The Libya intervention: Our readers write

Our last issue featured the story “The Two Wars in Libya: Revolutionary Struggle and NATO Intervention” by Art Young of Green Left Weekly, arguing that progressives in the West can support the first while opposing the second. We also ran the story “Libya and the Left” by Seth Weiss, special to World War 4 Report, who asks whether it is possible to support the rebels without supporting their call for military assistance. Our May Exit Poll was: “Is NATO’s Libya war a necessary humanitarian intervention or bloody imperialist aggression?” We received the following responses:

TheAZCowBoy of Tombstone, AZ, who in his subject line rephrases our question as “Is Libayn aggression by the US/NATO oil/gas thieves really necessary?” and then rhetorically responds:

Is rape a necessary part of love making?

World War 4 Report responds: Very subtle, smart-aleck. But we have pointed out again and again and again that the Libyan rebels are urging greater NATO military support—which is not surprising given that Qaddafi promised “rivers of blood” and invoked the Tiananmen Square massacre when the opposition movement first emerged. So we’d be interested in hearing your answer to them.

From Sandy McCroskey, in New York City:

I of course think that either of these two alternatives is too simplistic. Too black and white. For some participants, it’s a humanitarian intervention (whether it’s “necessary,” though, who can say? Who defines “necessary”?). Other participants obviously have ulterior motives. But I don’t believe in an all-encompassing Imperialist Master Plan (though one might imagine, after the fact, History conspiring in Hegelian fashion toward a certain outcome; that’s just because Minerva’s owl has 20/20 hindsight). I (as you might expect) see a more chaotic, ad hoc confluence of interests, some laudable, others obviously not. Qaddafi was our son of a bitch in the “war against terror,” so I think it says something that he’s now on the run from US bombs (sleeping in hospitals) because of an uprising in his country and, in the final analysis, because of the popular uprising throughout the Arab world. NATO is only trying to surf the waves of change…

World War 4 Report responds: Nice dodge. We agree with last line—we have repeatedly pointed out that NATO (like the jihad) is playing catch-up to the newly awakened Arab masses. The rest was pretty equivocal.

From John W, somewhere in cybersapce:

The war in Libya is different things to different people. For the generals and admirals it is part of their legacy. For the soldiers it is their duty, for the Rebels it is simply a part of their salvation. For some I am sure it is a way to make money or to secure votes in an upcoming election. For me it is a culmination of motives and viewpoints with one common goal, to give aid to the Rebels in Libya. Some of these motives are pure, some selfish, some are naive and some are certainly cruel. However, as happens all to often in war most are almost certainly ill-formed and completely disconnected from the pain and suffering of the innocents.

World War 4 Report responds: Yes, war sucks. The rebels seem to have had it thrust upon them by an oppressive regime. So the question remains: What is our stance as progressives in the West?

From “emkahler,” somewhere in cybersapce:

This is definitely not a humanitarian intervention. It is a civil war. We have no business in it.

World War 4 Report responds: Who exactly is “we”? And, again—what is your answer to the Libyan rebels, who have called for military intervention?

Nobody else?

See our last Exit Poll results, and our last posts on Libya and the Arab Spring.

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  1. Two American presidents in the Arab world
    The “Arab Spring” is the Arab world’s answer to one of the few things GHW Bush got right; his observation that the Arab world “needed more democracy”. Ultimately, Obama’s decision to put America’s money where GHW Bush’s mouth had been regarding the need for “more democracy in the Arab world” will be remembered by history as something that Americans can be proud of, unlike the two senseless wars started by Obama’s predecessor.

  2. necessary humanitarian intervention
    The clock was ticking on Qaddafi slaughtering the rebels. There was no other option for the civilians involved.

    A side question is what is the relevance of our stance as progressives in the West?

    1. humanitarian regime change?
      First, I note that you use the past tense. The bombing continues, and the aim (legal fictions aside) is clearly regime change, not merely protecting civilians. Is this “necessary” too? And does that mean we go along with Obama’s Orwellian bombing-is-not-hostilities pseudo-logic designed to weasel out of Congressional action to halt the hostilities?

      Second, given that we are “progressives in the West,” the question of what we think about all this certainly isn’t a “side issue” for us, even if it is for Libyans. I am just trying to provoke some clarity here by putting the hard questions to both sides…

      1. regime change yes – Orwellian no
        Attempting to broker some sort of, shall we say, two state solution with Gaddafi would just prolong the conflict. NATO disengaging could easily lead to the civilian bloodbath they got in to avoid. I think NATO understood that once they got in there was no going back and Gaddafi had to go, though they were hoping Gaddafi would fold. As for the “it’s not war unless there’s infantry” logic? I don’t think that flies anywhere. Obama’s hoping it’s done soon and then Congress will forget.