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And Here We Are…

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Huh.  I wonder why the United States didn’t invade Libya for its oil at some point between 1991 and 2003. I also kinda wonder why, if we’re invading Libya for its oil, the war isn’t already over.  The interests of Britain, France, and the United States don’t exactly coincide where oil drilling and oil concessions are concerned, which makes it odd that one of the three hasn’t stepped up to finish the job, and presumably to ensure the access of domestic oil investors. Finally, I’m mildly curious why we haven’t yet invaded Venezuela; as we know, “the U.S. has long made clear that it will not tolerate hostile or disobedient rulers in countries where it believes it has vital interests, and that’s particularly true in oil rich nations (which is one reason for the American obsession with Iran).”  While I remain deeply skeptical about both the decision to intervene in Libya and the course that intervention has taken, I suppose you can count me as someone– somewhere– who doubts that oil is the driving consideration for US involvement in Libya.

I look forward to Glenn explaining why this rhetorical question: “Is there anyone — anywhere — who actually believes that these aren’t the driving considerations in why we’re waging this war in Libya?” and this statement: “That’s not to say that Gaddafi’s “resource nationalism” is the only or even overriding motive for the war in Libya,” aren’t contradictory; the first clearly implies that anyone who believes that oil isn’t the driving consideration for why we’re waging war in Libya is  a dupe, while the second allows that oil may not be the only, or even overriding, motive for the war in Libya.   It would have been nice if Glenn had made more clear what a radical retreat his “Update”, which reads in part “It’s just hard to believe that any rational person would believe that the war in Libya is unrelated to the fact that Gaddafi has been increasingly obstructionist in allowing Western oil companies access to that nation’s oil and that Libya is so rich in oil,” is from his initial post, which is explicit in claiming that the United States, Britain, and France have launched a war for oil.

 

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  • Dave

    Finally, I’m mildly curious why we haven’t yet invaded Venezuela

    Well, there was the attempted assassination of Chavez.

    • wengler

      And the attempted coup of Chavez.

    • Brautigan

      I’m sure it has absolutely nothing to do with concern over losing access to the world’s largest lithium supply.

      • ajay

        I’m sure it has absolutely nothing to do with concern over losing access to the world’s largest lithium supply.

        Which is in Chile, not Venezuela. The world’s largest reserves are in Bolivia, which is also not Venezuela.

    • Last time I heard anything about Chavez, he and Obama were trading barbed words at the United Nations.

      Did I miss anything exciting, like the old days?

      • wengler

        Ozzie Guillen and Sean Penn were having a feud over Chavez.

        A whole article in the Chicago Tribune was devoted to it.

        Seriously.

        • That’s awesome.

        • Dan Coyle

          Wait, there’s a guy named Ozzie Guillen?

  • As Obama’s handling of the protests against our longtime American allies in Egypt and Tunisia pretty clearly demonstrates, our foreign policy in North Africa since the outbreak of the uprisings is pretty clearly driven by a Kissingerian realpolitik that puts traditional hard power considerations front and center.

    Does anyone think we’re going to care about The Libyan People if they’re being oppressed or brutalized by a reliably pro-Western successor to Gaddafi?

    Ask Murbarak, you self-righteous ignoramus.

    • Furious Jorge

      I think he might argue that it’s totally different because Egypt doesn’t have oil.

      Not that I agree, necessarily.

    • astonishingly dumb hv

      Those reprisals were a) expected and b) transitory.

      No real oppression has been overlooked.

      • It takes a sick mind to think about oppression in Libya and come up with the amateurish battlefield revenge committed by some of the Libyan rebels.

        • astonishingly dumb hv

          You’re attributing something worse than malice, right?

          (Suck it, Murc & Mal! Lightweights!)

  • wengler

    The real question is why didn’t that pussy Reagan do more than lob a couple missiles at Gadaffi’s compound when he blew up a freaking American airliner. I know Libya wouldn’t have been as much a gimme as Grenada, but come on.

    Of course it’s about oil. It’s also about the nice resorts along the Med. A stable Libya and we can gas up and tan up at the same time.

    • The real question is why didn’t that pussy Reagan do more than lob a couple missiles at Gadaffi’s compound when he blew up a freaking American airliner.

      Because even Republican hawks marinated in oil money, it is takes someone as special as George W. Bush to conclude that taking over and trying to run a Middle Eastern country is a good idea.

  • Tom Allen

    I also kinda wonder why, if we’re invading Libya for its oil, the war isn’t already over.

    Perhaps because Ghadaffi’s still there. Remember when this war started, how it wasn’t about regime change? And now it’s all about regime change? Funny, that.

    But I know: doubting that the US Government is being 100% honest and open with its citizens is totally unserious. Oil is never a consideration when our leaders decide on foreign policy in oil-rich nations.

    • I think you kind of miss the point; why is Gaddhaffi still there if the war is about oil? Why hasn’t he been toppled and replaced like Saddam Hussein, or so many uppity Latin American strongmen?

      I’ve seen the movie you’re describing, lots of times. It doesn’t go this way.

      But I know: doubting that the US Government is being 100% honest and open with its citizens is totally unserious. Oil is never a consideration when our leaders decide on foreign policy in oil-rich nations.

      Yes, yes, I know: if you pose hard enough as the dissident truth-teller, actually answering these sorts of questions becomes extraneous.

    • Ed Marshall

      Yeah, but it wasn’t a U.S. policy initiative. If you want a suspicious, imperialist skeptical take, the first player that I would notice is the one that actually used to hold parts of Libya as part of it’s empire.

      Not that there isn’t something there, but there is something about the American anti-imperialist left that works backwards from every event to try and figure out how the U.S. is secretly manipulating everyone else for some malign purpose. There is no room for any other country to have agency unless it is a stridently, anti-American regime.

      • redrob

        If you want a suspicious, imperialist skeptical take, the first player that I would notice is the one that actually used to hold parts of Libya as part of it’s empire.

        Italy? Ottoman Turkey? The Abbasid Caliphate? 18th Dynasty Egypt?

        • Ed Marshall

          I was thinking of France, but you can’t be too careful with these things.

          • elm

            When was Lybia under French control, except briefly after WWII when they and Britain administered Libya under UN Trusteeship?

            • Ed Marshall

              I was thinking that at least the Southeastern region was part of the Second Colonial Empire, but maybe not.

        • Turkey, Italy, and Egypt are all, in one way or another, supporting the rebels or the NATO action.

          Hmmm….

        • Richard Hershberger

          Did Alexander get that far west? Perhaps we should be looking at Macedon.

  • More of that close attention to detail and down-the-middle factual reporting that is the Greenwald brand:

    numerous other regimes — including our close allies in Bahrain and Yemen and the one in Syria — engage in attacks on their own people at least as heinous as those threatened by Gaddafi

    Uh huh. “At least.” Yes, perhaps the crackdown in Bahrain is actually even worse than the agony of Misurata or the threats to turn Libyan cities into deserts.

    The rally, staged under the banner “Bahrain, homeland for all” in the Shiite village of Sar, 10 days after a state of emergency was lifted, had received the nod from authorities, Al-Wefaq politician ex-MP Hadi al-Moussawi told AFP.

    “The ministry of interior has been informed, and there was no objection,” he said by telephone, adding that police stayed away from the immediate vicinity of the venue, as demonstrators spilled into neighbouring streets.

    That’s just as bad as Benghazi. At least!

    • astonishingly dumb hv

      I thought we agreed that the math on these things is (people saved in massacre) – (people killed in inevitable, expected reprisals).

      It is dishonest to fail to mention the second quantity when you are comparing numbers.

      Bonus question: if the massacre avoided is larger, are the reprisals also larger?!

      • I thought we agreed that the math on these things is (people saved in massacre) – (people killed in inevitable, expected reprisals).

        It is dishonest to fail to mention the second quantity when you are comparing numbers.

        Take it up with Greenwald:

        numerous other regimes — including our close allies in Bahrain and Yemen and the one in Syria — engage in attacks on their own people at least as heinous as those threatened by Gaddafi

        Bonus question: if the massacre avoided is larger, are the reprisals also larger?!

        If anything, I’d say that a massacre not avoided is likely to lead to larger reprisals than one avoided.

        • astonishingly dumb hv

          Why would you think I have that agreement with Greenwald?

          • What makes you think, when I was responding to what Greenwald wrote, your feelings and “agreements” were the slightest bit relevant?

            • astonishingly dumb hv

              Because you are the one who agreed to it. Duh.

              My feelings are, of course, irrelevant (and since they were also unmentioned, I’m not sure how that strawperson is involved.)

  • shah8

    Invading Venezuela is one of those spectacularly bad ideas that everyone assumes everyone knows is not feasible. Until someone snarks? it. A great deal of that country is pretty defensible.

    I have pretty strong doubts that Qadaffi had different attitudes regarding the export of oil than he did in 2004, and the idea that there was some kind of plot to seize oil to be ludicrous. This general situation isn’t to the preference of Western Powers. Any future post-Qadaffi regime would probably not be to the preference of Western Powers. There is no reason to believe that the new regime would be any more reasonable, and more importantly, socially robust. Most of the people jockeying for power are all about the benjamins and have next to zero interest in infrastructure or social improvement–i.e., these guys are even worse than Qadaffi, so far (with incompetence being a mitigating factor). It’s just flying by the seat of the pants and hoping they they don’t get too greased up with shitstains…

  • I’m not sure I understand. Are there people who really think that oil isn’t very important in this thing? Or for that matter that the US isn’t the one with the most bombs and bulletts involved?

    I suspect that another one of the top reasons we are in Libya is that Gaddafi is such an irratating in your face kind of guy. A kind of “I cants take it no more” moment by the Europeans who then pushed us into it.

    Just because we aren’t doing it right, doesn’t mean this isn’t a colonial move on NATOs part.

    • Are there people who really think that oil isn’t very important in this thing?

      Yep. You should check out Juan Cole’s blog.

      You can’t simply make the jump from “America has fought oil wars” to “therefore, this is an oil war.”

      Or for that matter that the US isn’t the one with the most bombs and bulletts involved?

      Uh, that’s not really a matter of opinion. The United States has minimal involvement in the actual combat operations anymore, which are overwhelmingly French and British at this point.

    • Robert Farley

      The US has flown a plurality of the sorties, although that’s misleading; US sorties are heavily weighted towards the first week of the war. And I do suspect that “I cants take it no more” is a big part of it, and a big part of Gaddafi’s ability to a) maintain power, b) intervene elsewhere in Africa, and c) maintain a large international presence stems from his access to oil wealth.

  • Some Guy

    I know you guys are being all snarky, but what is the actual proposition you are putting forward? Obama and his advisors sat in the war room going “I know attacking Libya serves no US interests at all, but damn the realpolitik, we have to help those people! Launch the humanitarian cruise missiles!” ?

    Am I a tinfoil hatter if I just can’t see that happening?

    • Robert Farley

      No, you’re not, but the problem is that you’ve started from the wrong premise. Obama and a bunch of people didn’t just sit around in a room and come up with the idea of attacking Libya; lots of people within the administration argued back and forth about the wisdom of intervention, and the French and the British applied a lot of pressure (much of it undoubtedly related to Afghanistan). By the end, the administration convinced itself that this was the least bad option, which may or may not have been the case.

      • DrDick

        While I do not believe this is (just) for the oil, I am still trying to figure out why we intervened in Libya and not Syria, Bahrain, or Yemen. What makes Libya special?

        • Robert Farley

          1. Gaddafi is not, Greenwald’s intimations aside, a US client. This more or less takes Yemen and Bahrain off the intervention table.

          2. Syria is *much* more powerful militarily than Libya, and strikes against Syria would be much more politically difficult because of the role Syria plays in balancing Israeli power.

        • Ed Marshall

          Right amount of “frenemie” to make a plausible case. Not enemy enough to make it look opportunistic, Not so friendly that we would panic our dictator clientele (that didn’t really work out so well).

          By the end of it Gaddafi was also threatening to join AQ and make rivers of blood in Libya. Given his past, probably neither of those things were idle threats.

          • By the end of it Gaddafi was also threatening to join AQ

            Which is ironic, given the number of “anti-imperialists” who’ve decided to play the “skeery al-Qaeda Mooslem” card against the Libyan protesters.

            • DocAmazing

              Eastern Libya provided more volunteers to al-Qaeda in Iraq that just about any other country; that’s a li’l something you could look up.

              Muammar mouthing off is one thing; the facts of recruitment are something else again.

              • Awesome. Now do “people from Harlem.” “All men are John” with an ethnic component is a particularly ugly bit of unreason.

                When did it become acceptable to you to impart terrorist inclinations to people based on where they were born? Do you have any actual reason for this suspicion of terrorist sympathies among the protesters besides this? Your evidence that the minute number of eastern Libyans who joined AQI are involved in this uprising is…what, exactly?

                Not to mention, the uprising in Libya was nationwide; it ended up with the rebels controlling the east because Gadaffi is ensconced in the capital in the west. The rebels are also resisting him on a second front at Misurata, and a third in the Berber areas in the far west/southwest.

                Would it be “a li’l something” for me to look up to start smearing people from those places with evidence-free intimations of al Qaeda connections?

                • DocAmazing

                  It is not a statement on the character of eastern Libyans to point out that they have provided more volunteers to al-Qaeda in Iraq than any other country. If you have an example of an organization in which people from Harlem or men named John are overrepresented, please toss one out, to the extent that it is relevant.

                • It is not a statement on the character of eastern Libyans to point out that they have provided more volunteers to al-Qaeda in Iraq than any other country.

                  It is if you point out that fact by way of defending the characterization of eastern Libyans as “skeery al Qaeda Mooslems.”

                  If you have an example of an organization in which people from Harlem or men named John are overrepresented

                  If you have an example of an organization in which people from Harlem or men named John are overrepresented, please toss one out, to the extent that it is relevant.

                  The “All Men are John” fallacy goes like this:

                  “John is a man. Therefore, all men are John.” Demonstrating that X is part of Y does not demonstrate that Y is part of X.

                  Similarly, demonstrating that al Qaeda has a lot of eastern Libyans doesn’t tell us that a lot of eastern Libyans are in al Qaeda. No matter how devoted you are to noting that there are eastern Libyans in al Qaeda, it’s not going to convince me to be afraid of eastern Libyans.

              • David M. Nieporent

                Eastern Libya provided more volunteers to al-Qaeda in Iraq that just about any other country; that’s a li’l something you could look up.

                It is? Where exactly would one look it up? On al-Qaeda in Iraq’s Facebook page?

                • Malaclypse

                  Where exactly would one look it up?

                  CNN, for one.

                • Malaclypse

                  Here, for two.

                • Malaclypse
                • Malaclypse

                  I’d love to know why one and only one link got moderated.

                • astonishingly dumb hv

                  that’s a li’l something you could look up.

                  With notable exceptions, people making assertions on this topic are willing to look things up.

        • Two things:

          1. International support. The Arab League supported – asked for, actually – the intervention in Libya, and Russia and China didn’t block action in the UN Security Council.

          2. The situation in Libya lends itself to an offshore intervention like this in a way that the situation in other countries do not. In Libya in mid-march, there were two military forces arrayed against each other, with front lines and open engagements in open territory. It was possible to strike the loyalist mechanized forces with air power without the cure being worse than the disease. What is NATO going to do when a crowd in the central square of a city is being fired upon by security forces in buildings right next to them, with civilians mixed in all over the place?

          • I realize, btw, that the situation in Syria is starting to take on some of these same characteristics, as Assad uses main-force military formations to launch assaults on whole towns, and the protesters are just beginning to organize themselves to fight, and perhaps being joined by defecting military units.

            BTW, be careful what you wish for. Two months ago, it was the Ivory Coast that demonstrated that Libya wasn’t a humanitarian intervention.

          • DocAmazing

            I thought that making reference to the stated desires of the Arab League was the world’s worst argument by appeal to authority. It was two weeks ago, anyway; please keep us up-to-date as to when it’s DLC-legit to use the Arab League as an excuse.

            • Oh, look, someone’s bitter about an old argument he lost.

              An “appeal to authority” is a claim that an argument is true, which has nothing to do with an observation that a party has influence on a political situation like a UN vote.

              The actual, official actions of the Arab League are quite a bit different than the statements of one Arab League official who as overruled the next day by the actual Arab League.

            • It was two weeks ago, anyway;

              I haven’t the foggiest idea what you’re babbling about, but I’d bet the deed to my car that you’ve garbled it.

              • LOL. You get called out on a vapid appeal to authority, to the Arab League – and appeal that doesn’t even correctly state the Arab League’s position – so you lurk in wait for a month to be able to shout “Gotcha!” the next time I mention that organization, in any context, whether making an appeal to authority or not:

                DocAmazing says:
                May 25, 2011 at 9:26 am

                You might wanna re-read that UN resolution, or ask the Arab league.

                reply
                joe from Lowell says:
                May 25, 2011 at 9:39 am
                Read the resolution months ago, and destroying the ability of the Libyan military to attack rebel-held population centers in March is exactly like destroying the ability of the Libyan military to attack population centers in May.

                Also: WORST. APPEAL TO AUTHORITY. EVER. “You might want to ask the Arab League?” Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

                reply
                joe from Lowell says:
                May 25, 2011 at 9:57 am
                But, for the fun of it, let’s ask the Arab League:

                One day after one individual in the Arab League claimed the operation was exceeding its mandate, the actual Arab League put out a statement refuting him and expressing their support for the mission.

                A few days later, Qatar began flying combat missions.

                About a month later, we find the Arab League, the EU, and the UN itself working on parallel tracks to bring about a cease fire, and the Arab League has nothing to say about the mission exceeding its mandate.

                A month after that, the countries of the Arab League cut off Libyan state television from broadcasting to their countries, still with no statement about the mission exceeding its mandate.

                There’s this wonderful myth among the operation’s opponents, that the Arab League agrees with them. It’s sort of like the Republicans making Michael Steele, the head of the RNC, except that Michael Steele really was a Republican.

                • DocAmazing

                  Jesus, you’re repetitive.

                • Furious Jorge

                  Don’t worry, joe – no one will ever accuse you of Being Wrong on the Internet.

                • If you don’t like repetition, don’t ask for seconds.

                • DocAmazing

                  Or twelfths, it would appear.

                • Yes, you do insist on dredging up old arguments over and over and over.

                  It’s such an admirable quality. It speaks so well of you as a person and as a thinker, and must be so very interesting for the readers.

    • Ed Marshall

      When the U.N. resolution came down, the U.S. was one the quietest players out there. The Arab League had said they were going to toss him out of power on their own. If I remember correctly Austraila, of all places, had made their own unilateral threat.

      I think the White House knew this would all fall apart and that they would be left with the bag of shit in their lap, and that is more or less what happened.

    • I know attacking Libya serves no US interests at all

      What “US interest” was served by helping our longtime allies in Egypt and Tunisia leave power?

      I think this administration has a more enlightened definition of our national interest than the oil-and-bases outlook of its predecessors, as articulated in the Cairo speech at the beginning of this presidential term.

      I think they also recognize that this “Arab Spring” phenomenon is not negotiable, and they don’t want to end up on the wrong side of history, the way we did in Latin America when the masses rose up against the oligarchs and we handed those uprisings to the Soviets in a pretty pink bow.

      • asdfsdf

        I think you hit the major part of it, and that’s why I don’t think that it’s a boondoggle. Be on the right side of history: possibly the administrations attempt to place Libya in the western camp.

        • Or at least, keep them neutral instead of actively hostile.

          It’s not like we’re likely to bring an Egyptian government led by the Muslim Brotherhood into “the western camp,” but at least we can avoid setting up a situation where we treat them as, and encourage them to be, the enemy.

    • .-Norman–Thomas-

      Launch the humanitarian cruise missiles!

      Now *that’s* funny!

      Let’s be clear about all of this. This is Obama’s war. GWB was not involved….as was congress was not involved. At least GWB got 373 votes from congress for Iraq. Obama didn’t even consult congress. Instead, he looked to the UN as a source of authority.

      I’d like to see Mr. Farley stop dancing around this fact and give Obama the same criticism he would have given GWB if he had done this.

      • No, Normy, he looked to NATO and the treaty that every president since Truman and Korea has looked to.

        Grow up a little, will ya?

        • .-Norman–Thomas-

          He fucked the democracy. Why didn’t he turn to the elected representatives of the people before starting the war?

          How *does* a supporter apologize for this?

          • Why didn’t he turn to the elected representatives of the people before starting the war?

            For the same reason Reagan didn’t do so when he bombed Libya and Clinton didn’t do so when he launched Operation Desert Fox: because short-term, off-shore military actions have traditionally been handled by the President under his own authority, and AUMFs are utilized when there is going to be extended ground combat.

            • .-Norman–Thomas-

              It’s my understanding that there are certain criteria such as a national interest or immediate national danger.

              Obama’s Secretary of Defense said none of those conditions were present.

              Save your breath. There is no defense.

              • It’s my understanding that there are certain criteria such as a national interest or immediate national danger.

                “National interest” appears nowhere in any legal or constitutional standard.

                “Immediate national danger”- you know, like the bombing of Libya in 1986, or the invasion of Panama.

                There is no defense.

                For there to be a defense, there would actually have to be some sort of attack or denunciation. So far, all we have is your disjointed confusion.

                • .-Norman–Thomas-

                  Lame….really lame.

                  However, I would not want to be in your position trying to defend Obama’s actions.

                  Good luck to you

      • Let’s be clear about all of this. This is Obama’s war. GWB was not involved

        Perhaps that’s why it’s not a cluster fuck.

        I’d like to see Mr. Farley stop dancing around this fact and give Obama the same criticism he would have given GWB if he had done this.

        You think Farley would criticize George Bush for working closely with the UN? Um, ok.

        • .-Norman–Thomas-

          Obama went rogue.

          He’s now King Obama. Congress (apparently) doesn’t matter.

          What else will he do to us?

          • In your case, I suspect he’ll slowly wave a shiny object in front of your eyes, causing you to fall silent until the next election is over.

          • Malaclypse

            What else will he do to us?

            Some people believe he will go so far as to reinstitute the marginal tax rates of the 1990s. Personally, I doubt it, but JFL assures me he will in fact perpetrate this atrocity.

        • Let’s be clear about all of this. This is Obama’s war. GWB was not involved

          Exactly.

          Iraq? That’s Bush’s.

          Afghanistan in the years before late 2009? Bush’s.

          But the Libya action, like the Osama bin Laden operation and the Maersk Alabama pirate episode, is totally Obama’s.

          It’s good to be able to have a meeting of the minds like this.

  • Bart

    As the military industrial complex saw that the war in Iraq was due to wind down, a new war in Libya looked promising.

    I agree with whoever noted that an invasion of Venezuela would not be welcomed by either the common people or the environment.

  • elissar008

    What “US interest” was served by helping our longtime allies in Egypt and Tunisia leave power?

    It was no longer politically tenable to maintain support for them in the face of massive popular uprisings, loss of support from their armies (or significant portions of their armies), and high amounts of public scrutiny.

    It’s very easy to support those dictators when nobody’s looking, less so when even CNN is showing his troops gunning people down, rolling tanks on them, etc.

    So then it becomes in their interest to usher the dictator out the door, and embrace “democracy”. Remember, it’s not like the US abandoned our friend in Egypt, they were trying to negotiate a peace to leave Mubarak in power for a time up until the end.

    as articulated in the Cairo speech at the beginning of this presidential term.

    Taking a noted liar’s word is always a good strategy.

    • Ed Marshall

      If they wanted him there bad enough, they would have instructed the military to tell their counterparts that they don’t care if it takes making Tahrir Square knee deep in blood, Mubarak is to stay in power, that would have happened.

      • Yes, well they didn’t want him there THAT badly. Still my recollection of the whole Egypt thing was that the US got on board rather late in the day.

        Incidentally, who is in power right now? Not those crazy kids and their deomcracy but the same people who were ruling while the last guy was there (except for his family, of course).

        • The administration didn’t make a public statement about Mubarak leaving until fairly late in the game, but back-channel efforts, like the peer-to-peer contacts with the military leaders, aiming to get them to refuse orders to fire on the protesters if they came, apparently started quite early.

          Incidentally, who is in power right now?

          Legally, a transition regime. The situation is still very much up in the air.

    • It was no longer politically tenable to maintain support for them in the face of massive popular uprisings, loss of support from their armies (or significant portions of their armies), and high amounts of public scrutiny.

      I submit to you that George W. Bush did exactly that faced with a comparable situation in Pakistan when the lawyers began those protests against Perven Mushariff.

      It’s very easy to support those dictators when nobody’s looking, less so when even CNN is showing his troops gunning people down, rolling tanks on them, etc.

      So then it becomes in their interest to usher the dictator out the door, and embrace “democracy”.

      What “interest” are you talking about. What national interest has anything to do with the reporting on CNN?

      they were trying to negotiate a peace to leave Mubarak in power for a time up until the end.

      A rather churlish way of saying they were trying to negotiate for him to leave power peacefully. You know, like we frequently do with our allies.

      Taking a noted liar’s word is always a good strategy.

      And how’s that workin out for ya? What an odd coincidence that his statement about the future of the Middle East does such a good job – such a better job than the square-ped “anti-imperialist” cliches – of explaining our policy over the last year. I know, I know…you were right to be wrong, because you were wrong for the right reasons…

      • elissar008

        What “interest” are you talking about.

        Are you deny the US government had and has many perceived interests in Egypt? Keeping the Suez open and having a friendly neighbor to Israel not making waves certainly factor in.

        My point is quite simple here: there is very little domestic political cost to supporting Bad Guys when no one is focusing on that region or nation or whatever suffering people are going through because of it.

        When the situation becomes so dynamic or so disproportionate from day-to-day police state activities, even the mainstream corporate press does a few stories on it.

        Concern for public image/illusion is always a piece of the puzzle.

        A rather churlish way of saying they were trying to negotiate for him to leave power peacefully. You know, like we frequently do with our allies.

        Or a rather realistic way of describing continued support for a dictator who, for decades past, imprisoned or murdered thousands of his fellow countryman.

        What an odd coincidence that his statement about the future of the Middle East does such a good job – such a better job than the square-ped “anti-imperialist” cliches – of explaining our policy over the last year.

        Which parts of which speech are you referring to? What significant policy changes do you feel most reflect the earnest and righteous nature of this particular president’s sweeping reform?

        I went back and took a gander at his Cairo speech, I found some interesting things.

        I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

        Yes, justice, and dignity of all human beings. Very dignified, blowing up innocent civilians in Tripoli, especially Gaddafi’s grandkids. And all those kids we bomb and shoot down in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. Very dignified, blowing them into little bits.

        And justice, boy howdy do Americans know justice. Like putting innocent people in cages for years on end, physically torturing them in many cases, then releasing them and saying “whoops our bad, but you can’t sue, we have immunity”. Of course the cream of that crop is the people we never do release, the ones we just hold on to, in cages, with no sentence, no trial, no charges–not even a right to see the evidence presented against them.

        Very just, all of that.

        O/T sidenote:

        For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere.

        Lots of new policies there, as well.

        And this is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes — and, yes, religions — subjugating one another in pursuit of their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating.

        Libya, of course, was to Help the People.

        Other dictators treat their folks right. Afghanistan is for Helping the People too, or to fight the Taliban, or al Qaeda, or to maintain stability in Pakistan–I never can keep those straight.

        • Are you deny the US government had and has many perceived interests in Egypt?

          No, I’m saying exactly the opposite of that. Not only do we have the interests you mentioned, we allied ourselves with Hosni Mubarak for decades in order to advance those interests. Which is sort of my point.

          Or a rather realistic way of describing continued support for a dictator who, for decades past, imprisoned or murdered thousands of his fellow countryman.

          OK, look at what you just wrote. The activity you’re describing here is the American diplomatic effort towards Egypt during the uprising. You didn’t even come close.

          Your whole argument here is basically to deny that anything notable happened between the United States and two of our longtime allied thug governments. Basically, something very significant happened in our international policy, and the line you’re taking is to just deny it’s there.

          And why? For a basic anti-American rant. Good job. You really surpass us mere mortals in recognizing the bad guys. I’m especially impressed by the detail of your knowledge about the operations in Libya: I can tell you’re really trying to keep up with the reporting on the ground. Not.

          Because you’ve got your patter down. Congratulations.

          • elissar008

            I’m still looking for which policies have changed, and to what effect. You said they had…so show me.

            The US changing its tune in the last few days of a clearly dying regime does not a turned over new leaf make.

            Basically, something very significant happened in our international policy, and the line you’re taking is to just deny it’s there.

            What was it? You have no answers. I pointed to Obama’s rhetoric, and with what is at this point basic common knowledge showed how mendacious it was. What have you done other than take to some inane track about how I’m anti-American.

            Do I not have enough flag pins on my screen name or something?

            • jeer9

              Elissar008,
              You’re obviously one of those Protest People and the person you’re arguing with, bless his little heart, suffers from OCD and frequently monopolizes threads at this site (which should consider changing its name to LG&JFL). Try not to take your anger at US policy out on him. He really can’t control his need to defend and apologize. While he doesn’t often make much sense, he’s never wrong, rude, or self-righteously ignorant like Greenwald, and, if viewed in the appropriate comic light, can be a pleasantly amusing way to end the day.

              • …and this is the sum total of what you have to add to any discussion about American foreign policy, the uprisings in Libya, and the UN’s response to them:

                “I don’t like that guy that writes internet comments.”

                Pathetic. But, then, the most important thing to Protest People is, as always, their self-image as Protest People, and denouncing non-Protest People is the best way to establish that identity.

                Could you even find Libya on a map?

            • I’m still looking for which policies have changed, and to what effect.

              And I’ve answered you over and over – the diplomatic and political pressure we brought to bear to help remove two longtime allies in response to popular protests. I even gave you an example of the older policy of doing the opposite: the Bush administration’s to-the-hilt backing of Pervez Mushariff when he was faced with a similar situation.

              Do I not have enough flag pins on my screen name or something?

              No, you simply sit there and play dumb about something spectacularly obvious, and use anti-American trash talk as your excuse.

  • “square-peg,” that is. As in, in a round hole.

  • Bruce Baugh

    Robert: I don’t feel nearly informed enough to have a worthwhile opinion about a lot of this, but I feel like I can answer part of the question at the top of your post.

    in 1991-2003, we weren’t in the wake of a decade-long very successful effort to war by any means desired the default answer to foreign policy questions. It’s not that we had no warmongers Death to war monkeys!), but they hadn’t yet had the advantage of an exploitable 9/11-type event, and they were still cultivating the media system that’s been so useful to them since.

    Since there’s no real prospect of reversing the trend, I’m expecting that there’ll be atrocities in the 2020s that would seem unthinkable or ridiculous to us now, too.

  • clever screen name

    Hey joe, in your Two Minutes Hate against the latest Next Hitler, you forgot about “rape rooms” and those Kuwaiti babies that were ripped from incubators.

    • The facts about the Khadaffy regime are what they are, however inconvenient they are to your politics.

      You sure are a moral exemplar, though, aren’t you?

      You think you’re going to get me to not denounce a dictator for well-documented human rights violations? Good luck with that.

    • I just realized: I’ve got Bingo!

  • MikeN

    I wonder if one oil-based consideration, more on the part of the Europeans, was that if Ghaddafi did launch some bloodthirsty massacres, then they would be forced by public opinion to impose sanctions/boycotts/blockades of Libyan oil for an indeterminaste period, leading to an oil price spike.

    • ajay

      Why on earth would that happen? Oil kings have been massacring people for years and we’ve never imposed sanctions on their oil in response. Why start now?

      • Exactly. We’ve seen how that works, dozens of times.

        Not to mention, we and the Europeans did impose an oil embargo on Libya in response to its human rights violations, just before taking military action.

        Which makes the ‘blood for oil’ argument a bit suspect.

        • And, indeed, it was immediately followed by a price spike.

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