Saturday, March 26, 2011

Obama and Libya

By Butler Shaffer

March 24, 2011 "Lew Rockwell' - -Why are thoughtful people so perplexed over Obama’s unilateral decision to go to war against Libya without seeking congressional approval, while opting for UN authorization? Has the possibility not entered anyone’s mind that Obama — put into office by the corporate-establishment — might be in the process of generating a world base for the political structuring of his masters’ interests, as a replacement for the national system of coercive authority?

History demonstrates how the American business system sought a broadened federal power when the economic life of this country evolved from state and regional markets to national ones (see my In Restraint of Trade book). Are we to imagine that, in this age of multi-nationalism, these same interests would not be desirous of empowering an international state to standardize and universally enforce their interests? Does anyone really believe that this move was something that Obama and Michelle dreamed up one night in the Lincoln bedroom?

Does anyone not suspect that the total lack of impeachment talk from members of Congress might be due to ”our representatives” who, like Obama and the RCA Victor dog, are busy listening to their “masters’ voice”?

The CIA’s Libya Rebels

2007 West Point Study Shows Benghazi-Darnah-Tobruk Area was a World Leader in Al Qaeda Suicide Bomber Recruitment

By Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.

March 24, 2011 "Tarpley" -- -Washington DC — The current military attack on Libya has been motivated by UN Security Council resolution 1973 with the need to protect civilians. Statements by President Obama, British Prime Minister Cameron, French President Sarkozy, and other leaders have stressed the humanitarian nature of the intervention, which is said to aim at preventing a massacre of pro-democracy forces and human rights advocates by the Qaddafi regime.

But at the same time, many commentators have voiced anxiety because of the mystery which surrounds the anti-Qaddafi transitional government which emerged at the beginning of March in the city of Benghazi, located in the Cyrenaica district of north-eastern Libya. This government has already been recognized by France and Portugal as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people. The rebel council seems to be composed of just over 30 delegates, many of whom are enveloped in obscurity. In addition, the names of more than a dozen members of the rebel council are being kept secret, allegedly to protect them from the vengeance of Qaddafi. But there may be other reasons for the anonymity of these figures. Despite much uncertainty, the United Nations and its several key NATO countries, including the United States, have rushed forward to assist the armed forces of this rebel regime with air strikes, leading to the loss of one or two coalition aircraft and the prospect of heavier losses to come, especially if there should be an invasion. It is high time that American and European publics learned something more about this rebel regime which is supposed to represent a democratic and humanitarian alternative to Gaddafi. (Editor's bold emphasis thoughout)

The rebels are clearly not civilians, but an armed force. What kind of an armed force?

Since many of the rebel leaders are so difficult to research from afar, and since a sociological profile of the rebels cannot be done on the ground in the midst of warfare, perhaps the typical methods of social history can be called on for help. Is there a way for us to gain deeper insight into the climate of opinion which prevails in such northeastern Libyan cities as Benghazi, Tobruk, and Darnah, the main population centers of the rebellion?

It turns out that there is, in the form of a December 2007 West Point study examining the background of foreign guerrilla fighters — jihadis or mujahedin, including suicide bombers — crossing the Syrian border into Iraq during the 2006-2007 timeframe, under the auspices of the international terrorist organization Al Qaeda. This study is based on a mass of about 600 Al Qaeda personnel files which were captured by US forces in the fall of 2007, and analyzed at West Point using a methodology which we will discuss after having presented the main findings. The resulting study permits us to make important findings about the mentality and belief structures of the northeastern Libyan population that is furnishing the basis for the rebellion, permitting important conclusions about the political nature of the anti-Qaddafi revolt in these areas...MORE

Libya Rebels: Gaddafi Could be Right About al-Qaeda

Two documents suggest northeast Libya, centre of rebellion, is an al-Qaeda hotspot

By Alexander Cockburn

March 24, 2011 "First Post" -- The war on Libya now being waged by the US, Britain and France must surely rank as one of the stupidest martial enterprises, smaller in scale to be sure, since Napoleon took it into his head to invade Russia in 1812.

Let's start with the fierce hand-to-hand combat between members of the coalition, arguing about the basic aims of the operation. How does "take all necessary measures" square with the ban on any "foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory". Can the coalition kill Gaddafi and recognise a provisional government in Benghazi? Who exactly are the revolutionaries and national liberators in eastern Libya?

In the United States, the offensive was instigated by liberal interventionists: notably three women, starting with Samantha Power, who runs the Office of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights in Barack Obama's National Security Council. She's an Irish American, 41 years old, who made her name back in the Bush years with her book A Problem from Hell, a study of the US foreign-policy response to genocide, and the failure of the Clinton administration to react forcefully to the Rwandan massacres.

She had to resign from her advisory position on the Obama campaign in April of 2008, after calling Hillary Clinton a "monster" in an interview with the Scotsman, but was restored to good grace after Obama's election, and the monster in her sights is now Gaddafi.

America's UN ambassador is Susan Rice, the first African-American woman to be named to that post. She's long been an ardent interventionist. In 1996, as part of the Clinton administration, she supported the multinational force that invaded Zaire from Rwanda in 1996 and overthrew dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, saying privately that, "Anything's better than Mobutu".

But on February 23 she came under fierce attack in the Huffington Post at the hands of Richard Grenell, who'd served on the US delegation to the UN in the Bush years. Grenell dwelt harshly on instances where, in his judgment, Rice and her ultimate boss, Obama, were dropping the ball, and displaying lack of leadership amid the tumults engulfing the Middle East and specifically in failing to support the uprising against Gaddafi.

Both Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton took Grenell's salvo to heart. Prodded by the fiery Power, they abruptly stiffened their postures and Clinton lobbed her furious salvoes at Gaddafi, "the mad dog". For Clinton it was a precise re-run of her efforts to portray Barack Obama as a peace wimp back in 2008, liable to snooze all too peacefully when the red phone rang at 3am.

For his part, Obama wasn't keen on intervention, seeing it as a costly swamp, yet another war and one bitterly opposed by defence secretary Robert Gates and the joint chiefs of staff. But by now the liberal interventions and the neo-cons were in full cry and Obama, perennially fearful of being outflanked, succumbed, hastening to one of the least convincing statements of war aims in the nation's history.

He's already earned a threat of impeachment from leftist congressman Dennis Kucinich for arrogating war-making powers constitutionally reserved for the US Congress, though it has to be said that protest from the left has been pretty feeble. As always, many on the left yearn for an intervention they can finally support and initially many of them have been murmuring ecstatically, "This is the one". Of course the sensible position (mine) simply states that nothing good ever came out of a Western intervention by the major powers, whether humanitarian in proclaimed purpose or not.

So much for the instigators of intervention in the US. In France the intervention author is the intellectual dandy and "new philosopher" Bernard-Henri Levy, familiarly known to his admirers and detractors as BHL. As described by Larry Portis in our CounterPunch newsletter, BHL arrived in Benghazi on March 3. Two days later BHL was interviewed on various television networks. He appeared before the camera in his habitual uniform – immaculate white shirt with upturned collar, black suit coat, and disheveled hair.

His message was urgent but reassuring. "No," he said, "Gaddafi is not capable of launching an offensive against the opposition. He does not have the means to do so. However, he does have planes. This is the real danger."

BHL called for the scrambling of radio communications, the destruction of landing strips in all regions of Libya, and the bombardment of Gaddafi's personal bunker. In brief, this would be a humanitarian intervention, the modalities of which he did not specify.

Next step, as BHL explained: "I called him [Sarkozy] from Benghazi. And when I returned, I went to the Elysee Palace to see him and tell him that the people on the National Transition Council are good guys."

Indeed, on March 6, BHL returned to France and met with Sarkozy. Four days later, on March 10, he saw Sarkozy again, this time with three Libyans whom he had encouraged to visit France, along with Sarkozy's top advisors.

On March 11, Sarkozy declared the Libyan National Transition Council the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Back in Benghazi, people screamed in relief and cheered Sarkozy's name. Popularity at last for Sarko, whose approval ratings in France have been hovering around the 20 per cent mark.

So much for the circumstances in which intervention was conceived. It has nothing to do with oil; everything to do with ego and political self-protection. But to whom exactly are the interveners lending succour? There's been great vagueness here, beyond enthusiastic references to the romantic revolutionaries of Benghazi, and much ridicule for Gaddafi's identification of his opponents in eastern

In fact, two documents strongly back Gaddafi on this issue.

The first is a secret cable to the State Department from the US embassy in Tripoli in 2008, part of the WikiLeaks trove, entitled "Extremism in Eastern Libya", which revealed that this area is rife with anti-American, pro-jihad sentiment.

According to the 2008 cable, the most troubling aspect  "... is the pride that many eastern Libyans, particularly those in and around Dernah, appear to take in the role their native sons have played in the insurgency in Iraq … [and the] ability of radical imams to propagate messages urging support for and participation in jihad."

The second document, or rather set of documents, are the so-called Sinjar Records, captured al-Qaeda documents that fell into American hands in 2007. They were duly analysed by the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point. Al-Qaeda is a bureaucratic outfit and the records contain precise details on personnel, including those who came to Iraq to fight American and coalition forces and, when necessary, commit suicide.

The West Point analysts' statistical study of the al-Qaeda personnel records concludes that one country provided "far more" foreign fighters in per capita terms than any other: namely, Libya.

The records show that the "vast majority of Libyan fighters that included their home town in the Sinjar Records resided in the country's northeast". Benghazi provided many volunteers. So did Dernah, a town about 200 kms east of Benghazi, in which an Islamic emirate was declared when the rebellion against Gaddafi started.

New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid even spoke with Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi who promulgated the Islamic emirate. Al-Hasadi "praises Osama bin Laden's 'good points'," Shadid reported, though he prudently denounced the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Other sources have said that this keen admirer of Osama would be most influential in the formation of any provisional government.

The West Point study of the Sinjar Records calculates that of the 440 foreign al-Qaeda recruits whose home towns are known, 21 came from Benghazi, thereby making it the fourth most common home town listed in the records. Fifty-three of the al-Qaeda recruits came from Darnah, the highest total of any of the home towns listed in the records. The second highest number, 51, came from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. But Darnah (80,000) has less than two per cent the population of Riyadh. So Darnah contributed "far and away the largest per capita number of fighters".

As former CIA operations officer Brian Fairchild writes, amid "the apparent absence of any plan for post-Gaddafi governance, an ignorance of Libya's tribal nature and our poor record of dealing with tribes, American government documents conclusively establish that the epicentre of the revolt is rife with anti-American and pro-jihad sentiment, and with al-Qaeda's explicit support for the revolt, it is appropriate to ask our policy makers how American military intervention in support of this revolt in any way serves vital US strategic interests".

As I wrote here a few weeks ago, "It sure looks like Osama bin Laden is winning the Great War on Terror". But I did not dream then that he would have a coalition of the US, Great Britain and France bleeding themselves dry to assist him in this enterprise.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Former Assistant Secretary Under Reagan Says CIA Will Take Out Assange

By Tina Dupuy
February 28, 2011 9:44 AM

Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for President Reagan and co-founder of the famed Reaganomics, Paul Craig Roberts talks with RT’s Kristine Frazao about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

“If this [legal remedy] fails, he’ll simply be assassinated by a CIA assassinate team,” says Roberts.

Professional tattletales should feel a chill right about now.

NWF Tracking Reports of Three Separate Incidents in Gulf

from Wildlife Promise
3/23/2011 // Miles Grant // Gulf of Mexico,
National Wildlife Federation

Here at the National Wildlife Federation, we’ve been tracking (at times conflicting) reports about both oil and sediment spotted off Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. This story’s still developing, and we’re frankly frustrated at the lack of solid information, but let’s try to run through what we know right now.

At this point, we’re following what are likely three different incidents in the Gulf:

•Oil coming ashore west of the mouth of the Mississippi River near Grand Isle

•Reports of possible oil east of the mouth of the Mississippi in Chandeleur Sound

•A large amount of sediment mixed with a small amount of oil at the mouth of the Mississippi

First, the oil near Grand isle. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports it’s due to a new oil spill:

A Houston-based oil company has accepted responsibility for a mysterious spill near Grand Isle, although it says it remains “surprised” that what it thought was a minor discharge from a long dormant well could have produced miles-long slicks.

Several hours after The Times-Picayune broke the story that state agents had traced the oil back to a well operated by Anglo-Suisse Offshore Partners, the Houston-based company put out a statement late Tuesday night. [...]

In three reports to the Coast Guard since Friday, the company had reported that less than 5 gallons of crude had escaped. But state Wildlife and Fisheries agents traced the oil to the Anglo-Suisse well at its Platform E facility on Monday afternoon and found a crew on a boat trying to close in the well with a remotely operated submarine.

The company said it had reconnected the wellhead structure Tuesday morning and fully shut it in by 8:30 p.m.

Unknown substance off Elmer's Island, LA (by NWF's Chris Pulaski)

On Monday afternoon, NWF’s Chris Pulaski took part in an overflight off Louisiana’s Elmer’s Island, not far from Grand Isle, and took the photo at right. Unfortunately, high winds prevented Chris from getting a sample of it, so we can’t be sure what he saw. SkyTruth is also raising questions about recent satellite photos taken just off Louisiana. Those photos show a dark mass well to the west of the Anglo-Suisse site, one that’s much closer to the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP).

Then there’s the Times-Picayune report of what looks like oil in Chandeluer Sound:

Even as officials tried to determine the source of weathered oil near Grand Isle, whole new swaths of what could be fresh surface oil have popped up on the other side of the Mississippi River, in the open water between the delicate coastal bayous and the sandy crescent-shaped Chandeleur barrier islands.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Steve Leeman said the Coast Guard had received no reports of oil-like material east of the river, but a group of environmentalists, engineers and scientists flew over Chandeleur Sound on Monday and Tuesday, and shared photographs and detailed descriptions with The Times-Picayune showing black, streaky plumes over a 20-mile stretch from just east of Quarantine Bay to just west of the shoal remains of Curlew Island.

As we reported earlier in the week, it looks like the sediment near the mouth of the Mississippi River contains only a small amount of oil stirred up by dredging.

Between the disheartening new reports of oil and the lack of solid information about it, you have to wonder: Why hasn’t Congress acted to protect the Gulf by implementing the recommendations of the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Intervention in Libya Tells us About the Neocon-liberal Alliance

By Stephen M. Walt

March 21, 2011 "Foreign Policy" - - Last Wednesday I spoke at an event at Hofstra University, on the subject of "Barack Obama's Foreign Policy." The other panelists were former DNC chair and 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean and longtime Republican campaign guru Ed Rollins. The organizers at Hofstra were efficient and friendly, the audience asked good questions, and I thought both Dean and Rollins were gracious and insightful in their comments. All in all, it was a very successful session.

During the Q & A, I talked about the narrowness of foreign policy debate in Washington and the close political kinship between the liberal interventionists of the Democratic Party and the neoconservatives that dominate the GOP. At one point, I said that "liberal inteventionists are just ‘kinder, gentler' neocons, and neocons are just liberal interventionsts on steroids."

Dean challenged me rather forcefully on this point, declaring that there was simply no similarity whatsoever between a smart and sensible person like U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and a "crazy guy" like Paul Wolfowitz. (I didn't write down Dean's exact words, but I am certain that he portrayed Wolfowitz in more-or-less those terms). I responded by listing all the similarites between the two schools of thought, and the discussion went on from there.

I mention this anecdote because I wonder what Dean would say now. In case you hadn't noticed, over the weekend President Obama took the nation to war against Libya, largely on the advice of liberal interventionists like Ambassador Rice, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and NSC aides Samantha Power and Michael McFaul. According to several news reports I've read, he did this despite objections from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.

The only important intellectual difference between neoconservatives and liberal interventionists is that the former have disdain for international institutions (which they see as constraints on U.S. power), and the latter see them as a useful way to legitimate American dominance. Both groups extol the virtues of democracy, both groups believe that U.S. power -- and especially its military power -- can be a highly effective tool of statecraft. Both groups are deeply alarmed at the prospect that WMD might be in the hands of anybody but the United States and its closest allies, and both groups think it is America's right and responsibility to fix lots of problems all over the world. Both groups consistently over-estimate how easy it will be to do this, however, which is why each has a propensity to get us involved in conflicts where our vital interests are not engaged and that end up costing a lot more than they initially expect.

So if you're baffled by how Mr. "Change You Can Believe In" morphed into Mr. "More of the Same," you shouldn't really be surprised. George Bush left in disgrace and Barack Obama took his place, but he brought with him a group of foreign policy advisors whose basic world views were not that different from the people they were replacing. I'm not saying their attitudes were identical, but the similarities are probably more important than the areas of disagreement. Most of the U.S. foreign policy establishment has become addicted to empire, it seems, and it doesn't really matter which party happens to be occupying Pennsylvania Avenue.

So where does this leave us? For starters, Barack Obama now owns not one but two wars. He inherited a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, and he chose to escalate instead of withdrawing. Instead of being George Bush's mismanaged blunder, Afghanistan became "Obama's War." And now he's taken on a second, potentially open-ended military commitment, after no public debate, scant consultation with Congress, without a clear articulation of national interest, and in the face of great public skepticism. Talk about going with a gut instinct.

When the Security Council passed Resolution 1973 last week and it was clear we were going to war, I credited the administration with letting Europe and the Arab League take the lead in the operation. My fear back then, however, was that the Europeans and Arab states would not be up to the job and that Uncle Sucker would end up holding the bag. But even there I gave them too much credit, insofar as U.S. forces have been extensively involved from the very start, and the Arab League has already gone wobbly on us. Can anyone really doubt that this affair will be perceived by people around the world as a United States-led operation, no matter what we say about it?

More importantly, despite Obama's declaration that he would not send ground troops into Libya -- a statement made to assuage an overcommitted military, reassure a skeptical public, or both -- what is he going to do if the air assault doesn't work? What if Qaddafi hangs tough, which would hardly be surprising given the dearth of attractive alternatives that he's facing? What if his supporters see this as another case of illegitimate Western interferences, and continue to back him? What if he moves forces back into the cities he controls, blends them in with the local population, and dares us to bomb civilians? Will the United States and its allies continue to pummel Libya until he says uncle? Or will Obama and Sarkozy and Cameron then decide that now it's time for special forces, or even ground troops?

And even if we are successful, what then? As in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, over forty years of Qaddafi's erratic and despotic rule have left Libya in very poor shape despite its oil wealth. Apart from some potentially fractious tribes, the country is almost completely lacking in effective national institutions. If Qaddafi goes we will own the place, and we will probably have to do something substantial to rebuild it lest it turn into an exporter of refugees, a breeding ground for criminals, or the sort of terrorist "safe haven" we're supposedly trying to prevent in Afghanistan.

But the real lesson is what it tells us about America's inability to resist the temptation to meddle with military power. Because the United States seems so much stronger than a country like Libya, well-intentioned liberal hawks can easily convince themselves that they can use the mailed fist at low cost and without onerous unintended consequences. When you have a big hammer the whole world looks like a nail; when you have thousands of cruise missiles and smart bombs and lots of B-2s and F-18s, the whole world looks like a target set. The United States doesn't get involved everywhere that despots crack down on rebels (as our limp reaction to the crackdowns in Yemen and Bahrain demonstrate), but lately we always seems to be doing this sort of thing somewhere. Even a smart guy like Barack Obama couldn't keep himself from going abroad in search of a monster to destroy.

And even if this little adventure goes better than I expect, it's likely to come back to haunt us later. One reason that the Bush administration could stampede the country to war in Iraq was the apparent ease with which the United States had toppled the Taliban back in 2001. After a string of seeming successes dating back to the 1991 Gulf War, U.S. leaders and the American public had become convinced that the Pentagon had a magic formula for remaking whole countries without breaking a sweat. It took the debacle in Iraq and the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan to remind us of the limits of military power, and it seems to have taken Obama less than two years on the job to forget that lesson. We may get reminded again in Libya, but if we don't, the neocon/liberal alliance will be emboldened and we'll be more likely to stumble into a quagmire somewhere else.

And who's the big winner here? Back in Beijing, China's leaders must be smiling as they watch Washington walk open-eyed into another potential quagmire.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Late Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty was Prescient

Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty (1917-2001)

Two of the most informative books* I have ever read on the subject of the so-called "High or Secret Cabal" or  "power elite" that controls American foreign policy were written by the now deceased Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty.

In his book  JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy, (New York: Carroll Publishing Group, 1996 & 2009, p. 40) Prouty wrote:

"This is the way the CIA's undercover armies work, as they have operated in countless countries since the end of WWII. They move unobtrusively with a small team, plenty of money, and a boundless supply of equipment as backup.  They make contact with the indigenous group they intend to support, regardless of who runs the government. Then they increase the level of activity until a conflict ensues. Because the CIA is not equipped or sufficiently experienced to handle such an operation when combat intensifies to that level, the military generally is called upon for support. At that time the level of military support has risen to such an extent that this action can no longer be termed either covert or truly deniable.  At that point, as in Vietnam, operational control is transferred to the military in the best way possible, and the hostilities continue until both sides weary of the cost in men, money, material, and noncombatant lives and property. There can be no clear victory in such warfare, as we have learned in Korea and Indochina.
These 'pseudowars' serve simply to keep the conflict (Editor: the constant state of war) going. As we have said above, that is the objective of these undercover tactics.

This concept of the necessity of conflict takes much from the philosopher Hegel (1770-1831). He believed that each nation emerges as a self-contained moral personality. Thus, might certifies right and war is a legitimate expression of the dominant power of the moment. It is more than that. It is a force for the good of the state since it discourages internal dissent and corruption and fosters the spiritual cement of patriotism."

Sadly, Colonel Prouty's prediction that war would become a constant feature of US foreign policy has been realized. He also accurately foresaw the reality that Terrorism would replace Communism as America's enemy number one.

More than anything else, Prouty correctly determined that due to the risk of nuclear conflagration in the wake of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Cuban Missile Crisis, future wars would be fought in third-world nations by proxy. He also taught that as the will to wage existent wars wained, new ones would be started to take their place, thus insuring that a state of constant war would be maintained.

One cannot help but think of the protracted and unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as the new war in Libya gets under way. Once one recognizes that the MIMIC aka "power elite" or "high cabal" benefits from war in multiple ways especially financially, it is not difficult to see why a world at peace has been unachievable.

I wholeheartedly recommend both of Colonel Prouty's books below.

*Prouty, L. Fletcher. JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy, (New York: Carroll Publishing Group, 1996 and again by Skyhorse Publishing Inc. in 2009).

*Prouty, L. Fletcher. The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, (New York: Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2008, originally published in 1973).

Here is an interesting video that Colonel Prouty made

‘Barack-A-lujah! I Have Seen The Light!’

By Cindy Sheehan

March 20, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- Thanks to the helpful feedback I have received over these past two, or so, years, I have seen the enormous error of my ways.

I used to be against ALL wars and the use of violence, but (and I must admit a little confusion on this one, at first) now it seems that I am against wars, acts of war, and violence ONLY if a Republican is president. Now I understand with perfect clarity that it was good to protest Bush—and if the US-UN resolution against Libya was done when Bush was president, it would have been wrong—but now it’s “compassionate.” I must admit, I was a little shocked to find out that the US actually commits compassionate acts and, again, silly me—I thought most acts of war and war were for profit. I realize that only a jerk (or racist) would think that now. I have repented.

I cringe with embarrassment when I think of the wasted years imagining that there could be any other way to solve problems without killing more innocent people! It’s okay to bomb Libyans to save Libyans (or Iraqis to save Iraqis; or Afghans to save Afghans; or Yemenis to save Yemenis, etc) because a Democratic president who has been given the cover of the UN Security Council may bomb them. Yep, it’s all starting to make sense. With all the continuing conflicts, imagining a world without war was starting to seem useless—and now I know it was! Phew!

This is another kooky idea I had—that the Security Council of the UN oftentimes, if not always, bowed to the will of the global oligarchy—or should we say, OILigarchy. I chuckle, because apparently that notion was either dead wrong, or was just a fact of life up until January 20, 2009.

Here’s another mistaken notion that I labored under all these years: Torture is inhumane and a war crime. Up until just last week, I thought the US torture camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba should be closed and that military tribunals should not resume—but President Obama signed an executive order to keep Gitmo open and resume military tribunals. Wow, it’s like from almost one day to the next, torture and illegal, indefinite detention became acceptable practices.

Pssst—since I am in confession mode, I want to, with a red face, confess something else. Please, I hope you laugh with me and not at me, but this is so hard to admit. I thought I learned that US citizens were to be arrested only with reasonable cause, given their due process, and THEN punished if found guilty. I must admit I still thought that was wrong earlier today, but when I was (not so) gently and repeatedly reminded that we have a change agent as president, the scales fell from my eyes and now I get it! If Barack Obama (D) thinks that a US citizen needs to be executed without a trial or even a handshake, then by golly that person must need to be killed. Barack Obama (D) is a Constitutional scholar after all and I am sure his interpretation of the Bill of Rights is the correct one. Who am I to argue? What a relief—thinking is so unnecessary and hard!

Now the skeptical, old and ignorant Cindy Sheehan would have thought that the US was only concerned with the regime in Libya “killing its own citizens” because Libya has large crude oil reserves, but that was before I reflected on the fact that Barack Obama (D) has told us that offshore drilling and nuclear power is safe! Like my new hero, Barack Obama (D) keeps saying, we do need to “reduce” US dependence on “foreign oil,” but not before we kill as many people as we must to get all of that oil. The old me also would have thought that we needed to entirely eliminate our dependence on petroleum and petroleum products all together, but if Barack Obama (D) says it’s safe, that’s good enough for me!

I just hope the people of Libya realize that it’s way more of an honor to be killed by a US bomb then by a Libyan bomb and what an honor it is that the US is paying attention to their internal strife, because we don’t always do that—we like to pick and choose—and Libya, it’s probably just a coincidence that we choose YOU because you have oil. My country would never do anything wrong when a Democrat is president and I will forget history, too, because I don’t need it anymore.

I also must admit that I used to spend a lot of time worrying about Pfc Bradley Manning being incarcerated and tortured at Quantico for allegedly dumping info about US policy to Wikileaks. Now, I believe that if he did that to my wonderful president, he must deserve the treatment he is getting. Manning, that traitor, is lucky President Obama (D) hasn’t just decided to drop a Hellfire missile on him from one of those righteous drones he loves to use!

Additionally, if Obama (D) says that Manning’s treatment is “appropriate,” I believe him now. Worrying about Bradley was keeping me up at night and now I wish I had the money back that I incorrectly donated to his legal defense fund so I can send it to the Committee to Re-Elect the President.
The old axiom is true! Confession is good for the soul!

I hope with this confession and subsequent penance (10 Our Fathers, 20 Hail Mary’s and a pledge to vote Democrat for the rest of my life) that I am accepted back into the fold of the Democratic Party. I will also voluntarily swear to uphold healthcare for profit and to love Wall Street, the war machine, and the bankers with all my heart while detesting working people and those people who want to “kill Americans” for absolutely no reason.

In Obama I trust. What a relief! Having a conscience is very isolating.
Let’s Party with a capital D because if I can CHANGE, then there is HOPE for everyone and anyone else who are still lost wandering nearly alone in that wilderness of integrity.

Come home!

War is Peace!

Freedom is Slavery!

Ignorance is Strength.

2 + 2 = 5

Obama's Serbia-Solution for Libya; "Split the country and steal the oil"

By Mike Whitney

March 20, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- The Obama administration never would have launched a war on Libya if they didn't have a puppet-in-waiting ready to take power as soon as the fighting ended. That puppet appears to be Mustafa Abdul Jalil, Gaddafi's former justice minister. Jalil is presently the opposition leader of the Libyan National Transitional Council which oversees the insurgents from Al Bayda. This is not a grassroots movement that embraces the fundamental precepts of democratic government. It's a clatter of rebels armed by the Egyptian military (with US approval) to topple the Gaddafi regime. Jalil has garnered the military support of the so-called "international community" despite the fact that peaceful protesters in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia have been kicked to the curb. It's just another example of the UN's selective support for pro-democracy movements.

Here's a clip from an interview with Mr. Jalil that appeared in The Daily Beast:

Question--Should you prevail, what’s your vision of the new Libya?

Mustafa Abdul Jalil---"We are striving for a new democratic, civil Libya, led by democratic and civil government that focuses on economic development, building civil society and civil institutions and a multi-party system. A Libya that respects all international agreements, is good to its neighbors, stands against terrorism, with respect for all religions and ethnicities....We will be seeking a smooth peaceful transition, with a drafting of a new constitution that will lead the country to a free and fair legislative and parliamentarian elections as well as presidential election.....There will be peaceful conference of governance according to elections, under the observation of the international organizations." (The Daily Beast)

There you have it, another committed "democrat" like Karzai, Abbas, Calderon, Uribe, Siniora etc. Jalil predictably parrots all the familiar public relations buzzwords: Civil society, constitution, peaceful transition, parliamentarian elections, democracy, democracy, democracy and, oh, did I mention democracy. The idea that this US-sponsored farce is some type of spontaneous eruption of the freedom-seeking masses is laughable. Here's an excerpt from an article in Reuters that reveals the truth behind the propaganda:

"Egypt's military has begun shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels with Washington's knowledge, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. Quoting U.S. and Libyan rebel officials, the newspaper said the shipments were mostly of small arms such as assault rifles and ammunition. It appeared to be the first case of an outside government arming the rebel fighters, the newspaper said...."

The United States is a major ally and supplier of military aid to Egypt...."
"Americans have given the green light to the Egyptians to help. The Americans don't want to be involved in a direct level, but the Egyptians wouldn't do it if they didn't get the green light." ("Egypt arming Libya rebels, Wall Street Journal reports", Reuters)

This may explain why Hillary chose to meet with Egypt's new junta leaders just last week. She probably wanted to make sure that US operations were running smoothly next door in Libya. In any event, it's clear that the Obama administration is using its influence in Cairo to smuggle weapons to rebels in Benghazi.

So, what's the endgame here? Does Obama really think he can depose Gaddafi with this armed rabble of malcontents or does he have something else up his sleeve?

The answer to these questions can be found in an article in Businessweek titled "Libya’s Eastern Rebels, Long-Time Qaddafi Foes, Driving Revolt." Here's an excerpt:

"Decades of poor treatment and economic discrimination against Libyans in the country’s eastern province of Cyrenaica provided the kindling for the revolt against leader Muammar Qaddafi.... The rebellion began in Cyrenaica, a region endowed with oil....

With hundreds of miles of desert separating the main towns of Libya’s three regions, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan, in the Sahara at the southwest of the country, the regions had little binding them together..."

“Libya as a country is a relatively new concept,” said Elliott Abrams, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington and a former deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush. “The period of Libya as a modern nation really starts after World War II.”

Most of Libya’s proven oil and gas reserves lie in Cyrenaica, one of three provinces that the 20th century colonial power, Italy, melded into the precursor of modern Libya. Oil and gas account for 97 percent of Libya’s export earnings, one-fourth of the country’s economic output, and 90 percent of government revenue, according to the International Monetary Fund.

“Substantial revenues from the energy sector coupled with a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, but little of this income flows down to the lower orders of society,” the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency wrote in a public document analyzing Libya’s economy.

With $105 billion of reserves in the national treasury and a population of about 6.5 million, Libya has ample funds to support a transition from Qaddafi’s regime and ease any regional tensions that may come from four decades of investment favoring the Tripoli region, Abrams said in an interview.

“If you had a new government, it could actually adopt a development plan that could buy years of stability,” Abrams said. ("Libya’s Eastern Rebels, Long-Time Qaddafi Foes, Driving Revolt," Bloomberg Businessweek)
Repeat: "Oil and gas account for 97 percent of Libya’s export earnings, one-fourth of the country’s economic output, and 90 percent of government revenue."

So, what does it mean?

It means that all of Libya's resources lie in the eastern province which can be easily split-off Serbia-style with the support of foreign imperialists using their proxy armies and their "democracy promoting" puppets. This is what's really at the heart of Obama's "humanitarian intervention", further Balkenization of the Middle East. It's just more plunder disguised as magnanimity.

Monday, March 21, 2011

MIlitary Action in Libya Already Exceeds UNSC Resolution 1973: Control of Oil is Actual "End"

Libya’s Slippery Slope: We're going down it fast

by Justin Raimondo
March 21, 2011

Barely 24 hours after the first Allied air strikes, President Obama’s high-flying Libyan adventure is losing altitude. The smoke hadn’t cleared from the first air strikes when the head of the Arab League complained that “what happened differs from the no-fly zone objectives. What we want is civilians’ protection, not shelling more civilians.” Russia and China, who abstained at the Security Council, are already getting restless.
There’s trouble on the horizon.

Initially skeptical of intervention in Libya’s civil war, the President reportedly bowed to pressure from a triumvirate of women in his administration: Hillary Clinton, National Security Council director of “multilateral affairs” Samantha Power, and UN ambassador Susan Rice. Yet the President imposed some conditions, according to the New York Times:

“The president had a caveat, though. The American involvement in military action in Libya should be limited — no ground troops — and finite. ‘Days, not weeks,’ a senior White House official recalled him saying.”

Years, not weeks, is more like it – that’s how fast we’re sliding down the slippery slope into a full-bore campaign of “regime change” in Libya. And that will be just fine with the three Vengeful Valkyries of the US State Department.

Power is a former journalist who says she was “obsessed” with Bosnia during the run-up to the Balkan war, and whose “human rights” agenda is a perfect reflection of the liberal “humanitarian” interventionist mindset. She was briefly famous when, during the Democratic presidential primary, she decried Hillary Clinton as a “monster.” Well, it looks like she’s more than made her peace with the monster – and, indeed, become a bit of a monster herself, – as the two team up to push us into yet another Middle Eastern war.

Married to Cass “Let’s Infiltrate the Internet” Sunstein, a White House adviser, Power is indeed obsessed with dispensing “social justice” worldwide as an instrument of US foreign policy. If she had her way – and she may yet – US troops would be in Darfur, Rwanda, and any number of Third World hellholes, nation-building, handing out goodies, and getting shot at by the grateful populace.

Susan Rice, former Undersecretary of State for African Affairs during the Clinton administration, is yet another “humanitarian” in search of “genocides” to avenge. Like Power, she believes we ought to have intervened in Rwanda, and is part of a hard-liner clique, including her mentor Madeleine Albright and the late Richard Holbrooke, that holds the view the US must take a more interventionist stance in Africa, which, Rice avers, is undergoing its “first world war.” And she means for us to take sides in that war. When Ethiopia invaded Somalia, in 2007, Ms. Rice cheered the advance of the Ethiopian dictator Mele Zenawi’s armies as they rampaged through the country. Zenawi’s regime is now targeting neighboring Eritrea. Will the White House, under Rice’s tutelage, support that, too?

The leading member of this Amazonian triumvirate is, of course, our Secretary of State, whose support for US intervention in Libya was signaled early on when Bill Clinton said we ought to go in. Hillary’s key role in dragging us into Libya’s civil war hardly comes as a shock. During the presidential primary, she distinguished herself from Obama by assuming a “tough” foreign policy stance, famously running an attack ad that conjured a hapless President Obama getting a call on the red phone at three in the morning. Rather than rethink her position on Iraq, even after the disastrous consequences of the invasion began to roll in, she held her ground and refused to back off her support for the war. As I said at the time of her appointment:

“Remember the Clinton ad about the phone call at three in the morning? Well, now it looks like it’ll be Hillary making that call, if and when it has to be made – a clever bit of political jiu-jitsu on Obama’s part that has generally gone unremarked amid the praise for the alleged smartness of the Clinton appointment. What’s not so smart, however, is that he’s essentially conceding the realm of foreign affairs to the Clintons.

What we’ll have, in effect, is a co-presidency, with Obama taking the lead on domestic matters … The Clintons, on the other hand, will be put in charge of shoring up the Empire and reassuring our allies that the only ‘change’ will be a regression: don’t worry, we’re just going back to the 1990s.”

Which is where we are today. President Clinton set a new record as far as the sheer number of times he intervened abroad: Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Iraq, and Kosovo – this last, you’ll recall, at Hillary’s persistent urging. The “humanitarian” wing of the War Party is in the saddle, and they are just as ideological, just as bellicose, and just as self-deluded as their neoconservative counterparts on the right.

Gadhafi has promised “a long war.” Is the US prepared for that? For – make no mistake – it is the Americans who will be asked to take up the main burden of what is bound to degenerate into an extended “peacekeeping” operation. Our European allies just don’t have the military capacity, and none of the Arab countries, for all their bluster, are up to the job, either.

Gadhafi may come on as a madman, and may indeed actually be a madman, but there is a definite method to his madness, and it has served him well so far. For over 40 years, he’s managed to stay in power in a very rough neighborhood, surviving the bombing of his palace by Ronald Reagan and crushing every sign of internal rebellion up until now. He also has a significant base of support in the western provinces, and from some tribal leaders in the south.

I see that the US and its allies are now backing off the “regime change” rhetoric, but that won’t be so easy. Having taken that first step into the Libyan quagmire, we’re fated to slide down the increasingly slippery slope of Libya’s complicated internal politics, until we land smack dab in the middle of a godawful mess.

Our too-smart-for-their-own-good policy wonks in the State Department are convinced they’re getting ahead of the Arab Awakening and that the US will be greeted as a liberator by pro-democracy forces everywhere. Except, of course, in Yemen, where we’re backing another President-for-life who just murdered peaceful protesters: oh yes, and also except for Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, where peaceful protesters are being killed and jailed by pro-US monarchs. But that is really the least of our worries: after all, a global hegemon doesn’t have to answer to anybody, and so calling out our inconsistencies has little impact in Washington.

No, our real problem is going to be the Libyan opposition. Having adopted them, we are stuck with them – and subject to their further demands. And first and foremost among those demands is going to be regime change. Rather than stay in Cyrenaica, the eastern part of the country which has its own historical identity and separatist aspirations, the rebels are determined to march on Tripoli – and they will be wanting (nay, demanding) air cover, arms, “advisers,” and other forms of aid, which they are sure to get.

There are no half measures in war. Sooner rather than later, the President is going to have to decide if the US wants to commit US forces to Libya in a big way. “Days, not weeks,” is a fantasy. The Libyan rebels have now been placed under our protection: we are the champions of their cause. From protecting Benghazi, we are already well on our way to establishing yet another American protectorate in the Middle East. The empire expands, even as the economy shrinks, and one has to wonder: how long can this go on?

Americans, in voting for Barack Obama, voted for less intervention, fewer wars, and the prospect of real change in our foreign policy of global intervention. They didn’t sign on to a “team of equals,” and nobody asked them if they wanted American foreign policy turned over to the Clintons.

The President will live to regret the day he allowed himself to be nagged into ordering US military intervention in the Libyan civil war. Gadhafi is not just a clown, he’s a dangerous and sinister clown: to get in the ring with this madman is a mistake. Gadhafi will goad and lure him and his Amazons ever deeper into the Libyan quicksand, until there is no hope of early extrication. Now that the US and its allies are involved, the Libyan despot can play the anti-Western, anti-imperialist card with some credibility: this will shore up his previously waning support in the west and the south.

It is indeed going to be a long war, one that will cost us much more than we can ever hope to gain.


Interventionists Struggle to Reconcile Libyan Action with Repression Across Arab World

By: David Dayen
Sunday March 20, 2011 9:25 am

So I picked the wrong day to be stuck without Internet access, I guess. It was March 19, eight years to the day after the invasion of Iraq, the US lobbed Tomahawk missiles into Libya, attempting to take out air defenses in preparation for enforcing a no-fly zone.

We’re on day two of this, still operating without Congressional approval – much to the indifference of the Congress, if the Senators on the Sunday shows are to be believed – and I don’t have the first clue what the ultimate objective is. Some officials in France and Britain and the US say the goal is to rid Libya of Gadhafi. Others stress that the military objective is limited to protecting civilians in Benghazi and other Libyan cities. But the endgame, under that military mandate, is destined for an uncertain limbo:

“There was this premature triumphalism about the passage of the UN resolution but what is the plan for dealing with this entity called Libya?” says Brian Katulis at the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based think-tank.

There is a very awkward phase emerging where Gaddafi is entrenched while there’s a rump state in eastern Libya and some but not all states in the Arab world work to isolate the regime.”

Conversely, what if the injection of western airpower is massively successful and Gaddafi’s regime collapses. That doesn’t mean an automatic transition to a new stable state. Does the “Pottery Barn Rule” apply if a chaotic scenario develops?

The fact that you can watch US officials on television saying that they have to “learn more” about the Libyan opposition while military aircraft are in the air facilitating their entry into power should be pretty distressing. And the answer here is pretty clear: the people who argued for attacks on Libya aren’t going to be satisfied with a detente, with Gadhafi in Tripoli and a Free Benghazi. This cannot help but escalate. And America tends to have their feet trapped in molasses when they set foot in a foreign land.

And then there’s the massive hypocrisy of selective interventionism here. Yemen fired live ammo on its own citizens and killed at least 45 just a day before this bombing of Libya. Bahrain tore down the Pearl Monument and rounded up opposition Shiites on the same day. And you can name dozens of other countries where intervention under the standard used in Libya would be at least as warranted. It’s not a reason to deny aid to the Libyan opposition, but it’s a reason to seriously doubt the so-called “freedom agenda” of the interventionists.

But all this context is relevant as an indictment of the elite leadership class of the United States of America. If everyone cares as much about the political rights of Arabs as Libya interventionists say, then what on earth are they doing in Bahrain and Yemen and Palestine? If everyone cares as much about the loss of innocent African life as Libya interventionists say, then what on earth are they doing ponying up so little in foreign aid and doing so little to dismantle ruinous cotton subsidies? These aren’t really points about Libya. And why should they be? What do I know about Libya? What does Chait know about Libya? These are points about the United States of America and the various elites who run the country and shape the discourse. Exactly the kinds of subjects that frequent participants in American political debates know and care about. I see no particular reason to think that Libya will have any impact on malaria funding, but I do think the level of malaria funding is impacted over the long term by the existence of a substantial number of people (of which Chait is one) who seem to advocate for humanitarian goals in Africa if and only if those goals can be advanced through the use of military force to kill other Africans.

So I hope this Libya policy works out. I have my doubts, but who knows. The world is full of surprises. I do know, however, that providing more bed nets to prevent malaria would be cheap and logistically simple compared to deposing Gaddafi and that the easiest step America could take to deal a blow to Arab autocracy would be to stop selling weapons to Arab autocrats that they turn around and fire on their people.

But you don’t understand the genius of this Matt, when we have to destroy the weapons systems that we sell to Arab autocrats, we know precisely how to disable them! It’s very efficient.

A sampling of the Sunday shows this morning shows a real bankruptcy of arguments to explain this. Admiral Mike Mullen wisely didn’t bother to justify it, limiting his comments to the circumstances in Libya. Lindsey Graham tried this weird bank shot where he claimed that rulers in Yemen and Bahrain were only emboldened to strike at their civilians because of Obama’s indecisiveness on striking Libya. So then now that resolve has been shown the repression will stop, right? Wrong. Jack Reed said we have a dialogue with Bahrain and Yemen, unlike in Libya, and so we can talk to those leaders. A lot of good that’s done.

But John Kerry, who has shown himself as basically the spokesman for this kind of humanitarian intervention, gave away the game here. He first intimated that the Bahraini opposition had the aid of Iran and Hezbollah, mirroring Secretary of State Clinton on this point. But he then said this on Meet the Press: the difference between Libya and the other countries was that the Arab League sanctioned this conduct and asked for help from the international community to install a no-fly zone.

The international community has spoken with one voice about Ivory Coast and Congo as well, so this still doesn’t get Kerry out of the woods. But my main point is this: how does that standard not indemnify every member state in the Arab League, allowing them to repress their citizens as long as they withhold support for an international response? Here are the member states of the Arab League. Do you recognize some of the names? Algeria. Bahrain. Iraq. Oman. Saudi Arabia. Sudan. Syria. Yemen. All countries which have repressed and killed their own citizens in response to protests. As I read it, all of the Arab League member states can merely block resolutions for international help for protesters in those areas, and save themselves from any action. Sure, they could suspend a member state, like they did with Libya in February, but basically, the international community then is at the whim of internal Arab League politics to muster a response to slaughter. What kind of standard is that?

The point is that there is no standard. It’s just a hypocritical, self-justifying way to use military force on a selective basis when hydrocarbon sources are threatened to be withheld.  (Editor's bold emphasis throughout)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Arab League Splits From West Over Libya Bombing

Editor's NOTE:

Not even 24 hours after the UN sanctioned Strikes began on Libya, the Arab League has objected to what only one week ago it voted for unanymously.

Surely they were aware that it would be necessary to attack Libyan Air Defense batteries prior to erecting a no-fly zone and that this would involve the unwanted but unavoidable killing of civilians.

Such is the way of war in the 21st century and more the reason why the current attacks on Libya in the name of protecting rebel fighers is unwise and immoral whether the United Nations Security Council through SC resolution 1973 ordered it or not.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Arab League Splits From West Over Libya Bombing

Niall Paterson, defence correspondent, and Pete Norman
2:40pm UK, Sunday March 20, 2011

The Arab League has criticised the military strikes on Libya, a week after urging the United Nations to slap a no-fly zone on the oil-rich North African state.

The Arab League chief said that Arabs did not want military strikes by Western powers that hit civilians when the League called for a no-fly zone over Libya.

Secretary-General Amr Moussa said he was calling for an emergency Arab League meeting to discuss the situation in the Arab world and particularly 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," Mr Moussa told Egypt's official state news agency.

The volte-face by the influential regional body raises uncertainty about the unity of Western and Muslim leaders to the UN-backed military campaign. MORE...

Hypocrisy: Washington and the Civilians of Libya

By Professor Lawrence Davidson

March 19, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- Whether you believe that the United Nations resolution authorizing extensive intervention in the Libyan civil war is justified or not, and whether you believe that the admittedly eccentric forty two year rule of Muammar Gadhafi over a complex and fractious tribal society has been cruel or not, there is one thing that all objective observers should be able to agree on. All should agree that the rationale put forth by the United States government for supporting the impending NATO intervention, that this action is to be taken to bring about an immediate end to attacks on civilians, is one of the biggest acts of hypocrisy in a modern era ridden with hypocrisy.

There is, of course, no arguing with the principle put forth. The protection of civilians in times of warfare, a moral good in itself, is a requirement of international law. Yet it is a requirement that is almost always ignored. And no great power has ignored it more than the United States. In Iraq the civilian death count due to the American invasion may well have approached one million. In Afghanistan, again directly due to the war initiated by U.S. intervention, civilian deaths between 2007 and 2010 are estimated at about 10,000. In Vietnam, United States military intervention managed to reduce the civilian population by about two million.

And then there is United States protection of the Israeli process of ethnic cleansing in Palestine. America’s hypocrisy as Washington consistently does nothting about the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the slow reduction of a million and half Gazans to poverty and malnutrition. And, finally, the unforgettable hypocrisy inherent in U.S. support for the 2009 Israeli invasion of that tiny and crowded enclave. The 2009 invasion was the most striking example of an outright attack on civilians and civilian infrastructure since the World War II. And the American government supported every single moment of it.

Thus, when President Obama gets up before the TV cameras and tells us that Libyan civilians have to be protected, when UN ambassador Susan Rice tells us that the aim of the UN resolution is to safeguard Libya’s civilian population and bring those who attack civilians, including Gadhafi, before the International Criminal Court, a certain sense of nausea starts to gather in the pit of one’s stomach. If Washington wants regime change in Libya, which is almost certainly the case, government spokespersons ought to just say it and spare us all a feeling of spiritual despair worthy of Soren Kieregaard!

It was Oscar Wilde who once said that "the true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity." I think that politicians learn, some easier than others, to live their lives like this. And, as I have said before, the only way they can be successful in sharing their delusions with the rest of us is that the majority do not have the contextual knowledge to analyze and make accurate judgments on their utterances. The successful hypocrite and his or her ignorant audience go hand in hand.