Humiliation and Death as a Tool of National Policy


“It’s not acceptable to kill a person without trying him,” said Louay Hussein, a Syrian opposition figure in Damascus. “I prefer to see the tyrant behind bars.” New York Times, October 20

The New York Times reported that a NATO jet and drones disabled vehicles in a convoy carrying Muammar Gaddafi near the besieged town of Sirte on October 20. Loyalists in the remaining vehicles scattered becoming easy prey for the emboldened fighters of the new Libyan state.

Reuters expanded the narrative on the 21st by reporting that Gaddafi fled from his jeep, hid in a drainage pipe, and emerged with an automatic weapon and side arm. He was manhandled and slapped by the soldiers of the new Libya. He allegedly asked the crowd, “Don’t you know right from wrong?” They took exception to the question and shot him twice in the head. He was transported to Misurata, scene of one of the few decisive victories by the former rebels. Gaddafi’s corpse was placed on a bare mattress and put on display for the public on the 22nd. It remains there today, although it is now reportedly covered by a blanket (Reuters, October 23).

There’s a new sheriff in town, NATO.


Left, Gaddafi captured and alive – center, shot in the head – right, the official death shot
From Youtube.com: video/video images carried by the New York Times, BBC and al Jazeera.

On one level, the truth of this story matters a great deal. On another level, accuracy is not as important as the clear message to those who oppose United States, French, and British policy executed by NATO. Those who resist will be publicly humiliated in the most primitive way and then killed. The composite story indicates intent and intent reveals policy.

It’s not just leaders who will be punished

“You have won your revolution. And now, we will be a partner as you forge a future that provides dignity, freedom and opportunity.” President Barack Obama, White House, October 20, 2011

The citizens of Gaddafi’s home town, Sirte, were said to be special beneficiaries of the ruler’s largesse. The Mediterranean port was prosperous and productive amidst the strangeness and strictures of his arbitrary rule. Were citizens supposed to object on moral grounds because their benefactor favored them? What risk would they have incurred by doing so, even if they wanted to turn away special favors? They had no choice but they got the message from NATO. It’s your turn to die.


From Sirte, Libya: “Not one building is intact. Windows are shattered. Shops are shuttered and the city’s 120,000 residents are nowhere to be seen.” Mark Bastian, AFP, October 23 (Image: Libyan Free Press)

Hadn’t they heard the pronouncements from the United States, Great Britain, and France that Gaddafi was reformed and a member in good standing of the world community? Perhaps they missed President Barack Obama’s announced change in that assessment.

When the Libyan rebels and their NATO allies prevailed over Gaddafi’s forces, Sirte stood as the most prominent holdout against the government that denies that it is, in fact, a government, the National Transition Council (NTC). The citizens of Sirte didn’t attack any other city. They simply lived there.

In early September, the top commander of the RTC announced that Sirte would be taken by force if the town failed to surrender. There were pro Gaddafi forces in the city. But city officials, separate from those forces, tried to negotiate a peaceful end to the threatened siege. Unfortunately, the residents and their representatives lacked the power to do the one thing that was needed to save their lives, surrender Gaddafi. For this, the town was demolished by NATO bombings and many were injured or killed.

Civilization in the balance

The statement by Syrian opposition activist, Louay Hussein, supporting due process of law and basic human rights stands in stark contrast to the entirety of President Obama’s statement on the same day Gaddafi was murdered. Louvay’s long time opposition to violence as a means of change is not at all apparent by Obama’s behavior as a leader. Obama increased fighting in Afghanistan along with troops. Libya is the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s second major descent into violence, this time through the NATO proxy. In his October 20 statement from the White House, Obama said:

“So this is a momentous day in the history of Libya. The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted. And with this enormous promise, the Libyan people now have a great responsibility — to build an inclusive and tolerant and democratic Libya that stands as the ultimate rebuke to Qaddafi’s dictatorship.” President Barack Obama, October 20

Obama pairs lifting the “dark shadow of tyranny” with the death of Gaddafi and then lectures the Libyan people about inclusivity and tolerance. What an odd world view this is. Libyan cities are in ruin, thousands are dead, many more injured, and the city where the dark shadow was lifted is devastated. Is it tolerant to blow a people and city to bits because they won’t surrender? Is it inclusive to kill off citizens simply because they’re in the former leader’s hometown?

Who would fail to get the message? When the president says your time is up, you’re in serious trouble. Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein were both cooperative members of the U.S.-NATO team at different points in their careers. Yet both Iraq and Libya were attacked, their population ravaged, and, after the destruction of people and infrastructure, the leaders were captured and killed.

Where will it end?

When will someone in leadership stand up and say that behaving in a brutish, violent, and uncivilized fashion is immoral, repulsive, and unacceptable. Representatives Ron Paul (R-TX) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) have said just that, as have others. They’re ignored by their political peers and ridiculed by the corporate media. There is a deafening silence among those in the power structure and their patrons. They miss this simple point. This is not about who Gaddafi is. It’s about who we are and how our good name is hijacked by leaders who order violence without any restraint.

For decades, the strength and humanity of the nation has been siphoned off to support these overseas adventures concocted by presidents of limited vision and intellect, bereft of any fundamental notion of the value of human life, and unable to think beyond the next election or even the next meeting with a supporter from the defense-national security state industry.

The sleep of reason produces monsters.

And, they do all this in our name.

UPDATE:

[transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil] laid out a vision for the post-Gaddafi future with an Islamist tint, saying Islamic Sharia law would be the “basic source” of legislation and existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified. Time, October 23

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UPDATE: Report that former UN Ambassador from Libya was murdered

A relative of Libya’s former U.N. ambassador and intelligence chief Abuzed Omar Dorda appealed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. Security Council president today to intercede with Libyan authorities to protect the detained former Libyan diplomat, saying he had been the target of an assassination attempt by his jailers. Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy, October 26

Unconfirmed reports from inside Libya indicate that Ambassador Dorda was tortured in his hospital and then thrown to his death.

END

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N.B. Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama featured on the front page of the anti Gaddafi coalition, the National Transitional Council.

Also, here is a video of Hilary Clinton on CBS talking about Gaddafi’s death. She said, “We came, we saw, he died” and then began laughing. The interviewer was also amused and laughed along with Ms. Clinton. Despite this outrageous lapse in civility by the nation’s chief diplomat, President Obama has taken no action nor has he issued a reprimand.

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Michael Collins

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36 CommentsLeave a comment

  • “…humanity [] of the nation has been siphoned off to support [] adventures [] bereft of any fundamental notion of the value of human life…”

    And they don’t do it my name or your name or the name of decent Americans.
    They do it in the name of political power and corporate wealth.

    I’m at a point now when I am beginning to believe that decent people will have to choose between their humanity and being American.


    “When you live on cash, you understand the limits of the world around which you navigate each day.
    Credit leads into a desert with invisible boundaries.”
    – Anton Chekhov

  • who are considered to be any kind of threat are shot down like mad dogs by police every day, the ugly death of a known tyrant leaves me with little cause for outrage. Every political leader who presumes to govern while betraying and killing his own people deserves worse than this– and unlike killing commoners, I do not believe it demeans our collective honor or decency to destroy those who are arrogant enough to abuse extreme power.

    It would probably be more fitting to work them to death, though.

  • …in that the Libyans are largely invisible. Quite striking how it’s NATO this and NATO that and France, Britain and the United States this other thing, but almost nothing Libyan except where they’re performing at the beck and call of the white guys.

    Even the illustration, supposedly showing how NATO demolished the town, is striking. If one has actually seen the aftermath of conflict, one knows that this isn’t aerial bombing – these are the marks of small arms, shaped charges and artillery fire.

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

  • Obama talking about the responsibility of the Libyan people is beyond absurd. He went there to save the rebels from a slaughter and committed a slaughter. NATO has a whole new meaning. If we had a half aware press, we’d know that this organization is highly suspect. After all, Operation Gladio activities, including false flag terror, was under NATO’s umbrella for decades, until discovered. But we don’t get to know those facts (absent a real effort). How can people ask the obvious questions like, how could this be known and allowed to continue.

    We all make our choices every day by our personal behavior. Collecdtively, we have little choice. Look at how long Vietnam too to end despite huge popular opposition.
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  • I have no respect for Gaddafi. He was a double dealer and shopped his own people, i.e., Lockerbie, to get what he wanted. However, as I said, it’s not about him. It’s about us, how we behave, what we tolerate, the lessons we teach our children. If the big guy in DC sais it’s time for a rub out, heck, saddle up and knock the guy off. Not acceptable behavior on our part. And what will replace Gaddafi? We have seen exactly what’s in store. NATO is going to do the cake walk out of Libya and “let the markets take care of it,” so to speak. Just awful.

    Added October 24. This our chief diplomat. My lord, she should be fired immediately. What a total disregard for any degree of discretion and simple decency.


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  • The RTC absent NATO wouldn’t have entered Sirte. They set a several deadlines for their final assault. Despite initial assaults by NATO, the NATO armed RTC was unable to take the city. But apply enough pressure and weapons and, voila, its a slaughter and devastation.

    I encourage people to read the AFP article. It’s one of the first reports from inside the city after all of this.

    The destruction is more vivid around the city centre where bullet casings cover streets and sidewalks.

    Not one building is intact. Windows are shattered. Shops are shuttered and the city’s 120,000 residents are nowhere to be seen.

    The district known as Number Two neighbourhood, where Kadhafi loyalists made their final stand carries the signs of fierce street fighting.

    Buildings are reduced to rubble, roofs have caved in, electricity pylons have been felled, cutting off roads.

    “Sirte is over. There is nothing left for me here,” says Ahmad Ali as he prepares to drive away from the city. AFP, 11 hours ago, http://tinyurl.com/3nc5smz

    If the Libyans did this on their own, that’s one thing. But they didn’t. NATO was the critical difference and I live in a NATO country headed by a techno-Attila who dispatches power without constitutional authority and under the guise of “democracy.” Now that’s fascinating, in addition to being illegal, grotesque, and morally repellant.
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  • They need to just stop meddling, period, resorting to violence in the first instance. We need to figure out how to get rid of them. The re-imposition of Sharia law completes the support of Congress and the administration for the Libyan faction aligned with al Qaeda. The rulers here are challenged in so many ways.
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  • …people, passed into irrelevance. I feel we have allowed all that has befallen us. Prescient authors, pundits, and educators have been warning us for decades. The few who didn’t buy into it can no longer garner enough inertia to start a meaningful movement.
    In an instant gratification society the OWS, ODC, and Ofucking everything, will whimper to nothing over the very time they calculate is the answer to our problems. There just aren’t enough people actively engaged and we are seeing celebrity moments, for political correctness, which ultimately accomplish nothing, except their own aggrandizement.
    When the end comes it will be ugly; all the support networks collapsing (infrastructure) to nothing.
    But still, we just can’t shake our addictions to the illusions woven before us by those very people in whom we put our grossly mis-placed trust.
    Denial is comforting to the addicted and so fully self re-enforcing.
    Cynical? No, not at all…

    P.S. Look at my sig; Douglas understood it…


    Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them,and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows,or with both~FDouglas

  • like Qaddafi or Dick Cheney, is then by definition outside the law.

    There is a long tradition of defenestrations, beheadings, summary executions, and mob actions that have befallen despotic bastards since we began measuring history in despots. In the exceptional case of despots, that’s not only traditional, but just.

    Why should someone who’s built his career on kangaroo courts and naked thuggery deserve better? It’s not a routine legal process such as that warranted by a common criminal; it’s society’s immune system reacting to a dangerous pathogen.

  • …the campaign as a whole wouldn’t have happened without NATO airpower but, having looked at the airpower summaries, I don’t think one can say that about Sirte. During the roughly 5 weeks of the battle they hit a bit over 150 aimpoints, roughly two thirds of which were weapons systems and vehicles. That’s useful, but not essential, and it’s certainly not reducing the town.

    Contrary to a view where the western contribution is trumpeted from the rooftops, what I’m hearing from someone from inside the green machine is that, apart from the air campaign, the western contribution was smaller than commonly believed – western SF in fact weren’t roaming about designating targets (though they did produce a lot of good political intelligence) and it was Egyptian and Omani SF that provided training to Libyan forces.

    Normally I wouldn’t care much, but it seems to me that the assertion that NATO did all the heavy lifting in the fight and the hand wringing about whether the Libyans are “ready” for democracy (preferably one that looks like ours) are to a significant extent flip sides of the same coin.

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

  • …for an Arab legal system. Tell me, how many Arab countries cite the Sharia as the basis for their legal code?

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

  • Spectrum of Muslim legal systems

    The legal systems in 21st century Muslim majority states can be classified as follows:

    Sharia in the secular Muslim states: Muslim countries such as Mali, Kazakhstan and Turkey have declared themselves to be secular. Here, religious interference in state affairs, law and politics is prohibited.[37] In these Muslim countries, as well as the secular West, the role of sharia is limited to personal and family matters.

    The Nigerian legal system is based on English Common Law and the constitution guarantees freedom of religion and separation of church and State. However eleven northern states have adopted sharia law for those who practice the Muslim religion.[38]

    Muslim states with blended sources of law: Muslim countries including Pakistan, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco and Malaysia have legal systems strongly influenced by sharia, but also cede ultimate authority to their constitutions and the rule of law. These countries conduct democratic elections, although some are also under the influence of authoritarian leaders. In these countries, politicians and jurists make law, rather than religious scholars. Most of these countries have modernized their laws and now have legal systems with significant differences when compared to classical sharia.[39]

    Muslim states using classical sharia: Saudi Arabia and some of the Gulf states do not have constitutions or legislatures. Their rulers have limited authority to change laws, since they are based on sharia as it is interpreted by their religious scholars. Iran shares some of these characteristics, but also has a parliament that legislates in a manner consistent with sharia

    Source: Wiki


    Sexual inequality is “The Mother of all Inequalities”.
    Liberate female sexuality and you will eliminate racism, homophobia, financial greed, and violence.

  • imo, it’s a very bad idea to make a practice of riding about plugging foreign leaders between the eyes. Why? Many reasons. Because (a) There is now a world court which is vested with the responsibility of dispensing justice. (Please spare me the ‘yeah but that would take a long time’ objection.) (b) Nothing very beneficial is learned from the alternative wild west justice – ‘the dead tell no tales’ etc. simply sets the stage for the next despot in line to take center stage. and (c) Theoretically, at least, we pride ourselves on being better than mere savages.

    We have a obligation, if not the responsibility, to bring someone who “built his career on kangaroo courts and naked thuggery” to trial precisely because of the need to empower their beleaguered citizens into taking orderly steps through transition, not leave them still vulnerable and adrift in an orgy of vengeance and anarchy.

    By the way, while there appear to have been a few examples of truly deranged and murderous dictators – Pol Pot, Idi Amin and others, it seems to me that many of those we tar with this brush, and yes I include Saddam Hussein, may only have taken approaches expected, even necessary, in their area of influence. (Certainly the life of the average Iraqi family appears to be much worse today than it was 10 years ago.) Western style democracy is not necessarily an easy fit or even the best fit for many parts of the world. I’m confident that the skill set required to effectively govern Syria, for instance, is far different than that necessary to effectively govern the US – but I don’t think that difference automatically should give Bashar al-Assad, for instance, license to counsel Obama on effective governance or otherwise make political demands on him, much less have any hand in obliterating him.

    It is a great shame and a great failing, in my opinion, that the true potential of the United Nations is so determinedly thwarted by the west, particularly the US, who seems to persist in viewing the institution as a global rival. Even more serious is the twisting of the UN mandate into a primary focus on only one of its Councils – the Security Council, and the playing off of that influence with NATO so that military invasions become globally endorsed.

  • “does not get it” column.

    Because I don’t. It was a war run by a tyrant and ragtag groups of civilians advised by professional military. Qaddafi getting a kangaroo court and clean execution would’ve been a wag the dog outcome. Men who operate outside the laws they create by fiat don’t deserve even that flimsy protection.

    I assume everyone’s seen Mussolini’s corpse. His bobble-head looks like a pockmarked pumpkin. Ahh but there were no cell phones to record his torture on the way to the gallows. Use your imagination.

  • Normally I wouldn’t care much, but it seems to me that the assertion that NATO did all the heavy lifting in the fight and the hand wringing about whether the Libyans are “ready” for democracy (preferably one that looks like ours) are to a significant extent flip sides of the same coin.

    The idea that NATO/the West is mostly responsible for this outcome is American exceptionalism from liberals. Pretty funny.

  • While Muslim majority nations claim to follow Sharia Law, there are different versions (much like “democracy”). The NTC and it’s chairman have some surprises in store for Libyan women. Under their system, Sharia law will allow polygamy:

    “Libya’s transitional leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, speaking at a ceremony Sunday night to declare the country liberated from Gadhafi, said he intends to legalize polygamy, restricted under Gadhafi.” October 24 http://tinyurl.com/3mnmbs2

    Maybe the rest of Jalil’s version of Sharia Law is of the more enlightened variety but, pardon me if I see polygamy as somewhat of a litmus test.

    The other point about the announcement is that it is arbitrary and without the voice of the people. He just gave the ruling. Even if he had the support of the RT, that’s not representative of any identifiable percent of the country.

    We will see how it works out but it doesn’t look good right now. The cities are in ruin from the fighting. When NATO leaves soon, will there be a bloodbath and will the putative reason the US/NATO stepped in – to prevent a bloodbath – apply; or, is it just certain types of blood that concerns our rulers. Judging from or top diplomat’s incredibly crude remark recently, I’m not hopeful.

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  • The folks you talked to may be excited at their victory, of sorts, in Libya. The essential question for me, as a citizen, is what is my government doing in my name. Providing the essential factor that led to victory in Libya means buying the outcome of that intervention. It looks a lot like the outcome is a real mess in terms of deaths, injuries, and infrastructure. It may be that our rulers (who did this without consulting the people) have prevented one bloodbath only to create another.

    As I followed the various battles, it seemed like the rebels had significant initial success followed by significant push back by Gaddafi’s forces. Then the NATO effort cranked up enough to allow the rebels to regain the momentum. NATO was the difference (and the international banking system which took Libya’s money out of the equation). There will be a more thorough reporting on the impact of the war and the specific impact of aerial actions.

    As of now, the net outcome is a RTC military headed by Belhaj, of an organization that aligned with al Qaeda several years ago, and Gaddafi’s former Justice Minister, now head of the RTC, who decreed what seems to be a highly conservative Sharia Law basis for the nation.

    Aside from all of the above, how about asking the transitional councl a rhetorical question, “Who’s your daddy?” as you observe the RTC’s main web page with rotating pictures of Obama, Cameron, and Sarkoy.

    http://www.ntclibya.com/
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  • It will be very interesting to see how all this evolves. The signs, as you suggest, are ominous though. The desire to control women is, sadly, always a given.


    Sexual inequality is “The Mother of all Inequalities”.
    Liberate female sexuality and you will eliminate racism, homophobia, financial greed, and violence.

  • For centuries, men and women were born, lived their lives, and died in an occupied Ireland. Yet, the yearning and fight against colonization endured. Unless we look at our situation that way, we’re apt to end up as you said. I do believe that there are many options available to the people to fight back and, while doing that, maintain their integrity but it has to be bottom up not top down.

    The most effective movement I’ve seen since the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s was the Latino May Day demonstrations protesting the idiotic Republican congressional immigration law that made simply knowing and not reporting an undocumented worker a felony. That backed down the nastiest of the nasty ones. Millions of people, organized, disciplined showed up. Who was their “leader”? Right, I have no idea. But they certainly made their point.

    It’s a long haul, imho. I agree.
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  • The commander-in-chief of the partisan General Raffaele Cadorna stated ‘such incidents were regrettable but desirable in this case as a way for the public to vent their anger against the former dictator and his associates, which has left Italy in a state of material and moral ruin.’

    Moreover, I would add that a likelihood of ugly death is probably a better deterrent against abuse of official power than say, heavy jail time is a deterrent against common crimes of passion.

  • It just takes those in charge to Wag the Dog and “the bad guy/gal” gets a couple of bullets in their head. Remember Kosovo, the pristine victims of Serb aggression. What we were not widely discussed was the involvement of Albanian fighters of the KLA with the heroin trade and the notoriety that Albania had and has) with any variety of organized crime activities in Europe. We made protected Albania and made Kosovo safe for what?

    I wrote this at the start of the Libyan revolution http://tinyurl.com/3kcceb7 My optimism was misplaced. The mistake was including the Libyan effort with the Egyptian popular effort even though I’d written previously that the Egyptian movement was solidly based on the efforts on union activity over a period of 10 years prior to the effort in Cairo.

    As for Mussolini, I’d rather have seen him in the dock at Nuremberg with all the ongoing pain that caused than hung upside down. In that case, the Italian people knew the story having lived through it. In our case, we have to sift through the various deliberate lies and omissions of the corporate media fully aligned with the corporate dominated government (which sounds like Musselini’s definition of fascism;)

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  • Libya seeks to calm Sharia fears
    (UKPA)

    The head of Libya’s transitional government tried to reassure Western powers which helped topple Muammar Gaddafi that the country’s new leaders were moderate Muslims, after a speech that emphasised the Islamisation of Libya.

    Just as in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, Islamists have emerged from yet another Arab Spring uprising as the most powerful group in the country. How far they will go will be decided at the ballot box – in Tunisia this week, in Egypt in November and in Libya within eight months.

    National Transitional Council leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil said on Sunday that Islamic Sharia law would be the main source of legislation, that laws contradicting its tenets would be nullified, and that polygamy would be legalised.

    “I would like to assure the international community that we as Libyans are moderate Muslims,” said Mr Abdul-Jalil, who added that he was dismayed by the focus abroad on his comments on polygamy.

    A US State Department spokeswoman said America was encouraged that he had clarified his earlier statement.

    more Press Assoc

    yeah, he was clear as mud

  • …akin to my own that western observers can’t quite seem to grasp the notions that they aren’t always the most important factor or that the view from their distant spatial, cultural and experiential remove is pretty much guaranteed to be wrong.

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

  • …litmus tests (there have been a number cited by various parties) seem to me to be more “items that will resonate to rhetorical effect with an ignorant western audience” than actual indicators. The simple reality is that what’s going to come out at the end of this is highly contested – we’re seeing only the opening bid of one party and treating it like that’s going to be the end state. Throwing around hot-button buzzwords that folks only dimly understand like “sharia” as if they were simple unitary concepts frankly doesn’t help us understand what’s going on and what’s likely to occur. Works great in the never-ending sequential “I told you so” tit-for-tat punditry that appears to have displaced meaningful, informed analysis, but I think we should aim for more.

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

  • NATO and the US are financially and operationally the most important factor in their success since, as we both seem to agree, this wouldn’t not have ended up as it did without that outside support. Tunisia’s outcome looks a whole lot better.
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  • In my view, NATO set the starting conditions – the Libyans, the Arab armies that supported them with training, and the Arab governments that provided financial support are by far the most important factors. NATO levelled the playing field – the players were indigenous.

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

  • for the rebels. Had NATO been just a “starting condition,” it would have stopped after the start. It didn’t. NATO’s illegal aggression continued throughout. It wasn’t just indigenous.

    When the NTC chose to attack Sirte for no legitimate reason, NATO was there and made a huge difference. Look at this from AP:

    From the top of the Sirte hotel, held by rebels, the brave or foolhardy could look out over the city as sniper bullets and rockets whistled all around. The rebels to the east and south were pinned down. It seemed like a stalemate could last until the end of the year. And still nobody had the faintest clue that Gaddafi was in the city.

    It all changed after a NATO bombing assault on October 8, when the ground did not stop shaking all night. Next morning the rebels pushed forwards, expecting the usual fierce resistance. There was none.

    In the space of 36 hours rebels surged into the city from the south and east, and met at an intersection just south of District Two, a middle-class neighbourhood of spacious houses in the western part of Sirte. District Two was flooded in knee-deep water, perhaps from a bomb or perhaps deliberately. It was to become Sirte’s final stand. AP, Oct 24 http://tinyurl.com/3v3put6

    Can’t get any clear than that sequence. The NTC was stalled (from many reports) and then NATO “bombed all night” and the NTC triumpal entrance, resisted from early September on, was without resistance.

    NATO did the deed. The commanders and politicians who committed this atrocity, Sirte alone (the city did nothing to the NTC), should all be brought up on war crimes. They should also hope that there really is no afterlife and final judgment (in the Old Testament sense). Eternity is a long time.

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  • Article 33. No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
    Pillage is prohibited.
    Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

    Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions collective punishments are a war crime. By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and World War II. In the First World War, Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that took place there. Additional concern also addressed the United States’ atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which, in turn, caused death and disease to millions[citation needed] of Japanese civilians as well as their decedents[sic][citation needed]. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resort to “intimidatory measures to terrorize the population” in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices “strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Geneva_Convention

    Sirte was a collective punishment.
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  • …elides gracefully over the next 12 days of heavy street fighting, including the description in the very next graf:

    For four days, the rebels flattened the area with everything they had, bringing their tanks and heavy guns into the city and blazing away at every building standing between their own positions and the sea. Terrified families who had been unable to flee piled up sandbags to protect their homes from the flood and nervously made victory signs when rebels approached.

    Additionally, don’t get hung up on time – when I say “starting conditions”, I mean it in the sense of NATO bombing pulling the combat power down to levels where irregular forces could conceivably survive – as I said way back at the start of this little adventure.

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

  • Sky UK

    Setting aside questions of how/why this unelected “government” is empowered to make decisions in a country where there is, presently, neither constitution or system of laws, let’s just toss our heads and say “Who cares.” Gaddafi is obliterated. The rest is up to them. NTC is in charge and they say Sharia law is in.

    For starters, do we presume this a capital case? It would seem so, seeing as how somebody undeniably died at the hands of others. My handy unpublished Sharia Law crib notes state:

    “The death penalty is appropriate for two groups of crime:

    Intentional murder: In these cases the victim’s family is given the option as to whether or not to insist on a punishment of this severity.

    Fasad fil-ardh (‘spreading mischief in the land’): Islam permits the death penalty for anyone who threatens to undermine authority or destabilise the state.”

    So, oooh boy. Circle your calendars boys and girls. Can’t wait to see Libya’s kinder, gentler, Western endorsed Sharia law in action.

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