Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 20, 2011

Exactly Eight Years Later - No Change At All

Good afternoon, everybody. Today I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians. That action has now begun.

In this effort, the United States is acting with a broad coalition that is committed to enforcing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of the Libyan people. That coalition met in Paris today to send a unified message, and it brings together many of our European and Arab partners.
Remarks by the President on Libya, March 19, 2011

My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.

On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign. More than 35 countries are giving crucial support -- from the use of naval and air bases, to help with intelligence and logistics, to the deployment of combat units. Every nation in this coalition has chosen to bear the duty and share the honor of serving in our common defense.

Posted by b on March 20, 2011 at 8:40 UTC | Permalink


I've read comments here from previous few days, lots of opinions this is extension of US Imperialism and such...

And I get your point. I also share everyone's disgust w/Iraq, not to mention lack of accountability/prosecutions etc. towards those responsible. And the torture and everything else... not good.

Personally, I don't think it's the same. As I've watched dominoes topple one after another of repressive ME regimes, I was similarly disgusted w/BO's empty rhetoric as Qaddafi began full fledged military suppression of movement in Libya to get rid of him and move on. Plenty of published "thoughts" from BO's WH that he was adverse to another conflict, etc. etc. Again, for me, seeing him sit on his hands as this thing was near end game w/Qaddafi remaining in power... disgusting.

I think UN/NATO actions right thing to do this time. Seems clear actions are to support overwhelming Libyan public desiring his removal to me, in response to grotesque attempts to suppress them.

This action is in support of a public on the right track, where as Iraq was nothing of the sort... ever.

And just who is this Qaddafi nurse WIKILEAKS has revealed... this one, or take your pick from this gallery.

I wonder how much oil blood money Galyna got for her nursing "services"?

Poor Muammar, that's a big hole to plug (bad choice of words, sorry) in his interrupted routine.

Posted by: jdmckay | Mar 20 2011 13:17 utc | 1

The US/UN/NATO are not bombing Libya for the benefit of the people who live there.

And at least some of the "rebels" fighting Gaddafi used to be part of Gaddafi's forces. Yesterday a plane was shot down. First they said it was a French plane, shot down by Gaddafi, then a Gaddafi plane shot down by the rebels, and then a rebel plane shot down by mistake by the rebels.

It looks like the rebels already have anti-aircraft missiles and planes to bomb people.

What this is in Libya is a civil war, with both sides armed and both sides using violence. This is not like Egypt or Tunisa or Bahrain or anywhere else. And although the "no-fly zone" reminds most folks of Iraq, I think this is going to end up like Afghanistan in the 80's - they will chase Gaddafi out, and then there will be full scale civil war, and then the Islamists will win, and then the US/UK/NATO/UN will come in again for more war against the Islamists.

I think the foreign blood-sucking bastards should stay home.

Posted by: Susan | Mar 20 2011 13:30 utc | 2

Anyone who thinks this is being done for ANY reason besides power and control in a region with an oil resource, is a bit naive. And the part about caring for people in the area, please, grab a clue.

Posted by: Ben | Mar 20 2011 13:46 utc | 3

Susan @ 2:

The US/UN/NATO are not bombing Libya

Reporting has been pretty unanimous in describing bombing much more specifically then "Libya": the bombing (and cruise missiles) have been directed to destroying Q's air force capability. EG. distinctions do matter: calling it "bombing Libya" is (IMO) misleading.

Further, this action was unanimously supported by whole array of ME/Arab/Muslim groups considered in full UN session. That's a bit different then W' & his neocon Likudnik's "coalition of the willing".

some of the "rebels" fighting Gaddafi used to be part of Gaddafi's forces.

IMO that suggests, w/bias, that "rebels" are just as bad as Q... therefore, the "rebellion" is as well.

Most of rebellion was groundswell from avg Libyan citizens, very well represented across demographics: it is not typified or accurately represented by the "used to be part" you describe. Q's fighter pilots that defected "used to be" as well, but their intentions in doing so IMO do not suggest as you imply.

Lastly, in response to B's assertion in this post: Q is killing, w/full military force, his own citizenry... a group which began largely like the others (Egypt): peacefully. It's a damn repressive assault.

Saddam did no such thing: we (US/Bush) went after him (and control of the country) not in response to populace uprising (we were promoting Chalabi as "representative", for crying out loud). We... US/BushCo/Neocons built/occupied the secret prisons, did minight sweeps in Baghdad for years targeting absurd demographic groups and disappeared 'em all over the place. We leveled Fallujiah... twice, in most barbaric fashion. And most of those in Fallujia at that time were fighting US invasion, largely non-allied w/Saddam.

Not the case at all in this Libya operation currently. Looks very much like intent and action is to stop the slaughter of Libyan rebels... period.


I sure do understand people's skepticism, however. There's just not much in any of last decade's history to recommend motives of any of these players. Nevertheless, I've seen BO capable of doing the right thing just a few times, despite fact (it appears) his only motivation in doing so is poll driven and/or political calculation.

Given how thoroughly things have come off the rails here in my homeland, (I'm sorry to say) that's up on the scale as of late.

Posted by: jdmckay | Mar 20 2011 13:58 utc | 4

Fuck Obama. this asshole is telling us domestically we can't afford to fully fund programs like the federal home heating assistance program (his budget proposes cutting it in half--that's 2.5 billion dollars) but we can start a THIRD war to strengthen our regional presence for resource control.

Fuck Obama.

he screwed us with health care, allowing my Montana senator to sell out the country to big Pharma and the insurance industry. he caved to wealth by extending the Bush tax cuts, adding over 600 BILLION dollars to the deficit. is he supporting workers rights? hell no. he's no where to be seen in Wisconsin or Michigan or anywhere where workers are being directly attacked. he let EFCA die (employee free choice act) because he doesn't give a shit about the people here. the only constituents who matter are the ones who bankroll him.

jdmckay, i seem to remember you being one of the Obama cheerleaders decrying the pessimists and cynics like me three years ago.

well, looks like we were right. and all it took was paying attention to who he surrounded himself with.

Posted by: lizard | Mar 20 2011 14:37 utc | 5

It is all absolutely horrible.

Here it is a beautiful day and little children are laughing, whirling and shouting in front of my house. An early bee buzzed in. My neighbor came by on her bike and waved and threw her arms in the air at the sky, what a beautiful day, she signaled, yes I gestured back, magnificent.

But I’m feeling sick. I wish some of the rebels had not asked for a no-fly zone. That wouldn’t have changed anything, I just wish they hadn’t done it, hadn’t given the propaganda machine that little wedge. Killing his own people, who were screaming for help, we must protect. Kofi Annan invented that duty. (It effectively overrides other principles, of non-interference, non pre-emptive war, etc.)

I’m feeling sick and I have to start cooking an ambitious dinner. Tunisian, why not, we eat with the Tunisian people, one of the guests wrote. Maybe I should have a drink. Better not. Kitchen logistics.

I wish people would grasp that it can happen to them too, and so quickly they are left completely bereft. I wish Americans understood that the poverty statistics and the eroding, collapsing, so called middle class, is not a mystery and a challenge, but a direct outcome of the internal and foreign policy of their elected representatives and those who control, fund them.

I wish...but will shut up for now

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 20 2011 14:46 utc | 6

Noirette, it's a beautiful day here too. the snow is finally receding and there's lots of yard work to do. my son is almost three, and his engagement with the world is taking off. he loves to paint, sing, dance, and every day it's he who grounds me.

the people in this country, i'm afraid to say, are finally getting a taste of what our elites have been doing to other countries for decades. to a certain degree, i'd say this is what we get for willfully denying how our material comforts have been generated. if we throw a national tantrum because we can't sustain our standard of living, then there's no point. we must put our struggle in the context of the global struggle, or there's no chance.

unfortunately our propaganda is very effective. too many still insanely cheer on their own demise by running to the right because the so called "left" has been such a colossal failure.

Posted by: lizard | Mar 20 2011 15:02 utc | 7

What ever happened to diplomacy?

When I hear “all options are on the table” I cringe because diplomacy is obviously not on the list.

The rebels refused K’s offer, of ‘talks’ or whatever, that is normal. Their demand is he step down, leave. - Be allowed to vanish, or be prosecuted or strung up, all were expressed.

If I have it right, Chavez’s effort was to get the two parties to the table thru ‘mediators’, and it failed, though Kadafi accepted, in early March.

Then there’s this:

This country’s state television reports that Col. Gaddafi called in ambassadors of Russia, China and India in the country and held talks with them.

What else? Wasn’t there some Arab initiative? I didn’t follow it all.

Kadafi only had three choices, the first, giving up / suicide / decamping not taken, the second, to fight, the third to negotiate. So, if pressured, he would have, and maybe just still will, negotiate. (Though it’s likely escalation has gone too far.)

Be he a wily old fox or a madman doesn’t matter - he is what he is and hasn’t as far as I can tell lost any brain faculties over time, in fact he seems somewhat invigorated, determined.

Anyway it won’t happen, US and NATO won’t allow it.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 20 2011 15:03 utc | 8

“We’re broke; broke going on bankrupt.” - John Boehner.

Either the war hawks spotted a wad of greenbacks hidden in the Lincoln bedroom for the last 150 years or medicare and social security are going to be slashed that much deeper to pay for operations in Libya.

One thing is for damn sure: The "debate" about our indebtedness and bankruptcy sure came to an immediate halt!

And rest assured that we'll risk bankruptcy in order to keep the welfare checks flowing to the warfare queens on Wall Street. There is no other reason to explain why we are spending billions of dollars to get rid of a dictator, when a sniper and a round of bullets can do the job.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 20 2011 15:16 utc | 9

On the prohibition of US (and allied) ground troops...

Air and naval campaigns are still acts of war, and the Constitution requires Congress to authorize them.

But, in his illegal effort to evade the Constitution, I think Obama's declaration that we won't use ground troops in Libya is both a tactical error, and likely false no matter how you look at it. But, his declaration that there won't be US involvement in the ground war may mean that ground forces trickle in to deal with contingencies, rather than arrive in an overwhelming force.

That's a problem with Obama's illegal war in Libya --it tends to lead to half-measures, and incremental escalation.

Obama's Afghan War is turning out to be like Johnson's Vietnam War. And Obama's other war, the Libyan War will turn out to be like Bush's Iraq War.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 20 2011 15:18 utc | 10

lizard, i think the US elites (gvmt - military - handlers - wall street - etc.) are actually quite fragile, and have simply been emboldened over time because of lack of opposition. i mean, they aren’t particularly smart, or soldered, or determined on one or another course of action, they are stuck in an individualistic, competitive scheme, all of them acting in complicated webs of influence and contacts, there is no master plan. many of them are cringing dopes. the mirror is the people below, who are in the same position, mired in bettering their neighbor, identity politics, partisan belonging, flirting with the boss for favors, individualistic concerns, etc.

if the US elites would get a sharp kick in the ass, things might change real fast. that kick might take many forms, not that i consider any of them likely, lose the fear as the tunisians and egyptians would shout. it’s true. the us elites cannot survive without its ppl working day by day and its international clout - waning as i write, this last sortie may be the last - and its military capacity (on paper), which scares everyone to death, but its run by ppl, right?

here’s to a hopeful future....

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 20 2011 15:33 utc | 11

I've had so many "I Told You So" moments from this Obama Administration I don't even bother to say it anymore. And still, many who supported this Trojan Horse will not come clean, and humble themselves in atonement.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 20 2011 15:38 utc | 12

The dictator club has second thoughts: West’s strikes on Libya hit Arab League criticism

Arab League chief Amr Moussa said what was happening was not what Arabs had envisaged when they called for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya.

"What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians," he said.

In comments carried by Egypt’s official state news agency, Moussa also said he was calling for an emergency Arab League meeting.

Arab backing for a no-fly zone provided crucial underpinning for the passage of the U.N. Security Council resolution last week that paved the way for the Western intervention, the biggest against an Arab country since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Withdrawal of that support would make it much harder to pursue what some defence analysts say could in any case be a difficult, open-ended campaign with an uncertain outcome.

Posted by: b | Mar 20 2011 15:49 utc | 13

Lizard @ 5

jdmckay, i seem to remember you being one of the Obama cheerleaders decrying the pessimists and cynics like me three years ago.

My Obama "trek" was a process...
a) took 4 mos. off, ran most of his (and Sen. Udall) precincts/offices in bernalillo County (greater Alberquerque NM area), and crossed my fingers. I was scared by BushCo's raping of everything (wars, economy, institutions) and of opinion anyone... anyone from other side of aisle was preferable. I was nervous about BO's lack of track record (one good speech @ '06 dem convention) and rather moving oratory skills. I was scared he was just a "cool" orator w/nothing underlying that we needed.

I was also nervous by all the young people who came out in droves here to support him: most of this crowd didn't really understand mechanics of economy, Iraq, and bunch of other BushCo crimes, rather they rallied to BO 'cause he was young and cool.

b) during later stages of campaign but before elections, I was guardedly optimistic wrt BO's direction on economics: Roubini (and several others I repect) was complimentary of both is team and BO's comments/understanding of "things" economic. Additionally, I had been a several statewide meetings w/then candidate Obama where he implied planned/formulating econ policies that sounded about right to me. He said things to my (& other attendee's faces) which, as it turned out, were lies.

c) I began vociferously criticizing BO, right after election, w/first cabinet appts... Geithner was like, Oh Fucking God, here we go again. One after another, same thing. By his inauguration, I spoke loudly and specifically w/same warnings as many others, especially in community of people who helped get him elected (my cries fell on deaf ears) which as it turned out were prescient... I would say BO turned out far worse then my worst fears. he had a golden opportunity to do something special and correct, and he entirely squandered it.

well, looks like we were right. and all it took was paying attention to who he surrounded himself with.


I'm not commending BO at all. Just saying this really isn't his endeavor, circumstances are completely different then Iraq, and end net result of this action has (IMO) a decent chance of giving Libyan's same chance as other states in this wave, to reorganize themselves... to move their country's resources from serving a self indulgent leadership to intelligently using them for everyone.

W/out this action, that was not going to happen in Libya.

So as is his pretty well demonstrated way of doing things, BO played it safe, let everyone else decide what was right, and followed prevailing winds. So what, I don't personally care one way or the other. If he's taking best available option for wrong reasons, well, whatever...

Posted by: jdmckay | Mar 20 2011 16:03 utc | 14

lizard @ 5 :Perfect synopsis on BO. He is the articulate puppet for the uber-rich elites, who REALLY make policy for the US. Our "Democracy" is such Kabuki.

Posted by: Ben | Mar 20 2011 16:18 utc | 15

All of these oil war interventions are going to pale in comparison to what nature will do to this population bubble when the oil runs out. I'm glad I'm too old to make it to mid-century because it's going to be brutal.

Posted by: par4 | Mar 20 2011 16:50 utc | 16

jdmckay, you really are a chronic optimist

deluded by Obama, but still hopeful this war, this time will be different tha Kosovo-Iraq-Afghanistan ...

yes, we will go in there and bomb Gheddafi out of Libya (or, more probably, this planet), and then a democratic government will take over that won't indebt himself with the IMF, and will distribute to the people *more* than what Gheddafi gave them (which wasn't little), and we will give them a pat on the head and leave, yes *this* time this is what will happen

I keep viewing videos of the rebels, and I can't find any resemblance to the popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrein, etc: mostly small groups of middle-aged male armed militians; the only demonstrations I see are in Tripoli, in favour of Gheddafi

the bloodbath which we were supposed to prevent with the NFZ didn't ever materialize; Gheddafi was winning, hostilities almost over, now instead things will really get bloody, because the West's declared objective is to oust Gheddafi, but this means escalating, and then not being able to leave because otherwise another boolbath would occur, etc

Posted by: claudio | Mar 20 2011 17:08 utc | 17

What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians --Arab League chief, Amr Moussa

The "No-Fly Zone" talk was a ruse from the beginning, designed to pull in the naive, the gullible.

What was contemplated behind closed doors was open-ended war. This war is coldly calculated for economic reasons. It is also intended as an instrument to undo the movements for liberation that started in Tunisia and Egypt. Many in the rebel ranks had indicated that they did not want the kind of intervention that UN Resolution 1973 is geared for.

Barack Obama, as b suggests, has perpetuated the status quo. It is a tragic and violent policy to wage war in Libya, as Obama is doing. And those who go into this, with their eyes open, will see that the banner advert, of helping Libyans, is a false one.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 20 2011 17:18 utc | 18

This is France's war. That's pretty funny, if it weren't for all the killing and such. The tricolor once again waives under the african sun.

I really thought that the US would just keep Q, and I think this would have been the case if Q hadn't said a bunch of crazy shit about turning North Africa into a haven for AQ, etc.

If O wants to go all world-historic figure on this, he should probably start bombing the IDF.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 20 2011 17:29 utc | 19

Claudio @ 17

deluded by Obama

I don't think so... rather, I'm sure I'm not. Why would you say that?

yes, we will go in there and bomb Gheddafi out of Libya (or, more probably, this planet),

I think you mis-state this "effort", w/all due respect.

and then a democratic government will take over that won't indebt himself with the IMF

To the degree you think I'm a deluded optimist, your imputing pessimism upon this outcome seems equally out of balance to me.

There are a whole lot of emerged economies around the planet which have abandoned IMF dictates, in some case entire regions. And tangentially, this "movement" is very much a response to West's (and largely US') backed IMF abuses/exploitations and frauds.

If grading on the curve... eg. inertia & trends, they are having economic, social & cultural success. So. America has abandoned (what took them so long) IMF dictates almost entirely. There is overall trends of enlightened economic and social progress there, much of it dramatic.

China, Korea, Singapore and even Malaysia, largely the same although with different compositions.

There's more then one way to skin a cat.

I try and see what's there. I try to maintain integrity of observation, and confront my biases. I've had a lot of success w/this, increasingly over time, in my life (I'm 55). I have no allegiance to any political doctrine, rather to understandable principles and "what works". I've observed a lot of different ways groups/societies have organized. The core principal, in my view, which distinguishes success from failure: good motives, good intentions... eg. good old honesty & truth.

Singapore is much different then Brazil, but they've both prospered.

As I said, Obama has had little to do w/this initiative in Libya. It is largely supported collectively by the region's representative organizations, most of which had much to do in applauding and supporting recent ME "regime changes". BO is Johnnie come lately to this party.

I've read reports of military actions in last 24 hrs., I see little evidence that what has been done goes beyond what was asked... certainly no evidence of leveling the country or another "birth pangs of democracy" lie.

You're reading opinions of me into your statements which I didn't say and which don't exist.


I was regular here back to Billmon days. A lurker for several years, then as BushCo manifested fully a participant.

I have high regard for b... intelligence, opinions, underlying principles as expressed generally, and in particular for the time/effort he has/does expend to make this an extremely rich source of information accurately portraying important realities in the world. I acknowledged all this often before he shut down for a breather.

I've been all over the world, participated as visitor interested in given cultures and professionally in several capacities. I have been able to live above the fray this past decade, and enjoy worthwhile work and maintain integrity in the process. I'm not aligned w/absurd "American ideals" that have been redefined to mean some or another form of exploitation or fraud.

I believe in the inherent goodness at core of human beings, and potential to express that goodness. I believe that humans can solve problems. I believe that honesty and integrity, along w/some focused effort, can accomplish just that. And it pleases me to see this manifest... anywhere on the planet. And I think a society's role is to ensure an environment which supports this.

There's a lot of places on this planet where things are trending the right way. Unfortunately, most USA'sians don't know about it.

I also believe... have witnessed, the corrosive nature of corruption. And we... USA, have indeed crossed the thresh hold into a critical mass of just that. Our culture has been impoverished... morally, our purposes, and knowledge of our people. We're in trouble, no doubt about that. Our economy is an illusion, running of fumes from past accomplishments and currently "maintained" by liars who have stolen whatever mantle of worthile'ness there in.


The thing about bias... it blinds the individual. Over time, I've developed well functioning awareness of this, understanding my own bias(s) are my enemy. I've overcome most of my biggest ones, I'm sure.

Among other things, bias prevents me from seeing where good things happen. The fabric of creation... quantum physics long ago observed matter created out of nothing in our Universe. This thing is most certainly alive, and bias will blind one so that what's new is hidden.

I choose to, and have been successful in living largely above the fray. It's part of why I check in here, as b and many commenters dig up stuff I want to know. There are times where I may not agree, this is one.

It's not a comdemnation, I'm not a troll (far from it). I just don't see this one as preferred.

I think it's damn clear Libya is not Iraq, and I also think it's damn clear organization and events undertaken these recent hours to stop Q's slaughter of Libya's citizens is motivated by just that.

I also think that giving those people a chance to reorganize their society is worth it. Libya has oil wealth which, if redistributed even quasi equitably for the society's benefit, can really move things forward there. I don't accept Libyan's pre-ordained inability to make something good of this, and what I've seen (footage, are media, lots of stuff) there is much evidence to suggest there is some enlightenment in rebels motives beyond what you "see" as you've described.

Again, this is not BO's initiative... it just isn't. To ascribe the whole thing to him, while ignoring all the moving parts in this effort & simultaneously impugning associations of Iraq/Afghanistan w/BO... it's not accurate or intelligent, and to me, shows bias.

Posted by: jdmckay | Mar 20 2011 18:07 utc | 20

The "No-Fly Zone" is all jive. The whole intervention in Libya is jive. Under the rubric of humanitarian impulse, this war planning emanates from the reptilian part of the brain. No good will come of it. Oil is at the bottom of it. The West wants the kind of stooge it can do business with. Look at the bloody repression in Yemen and Bahrain. Does the White House have any interest in intervention to stop the bloodbath in those places?

I'm sorry, but the argument that this aggression is different, is simply weak.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 20 2011 18:33 utc | 21

Professors Walt and Mearsheimer have made a "near airtight" case that the Zionists Powers That Be were the biggest pushers for the war in Iraq. Which explains why five Israeli Mossad agents were seen dancing, celebrating and filming on an adjacent building when the planes hit the WTC on 9\11. It also explains why the Israeli economy, unlike most other western economies, has remained in positive territory for the last eight years or so.

And this is what Jim Lobe reported back in February:

"Two prominent senators whose foreign policy views often reflect neo-conservative thinking, Republican John McCain and Independent Democrat Joseph Lieberman, called Friday in Tel Aviv for Washington to supply Libyan rebels with arms, among other steps, including establishing a no-fly zone over the country."

So Walt and Mearsheimer should take this and other information from Jim Lobe's piece entitled "Neo-Con Hawks Take Flight over Libya" and make yet another "near airtight" case that the Zionists Powers That Be are the biggest pushers for the war in Libya. Our war against Muammar Gaddafi is strikingly similar to our war against Saddam Hussein in that it has nothing to do with bringing freedom and democracy to the people of Libya, and it has little to do with keeping cheap oil flow to the West. It has mostly to do with us wasting our blood and treasure on Israel so that the Israelis can continue to profit by keeping all of their neighboring countries under the iron fist of dictatorial rule.

This is why I predict that if Obama and his neo-con masters remain on a warpath in Libya, Obama's War in Libya will become a repeat performance of Bush's War in Iraq.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 20 2011 18:48 utc | 22

it's been pretty interesting to see the sunday talkers process this today. that the US has taken on almost ALL initial operations, with barely a fly-over from France, apparently hasn't been lost on our MSM. and it appears, if things start going badly, congress may even get a little snippy that Obama didn't even bother going through motions of getting their rubber stamp.

the discussion has been primarily about perception management; that this is being handled to keep Americans from thinking this is a third war being waged by the US.

there have even some stark questions about why Libya, and not Bahrain or Yemen. it probably won't amount to much, but it's worth noting.

Posted by: lizard | Mar 20 2011 18:55 utc | 23

again copeland you are saying what i think

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 20 2011 19:09 utc | 24

right on, jdmckay.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 20 2011 19:38 utc | 25

Listen to George Carlin speak the truth that America wouldn't be so hot for war if its men wouldn't think of guns and other weapons as extensions of their manhood:

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 20 2011 20:00 utc | 26

@ jdmckay
To the degree you think I'm a deluded optimist, your imputing pessimism upon this outcome seems equally out of balance to me

Einstein stated that performing the same tasks and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. For you to think that the military action against Libya is for the benefit of Libyans is truly bizarre. Paul Wolfowitz and Jane Harman on Christianne Amanpour today came out strongly in favor of military action against Libya. Perhaps Cynthia has the real reason though I hesitate to believe that this is all about Israel. at any rate, when the neocons want something, it is almost always bad for those who have that something. having watched them murder a million iraqis over the last few years, I am not ready to extend to them the benefit of the doubt. as far as I am concerned they are scum and need to be put away where they can do no harm. on that note, I suppose nightowl is now masturbating while watching strike films during the pentagon briefings. frankly I don't care if I come across as rude to those people. why do I have to be nice to fascists?

what becomes ever more apparent is that the arab dictators show themselves to be sold out. it is quite comical to watch them try to wiggle out of what they endorsed only days ago. were they hoodwinked? I suppose that is possible but who would benefit from that? any future deals with the west would only be more difficult and being exposed as tools only helps their domestic rivals. is it rather a blatant show of power with the intended purpose to humiliate?

like noirette, I have been rather bummed out since seeing the UN pass resolution 1973. the general mood of my italian friends is that of bewilderment. one of them was involved with the planned building of the highway between Benghazi and Tripoli and now he has no idea what will happen. equipment was purchased, supplies are loaded on containers waiting to be shipped and it all sits there

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 20 2011 20:11 utc | 27

"Russia called on Britain, France and the United States Sunday to stop air strikes against what it said were non-military targets in Libya, saying the attacks had caused civilian casualties"

It's rather embarrassing that Putin is playing cat and mouse with Obama.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 20 2011 20:26 utc | 28

Well we will wake up to Sky News/BBC telling us of heroic actions by UK airmen to save the brave Libya people from evil etc etc, the hypocrisy, double standards, and utter guttersnipe uk media as it what become makes me retch.

If Cameroon and Sarkozy were also talking about and doing it against Yemen and Bahrain I would support, but no......... hey maybe the "new left" will bomb Gaza to save the babies in Israel's Pitchat Shalom region

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Mar 20 2011 20:36 utc | 29

jdmckay, thanks for stimulating and non polemical (well, almost) response; I don't have time now to answer adequately (house chores, etc); see you later

Posted by: claudio | Mar 20 2011 21:07 utc | 30


their bilge is absolutely insupportable

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 20 2011 21:19 utc | 31

the US has taken on almost ALL initial operations, with barely a fly-over from France

barely a fly-over?

Simply not true.

About 20 French fighter jets carried out airstrikes earlier on Saturday, military spokesman Thierry Burkhard told The Associated Press. The planes fired the first shot at a military vehicle belonging to Gadhafi forces, he said.


"Alongside its Arab partners, European partners and North American partners, France is resolved to shoulder its role before history," Sarkozy said.


Other countries were also preparing for an assault on Saturday, moving fighter jets into position around the region, where Gadhafi continued a barrage on rebel strongholds

Six Danish F-16 fighter jets landed at the U.S. air base in Sigonella, Sicily, on Saturday. Danish officials said the jets would be ready for operation by Sunday.

Italy has committed the use of seven military bases for the operation against the Libyan dictator; the country's proximity makes Italy an ideal staging point for an international offensive.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada fully supported the need for immediate action.

Canada has committed six CF-18 fighter jets to help enforce the no-fly zone; a spokesman said the jets were moving to the region, but would not be ready for use for two days.

AFAIC, anyone comparing this to neocon's Iraq, utterly deceitful "liberation" is not giving a accurate report. This looks nothing like Iraq.

More on what nation's are dropping bombs here.

Posted by: jdmckay | Mar 20 2011 21:24 utc | 32

dos @ 27:

Einstein said a lot of great stuff. AA sells bumper stickers saying the one you quoted. It's non-illuminating in this context.

For you to think that the military action against Libya is for the benefit of Libyans is truly bizarre. Paul Wolfowitz and Jane Harman on Christianne Amanpour today came out strongly in favor of military action against Libya. Perhaps Cynthia has the real reason though I hesitate to believe that this is all about Israel. at any rate, when the neocons want something, it is almost always bad for those who have that something.

Jane Harman is a neocon?

What, IMO, you all simply won't acknowledge: the neocons had nothing to do w/this thing. The Arab League, wide UN support, all kinds of players that were anathema to Iraq.

I loathe Wolfowitz... loathe him.

But I would be foolish to disregard a wide swath of reality because he's in agreement. So what?

In Iraq adventure, the whole justification was from Wolfy and his narrow cadre of Zionist Likudnik sociopaths. Elliott Abrams planting made up CIA docs in Italian intelligence files then propagandizing 'em, Doug Feith's make up "intelligence" (which US General called him dumbest guy in the world?), Cheney's arm twisting @ CIA Headquarters for NIE in 6 weeks not to mention NIGER lies... These guys drove it, they made up the narrative out of thin air, they lied lied lied lied lied.

Q was using huge force to slaughter his own. Period.

Those rebels were entirely non violent. Entirely. This was not an armed resurrection until Q started killing them.

In Iraq, we did the killing... we were Q in Iraq.

Q was bombarding last major rebel stronghold, Benghazi. He was bombing the shit out of 'em. For what?

You people are just not paying attention.

A more appropriate neocon analogy AFAIC would be Likudnik's repeated, over and over, decimation of any seedling recovery in GAZA because Likud hates Arabs and regards them w/non-humanity status and treats them accordingly. Over and over and over. Even w/Wikileaks stating explicitly their intention to keep Gaza economic activity below subsistence levels, the world hardly notices.

Q much more resembles Netanyahu and co. in this one then those (US/France/Dutch/British etc.) you all are comparing this effort to (BushCo Iraq).

Your analogies don't fit.

Posted by: jdmckay | Mar 20 2011 21:54 utc | 33

point taken about French involvement.

and i would like to say i appreciate how you are arguing your POV, jdmckay. i might not agree, but at least you aren't adding the personal jabs like some have lately.

really, neither side of this argument can definitively say they have facts on their side, because this situation is so messy, and un-spun info too hard to come by. with "NATO" strikes, there are already claims that hospitals have been hit. Qaddafi will have major propaganda success depicting this assault as "barbaric" because inevitably there will be fuck-ups.

Posted by: lizard | Mar 20 2011 22:07 utc | 34

jdmckay, You are imputing altruistic motivations to Obama? This military aggression is another war, a war whose objectives do not include the liberation of rebel forces. The trashing of Libya is taking place as we speak. Don't think this is going to have a Disney ending.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 20 2011 22:11 utc | 35

jdmckay, You are imputing altruistic motivations to Obama?

I didn't say that anywhere here or elsewhere. What I said was BO is just blowing in the wind, and winds were blowing this way at this time.

I have a very low opinion of BO, across the board: he's more intelligent then Bush, but SOS AFAIC.

Lizard @ 34:

Thanks. I really like this watering hole... a lot. I've been en-richened, enlightened, and presented w/very insightful on truthful appraisals of things here for a long time... both b & many commenters.

I just don't agree w/gist of this post/comments on this issue.

Mwwwwaaaaaa!!! (g)

Posted by: jdmckay | Mar 20 2011 22:23 utc | 36

Alright, I want to know why you think this ramped up attack is even legal. The President didn't even bother running this by Congress. And the republican Speaker of the House criticized him for this. Ralph Nader has called for Obama's impeachment and I think even Congressman Kucinich muttered something about this kind of action being impeachable.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 20 2011 22:29 utc | 37

jdmckay, disagreement is fine. I agree with Lizard that we don't have many facts. This will definitely be a case of 'wait and see' - however, I seem to get more cynical in my old age.

I agree with your opinion of b's bar... lots to be learned here.

Posted by: crone | Mar 20 2011 22:34 utc | 38

jdmckay, I've read... and iirc - someone posted upthread - that there are mercenaries, special forces in Libya. Is it not possible that the killing of civilians began with them? I'm not fond of Q either... but... as I stated above, I have become very cynical. Not very hard to stir up a civil war in a tribal state/territory... esp if it has already begun. Would not be the first time for such a scenario.

Posted by: crone | Mar 20 2011 22:40 utc | 39

that's a good point about impeachment, Copeland. this whole "intervention" happened so fast, and only a few congress critters were consulted (congress was in recess), so some of 'em might be a little butt-sore about being left out of the loop. who knows, they may even actually do something about it.

Posted by: lizard | Mar 20 2011 23:19 utc | 40

lizard @ 5:

The obvious answer to the question of affordability is that there is no question about it. The truth is that the US govt can afford anything that is for sale in it's own currency. The evidence surely points to this being true. The reasons for cutting spending at home do not include the question of affordability.

Read the following article:

If you want to know more, read Warren Mosler's book:

This stuff is important because so few understand it. Every politician or talking head who says the US can't afford Social Security or Health Care or Unemployment Benefits or Home Owner bail outs is either lying or misinformed.

Posted by: Jeff65 | Mar 21 2011 0:33 utc | 41

Yeah lets wait until Libya has been fucked over and then we'll get the facts, just like always. Of course that will support the contention that this intervention was yet another piece of whitefella hegemony. Hang on why not object before everyone gets killed? Moronic statements from those who didn't listen when it was clearly explained why supporting Barak Obama would be the worst option for everyone including amerikans, were these same sort of 'wait & see' sock-puppet anodynes. The fools waited and saw and now amerika is far worse off than it was even under the excreable 'dubya', the world is far worse off, yet the same sock-puppets come back with the same moronic anodynes.

the frogs flew 20 aeroplanes over Libya - shot up one vehicle. The seppos loosed 100 tomahawk cruise missiles on Libya at a cost of over $500,000 a missile, no money left for food stamps this week methinks - yet we still get ninnies nodding to the z-troll's weak assed lying bullshit that the frogs are leading the war along with the fucked up poms (who prolly fired 4 of that 100 cruise missiles from some ancient rust bucket of a nuclear sub they've had polluting the med for decades in the name of rule britannia or some such shit- it doesn't matter anyway - the seppos have had the keys to the pommie nukes since the early 70's, nothing can be launched without amerikan permission - special relationship -"I'm special - you relate what I say").

I'm fucking mad because we have all been proved correct again, when that happens it means humans are maimed and dying, in far bigger numbers than anything muammar and the opposition can manage to kill in a day -they just don't have the technology. So stop the "But we're bombing Libya to save it" bullshit NOW!".

It would be possible, surely, that some humans could shake themselves free of the sugary pap fed to them by the networks and think "those peeps who got it right on Iraq and WMD, Afghanistan and OBL, Obama & Wall St (plus countless other minor issues) are likely correct on Libya and this no fly crap, why am I disagreeing with them again, whenever I do I am proved wrong, maybe I should use my brain for something other than keeping my ears separated".

Its hardly worth the pain that getting involved in these stupid endless debates about humans getting slaughtered for having the gall to be poor while living close to something the rich want to control, always brings. Fuckwits who think looking on the bright side of life is a good enough reason to clap and cheer while those people get murdered aren't going to listen no matter what we say. or how often they are proven wrong.

Sure they are always 'sorry' afterwards when the truth comes out -methinks that sorrow is more about self absolution than empathy for the buggers who got blown up, but who knows maybe they are that dense they don't even understand their own motives.
They block the truth out so they can live in their happy clappy delusions. That sad state of being prolly makes the notion of finding out what is really happening so as to explain to those others why they need to resist, some masochistic exercise using Libyan civilians as the whip.
It is that aspect of this whole issue I find most disconcerting. If all our media scrutiny and endless writing and debating of these foul & avoidable events is for naught, then why are we even bothering? Are we exploiting these poor fuckers as well? Are we using their misery for some sort of vicarious thrill, not unlike the drongos who watch endless reality TV programs on "the world's shortest(Fattest, tallest, smelliest, legless) human, or "my daughter is living with a one armed lesbian dwarf episode #57"?

At least the reality TV subjects seem to be willing participants in their humiliation.
Does our observation of the empire's victims actually contribute to their misery? Obviously most of us don't believe that, but a lot of this belief is centered on the idea that our observation and rather passive interference does lessen the horrors that will be inflicted on them.

It is easier not to know, just block it all out. The only trouble with that is the creepy feeling that it may be your turn and you don't know enough to protect yourself. That tends to prevent regression to the happy clappiness of the suckers. And maybe one day sufficient humans will manage to reduce the violence once again. It wasn't always this way. After Vietnam there was a period where the assholes had to be very circumspect about violently taking other people's shit.

Meanwhile peeps in Bahrain (whose protests have been non-violent just like the Egyptians) are still getting machine gunned. The happy clappys chose not to engage on that.

If it were ever possible to justify violence as a means to achieving a social outcome, (which it isn't - the notion is oxymoronic) then it would be the happy clappies, the fence sitters, the let's hope that it all gets better or "god works in mysterious ways" mob that I would be putting up against the wall. Do it for generations until the genetic susceptibility to "just be quiet & do as the bigfella says" has been evolved out.

Never gonna happen of course because these are the people that all assholes like the most. They are low maintenance followers of whatever stupidity the assholes choose to sell them. Only a mug of a leader would get rid of them.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Mar 21 2011 0:36 utc | 42

Jane Harman is a neocon?

funny, i didn't expect a laugh in this thread.

chalk up one more for me in the copeland column. it's another no brainer.

Posted by: annie | Mar 21 2011 1:42 utc | 43

debs, you must be aware that not much will ever get accomplished through the blogosphere. it's what we do with the information we glean from these exchanges in the "real" world that matters.

what i have learned from hanging out at this bar over the years has helped to shape my constantly evolving understanding of complicated world affairs i still can't fully comprehend. that means something. and i do the best i can to translate that info in my day to day to make it worth the time.

it might be helpful to remember all of us who comment here have some level of privilege. we have access to a computer, and the time to use it. that doesn't mean we're rich, but it is a reality that sets us apart from a significant portion of the world's population.

your anger and bitterness, though understandable, accomplishes what? there is very little in our lives we actually have any control over. but within our little spheres, there is a lot of good work that can be done. i know you do good work, debs. we may not be in an active war zone watching people around us die horrifically yet, but eventually the turmoil will affect all of us, directly.

that's what we have to get the people around us ready for.

Posted by: lizard | Mar 21 2011 2:06 utc | 44

Debs @ 42...Case closed!

Posted by: Ben | Mar 21 2011 2:45 utc | 45

Destroying Libya's air defenses and disabling it's air force is the primary mission. Once that is accomplished Libya has lost it's ability to defend itself from attack. This, like Iraq (& Afghanistan in a different way) is a way of selling protection to those vying for political control of the country. Whoever wins that battle will have to cow tow to the mafia who controls the air. Eventually (after a shit load of dying) this like Afghanistan and Iraq, will be boiled down to its long term essence - basing rights for the mobsters to protect the client state from the mob.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 21 2011 2:48 utc | 46

Gaddafi should have kept his nuclear weapons programs up and running. Then the blood-sucking Americans would have left him alone.

And 48 civilians reported killed during the first night of bombing. Hundreds more injured.

And Gates says that the goal is not to kill Gaddafi, which means they will try their best to kill Gaddafi and really don't care what they destroy in the process.

Posted by: Susan | Mar 21 2011 4:22 utc | 47

Yet again the Arab politicians have shown their incompetence in politics by backing the NFZ. USA, Britain, France, China, Russia are all controlled to a large extent by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia(KSA), those crazy Wahhabi's who should be punished for all the crimes against humanity. This whole business was stitched between KSA and the rest over Bahrain, they have already said that they would never agree for Bahrain to be a Shia state. That means the majority will never prevail.

Posted by: hans | Mar 21 2011 8:58 utc | 48

who knows, they may even actually do something about it.

This is a joke, right? The system is ineffably corrupt, and therefore incapable of producing positive, constructive outcomes. Let It Come Down.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 21 2011 10:57 utc | 49

Jeff65 @ 41:

The obvious answer to the question of affordability is that there is no question about it. The truth is that the US govt can afford anything that is for sale in it's own currency.

Well... FED can certainly print more money.

There are many money people who cite, as fundamental economics, just as your Mitchell link says... eg: "Monetary Sovereignty" as a basis for claiming we can afford anything.

I don't think it's that simple. And I don't think "monetary sovereignty", as Mitchell (and others) claim suggest, is a fundamental basis for expecting what they claim. It is, rather, an option for our masters of currency... something which can be used as a response to far more fundamental conditions of economics/currency.

Among other things, one of primary mechanisms for US (and largely globally exported) "financial crisis" was massive, Fed Gov. assisted smoke'n mirrors to portray value of $USD disproportionately to underlying economy. In simplest context, we had a decade where outsourcing manufacturing (of all stripes), R&D, tech, engineering... eg: homegrown USA real value work product was displaced over seas.

This is real value no longer produced by US economy: wages ("good paying jobs") gone, along w/commitment to high quality products (far, far less quality control from off shore production, although that's now changing quite dramatically). At same time, steady & increasing degradation of US Universities in quality, availability, and relevant curriculum: eg: standard of cutting edge US 2'ndary ed. has decreased, as has #'s of young people trained in cutting edge "stuff" across the board. Many "emerged" economies are catching, caught up, or surpassing us in training/educating our people.

As real time incomes dropped here, and production went over seas, (short version) displaced workers massively turned to flipping houses on borrowed money. WS fed it, claiming "who could have known" that decreasing value/salaries/wages no longer circulated back into US economy by citizens may possibly have something to do w/available dollars to fund housing boom.

Then... collapse.

In this past decade, against most common "basket" of currencies, $USD lost +/- 40% of it's value. This is not so hard to understand or comprehend. Yet, we're told this was a near inflation free decade.

Simultaneousnessly, financials as % of US economy went from a historically healthy +/- 14% to over 40%... a condition historically followed by events of one kind or another similar to our "financial crisis".

US's response to this: bail out money titans who engineered this mess w/"money creation" as your links describe, w/out adding underlying value to US economy. Lion's share of that -0- interest newly printed $$ doled out to US financial orgs went to carry trades in concert w/over sea investments: eg. just not enough "return" for those guys investing in US.

Yet, this money, as represented by industry lobbied legal Accounting definitions, shows up as more favorable balance sheets, "increased worker production", w/a public mindset crafted by word smiths of the industry convincing citizens that these companies are the fuel that makes economy go, will produce jobs, etc. etc. et-XXXX'ing cetera.

Bottom line: to be reliable, a currency must reflect the underlying value of economic activity represented by said currency.

The classical economic theory is something like, a currency who's underlying economy comes off the rails (excessive debt, over specialized/not responsive to needs/wants of "market place", etc. etc.) can print a bunch of money, maybe default on some debt, experience a devaluation in that currency as those who manage it print more of it, and refocus their efforts to improve underlying economic activity until value produced lifts value of said currency.

Through this process, workers in said economy take a hit of some magnitude w/just how much their wages can buy... they pay a price, and (hopefully) participate in reorganization, improved/new products and services, etc. etc.


In US, we're still running on fumes of successes from over a decade past. Even w/$USD's decreased value these recent years, the "reorganization" part of "recovery" just hasn't happened... those who run the show are doing the exact same things that got us in this mess.

The institutions in US society (FED, DOJ, Universities, infrastructure...) have eroded further during this "recovery". Signs of this are everywhere. A few (at least for me) poignant examples:

* US water supply is decaying in both quality of available water and volume available per
citizen. Yet, not only is this not on Fed Gov's (much less citizens) radar, current lawmaker's
response is headed towards defunding our EPA... initiative driven not by response to these very
real conditions, rather from funding delivered by handful of mega industry's donations who
wish to be unencumbered by regulations/responsability for their industry's degradation of
said water supply.
* US R&D, compared to most productive economies on planet, has slid slid slid in this "lost
decade". We're somewhere +/- 3% of GDP on that one. China, for example, a healthy +/- 14%
for 5+ yrs running. And US information/media/Fed data does not reflect that, much less
inform of the effectiveness of Chinese R&D >> investment: eg. those guys are delivering a whole
lot of constantly improving hi tech "stuff"... they are beating us at our own game.
* To me at least, the fact that most of QE/QEII went to refinance they money titans that drove
US (and world) economy to the brink... they have been recipients of these newly minted $$
Mitchell describes. And what they've done w/those gifted $$ is more or less what they did
in process of raping US economy: larger paper profits w/less real investment in measurable
activity on US shores in response to what US & world needs now and in future to survive, much
less thrive.

In summary, all this free money has not only done next to nothing to fuel meaningful *value added* economic production on US shores, it has been misdirected and misrepresented to convince citizens that, indeed, it has done these things. Or in other words, lies.

So then, yes... we can print all the money we want. And over decades upon which US economy built all kinds of stuff that has not yet been mis-appropriated by our titans of finance, there are still "assets" to be raped which "investors" rely upon in order to, in various ways, maintain some semblance of $USD value.

Nevertheless, the trend continues as it has last decade... to further disconnect our currency's value from that produced by it's underlying economy.

A currency, to have long term value, must be tied to economy it represents. It's really just simple honesty... or even attempts at truthfullness. IMO, the real value of economy at it's core is the individuals which make up it's population. The better informed, the better armed w/tools to solve problems confronting said society, the more value they will produce. The currency's value will reflect that.

In US, I'm afraid, the whole thing now is driven by funny stuff games w/the currency itself, w/a whole lot of hi-tech misinformation focused on deceiving our citizens. This has been a successful effort in my observation... just think about it: a top +/- 2% of society's money titans has convinced the rest that their lowered incomes, their increased barriers to useful knowledge, and an accelerating degradation of verifiable health supporting conditions in our environment... convincing a critical mass of voting public this is in their interest, promotes "freedom" and what not, ...


At this stage of the game, we need a whole lot more then printed money for HC and such... we need a very serious, detailed, honest inventory of our entire economic functioning w/commensurate reorganization to solve, w/real time activity, problems which we've put on the shelf for a long time now.

I see none of this on the horizon, personally.

Posted by: jdmckay | Mar 21 2011 13:27 utc | 50


Thanks for your reply.

I sympathize and agree with most of your points. I want to emphasize though that the concept of Monetary Sovereignty is not about "money printing". It is about understanding that affordability is no constraint on govt. spending. It does not mean that all such spending should be undertaken.

If spending is deemed to advance public purpose then it should be done. There are a lot of reasons the spending to bail out Wall Street did not advance public purpose. Same for a lot of / most other govt spending. Recognizing that affordability is not a constraint for a monetarily sovereign govt is not equivalent to supporting all spending programs.

Someone once phrased the notion of monetary sovereignty as "priority use of the money supply (which is a public good) for public purpose". I like that description.

The notion of constraining government size by limiting it's ability to spend is a profoundly undemocratic idea. It puts vast power in the hands the wealthy. This is precisely why the no longer applicable, pre-1971 (gold standard) thinking is perpetuated in the public discourse. The wealthy elite ask the question of affordability on initiatives and policies that do not benefit them in order to maintain control. If everyone realized affordability was no constraint on implementing a govt. program, the wealthy would lose some of their power to control govt.

While it is true that the dollar has lost a lot of purchasing power over time, what is important to consider is the relative purchasing power of the average wage. It is true this has decreased over the past few decades, but that is not due to inflation. The dollar lost a lot of purchasing power during the two decades of great prosperity after WWII while real wages increased. The recent decline in real wages is due to the war on labor.

I tend to view long term, mild inflation of 3% as a necessary attribute of a healthy money system. Here's why: it is the only way to prioritize current productivity over past productivity. I think it is fairly obvious why this is necessary, though I'm struggling for words to expand on that idea.

Posted by: Jeff65 | Mar 22 2011 2:13 utc | 51

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