UN no-fly zone finally agreed


by Rumbold
18th March, 2011 at 10:51 am    

It is good they were finally able to get round to it:

UK forces are preparing to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya after the UN backed “all necessary measures”, short of an invasion, to protect civilians. Downing Street has cautioned against earlier suggestions that British planes could be in action “within hours” and declined to put a timetable on it. The UN resolution rules out a foreign occupation force in any part of Libya.

David Cameron has also indulged in some clever politicking:

The Cabinet will decide if there is to be a vote in the House of Commons prior to any UK military action. When he was in opposition, Mr Cameron pledged to give MPs the final say over sending UK forces into action.

Labour are pledging to back the no-fly zone, which means if things go wrong, the coalition government can point out that the opposition supported it too.


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  1. sunny hundal

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  1. soctrap — on 18th March, 2011 at 11:16 am  

    Sigh. The west has learnt nothing over the last few months. Absolutely nothing.

  2. jamal — on 18th March, 2011 at 11:22 am  

    oil oil we love it.

    did f all in rwanda did f all in zimbabawe did f all for the poor north koreans.

    libya got plenty of black gold and we in like a flash.

  3. Kulvinder — on 18th March, 2011 at 11:45 am  

    did f all in rwanda did f all in zimbabawe did f all for the poor north koreans.

    Theres also no oil in Bosnia, Sierra Leone or Kosovo; but why let mere facts etc etc.

    The uprising comes from the libyans, theres agreement from the arab league and active participation from arab countries as such its a very different thing from Iraq.

  4. Kismet Hardy — on 18th March, 2011 at 12:33 pm  

    Jolly good. Just in time to stop a civil war breaking out. Oh wait…

    Remind me. What usually happens after a no-fly zone? Something about people getting bombed to fuck because we’re saving them or something? I forget. All I remember is we’re always right to go and kill people because their leader is a bad man

    If only this sort of thing happened more often then I wouldn’t be so darn foggy about the outcome

  5. Kamaljeet — on 18th March, 2011 at 12:56 pm  

    We are open to the accusation of ‘hypocracy and opportunism’. If this miliatary course of action is going to be taken, shouldn’t the UN Resolution also refer to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain? k

  6. Kismet Hardy — on 18th March, 2011 at 1:09 pm  

    Oh hang on I remember something about Saudi Arabia was it the caste system I’m not sure, something about them being untouchable? I do know Saudis can fly a plane into a tower in America and someone else gets blamed or something

  7. MaidMarian — on 18th March, 2011 at 1:44 pm  

    There should be no intervention in Libya. It really is that simple.

  8. Kismet Hardy — on 18th March, 2011 at 1:50 pm  

    You know this whole ‘it’s our duty to help people be free’ bollocks is, well, bollocks. Most people in the world aren’t free and generally, when a people gain freedom, it’s because they fought and died to get it themselves. This helping hand (selling arms gag, anyone) thing the west do is as pompous as it is repeatedly destructive to the very people they claim to help and the whole goddamn world suffers a bit more for it

  9. AsifB — on 18th March, 2011 at 1:56 pm  

    Well, I’m not as cynical as Kismet, but I don’t understand why Rumbold thinks the NF zone is a good thing.

    There’s only six million Libyans and Gaddafi has been periodically killing hundreds if not thousands of them most years since the sixties – the idea that the rate of internal murder is going to go to 10% of the population in less than a month, as claimed by some news reports, is dubious.

    And without this claim, there is no overwhelming humanitarian need (unlike the time we helped the students at Tianemann Square and those poor Rwandan and Darfuri villagers..)

    This hypocrisy at a time when Uk/Western arms are being used by the Saudi/Bahraini oligarchs against a popular revolt in Bahrain raises another level of doubt in my mind. Particularly because the level of overseas violence attributed to Gaddafi (WPC Yvonne Fletcher, the IRA , lockerbie) is far less than the damage done to the world by offical Saudi propoganda, without which the 9/11 crowd wouldn’t have been incuabated – and violent/irrational ideologies wouldn’t have been exported to Af/Pak etc. (Oh, and by the way I think the IRA would have killed people without ever getting Mummar’s help – and probably recieved far more cash and arms from individual Americans than they ever got from Libya – where the most heavily publicised shipments seem to be from the late 80s , after Thatcher allowed Reagan to use a UK airfield to bomb Gaddafi’s house.)

    Yet for years,I’ve been told by Saudi/oil/military/Dubai tourist establishment apologists that ‘stability and realpolitik’ means that we have to deal with the Saud/Gulf oligarchs.Well, if they allow a democratic franchise for all including rights for women, religious minorities and their expolited darker skinned workforces, fine they can keep their kings and Britian can sell them solar power technologies that everyone can benefit from, instead of arms that they will only use for internal repression.

    Humanitarian intervention is not a bad idea, but with the exception of Bosnia (which was too late to save a non ethnically cleansed/divided entity – or to prevent Srebenica) the most effective recent examples weren’t carried out by the West, but by India, Vietnam and Tanzania in the 1970s, which invaded neighbouring states to overthrow forces that had killed over one hundred thousand people per month in Bangladesh and Cambodia and many dozens of thousands of people in Uganda.

    So morally today, the achievable level of success by taking violent action (which can surely only be effective if we can quickly kill off the Gaddafi clan) is limited at best – Cameron, as Kelvin Mackenzie of all people said on QT last night, has gone mad if he thinks at a time of defence cuts admid ongoing commitments,it is a good idea to put British lives in danger (and collaborate with the French in the Middle East – never a good idea historically speaking). The UK would benefit more if it just sat on Gaddafi’s assets and covertly supported the rebels – and would be much more popular in the Middle East if it pushed the post Islamist/facebook type revolts in Saudi and the Gulf – lets face it, if their royals had to run away, they would come to where thir money is in the west and among whoever took over, there would be many who would still want to sell the world oil, while they can.

  10. Kismet Hardy — on 18th March, 2011 at 2:02 pm  

    Aw, I’m not cynical :-( Just for an apathetic crackhead clown, I do have a habit of getting fired up when I realise my tax is paying for our hired killers to go and fight someone else’s hired killers and kill lots of people along the way…

    But I’ll leave you big boys and girls to talk about the policies and stuff that hurts my brain. But hang on. If we do go to all out battle, this’ll mean we’ll be fighting in a LEGAL war? Cripes. That IS unchartered territory…

  11. MaidMarian — on 18th March, 2011 at 2:11 pm  

    Kismet Hardy – Post 8 I like, though you seem to have a chip on the shoulder about, ‘the west.’

    Why not the east – the Libyans seem to have an awful lot of Kalashnikovs and I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that the west hasn’t produced those.

  12. Kismet Hardy — on 18th March, 2011 at 2:18 pm  

    I do have a chip because I’ve always stood up (or at least lifted my arse of my chair and leant into my keyboard a little bit more) for the underdog. Without sounding like a student who’s just seen his first bill hicks clip on youtube, the west continue to arm people in the east, then later realise they armed the wrong bully. It keeps happening and I’m sad you’re all so used to it you think it’s naive and cliche to still rant on about it

    PS. I don’t know much about who makes arms beyond Iron Man 2 but I do know a lot of the weapons know-how in the east came from the west. I wouldn’t swear on it. Frankly, I don’t give a shit that there are bad people over there too. I live in the west so it’s our evil fuck-ups I’m here to condone

  13. Optimist — on 18th March, 2011 at 2:18 pm  

    1. Intervention will violate Libya’s sovereignty. This is not just a legalistic point – although the importance of observing international law should not be discounted if the big powers in the world are not to be given the green light run amok. As soon as NATO starts to intervene, the Libyan people will start to lose control of their own country and future.
    2. Intervention can only prolong, not end the civil war. “No-fly zones” will not be able to halt the conflict and will lead to more bloodshed, not less.
    3. Intervention will lead to escalation. Because the measures being advocated today cannot bring an end to the civil war, the next demand will be for a full-scale armed presence in Libya, as in Iraq – and meeting the same continuing resistance. That way lies decades of conflict.
    4. This is not Spain in 1936, when non-intervention meant helping the fascist side which, if victorious in the conflict, would only encourage the instigators of a wider war – as it did. Here, the powers clamouring for military action are the ones already fighting a wider war across the Middle East and looking to preserve their power even as they lose their autocratic allies. Respecting Libya’s sovereignty is the cause of peace, not is enemy.
    5. It is more like Iraq in the 1990s, after the First Gulf War. Then, the US, Britain and France imposed no-fly zones which did not lead to peace – the two parties in protected Iraqi Kurdistan fought a bitter civil war under the protection of the no-fly zone – and did prepare the ground for the invasion of 2003. Intervention may partition Libya and institutionalise conflict for decades.
    6. Or it is more like the situation in Kosovo and Bosnia. NATO interference has not lead to peace, reconciliation or genuine freedom in the Balkans, just to endless corrupt occupations.
    7. Yes, it is about oil. Why the talk of intervening in Libya, but not the Congo, for example? Ask BP.
    8. It is also about pressure on Egyptian revolution – the biggest threat to imperial interests in the region. A NATO garrison next door would be a base for pressure at least, and intervention at worst, if Egyptian freedom flowers to the point where it challenges western interests in the region.
    9. The hypocrisy gives the game away. When the people of Bahrain rose against their US-backed monarchy and were cut down in the streets, there was no talk of action, even though the US sixth fleet is based there and could doubtless have imposed a solution in short order. As top US republican Senator Lindsey Graham observed last month “there are regimes we want to change, and those we don’t”. NATO will only ever intervene to strangle genuine social revolution, never to support it.

  14. AsifB — on 18th March, 2011 at 2:22 pm  

    Sorry Kismet, I meant cynical in a nice ‘amused cynicism’ type of way – it’s rumbold saying this is “a good thing” that I’m more bothered about, because of the propganda reasons for intervention (which appear weak when looked at under any catogery whether historical, idealistic, relative, or pure self interest.)

    Might is right and Money talks are the only true international laws in practice – which is why the cynic in me doesn’t understand why the UK wants to go in and kill a few people, when Gaddafi and his ilk have robbed their people and invested their money in the West for us already. Cameron and Sarkozy begging the big boy Obama to help them kick a smaller mad/bad boy is a compelling but pathetic sight. don’t be fooled by humanitarian arguments – Gaddafi’s a nutter and a murderer, but he has done less evil to the wider world than Assad, Saddam and the Sauds – let sleeping mad dog’s lie.

  15. MaidMarian — on 18th March, 2011 at 3:20 pm  

    Optimist –

    ‘Yes, it is about oil. Why the talk of intervening in Libya, but not the Congo, for example? Ask BP.’

    Wouldn’t it just be easier and less bloody to just buy the oil? Indeed, why is it an article of faith that policy should be totally blind to energy supply at least as a consideration?

    Other than your (bizarre) Yugoslavia point though, I’d agree with the rest.

  16. Boyo — on 18th March, 2011 at 3:43 pm  

    I agree it’s fundamentally about the money – where’s the no fly zone over Darfur?

    But it’s an interesting one – echoes of Suez.

    The UK and France gambled on backing the rebels for business reasons. The US is more reticent because

    - they don’t have them in Libya
    - the Saudi’s are pissed off how quickly they ditched Mobarak

    On the other hand, the UK and France cannot now allow Gaddafi to win – they need his head otherwise they’ll lose the business.

    Bit controversial this, but it would not surprise me if the main reason why the US is backing a the resolution is because they fear alienating not the Libyans but the EU.

  17. Boyo — on 18th March, 2011 at 3:48 pm  

    I would add, most oil interests are principally in rebel-held areas.

    I agree No Fly Zones may not get rid of Gaddafi. I think if I was the UK and France I would even think about dropping the paras and legion in (more shades of Suez) and roll over Gaddafi’s forces sharpish – then withdraw and let my new chums the rebels be forever grateful.

    It would certainly not be another Iraq.

  18. Boyo — on 18th March, 2011 at 3:57 pm  

    And finally, as someone who intervened personally in Sierra Leone and Kosovo, I don’t think this has anything to do with that – I agree with Optimist, what about the democrats in Bahrain?

    I actually agree that the UK had no business in the first place calling for no fly zones or whatever – we’re just a no account island FFS! We should have kept mum and let it sort itself out – we certainly couldn’t give a flying fuck about democracy there or anywhere else.

    There WAS a brief moment when in our hubris we thought we could make a difference – Sierra Leone, which we should have basically recolonised as the people there asked, and poured our development budget into making it a model nation over the next 50 years, but that was never going to happen.

    Kosovo was what we should have bloody well done in Bosnia, only too bloody late. Yet on both of these I think Blair was in the right. Iraq he got wrong because of his naivety. History will judge him a holy fool.

  19. fug — on 18th March, 2011 at 4:07 pm  

    White boys bring out your toys….typhoon jets dictator pets, trading gaddafis scalp for anti shia repression.

  20. IbnHazm — on 18th March, 2011 at 4:29 pm  

    selective moral outtrage.

    un resolution on yemen, bahrain and saudi please.

  21. Kulvinder — on 18th March, 2011 at 5:28 pm  

    You know this whole ‘it’s our duty to help people be free’ bollocks is, well, bollocks.

    Beneath the jovial clown exterior is a misanthrope?

    Personally i find the idea of humanity coming together to aid each other quite moving.

  22. MaidMarian — on 18th March, 2011 at 5:45 pm  

    ‘Personally i find the idea of humanity coming together to aid each other quite moving.’

    So do I – but there is still no case for intervention in Libya.

  23. Scooby — on 18th March, 2011 at 8:48 pm  

    Personally i find the idea of humanity coming together to aid each other quite moving.

    I’m sure that Kumbaya and the back-slapping brotherhood will be all the moving when it is sang over the tens of thousands of corpses.

  24. douglas clark — on 18th March, 2011 at 9:07 pm  

    I do wonder whether this is a not a legitimate response to a popular revolution. The people in Eastern Libya were crying out for this. Particularily the no-fly zone.

    UN resolution 1973 appears to me to meet R2P doctrine. In the sense that it appears to have been judged that intervention is better from a humanitarian perspective than non-intervention. Which is a major hurdle in R2P.

    Separately, the whole thing is being led by the French rather than the USA. Obama’s speech backed the coalition and the resolution, but didn’t, at least to me, seem to take a lead role.

    Frankly, anything that helps the freedom fighters, I’m in favour of. Hopefully the resolution can be read widely enough to allow military aid to them.

    Incidentally, I thought Obama’s speech was a tour de force. He appeared to do it without a prompt and his grasp of detail was remarkable.

  25. Kulvinder — on 18th March, 2011 at 9:44 pm  

    So do I – but there is still no case for intervention in Libya.

    Be fair; you don’t agree with the intervention, but that doesn’t mean that those that do haven’t made a valid case for it.

    I’m willing to accept people disagree with me without saying they are ‘wrong’.

    I’m sure that Kumbaya and the back-slapping brotherhood will be all the moving when it is sang over the tens of thousands of corpses.

    Perhaps. I accept the risk it could all go pear shaped. Those for and against intervention can point to successes or failures; its just i believe organisations can have ‘agency’, and that should be used if and when possible in accordance with resolution 3 of the original Declaration of St. James’s Palace.

    Or to put it another way im with Judith.

  26. Scooby — on 18th March, 2011 at 9:50 pm  

    Perhaps. I accept the risk it could all go pear shaped.

    You’re risking nothing, thousands of miles away, putting the world to rights one mouse-click at a time. Get over yourself.

  27. douglas clark — on 18th March, 2011 at 10:03 pm  

    Scooby,

    You’re risking nothing, thousands of miles away, putting the world to rights one mouse-click at a time. Get over yourself.

    Not really.

    I think we can make the world a better place one mouse click at a time. For there is an ‘us’. Individually we are probably not very important but the collective mouse click actually matters.

    The freedom fighters in Libya have our support. Who are you to say that we should get over ourselves? Why should we not support them?

  28. Scooby — on 18th March, 2011 at 10:48 pm  

    The freedom fighters in Libya have our support. Who are you to say that we should get over ourselves? Why should we not support them?

    Keep beating the war drums. It’s very brave of you.

  29. douglas clark — on 18th March, 2011 at 11:04 pm  

    Scooby,

    What’s your point?

    Do you want Libyans murdered by Muammar Gaddafi?

    I’d like to understand your viewpoint, but, so far, it doesn’t seem to be much more than a Muammar Gaddafi fan club sort of thing. Have you got his autograph or something?

    Tell me why a murderous bastard is someone you defend?

  30. joe90 — on 18th March, 2011 at 11:45 pm  

    Ah yes the western colonialist governments they doing this for the people and it’s all about saving lives nothing else, if you believe that bullshit you will believe anything.

    how the hell you expect people to trust these same hypocrite colonialists that have been supporting brutal regimes for past 50 years plus, supplying all the dictators with weapons of choice, sending british and non british people to be tortured or vanish in these same countries.

    They richie rich Conservative party care only about benefit for number 1, and they craving for the money for oil of libya and their counterparts in france and USa are no different.

  31. Kulvinder — on 19th March, 2011 at 12:04 am  

    You’re risking nothing, thousands of miles away, putting the world to rights one mouse-click at a time.

    Well touche. I hadn’t thought of singing Kumbaya either, but i see now you were serious.

  32. Brownie — on 19th March, 2011 at 1:17 am  

    You’re risking nothing, thousands of miles away, putting the world to rights one mouse-click at a time.

    What do you risk, sitting in your pants in your filthy bedsit filling our screens with your nauseating, ‘do nothing’ moral rectitude while others die?

    What dougie said. That’s right: what dougie said.

  33. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 4:36 am  

    Joe90 @ 30,

    I wouldn’t expect anything much different from you.

    Ah yes the western colonialist governments they doing this for the people and it’s all about saving lives nothing else, if you believe that bullshit you will believe anything.

    Jesus, how Socialist Worker of you!

    You are actually standing against the Arab League and the African Union, not to mention many Libyans. Oh! And the UN Security Council. There isn’t a case to be made against a properly called for responsibility to protect motion that passes it’s own criteria of doing less harm than non-intervention.

    Or, if there is, you certainly haven’t described it. Just your own prejudices, as usual….

    Try harder.

  34. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 8:10 am  

    Just to say I thought what we did in Iraq was a disgrace, especially from near the end of Gulf War 1. What came after that was the Texan Mafia actually being a cabal of idiots running Western foreign policy.

  35. Boyo — on 19th March, 2011 at 8:24 am  

    “What do you risk, sitting in your pants in your filthy bedsit…”

    Darn has my webcam been on all this time?

  36. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 8:33 am  

    Boyo,

    I am Spartacus!

  37. Rumbold — on 19th March, 2011 at 9:53 am  

    Brownie and Douglas agreeing? If they can unite on something, then Israel-Palestine should be easy to solve.

  38. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 10:07 am  

    Rumbold,

    Brownie and Douglas agreeing? If they can unite on something, then Israel-Palestine should be easy to solve.

    You will realize that I have staggered back from any such union.

    @ 33, especially 34, and probably 36.

    I am a fan of Conor Foley, and I think his ideas of R2P are mine too. It is wrong to assume that a nation state can treat folk willy-nilly. It is also wrong to assume that any action – short of a UN resolution – is in any way justified. Which is where I part company from the Eustonistas…

    For it was they that tried to completely ruin the idea of R2P. By adopting it as part of their certainly imperialist, at first instance, invasion.

    I am however glad that R2P is back on the agenda, but I will be horrified if neo-con idiots are able to subvert it again.

    If Brownie is on the right side, for once, so be it. It’ll be a first for him….

  39. MaidMarian — on 19th March, 2011 at 11:21 am  

    Kilvinder -

    ‘Be fair; you don’t agree with the intervention, but that doesn’t mean that those that do haven’t made a valid case for it.’

    There is indeed a, ‘valid,’ case – I don’t doubt that. But it is a case that I believe falls. If the Arab League want an NFZ, why can’t they enforce it. It is not as if the members of the Arab league are short of milirary resources. It looks like that AL wanting to fight to the last European.

    I believe that the UN is about the least democratic organisation I can think of, and its self-ssertion of a right to impose itself on sovereign countries like this strikes me as an affront. Why would the UN do nothing about Greek UN sanctions busting with the Serbs?

    What is going on in Libya IS internal. Granted, the East Libyans may want an NFZ, but any number of peoples around the world want one too. NFZ over Tibet anyone? There is no genocide in any meaningful sense of the word in Libya. It is none our business.

    I have heard argument that those against intervention have an, ‘Iraq syndrome.’ Well, I was against intervention in Iraq and I would have been if WMD had been found. It is not for, ‘the West,’ to intervene in countries like this. In Libya, it really is that simple.

    ‘I’m willing to accept people disagree with me without saying they are ‘wrong’.’

    I’d be really grateful if you could have a go at explaining that to Douglas Clark. Apparantly, anyone with an objection is a card-carrying autocrat worshipper.

  40. damon — on 19th March, 2011 at 11:33 am  

    I hope the French drop some bombs on Gaddafi’s troops this afternoon. Just a few to start, and see what happens. And scare any gunboats off too, if they are anywhere near Benghazi. They have tank transporters and logistics support all along the coast road. I think they should bomb them to show some seriousness.
    They don’t have to kill loads of people doing this, as anyone who is near a tank convoy when they spot French or British jets in the air is going to run 200 yards away into the desert where they will be safe.

    They have to be prevented from geting inside Benghazi.
    If only a small number of them do, they could be wiped out very quickly by the rebels.

    And we can see what next to do, next week.
    Play it by ear I say.

  41. MaidMarian — on 19th March, 2011 at 11:37 am  

    damon – With all due respect, a war can not be run on the basis of, ‘play it by ear.’ As your comment rightly suggests, this is not far off the de facto partition of Libya. This is an absolute can of worms that we in the UK should avoid at all costs.

  42. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 11:41 am  

    Maid Marian @ 39,

    I’d be really grateful if you could have a go at explaining that to Douglas Clark. Apparantly, anyone with an objection is a card-carrying autocrat worshipper.

    I could faff around and explain why you are wrong about the UN and all sorts of other stuff.

    But.

    It is simple. Either you think that sovereignty is absolute – which is clearly your position, or you don’t, which is mine. To be clear, I do believe in an R2P doctrine and I won’t have it blown away with specious arguments such as yours. If it is the case that intervention can be predicated to be a major humanitarian benefit, then we should do it.

    _________________________________

    I was against the Iraq war too. Although I might not have been if your scenario:

    Well, I was against intervention in Iraq and I would have been if WMD had been found. It is not for, ‘the West,’ to intervene in countries like this.

    Quite apart from you not needing that counterfactual bullshit in your argument, I hesitate to understand how you would have reacted if they had had WMD’s that met Blair’s conditions for use. Y’know, 15 minutes to death and destruction or whatever other lies he told us.

    Would you just have rolled over?

    If it had been true and he’d threatened us he would have been nuked. We would have had no option.

  43. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 11:52 am  

    Maid Marian @ 41,

    As your comment rightly suggests, this is not far off the de facto partition of Libya. This is an absolute can of worms that we in the UK should avoid at all costs.

    Why?

  44. MaidMarian — on 19th March, 2011 at 11:56 am  

    ‘I could faff around and explain why you are wrong about the UN and all sorts of other stuff.’

    Oh – I’m very sorry for having an opinion, I’d quite forgotten about your monopoly on truth. Though I would be interested to hear how it is you see the UN as a model of legitimacy.

    ‘It is simple. Either you think that sovereignty is absolute – which is clearly your position, or you don’t, which is mine. To be clear, I do believe in an R2P doctrine and I won’t have it blown away with specious arguments such as yours. If it is the case that intervention can be predicated to be a major humanitarian benefit, then we should do it.’

    Well…I don’t think sovereignty is absolute. You do like putting words into other people’s mouths don’t you? I was in favour of intervention in Kosovo. Look – if you have a dogmatic attachment to the R2P, ‘doctrine,’ fair enough. But even if I did see Libya as a, ‘major humanitarian benefit,’ it is not our place to intervene is a complex CIVIL issue. Gaddafi may very well be a monster, but he is the Libyan people’s, and possibly the Arab League’s, monster. Not mine.

    ‘I was against the Iraq war too. Although I might not have been if your scenario:’

    So you believe that if WMD had been found, the disorder would have all been OK?

    ‘Quite apart from you not needing that counterfactual bullshit in your argument, I hesitate to understand how you would have reacted if they had had WMD’s that met Blair’s conditions for use. Y’know, 15 minutes to death and destruction or whatever other lies he told us.

    Would you just have rolled over?’

    Getting all foul-mouthed? Not very nice. But Iraq had not threatened to nuke the UK or anyone else as far as I know. This is stretching – and you are the one accusing me of counterfactual?

    ‘If it had been true and he’d threatened us he would have been nuked. We would have had no option.’

    I agree – but there was no such threat. I’d have been better disposed to Blair if he just said he was intervening in Iraq as a policy matter and that there was mixed evidence on WMD. Libya has Iraq mark 2 written all over it. It is not our business.

  45. Boyo — on 19th March, 2011 at 11:57 am  

    “a war can not be run on the basis of, ‘play it by ear.’”

    On the contrary, no plan survives first contact with the enemy.

    Playing armchair general, i would say the most important thing is to have clear war aims. The rest you can, indeed, make us as you go along.

    In the Spanish press they are saying that Obama’s main reason for going in was because he did not want to leave Libya to the French, so maybe my comment @16 was not so wide of the mark.

    I don’t believe Gaddafi’s military are any more a threat than the Iraqis or Serbs – they could be swept aside by British and French alone. The key thing is what comes after.

  46. Boyo — on 19th March, 2011 at 12:04 pm  

    I love the idea of the UN btw, and have sported the light blue body armour myself, but best book on it is, I’m afraid:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/We-Did-Nothing-Doesnt-Always/dp/067091424X

    But, as the lead reviewer says, don’t read it if you wish to keep your innocence intact. I once recommended it to a young woman interested in the biz who changed course afterwards… and became a spy!

  47. MaidMarian — on 19th March, 2011 at 12:05 pm  

    ‘no plan survives first contact with the enemy.’

    Agreed. But I don’t think we are even at the planning stage. This is for the Arab League to sort out – not us.

  48. damon — on 19th March, 2011 at 12:06 pm  

    I know Maid Marian …. but if ”we” drop just a few bombs in front of Benghazi, what harm will that do … compared to what will happen if Benghazi falls to Gaddafi’s troops? There will be a reign of terror there for those who don’t flee towards Egypt.
    I say, let’s make the Gaddafi clan a bit nervous, and maybe the people in Tripoli who are supporting him will see that the regime’s days are numbered.

    It might not take a lot. The Gadaffi fighting forces moving along the coast are not actually that many or that powerful I hear.

  49. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 12:15 pm  

    Maid Marian,

    Just when did the word bullshit become foul mouthed? You are becoming more than a little precious about what counts as debate these days. Did I miss the memo?

    Anyway.

    You are all over the shop. You say:

    But Iraq had not threatened to nuke the UK or anyone else as far as I know. This is stretching – and you are the one accusing me of counterfactual?

    As far as I know too. Because it would have been an empty threat.

    Then you say, in response to me saying he’d have been nuked:

    I agree – but there was no such threat. I’d have been better disposed to Blair if he just said he was intervening in Iraq as a policy matter and that there was mixed evidence on WMD.

    Well, Blair was the one who brought it up in the House of Commons. He claimed it was a realistic threat. In retrospect, if he had really believed that, we should have got out the Trident submarines and nuked them. The fact that we didn’t just makes Blairs lie more transparent, don’t you think? The point about nuclear weapons is that you only use them if there is an existential threat. Blair claimed there was (an existential threat), when there clearly wasn’t.

    Funny that.

  50. MaidMarian — on 19th March, 2011 at 12:16 pm  

    damon – best case, Gadaffi says, ‘you know what, perhaps I am being a bit naughty. Beer, sandwiches and R2P for all in Benghazi.’

    Worst case, ‘we,’ de facto declare that, ‘we,’ will give an open ended commitment to a part of Libyan society.

    As you say, this is one for the North Africans and Arabs to sort out.

  51. MaidMarian — on 19th March, 2011 at 12:21 pm  

    douglas – ‘Lies’ were not the problem in Iraq. Leaving aside that I don’t think that there were any clear cut, ‘lies,’ suppose for a moment that there was total forthrightness. Blair has stood in Parliament and said:

    ‘You know what, I’m intervening in Iraq because I think it is the right thing to do. Our Atlantic alliance is an important policy object. Saddam is a bad sort and on balance he should be removed. If anyone disagrees, stand at the next election.

    Moreover on WMD, there is mixed evidence before me. Saddam may or may not pose a WMD threat. It is a part of my thinking, but not an overriding factor. Oh, and by the way, oil concerns are a concern in my decision too.’

    If he said that, would Iraq have all been ok. For that matter if the UN had approved, would it all have been ok?

    No it would not.

    But we are getting side-tracked. Why is it that you do not think that your R2P dogma is not the responsibility of the Arab League?

  52. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 12:51 pm  

    Maid Marian @ 51,

    You do know that that is completely counterfactual.

    Blair specifically claimed that the weapons could be deployed in 45 minutes:

    “The most striking intelligence is the statement that the Iraqi military has the capability to deploy and use chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes of receiving an order. Until UNSCOM left Iraq in 1998, we strongly suspected that the regime had the ability to launch chemical and biological attack. This evidence suggests to me that concrete evidence has now been obtained.”

    http://tinyurl.com/6akarw3

    what he didn’t make clear was that even that erroneous claim was not an attack on London, it was a completely confabulated battlefield claim. As you know it turned out to be rubbish.

    To be clear, I would not have invaded Iraq on the basis of the evidence that Blair relied on. Neither would I have proceeded without a full, renewed UN mandate. As I suspect that would have been next to impossible to achieve, I would have supported insurgents within the country and let them get on with it, whilst maintaining the no-fly zone. (This latter strategy was rather messed up by the CIA and their complete failure to support the Marsh Arabs when they should have. Sorry, sweary word coming up, Langley are utter fuck ups.)

    To your main point.

    R2P is everyones’ responsibility. And keeping it clean – away from neo-con (and similar) nutters – is also everyones’ responsibility. It is an important and final guarantee that we don’t live in a perpetual lunatic asylum.

    I certainly don’t want to see it being corrupted again.

  53. MaidMarian — on 19th March, 2011 at 1:03 pm  

    ‘You do know that that is completely counterfactual.

    Yes, hence I said, ‘suppose.’

    ‘Blair specifically claimed that the weapons could be deployed in 45 minutes’

    Which as you say was true, albeit in a very limited way.

    ‘To be clear, I would not have invaded Iraq on the basis of the evidence that Blair relied on. Neither would I have proceeded without a full, renewed UN mandate.’

    So you do think that the UN has a monopoly on right then? I disagree.

    ‘R2P is everyones’ responsibility.’

    NO IT IS NOT!!! The R2P dogmatists have no right to impose their beliefs on people. These are profoundly political decisions that can not and should be reduced.

    ‘I certainly don’t want to see it being corrupted again.’

    Keep it away from the UN then.

    Regardless, to football with me.

  54. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 1:24 pm  

    Maid Marian,

    Have fun at the football, unless of course you are a Cowdenbeath supporter!

  55. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 2:23 pm  

    Maid Marian,

    When you get back from the footie, I’d like you to consider this.

    I said:

    To be clear, I would not have invaded Iraq on the basis of the evidence that Blair relied on. Neither would I have proceeded without a full, renewed UN mandate.

    Perhaps I should have parsed that better. See it this way:

    “To be clear, I would not have invaded Iraq on the basis of the evidence that Blair relied on.”

    And separately:

    “Neither would I have proceeded without a full, renewed UN mandate.”

    On reflection, any nation is entitled to defend itself against aggression. If Blair really believed that we were at existential threat – read wipe out – he should have used all available force to stop them. Quite clearly, he didn’t believe that. The UN Charter, after all, gives you the right to defend yourself.

    He didn’t go for the nuclear option because he knew he was lying. This makes sense to me, frighten the children and you’ll get your way….

    What duplicitous nonsense we are confronted with! And you think the UN are a nest of weasels. Look closer to home. Look at the last Labour Government.

  56. Dr Paul — on 19th March, 2011 at 2:40 pm  

    Boyo: ‘Kosovo was what we should have bloody well done in Bosnia, only too bloody late.’

    Yes, the result being the restablishment of a dwarf state run by a government in Kosovo that is up to its ears in organised crime, institutionalised drug-smuggling and people-smuggling, possibly even organ-harvesting. And of course there was the expulsion from Kosovo of nearly all the non-Albanians and also many Albanians who did not want a bunch of gangsters running things. A great success.

  57. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 3:33 pm  

    Dr Paul,

    Would you be the same person that described President Obama as O’Bama elsewhere recently? Or would you like to explain yourself to a waiting audience?

    I am, vaguely, interested in what your doctorate is in? Would you care to share?

  58. M*o*r*g*y — on 19th March, 2011 at 3:40 pm  

    What dougie said. That’s right: what dougie said.

    Fuck me, I’m going to say the same. What dougie said.

    Brownie and Douglas agreeing? If they can unite on something, then Israel-Palestine should be easy to solve

    I find myself also agreeing with Douglas. And Kulvinder. And Brownie.

    Its quite simple: the “do nothing” party that infests here, HP and CiF are motivated by one thing: racism. They prefer their preening moral rectitude of “anti-imperialism” to be built upon the backs of the corposes of countless ‘darkies’ murdered by genocidal tyrants who happen to mouth the right “anti-imperialist” slogans.

    Whatever you think of people or their religion or culture or whatever, no one deserves to be massacred by the likes of Gadaffi, and shame on the do-nothing peacocks who would abandon the Libyian people to the bullets and artillery of Gadaffi and his goons.

  59. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 4:15 pm  

    Would you really be Morgoth, back from the dead? It is so long ago that I cannot remember whether I liked you or not. Were you the astronomer chap that saw off the forces of darkness with your knowledge of CMB and suchlike? Or were you the same person that alienated almost everyone you talked to?

    Apparently I have stepped into your role. See you on the other side.

  60. M*o*r*g*y — on 19th March, 2011 at 4:58 pm  

    I am he indeed!

    Well, both of them!

    I usually don’t indulge myself with commenting much nowadays, even on HP, preferring instead amusing little billet-doux in the style of Wardytron, preferring instead to laugh at the antics of dear Sundeep. But, on this subject, given the irony of you and me agreeing almost perfectly on this subject, I thought I would drop in and say hi.

    P.S. I do have other blogs nowadays, an astrophysics blog and a Roguelike blog. but I’ll leave those for you to discover. I could be behind your favourite blog!

  61. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 5:32 pm  

    M*o*r*g*y,

    It has since struck me that you were kind of, right. I didn’t like the way you said it, but right you were. And here we are, years later and me about to go through some sort of arseholes idea of an inquisition.

    You can’t even tell the truth anymore without idiotic, hateful people trying to tell you you are wrong. I trust this site to refuse that shite.

    Are you going to stick around?

  62. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 5:47 pm  

    Just saying, Morgoth is at least interesting, whereas Imran Khan is a boring theologist.

    It seems to me that Morgoth is at least as worthy of a right to write here as Imran Khan.

    Renounce the veto! Else the likes of Imran Khan will have been seen to have won. Which would be a disgrace.

    I think, no I know, he is trying to tell you what to do, and if he manages to do that, we are going to fall out, big style. Imran Khan is a dangerous idiot and you should treat him as such.

    Frankly, morgoth isn’t in the same league as some other people around here. People you choose to allow even though they are disgusting theocrats.

    For that is what your are allowing, as if it were truth, when it is just Imran Khan talking shite. Which is what he does, and what you allow.

    i am, frankly disgusted that Imran Khan is allowed and Morgoth is not.

  63. M*o*r*g*y — on 19th March, 2011 at 5:55 pm  

    Nah, not particularly (going to stick around). Everyone knows my views on Islam & other monotheistic religions by now, its probably much more constructive to get on with my astrophysics/programming blogs (I’m on researchblogging.org). And besides, Sundeep detests me, and there’s little point hanging around where I’m not wanted.

    But on this, Libya, I agree with you 100% and am utterly dismayed by so many people holding a, no matter how you dress it up as, a “let the darkies kill each other” position. Its dismaying, and hideous.

    Heh, and I’m meant to be the misanthrope here!

  64. jamal — on 19th March, 2011 at 6:01 pm  

    If the saudis can send their troops to bahrain

    why can’t the egyptians send their air force and troops to help libyan people.

    they have capability and numbers maybe they don’t have permission from their masters in washington.

    sick of the sight of cameron and obomber ranting on about human rights we all know why they going in its so damn obvious.

  65. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 6:08 pm  

    M*o*r*g*y

    Who the hell is Sundeep?

  66. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 6:13 pm  

    jamal @ 64,

    sick of the sight of cameron and obomber ranting on about human rights we all know why they going in its so damn obvious.

    You know that? I think his name is Obama, not obomber.

    Ranting on about human rights, the bastards.

    You have no idea where this is going to end up.

  67. MaidMarian — on 19th March, 2011 at 6:17 pm  

    ‘What duplicitous nonsense we are confronted with! And you think the UN are a nest of weasels. Look closer to home. Look at the last Labour Government.’

    Who at the very least were elected. I’m still not any closer to your argument about why the UN is the arbiter of right.

    Douglas – the words, ‘the last Labour Government,’ are not a substitute for argument.

  68. M*o*r*g*y — on 19th March, 2011 at 6:26 pm  

    Who the hell is Sundeep?

    S. Hundal, esq.

  69. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 8:33 pm  

    Oops,

    68.

    Who the hell is Sundeep?

    S. Hundal, esq.

    Just so’s you know, I think Sunny is amongst the best few people I have ever been privileged to meet, well talk to at least, in my life. On that I will brook no argument.

  70. M*o*r*g*y — on 19th March, 2011 at 9:17 pm  

    Horses for courses, Douglas.

    You say potato, I say potatto.

    I will grant he’s higher in my estimation than one M. Gadaffi.

  71. M*o*r*g*y — on 19th March, 2011 at 10:07 pm  

    That’s unfair. On this issue at least, he’s been on the side of the angels, as you have been.

  72. douglas clark — on 19th March, 2011 at 11:00 pm  

    Cheers. The Pickled Politics Collective rarely gets it wrong ;-)

    I’ll check out researchblogging.org

    Nice to talk to you again.

  73. joe90 — on 20th March, 2011 at 12:17 am  

    post #33

    i got one question and one question only?

    Are the colonial hypocrites of britian, america, and france intervening for human rights or for the material wealth of libya?

  74. douglas clark — on 20th March, 2011 at 12:32 am  

    dear joe90 @ 73,

    As far as I know, R2P is about helping people. So, it is a human rights intervention.

    Lets all see how this ends up without prejudging motivations and reasons, which some commentators here, I hesitate to point at your own good self, have assumed.

    Wait and see, Joe90.

    I think it is reasonable to ask what you would have done? Would you have stood up for the folk in Benghazi or not? Would it be better if they were dead? If so, for what purpose?

    Frankly you don’t have a clue, do you? You could get a space next to Melanie Philips on the Moral maze and the two of you could confuse the airwaves into oblivion.

  75. douglas clark — on 20th March, 2011 at 4:41 am  

    Maid Marian,

    The more important thing is did your team win?

    The last Labour Government was, at the very least, complicit in the Iraq invasion. Given that I think that that decision was wrong, well I do think it is a kind of an argument.

  76. Trofim — on 20th March, 2011 at 7:56 am  

    I would have thought that winning hearts and minds should play the most important role now, that is, using all available means to simply bring to the notice of the Gaddafi-ruled masses what has happened in other arab countries, and what is happening in their own country. It is easy to expose a ludicrous figure like Gaddafi to scrutiny and to remove his self-aggrandisement by ridicule and humiliation.

  77. Boyo — on 20th March, 2011 at 9:07 am  

    @73 I think almost certainly because of their own business interests. This does not specifically mean they want to grab Libya’s resources, but it does mean that they want to protect their business interests in that country, as per my post @16.

  78. KB Player — on 20th March, 2011 at 11:19 am  

    It is easy to expose a ludicrous figure like Gaddafi to scrutiny and to remove his self-aggrandisement by ridicule and humiliation.

    According to what I’ve heard Libyans don’t have the same kind of access to the internet as Tunisians and Egyptians. The state controls all media. Also, aren’t Tunisia and Egypt far more open as tourist destinations than Libya?

  79. Trofim — on 20th March, 2011 at 11:49 am  

    “According to what I’ve heard Libyans don’t have the same kind of access to the internet as Tunisians and Egyptians”.

    So I believe, but there is still radio, and even dropping millions of leaflets has a place. I believe that any degree of sowing doubt can be useful in undermining confidence.

  80. Shamit — on 20th March, 2011 at 12:18 pm  

    “Are the colonial hypocrites of britian, america, and france intervening for human rights or for the material wealth of libya?”

    Same reason we intervened in Bosnia – to save Muslim lives from an autocratic dictator.

    Same reason we should have intervened in Iraq – to save Muslim Kurds from being killed by chemical weapons by a sadistic Saddam Hussein

    Same reason India intervened in Bangladesh – because Pakistani soldiers were committing act of genocide against bengalis – although they were all Muslims.

    Joe90 – your idiotic ideas of that the Muslim identity binds people together beyond geographical boundaries have proven to be false on many levels – yet you continue to try to paint all conflicts in the typical George W. Bush perspective – for us or against us – the real world is much more nuanced but you never had the bloody brains you idiot.

  81. Ravi Naik — on 20th March, 2011 at 2:53 pm  

    yet you continue to try to paint all conflicts in the typical George W. Bush perspective – for us or against us – the real world is much more nuanced but you never had the bloody brains you idiot.

    What is the difference between Libya and other brutal regimes like in Yemen and Bahrain?

  82. Boyo — on 20th March, 2011 at 3:35 pm  

    I don’t think Joe90 really believes that all Muslims are nice to each other, does he, and that it’s all the fault of the West? Now that really would be idiotic.

    Having said that, I think, as an Islamist, he would argue that the Muslims doing dreadful things to Muslims are not proper Muslims and only by having proper Islam will everything be alright.

    It’s the same thing the Communists used to say about Mao and the Soviet Union, and indeed Neo Cons say about every capitalist country that seeks to impose their “reforms” with dreadful results – what they need is more, rather than less, Neo-Conservatism.

    It’s one of humanity’s worse brain illnesses, this ideological affliction, and very often proves fatal to the patient.

  83. Don — on 20th March, 2011 at 4:18 pm  

    I don’t claim expertise but it seems to me that there are a number of factors which make intervention in Libya both possible and justifiable.

    Liberal intervention on humanitarian grounds (Yes, of course self-interest is also involved) is vastly more difficult post the Iraq disaster. There are exacting conditions to be met.

    First, you need to get the electorate to accept it. When this wave of popular uprisings against despots broke out everyone was caught wrong footed. Politicians saying we should be even-handed looked out of touch and cynical – most people were cheering for the Egyptian protesters and were relieved when they won. Although what they won remains to be seen.

    With Qaddafi poised to roll over the opposition, boasting that he would show no mercy, most people were more than sympathetic to the rebels and, as long as no boots were on the ground, were willing to accept that force should be applied to stop what looked like an imminent massacre.

    Second, it had to get past the UN.

    Third, it had to be a situation where it seemed possible to intervene effectively without actually invading with ground troops. Qaddafi’s tactic of using tanks, artillery and air power against his people along the Mediterranean littoral made him vulnerable to exactly that.

    Fourth, it needed backing from the Arab world (to the extent that the Arab League represents the Arab world). No power in the region raised an objection to this action and AFAIK most were supportive.

    Fifth, it could not be seen as an American initiative. Obama was heavily criticized for not being active enough, but if he had taken a leading role the Arab League would likely not have endorsed intervention and China & Russia would have been more likely to have used their veto. Whether or not Obama made that calculation I obviously don’t know.

    Sixth, it needed to be in the interests of the intervening powers. The idea of a pariah state led by a madman on the Mediterranean coast, the tens of thousands of refugees flooding into Europe (and it would have been politically difficult not to accept them under the circumstances) was a frightening one, for Italy and Spain in particular. Oil? Always a factor, but the western powers had been happy to put up with the regime in Libya as long as they could get the oil. Which they could.

    Finally, it had to be a popular uprising genuinely coming from the people and with a reasonable chance of success unless they were crushed by sheer brute power.

    Of course there are many brutal regimes in the world, but how many of them meet those criteria?

    I believe that the intervention is the right thing to, if rather last minute. I’m even prepared to say that I was impressed by Cameron’s stance.

  84. damon — on 20th March, 2011 at 5:19 pm  

    I agree with most of what Don said.

    Without this intervention there would be heavy fighting inside Benghazi today and a million people might be brought under a reign of terror and there would be mass executions. So bombing some of his tanks on their way east has halted them in their tracks.
    And like I thought whould happen, any of Gaddafi’s troops that had got into the outskirts of Benghazi yesterday have been routed by the defenders because of the lack of back up and momentum.

    So job well done so far at least. But it really is up to Libyans about what they do next.

    The same thing cannot be done in Yemen and Bahrain.
    I would have thought that the Shia people in Bahrain could make the country ungovernable though, and I’d like to see the west get a bit tougher with the government and tell them that calling in foreign troops is not right.
    Even Kuwait might send troops to Bahrain. Which is pretty out of order.

  85. Don — on 20th March, 2011 at 6:17 pm  

    Charlie Chaplin, seventy odd years ago, with some contemporary footage.

    Naive, sentimental? Yes. But worth a moment.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePSqOsMskWQ&feature=player_embedded

  86. Shamit — on 20th March, 2011 at 10:34 pm  

    Don,

    I too agree with you on Cameron. He did impress me as well – first leader to call for intervention and rightly so and got through a very difficult resolution through the Security Council.

    *************************
    Ravi and all those who question why this and not the others -

    First of all, we cannot be the world’s policeman by ourselves; those days are long gone but where we can and get support from the international community and it is militarily feasible we should.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right – and I am not supporting the Baharain government.

    And trust me the Baharain monarchy and the Saudi monarchy is not going to be around for very long – with or without our support. In fact, it is time to call for real civil societies and we can enforce it in many ways without using arms.

  87. joe90 — on 20th March, 2011 at 11:14 pm  

    post #74

    you are either naive or a liar.

    at least boyo at #77 had the balls to admit what is blatantly obvious to 99% of the world!

    no one supports ghaddafi the mad dog, but don’t try and kid yourself that britain is moving troops and resources thousands of miles just to save arabs!

  88. Shamit — on 21st March, 2011 at 12:03 am  

    I am neither naive nor a liar – and I am not surprised you saying that because you would undermine Britain everytime – but history says we have done more good than bad.

    This country is still the second largest aid giver in the world.

    This country took the lead in stopping the massacre in the Balkans – this country took upon it itself to sort out Sierra Leone – this country played a key role in ensuring East Timor had intervention – this country despite being quite sceptic about EU opened its doors to everyone from Eastern Europe.

    This country stood by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in 1990/91 – and Margaret Thatcher played a key role in that.

    This country especially Blair did a lot behind the scenese in defusing tensions in indo-Pak border when India was ready to attack Pakistan after the Parliament attack which would most likely have turned nuclear.

    I disagree with you and Boyo – and to be frank the only opportunistic approach of this whole Libya situation has come from Ed Miliband and the opposition leader’s office. Jim Murphy has been calling for intervention and he was right.

    And aside from Ed Miliband all the closet islamists and those who buy into the self-loathing industry created by Seamus Milne, George Monbiot etc etc. None of the three deserve any respect or credibility.

    So Joe90 – if you have a better argument use it otherwise shove the Islamist talking points.

    **************************************

    Also the Move ON lovers – remember the person you had been criticising in 2008 Hillary Clinton is the unsung hero. She swayed the US President towards action and she got the Arab league to vote for a no -fly -zone before any resolution in the UN.

    Damn – in Obama’s first term the cabinet member which is most trusted and most valued by the President is Hillary Clinton – and who does the President bring into the White House Press Room after the shellacking – Bill Clinton. I guess Clintons are no longer racsts.

    Thank God Brtiain does not vote with the Loonies anymore –

    *****************************************

  89. AbuF — on 21st March, 2011 at 7:04 am  

    joe90

    I don’t see many Muslim nations moving *an inch* to save the Libyan people.

    What does that tell you?

    And do please stop calling people liars when you have been caught on countless occasions confabulating to suit your agenda.

  90. Boyo — on 21st March, 2011 at 7:39 am  

    @88 I think one would be hard-pressed to find any nation state, religious or cultural group, or tribe without blood on its hands.

    At the risk of “doing Joe90′s work for him” the UK has more responsibility than most for the mess that is the Middle East, specifically the betrayal of the Arabs (following the Revolt) which landed us with the Saudis (talk about blowback!) and the removal of progressive leadership in Iran (ditto!).

    It is true that as our power has declined, we have learned to be nicer, but we were the nation that helped industrialise the slave trade, for example. Hey – we had the opportunity!

    And that’s my point, sort of – most crimes against humanity seem to have an opportunistic flavour to them. I was tempted to make an exception for the Germans, but when one considers they were a huge tribe smack in the centre of Europe, then perhaps even what they got up to makes a kind of sense.

    On the whole it’s true the UK has tended to be on the right side more often than not of late, and may well be more of a force for good (or could be as part of an EU with real balls), but it is not true to say this is due to any intrinsic quality.

    Equally however it is naive for Joe to believe the UK is intrinsically any worse than anyone else.

    One plain thing history does seem to demonstrate however is that utopian ideology is far more brutal than the nation state – compare Germany without Nazism, with Nazism. Iran with the old Shah, and with Islamism. Russia even now, and under the Soviet Union. It’s utopianism that’s the real killer.

  91. Niels Christensen — on 21st March, 2011 at 11:59 am  

    Joy90

    The countries which has most economic interest and is expanding in Libya is Turkey, China.
    And of course they are against.
    The idea that the ‘western powers’ are dominant in the middle east is history.

  92. M*o*r*g*y — on 21st March, 2011 at 2:17 pm  

    The ultimate irony in all this is that all you peeps rightly supporting action against Gadaffi and his murdering goons – those of us who supported the overthrow of Saddam and his goons in 2003 felt (and still feel) the same way, for the same reasons as you feel now.

    Permit me to feel a modicum of satisfaction over this.

  93. Ravi Naik — on 21st March, 2011 at 3:13 pm  

    Also the Move ON lovers – remember the person you had been criticising in 2008 Hillary Clinton is the unsung hero.

    You do realize that MoveOn.org was created to help Bill Clinton, don’t you?

    This country especially Blair

    Ah yes, Tony Blair, and let’s not forget Sarkozy. You should know by now that there are no heroes.

  94. Boyo — on 21st March, 2011 at 3:16 pm  

    Ah, the auld, auld argument…

    Personally I was against the Iraq invasion at the time not for ideological reasons, but because I doubted it would be a success. It seemed simply bizarre to attack at the time, by which I mean that conditions had not changed from before 9/11 except Bush seemed want to wage war. I’ll give Blair (and you) the benefit of the doubt that he had no conception of the Shock Doctrine the neo cons had in mind and which spelt such disaster.

    In any case, even from this position of ignorance it appeared a bad basis to begin one conflict, particularly when another – in Afghanistan – had yet to be concluded, and so it proved.

    Vis Libya I am ambivalent. This time there is no doubt they are doing it for commercial reasons (me @ 16). Fair enough, then they had better win, hadn’t they. But I doubt this will do any more for human rights (minorities, women, gays) than Iraq did. Let’s hope it doesn’t actually wind the clock further back, eh?

  95. Shamit — on 21st March, 2011 at 5:09 pm  

    Ravi -

    Yeah I do know that – I have worked for a few Democrats so I know better than you do mate – it was all fine until they hired that idiot as Executive Director and made it into a PAC which fucked it up. Eli Pariser is a nutter – most senior democrats do not like Move ON – news flash – Rahm Emmanuel is one of them and so is Paul Bagela and I know a few others too

    And whether you like it or not – one of the reasons Cameron is PM is because he is heir to Blair – and he openly admits it and so does Nick Clegg.

    And once again by highlighting those idiotic links you show that you understand very little about politics or governance. Look at the decision in context as to why Tony Blair went on to open relationship with Libya – because he gave up terrorism especially backing the IRA and also gave up weapons of mass destruction. Was it a wrong decision? At the time no.

    But you would not understand it – life is black and white – kinda like how Obama is going to change the bloody world and how Bill Clinton is racist. Do you want me to find those quotes – or you are going to give up.

    Anyone who can agree that Bill Clinton is racist is either dumb, clueless or did not understand the Kennedy/Clinton dynamics – and you are one of them.

    But I am not a fool and I did not agree with everything Bill Clinton did or Tony Blair did – but I do understand the compulsions behind some of their decisions – I have no problems questioning anyone of our leaders but I would not go around citing Daily Mail as a credible source. But that’s me –

    And then of course I would not go around and support an organisation that goes about on the behest of the Obama campaign calling the most successful and effective General of the US as a “betrayer” – who Obama is most likely going to appoint as Chairman JCS after Mullen’s term is over. So what do you think of that?

    ********************************

    @92 I supported Iraq as well but let’s not kid ourselves while the decision was right to intervene – the decisions following the invasion were crap. Scrapping institutions and disbanding police and armed forces were the buggest cockups in international history.

    This time we better have some plans on how to tackle the rebuilding and making sure that there is a bloody plan with UN involvement. No more Viceroys please.

  96. Scooby — on 21st March, 2011 at 5:28 pm  

    Anyone who can agree that Bill Clinton is racist is either dumb, clueless or did not understand the Kennedy/Clinton dynamics – and you are one of them.

    Clinton helped sink his wife’s chances for an endorsement from Ted Kennedy by belittling Obama as nothing but a race-based candidate. “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee,” the former president told the liberal lion from Massachusetts … After Kennedy sided with Obama, Clinton reportedly griped, “only reason you are endorsing him is because he’s Black. Let’s just be clear.” (here)

  97. Shamit — on 21st March, 2011 at 6:11 pm  

    Anyone without the money and the political influence of the Kennedy’s would have seen Ted Kennedy is jail and not a liberal lion. He was flawed to the hilt and can anyone name three major legislation pushed by Ted that worked.

    Obama is a great politician but the dynamics of the Clintons and the rest of the senior democrats were very poor – and starting from Harry Reid to Schummer to some others egged on Obama to run against Clinton (and some say the Kennedy’s wanted it too).

    I have worked for Bill Clinton’s campaign and I saw him give a speech in deep south in a black church about welfare reform (which the democrats then hated) and it was poor community – and I saw Clinton first hand. And Clinton did more for minorities including Head Start (which is sure start here), for housing and for jobs and education – than any President including Barrack Obama -

    Except for Bobby Kennedy – what did the other Kennedys do for the country besides shagging a bunch of women. Clinton did that too and achieved a lot as President which Jack Kennedy never did.

    So please.

  98. Ravi Naik — on 21st March, 2011 at 6:12 pm  

    most senior democrats do not like Move ON – news flash – Rahm Emmanuel is one of them and so is Paul Bagela and I know a few others too

    If Paul Begala doesn’t like MoveOn, that makes it a plus in my book.

    But you would not understand it – life is black and white – kinda like how Obama is going to change the bloody world and how Bill Clinton is racist. Do you want me to find those quotes – or you are going to give up.

    Please do. I never said Obama would change the world, and to say Clinton is racist is absurd. He did use the race card by comparing him to MLK and Jesse Jackson (you really have to be naive if don’t understand why he made those comparisons). In any case, get over it – nobody disputes it was a big political blunder.

    But I am not a fool and I did not agree with everything Bill Clinton did or Tony Blair did – but I do understand the compulsions behind some of their decisions

    I think we all understand the compulsions for the Western world to sell arms to maniac dictators. Which is why it is naive to romanticize politicians as heroes against tyranny, when they profited from it.

  99. Shamit — on 21st March, 2011 at 7:41 pm  

    “If Paul Begala doesn’t like MoveOn, that makes it a plus in my book.”

    And how many democrats including the current President of the United States has Bagela worked for and helped them succeed. So please as i said.

    “The race card” issue – the obama campaign started the race card playing in New Hampshire – check it out- when President Clinton said the media was giving him a free ride and buying into the “fairy tale” – Donna Brazzile in CNN started it and Axelrod and Co issue memos out on that to every fucking democrat or who could be construed as a supporter. How was that race baiting please tell me?

    And they were baiting CLinton anyways – so again you don’t know Jack and I am not surprised.

    The MLK thing was taken out of context as we all know but Obama campaign used the race card again.

    And the Jesse Jackson thing could be the only thing that could be said that Bill Clinton said Obama was a race based candidate.

    I am over it – I like Obama and I always did but I didn’t like the fuckers who stabbed Clinton in the back.

    I am not lionising politicians – but I am talking about real life and I don’t live in the cuckoo fucked up world of the loony left like you do where Paul Bagela has done less good than Eli pariser.

    So Ravi please argue with someone who does not know US politics – and don’t buy into all the crap people on either side say.

    And I also do believe Blair was one of the best PMs in the UK and the electorate never rejected him. Not too many politicians can say that.

    ************************

    By the way in a recent poll of the greatest US presidents on President’s day – Ronald reagan came on top, followed by Lincoln, followed by Clinton, followed by Kennedy and Washington. as per gallup

    *************************

    No one would call Bill Clinton racist but the loony left – who also believed he sold out by balancing the budget deficit

    Go on loony tunes

  100. Shamit — on 21st March, 2011 at 7:46 pm  

    Saying all that I actually like you Ravi – sorry if I have been taking out my anger out on you for the screw ups in both the Dems and the Labour party. They are both moving backwards.

    you are not loony left – but Move On is mate now – Eli Pariser has cost more votes for the Democratic party than even Dick Morris – I would say.

    And he is a hypocrite – if MoveOn was against the war why did he not let the membership decide on Barbara Lee’s amendment on withdrawal from Iraq instead of the Pelosi one only.

    http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/96541 (this is one example there are few more) -

  101. Ravi Naik — on 21st March, 2011 at 10:50 pm  

    The MLK thing was taken out of context as we all know but Obama campaign used the race card again. And the Jesse Jackson thing could be the only thing that could be said that Bill Clinton said Obama was a race based candidate.

    Yes, let me know how many presidential candidates were compared with MLK and Jesse Jackson. It is just a coincidence that it was Obama, and race had nothing to do with it. :-)

    but I am talking about real life and I don’t live in the cuckoo fucked up world of the loony left like you do where Paul Bagela has done less good than Eli pariser… Eli Pariser has cost more votes for the Democratic party than even Dick Morris – I would say.

    I disagree he is a loony. There is a talk by Eli Pariser in TEDtalks which will be officially available in April, but somehow it was leaked a month before. It is quite an eye opener about the Internet, and he sounds very reasonable.

  102. Shamit — on 21st March, 2011 at 11:46 pm  

    he forced liberman out of the party – he is the tea party equivalent of the Democrats – yes he is a fucking loony on politics.

    And the talk happened last year about the internet bubbles – well I am not sold on either the Google version or the Eli version.

    But that’s what exactly Moveon does – he filters opinions which he does not like and feeds it to the membership as I highlighted in the link before:
    http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/96541

    It is upto you the person – to go to different sources and empower yourself – if you are well informed – you would know that there was an oil spill on the coast in Lousiana and you should check out different sources and not be focused on what google delivers – explore more links and engage your own social netowrk.

    I refuse to buy the idea that the internet is disempowering people – it is taking power away from the middle men such as Eli pariser.

    It is not googl’s fault that those who read the huffington post would most likely not read the Fox news – its a choice made by the consumer and the individual.

    This whole I am against the corporate thing even though it empowers me is bizzare and it does not make much sense – and Pariser is wrong on this one just like on so many things.

  103. Ravi Naik — on 22nd March, 2011 at 12:08 am  

    he forced liberman out of the party – he is the tea party equivalent of the Democrats – yes he is a fucking loony on politics.

    Are you kidding me, Shamit? Liberman supported McCain and Palin. It is his right, but that usually brings consequences with his Democratic constituency.

    It is not googl’s fault that those who read the huffington post would most likely not read the Fox news – its a choice made by the consumer and the individual.

    I think you missed the point of the talk. The issue is that Google, Facebook and other portals filters what it thinks you like to see, which effectively puts you in a bubble.

  104. Shamit — on 22nd March, 2011 at 12:21 am  

    So now I have to understand internet from you and Eli Pariser. I have been running a pretty successful internet based media company for a while now – and I know how algorithms work considering my site has a page rank of 7 – I think I know.

    “The issue is that Google, Facebook and other portals filters what it thinks you like to see, which effectively puts you in a bubble.” Yes I know that but you did not get my point.

    It is upto the consumer to choose and use different search engines – you would get a different result on searches – and as far Google goes its algorithm is a work in progress and it brings far more benefits to the consumer –

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/02/ff_google_algorithm/all/1

    I understand what Pariser said in his book – I said I disagree or I can’t even disagree with your new messiah -

  105. Shamit — on 22nd March, 2011 at 12:29 am  

    Are you fucking rewriting history?

    Lieberman was attacked by the Moveon and the loonies in 2006 – mcCain was backed by Lieberman in December 2007. He lost the primary in 2006 to Lamont for his support for the Iraq war – and he was the VP candidate for the Dems in 2000 and Move On and the loonies forced him out.

    Lieberman was forced out in the democratic primary due to his support for the surge in Iraq – so stop rewriting history – and showing off your ignorance about the whole American politics.

    Why do you talk about shit when you don’t know anything about it?

  106. joe90 — on 22nd March, 2011 at 1:46 am  

    post #88

    a man that plagiarizes the neo con propaganda word for word is claiming he ain’t a liar, sure ok whatever you say dude.

    since we focusing on british foreign policies, it deserves to be talked down, because it’s hypocritical policies stink to high heaven.

    This country invaded iraq illegally

    this country created the state of israel which is the root cause of tensions in the middle east

    this country created flash points world over such as kashmir and to this day issue has not been resolved.

    this country will prop up any dictator of choice including kuwait,saudi arabia, libya, egypt etc regardless of how many people they butcher or torture.

    this country took the lead in stopping the massacre in balkans???? here is newsflash there was a genocide in the balkans.

    I added few examples above, you forgot to include them in british foreign department list of achievements.

  107. Ravi Naik — on 22nd March, 2011 at 1:46 am  

    Lieberman was attacked by the Moveon and the loonies in 2006 – mcCain was backed by Lieberman in December 2007. He lost the primary in 2006 to Lamont for his support for the Iraq war

    Yes, Shamit – what you call “attack by loonies”, others would call it part of a democratic process, where people against Lieberman’s position on the war exert their right of freedom of speech. Not sure why you are ranting. And Lieberman lost the primary, he entered the race as an independent and won. His poll numbers are so low these days, that it is very likely he will not seek re-election.

    It is upto the consumer to choose and use different search engines – you would get a different result on searches – and as far Google goes its algorithm is a work in progress and it brings far more benefits to the consumer

    Nobody disputes that Google brings lots of benefits – if you actually bothered to watch Pariser’s talk you would know that. The fact that Google is the best search engine around makes people use only one search engine. How many people do you know that use Bing?

    So, it is not what people “should” do, but rather what is the effect based on how people use the Internet, in particular Google and other portals.

  108. Shamit — on 22nd March, 2011 at 8:13 am  

    “what you call “attack by loonies”, others would call it part of a democratic process, where people against Lieberman’s position on the war exert their right of freedom of speech”

    Just like the Tea Party took out many middle of the ground Republicans and replaced them with right wing nutters – and I guess then the Tea Party are not nutters either. They are also part of the democratic process – in my book both the Tea Party on the right and Move On and its ilk on the left are loonies. No matter whichever way you dress it up – they are ideological extremes.

    So don’t fucking lecture me again.

    And Lieberman announced about four months earlier that he is not going to run again – you twat.

    ****************************************
    On the Google argument I don’t buy it.

    So if people are messed up kinda like you trying to find good things about Eli Pariser on the net, and you keep on repeating it on the same computer and allow Google to store cookies, it would develop an idea of your search patterns and the results would reflect your views.

    But if you still go an search Fox news – you would still get Fox news and reach there – so if you want to have a different version of the story you can go to alternate providers. Youc an go to CNN but people don’t do that – its not Google’s fault – search a news item and go to Google news and see what comes up. There would be thousands of different things – now change a couple of key words different things would turn up on the same thing.

    So its not Google its people – and they use the internet the way they see fit. So please -
    I am done talking about this and with you – because you make ignorance a virtue and I don’t buy that.

    What a utter waste of my time.

  109. Shamit — on 22nd March, 2011 at 8:16 am  

    “this country created flash points world over such as kashmir and to this day issue has not been resolved.”

    How did Britain create the kashmir problem – wasn’t it all created by the invaders from that failed state who did not leave as per the UN resolution and therefore no plebisite was ever held.

    You can blame India and you can blame Pakistan – but how did Britain create the Kashmir problem? Pray tell me.

  110. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd March, 2011 at 10:09 am  

    To Kulvinder who called me a misanthrope because I don’t think we should help people by killing them

    On the contrary, it is precisely because I love people I don’t know that I applaud them when they stand up against tyranny. This was their revolution and it was always going to be bloody. What have we done now but to play the school master who feels the need to step in to protect them from the bullies? Stamp them all as weak, needy victims, that’s what.

    It’s like dealing with the playground bullies by blowing the school up

    Kulvinder, there’s a difference between supporting the underdog and treating them like bitches. Whether I’m a misanthrope or sad hippy is arguable, but you are a warmonger and that makes you scum

    Peace (without bombs) x

  111. Ravi Naik — on 22nd March, 2011 at 11:18 am  

    Just like the Tea Party took out many middle of the ground Republicans and replaced them with right wing nutters – and I guess then the Tea Party are not nutters either

    Let’s define what a nutter is, because it feels like you call a “nutter” to anyone who you disagree with.

    The Tea Party is composed by people who are plain ignorant possibly with low academic qualifications, and simply parrot what Beck says. In fact, they are so ignorant that they go against their own-self interests. Because they are ignorant, they make absurd and contradictory statements. While there are elements on the Left like that, you will be hard pressed to find statements so patently false and self-contradictory from mainstream progressive movements. There is no mainstream progressive movement like the Tea Party. You may disagree with them, but it doesn’t make it false. They have every right to call on and campaign against Lieberman – in fact, and this is what I was getting at, his support for Palin and McCain against his own party, made his poll numbers decline dramatically to the point that he might not seek re-election (we will see when the time comes regardless of recent announcements). So, Lieberman’s fall is his own doing and part of a healthy democratic process, whether you like it or not.

    So if people are messed up kinda like you trying to find good things about Eli Pariser on the net, and you keep on repeating it on the same computer and allow Google to store cookies, it would develop an idea of your search patterns and the results would reflect your views. But if you still go an search Fox news – you would still get Fox news and reach there

    I think you highlighted, without knowing, why Eli Pariser is correct. If I type “Eli Pariser” in google, and only get sites that complement him, and you type “Eli Pariser” and you find sites that paint him as the Lefty Anti-Christ, then each of us are living in our own bubble of information. The point is not being against “tailoring” or against Google, but that you understand that you are being filtered information based on your biases, and that you have the option to see a more balanced view if you choose to do so.

    It is easy to say that it is people’s fault for not using the Internet right, but how can you be sure that going to CNN and Fox News and RedState and HuffingtonPost you are getting a balanced view?

    Whether we like it or not, Google *is* the internet, and without it, the internet would be simply unmanageable. And I happen to believe that companies that have a huge impact in our lives have also social responsibilities. It is really about transparency.

  112. Shamit — on 22nd March, 2011 at 11:46 am  

    “While there are elements on the Left like that, you will be hard pressed to find statements so patently false and self-contradictory from mainstream progressive movements.”

    Like the full page ad in New York Times on General Betray Us before he even opened his mouth in a testimony-. That’s just the begining. And there are few more but I don’t have the time to educate you –

    Now Jim Webb and Kuinich are attacking Obama for intervening in Libya which I know you share – and they are far left loonies too.

    “And I happen to believe that companies that have a huge impact in our lives have also social responsibilities. It is really about transparency.”

    Really – what transparency? What should Google do? They should not profile their users – then their business model is dead. What should be done? One more lunatic idiotic comment typical hyperbole without any basis.

    “It is easy to say that it is people’s fault for not using the Internet right, but how can you be sure that going to CNN and Fox News and RedState and HuffingtonPost you are getting a balanced view?”

    So how can Google help – is Google going to be the main monitor for what kind of news people should read. What is the balanced view? How the fuck do you define that? And why should Google be responsible for delivering a balanced view?

    Where is the lack of transparency on part of Google?

    Do you actually understand anything you say or just copy paste whatever you think is right.

    Now I am really fucking done.

  113. Shamit — on 22nd March, 2011 at 11:49 am  

    Ravi – I am too stupid to debate with you and I know too little – please find someone who is on the same intellectual plane such as yourself with your vast knowledge of American politics and how business models on the internet work.

  114. Ravi Naik — on 22nd March, 2011 at 12:21 pm  

    Like the full page ad in New York Times on General Betray Us before he even opened his mouth in a testimony-. That’s just the begining

    Well, you really don’t go beyond that one, I was expecting something new. The ad was juvenile but hardly an offence, considering they were right about the War and that the rationale used by Bush and Blair to take us to war was fabricated and fiction.

    Now Jim Webb and Kuinich are attacking Obama for intervening in Libya which I know you share – and they are far left loonies too.

    Jim Webb is a moderate/conservative Democrat. Not sure people in Virginia would elect a “left loony” as their senator.

    Ravi – I am too stupid to debate with you and I know too little – please find someone who is on the same intellectual plane such as yourself with your vast knowledge of American politics and how business models on the internet work.

    I don’t think you are stupid Shamit, I just want to exchange ideas, and learn a few things myself.

  115. Kulvinder — on 22nd March, 2011 at 11:53 pm  

    I’m a misanthrope or sad hippy is arguable, but you are a warmonger and that makes you scum

    Perhaps, but i can really think of little better use for the armed forces – given the fact we face no real existential threat – than aiding those who plead with us to to help them to be free.

    Under the circumstances i accept the moniker of ‘warmonger’. We’ll leave it to the Libyan people to decide, in time, which one of us turned out to be the scum.

    Liberty (via smart bombs)xx

  116. damon — on 23rd March, 2011 at 12:47 am  

    Blimey, what happened to this thread?
    I supported the first couple of days bombing, particularly what the French did to the tanks and stuff outside Benghazi. To stop Benghazi falling.

    But now it all gets much more complicated and who knows what is the right thing to do? The no fly zone cannot become the rebel’s air force as they go on the attack … so this could go any which way. No wonder that Obama wants to distance himself from it.

  117. Shamit — on 23rd March, 2011 at 1:57 am  

    “I don’t think you are stupid Shamit, I just want to exchange ideas, and learn a few things myself.”

    I was being sarcastic Ravi – and I know I am not stupid.

  118. Wibble — on 25th March, 2011 at 10:13 am  

    Caught the tail end of a radio conversation on Libya this morning. Apparently, Libya has historically been two separate entities East & West, separated by a load of desert.

    It was only when Italy decided to become a colonial power that these provinces were united into a single country – hmmh :(

  119. Refresh — on 25th March, 2011 at 10:57 am  

    Cross-post from the ‘EDL member explains key issues’ thread

    We had Ehud Barak interviewed on Newsnight (BBC) and I sat there thinking he might be asked about a prospective no-fly zone over Israel and occupied Palestine, but no he was invited to welcome the intervention in Libya. Which he obviously did, and wished for a similar one in Iran. And not a single question regarding his own brutality.

  120. Kismet Hardy — on 30th March, 2011 at 1:04 pm  

    Go cameron! Arm them rebels. It’s always worked before

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