you don’t think the culture of other people allows makes them suitable for democracy. Great.

“There are enough well armed nations neighbouring Libya to sort this out. WE dont need to. The Arab League is very keen for the west to get involved. Why? To help them, by there request under humanitarian guilt, to remove the last west-friendly leaders (yes evil dictators as well, but we’ve turned a blind eye for years).”

You are obviously as ignorant about the region as you are about IR in general. Stun us with another. The Arab League consist mostly of regimes not much better than Gaddafi… you know, like the ones gunning down protesters in Yemen and Bahrain. Most have enough trouble dominating their own restive populations, never mind “helping” the Libyan revolution, which is about as likely as you suddenly growing a conscience.

Your intellectually lazy “whaddabout” Iraq/Afghanisan/after the fall of Gaddafi has been rehashed extensively elsewhere.. it doesn’t get any more convincing by dint of repetition. Thankfully, more people disagree with you than agree with you… but then most oridinary people are essentially decent, and haven’t had a compassion bypass like you; they can weigh the risks and see that the correct course of action is to intervene.

Your “historical clues” aren’t much help, anymore than your tendentious listing referred to @ post 135.

Oh..and it’s a while since I left university… not that it takes a degree in History and a PhD in International Relations to see how flawed your arguments and your personality is.

@ 138 diogenes

“revises previous co0nclusion that galen is a maker of bodybags….his family name is Gaddafi”

Eh? Have you been on something, or are you just so bereft of ideas that you think it’s better to prove how ignorant you are, rather than just let us use the evidence of your previous trolling?

@ 133 diogenes

“and galen’s argument never changes…disregard any evidence, just point at the dead babies.
well done ukcuts for persisting with trying to argue with this monstruously stupid person.”

Well, it takes a “special” kind of person like yourself diogenes to watch what is going on in Libya, the current shelling of Misratah for example, and to stand back and allow it to carry on.

You and your mate ukuncut are pretty familiar from earlier times as the ones who would have opposed intervention in Bosnia, Kossovo, Kurdistan. Your “whatiffery” doesn’t disguise the essential bankruptcy of your arguments, or the lack of compassion at their core.

@139

you are about IR in general. Stun us with another. The Arab League consist mostly of regimes not much better than Gaddafi… you know, like the ones gunning down protesters in Yemen and Bahrain. Most have enough trouble dominating their own restive populations, never mind “helping” the Libyan revolution, which is abou

If that is the case, then why are we bowing to their calls?

Your only argumentis to question my morals and conscience. You refuse to answer the question put to you on rebel groups afnd terrorist groups.

Breakfast tv skirted past Libya (a whole 30 secs, and 6th story 15min past hour) so are the supporting gaddafi now too?

Thanks for clearing up you’re not a student. Late 40’s browbeaten David Brent it is then. I just hope you don’t work for tyre UN peacekeeping negotiating team.

@142 ukcuts

“If that is the case, then why are we bowing to their calls?”

Search me; I’d be quite happy to see most of them next on the list. I’d say it was a pretty dubious kind of approbation. Bear in mind all the other Arab despots hated Gaddafi almost as much as they hate each other, hate communists, hate democrats and hate anyone trying to tell them that shooting their own civilians is bad form. The west found it a useful fig-leaf, and we all know if we hadn’t had some Arab support, we’d be getting hammered for being colonialists, imperialists etc, etc.

“Your only argumentis to question my morals and conscience. You refuse to answer the question put to you on rebel groups afnd terrorist groups.”

We’ve already established the questionable nature of both. Your question on rebel groups and terrorist groups being what exactly? It wasn’t clear then.. you produced a long list of countries @121 from what I remember, many of which didn’t demonstrate anything because they weren’t comparible, and as I pointed out @125, I for one would heartily have endorsed action by the international community in many of the examples…. so hardly avoiding it was I?

“Breakfast tv skirted past Libya (a whole 30 secs, and 6th story 15min past hour) so are the supporting gaddafi now too?”

It’s TV not reality. If you are the kind of person who watches breakfast TV and is surprised by the fact it is not Newsnight, it would explain quite a lot about your understanding of world events. Most of the coverage I’ve seen shows at least that they seem bothered about the people of Libya, unlike those like you who are content to see them gunned down in the street so they retain their ideological purity.

“Thanks for clearing up you’re not a student. Late 40?s browbeaten David Brent it is then. I just hope you don’t work for tyre UN peacekeeping negotiating team.”

Not sure why you are so obssessed about the matter; it’s hardly relevant. But then relevance or coming up with a coherent argument aren’t your strong suit either are they. Just shows what breakfast TV can do to you.

hi galen…ghow are your mates in al Quaeda doing today?

@ 145 diogenes

Given your opposition to intervention any intervention, apparently under any circumstances, anywhere, anytime diogenes… isn’t the more apposite question why you are such a shill for Gaddafi? Perhaps you’re a family friend, or just one of those coming out in his support waving a green flag… it would certainly figure given your lack of concern for the Libyan people.

No one in the Uk cares one bit if one half of Libya wants to kill the other half.
Nothing to do with us. Who cares?
Let them get on with it.

But that we’re actually helping some of the most frothing at the mouth Islamist fanatics (who have flooded into Iraq to suicide bomb the same Western armies now helping them) to gain power is a farce indeed.

It’s like helping Stalin because he hates Hitler. And look how that worked out.
One mad dog replaced by an even worse one!

Let them all rot. Who cares about Libya? They ceased being a threat to the UK about a decade or more ago.
No one here cares about their stupid civil war.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8390035/Libya-Live.html

oh dear have we been assisting al Quaeda again…tsk tsk tsk. Aren’t we silly so and so’s!

Libya, Dreams and Hopes for Freedom, Peace, and Prosperity

I SALUTE the People of Libya and ALL people who have democratic aspirations, hopes for freedom, sweet liberty; for having the courage to fight for a better life for their children and grandchildren; however, VIOLENCE is not the answer. Military action must always be used wisely and must always be the very last option. Therefore, I cannot support this VIOLENT overthrow of the Libyan Government or any other government. For me, this is another shameful ugly chapter in world history. If this conflict in Libya was merely about protecting the people, with all the nations and resources involved, this conflict could have surely been resolved through diplomatic means months ago. Rather than pursuing diplomatic channels and moving forward, it appears that the People of Libya are moving in the same old backward way.

GREATNESS should be measured not by the amount of power that we have, but what we do with the power that we do hold.

On Sunday August 28 2011, Dr. Martin Luther King was to be honored in Washington DC, USA, for his role in the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice for all. Despite being descendant of slaves; Despite the brutal treatment of so many people, the pain, suffering, and humiliation; Despite all the church and house bombings; Despite being personally beaten, stabbed, jailed, and eventually assassinated, Dr. King never, never SEIZED weapons or aspired to OVERTHROW the U.S. Government. Instead, Dr. King always called for PEACE; provided people HOPE; and always, always stood firmly for justice and equality for all people. Dr. King also constantly reminded the people that “In our struggles to gain our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds ourselves”.

For lasting peace, honor, pride in Libya, and love for country, it is the People of Libya who must unselfishly determine their own future, their own destiny, not the United Nations, not NATO, and not The African Union. It is the People of Libya who must do this; All the People of Libya must do this.

Hence, I vehemently oppose this VIOLENT overthrow of the Libyan Government or any other government. VIOLENCE by the government or violence by the people is still violence. What I also find troubling is while so many people are struggling in our own countries, BILLIONS of our taxpayers dollars are being used to HELP the people of Libya; yet before The Battle For Tripoli, the NTC consistently refused to seek a peaceful resolution to end the lost of lives in Libya and the destruction of Libyan infrastructure.

In addition, The United Nations, a peacekeeping organization, should not be supporting this or any VIOLENT path toward democracy and freedom. This is a horrible model for the United Nations and world peace. Other than for self-defense, MILITARY action must always be the very very last option. This violent campaign in Libya is not sustainable and it must be corrected.

Rather than giving ALL the People of Libya an opportunity to speak, this VIOLENT overthrow of Libyan government only proves that much of our thinking is still just as BARBARIC, just as ruthless and cold blooded as what some say about Gaddafi or as we were centuries ago. However, much more civility is expected from leaders of the free world, not raising this iron fist for more death and destruction.

Second, let’s be honest: If this is really about freedom and democracy in Libya, who elected NTC? Who elected Gaddafi? Why would the NTC oppose ELECTIONS? If we are truly trying to restore peace and stability in Libya, why has the NTC refused to negotiate a peaceful resolution to end this deadly conflict? And why is NATO, the military forces of the world superpowers, providing cover so ARMED groups can ADVANCE on government forces or forcibly take control of Libyan cities? If this is not ABUSE and misuse of the military forces of the world superpowers, it should be. It is very clear that NATO allies have exceeded the powers granted by the United Nations resolution. This, too, must be corrected. Otherwise, we are only creating a more dangerous world for all people with more nations seeking to expand their defense systems; and the UN losing all credibility.

This is 2011. The 21st Century, not 7th Century B.C. Plotting to take cities by FORCE, ousting leaders, assassinating world leaders, firing on people from fighter jets, in hospitals or religious institutions do not accurately represent the democratic process; and it is SHAMEFUL for anyone, anywhere on this planet, to say otherwise.

After World War II, world leaders established checks and balances precisely so no one country, person or group would abuse its military or political power ever again. In 1945, the United Nations was established primarily to promote peace and security; to solve humanitarian problems; promote fundamental freedoms and respect for human rights.

In Libya, where are the checks and balances of the military forces by the world superpowers? Who will protect the People of Sirte? Do they not have the right to protect themselves or their families? Here we have the military forces of the world superpowers dropping 2000-lb buster bunking bombs on one side of the conflict; and providing weapons and military support for the opposing side to advance. What kind of peacekeeping organizations would support anything like this?

How can the world community and people of goodwill accept the continued KILLING of innocent men, women, and children; and this devastating destruction of Libyan’s infrastructure.

To restore credibility, the world community must rethink the ROLE of the United Nations and NATO for the 21st Century. What happened to resolving conflicts with peace talks, in the boardroom, in the courtroom, or at the ballot box. During these very difficult times, we need diplomacy, not all these wars and more wars. To be fair and just to all people, both the good and bad, something must change. This is actually what distinguishes us from the terrorists. and brutal dictatorships.

Now is time for peace in Libya. No democratic society can survive on this “Its My Way or The Highway” ideology. BOTH the Government and the Opposition Groups should have and should be encouraged to CEASEFIRE immediately; seek reconciliation and a peaceful resolution for the country, for the people of Libya. .

Every crisis has both its dangers and opportunities. It can either spell our salvation or doom. All of the people of the world, without regard to political system, will have to discover a way to live in peace and harmony

How we deal with these crucial issues will determine our moral health as individuals, our cultural health as a region, our political health as a nation, and our prestige as leaders of the free world (mlk)

Peace Be With You And Around The World


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Arguments against bombing Libya http://bit.ly/ffOLjf

  2. Liberal Conspiracy

    Arguments against bombing Libya http://bit.ly/ffOLjf

  3. Iso21stCentMan

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  4. Iso21stCentMan

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  5. Jane Phillips

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  6. Jane Phillips

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  7. Helena Baptista

    Arguments against bombing Libya | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/NWwX4Xt via @libcon

  8. Helena Baptista

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  9. Jose Aguiar

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  10. Jose Aguiar

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  11. Mrs VB

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  12. Kashaan

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  13. Don Paskini

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  14. ZA

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  15. Pucci Dellanno

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  16. Helena Baptista

    RT @Tabacaria: Arguments against bombing Libya | Liberal Conspiracy http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/03/20/arguments-against-bombing-li

  17. SonOfDave

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  18. Aleece Bermúdez

    RT @thesonofdave: Clear and strong arguments against intervention on Libya listed http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/03/20/arguments-agai

  19. Marco Gonçalves

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  20. Claire

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  21. Noxi

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  22. RandallJones

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  23. Melissa Saenz-Lopata

    Arguments against bombing Libya http://t.co/Ky2sEMm via @libcon

  24. Michael

    RT @libcon: Arguments against bombing Libya http://bit.ly/ffOLjf

  25. Michael

    Really interesting ideas on 'what comes next' after the bombing of #libya http://bit.ly/ffOLjf

  26. Stewart Owadally

    I'm pro-intervention, but this is a great piece by @OwenJones84. Sensible, dispassionate points for once. http://t.co/h9dR1rm

  27. Has the Libya No-Fly Zone got wings? « bluelozengebear

    […] wasn’t going to write anything about the intervention in Libya.  Then I read a post on the Liberal Conspiracy blog detailing ‘Arguments against bombing Libya’.  I feel I have to post something addressing the points in that blog, so here […]

  28. Adam Bright

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/03/20/arguments-against-bombing-libya/ Great article about the Libyan situation

  29. Helen Saxon-Jones

    RT @sowadally: I'm pro-intervention, but this is a great piece by @OwenJones84. Sensible, dispassionate points for once. http://t.co/h9dR1rm

  30. Steve Trow

    RT @libcon: Arguments against bombing Libya http://bit.ly/ffOLjf

  31. Liberal Ideals

    Arguments against bombing Libya | Liberal Conspiracy: We can be sure that, in capitals across the Western world,… http://bit.ly/h0bj59

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    […] Owen Jones at Liberal Conspiracy blog on arguments against bombing Libya. […]

  33. Patrick McMahon

    RT @thesonofdave: Clear and strong arguments against intervention on Libya listed http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/03/20/arguments-agai

  34. Rachel

    Arguments against bombing #Libya http://is.gd/3opYme

  35. Josh Scheidler

    RT @hypsterical: Arguments against bombing #Libya http://is.gd/3opYme

  36. Maximilian Forte

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  37. Robin Ince

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  38. Charlotte Young

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  39. LondonLime

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  40. Gabi Elena Dohm

    RT @1D4TW: "Arguments against bombing Libya | Liberal Conspiracy" ( http://bit.ly/gZwUan ) #Libya

  41. The case against bombing Libya (via jonesblog) « Ad Fontes

    […] Arguments against bombing Libya (liberalconspiracy.org) […]

  42. TMansi&icebreakers

    RT @thesonofdave: Clear and strong arguments against intervention on Libya listed http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/03/20/arguments-agai

  43. stevankrakovic

    RT @thesonofdave: Clear and strong arguments against intervention on Libya listed http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/03/20/arguments-agai

  44. Matzpen

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  45. amintas franco

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  46. amintas franco

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  47. Vuyisile Sisulu

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  48. Chris Coltrane

    Here are two very good articles making the case against war in Libya: http://bit.ly/gzo8Uo http://bit.ly/gntMZO

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    RT @1D4TW: "Arguments against bombing Libya | Liberal Conspiracy" ( http://bit.ly/gZwUan ) #Libya

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  52. The UK’s “misery index” reaches a two-decade high, there are jitters over Libya and the blogosphere reacts to Osborne’s budget: political blog round up for 19-25 March 2011 | British Politics and Policy at LSE

    […] Conspiracy provides arguments against bombing Libya and Labour List asks why Britain is at the forefront of the campaign. Michael White, by contrast, […]

  53. D. Hall

    Arguments against bombing Libya | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/5gnqhO3 @libcon < A libertarian case against Western intervention in #Libya

  54. Harris Kenny

    Arguments against bombing Libya | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/5gnqhO3 @libcon < A libertarian case against Western intervention in #Libya





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