UN Resolution 1973/2011 adopted

UN Security Council Resolution 1973/2011 on Libya – full text

10 in favour, zero against, five abstentions.

Voting for the resolution:
Permanent members: United States, Britain, France
Non-permanent members:: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa

Abstentions:
Permanent members: Russia, China
Non-permanent members: Germany, Brazil, India

The Resolution authorizes member states “to take all necessary measures… to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamhariya, including Benghazi, while excluding an occupation force.”

Simon Tisdall writes:

With a boldness that the world had begun to believe he lacked, Barack Obama has gone for broke. The US wants Muammar Gaddafi’s head. It will not rest until he is deposed and there is regime change in Libya. And it will fight to get it.

Obama spent weeks pondering, prevaricating and posturing, infuriating Britain and France, arch advocates of military intervention. He used public appearances to prate professorially about plans, contingencies and downsides. He allowed senior administration officials such as Pentagon chief Robert Gates to give full vent to their doubts and misgivings about a possible Libyan quagmire.

Obama is already fighting two wars in Muslim countries he did not start – in Iraq, now all but finished, and Afghanistan. He did not want to author another. He did not want another foreign distraction ahead of his presidential re-election bid next year. He did not want the cost, the corpses or the inevitable collateral damage – political and human.

But gradually the pressure from hawkish Democrats such as John Kerry and Republicans such as John McCain began to tell. The escalating rhetoric from Downing Street and the Elysee Palace will have had an impact, too.

Obama finally made his mind up. The US would intervene to stop him. And there would be no half measures. All steps short of boots on the ground, as the US under-secretary of state William Burns put it are now urgently contemplated, with a view to immediate implementation.

That means possible, imminent air strikes as well as an air exclusion zone. It means direct head-on combat with Libya’s air force, if it chooses to fight. It means, potentially, western casualties, if pilots are shot down or bail out or are taken hostage. It could mean innocent civilian deaths as the EU’s foreign policy chief Lady Ashton warned last week. And if things do not go well, it may mean escalation beyond all that is envisaged now. Who knows when it will stop.

The immediate impact may be to stop Gaddafi’s advance on Benghazi in its tracks. If that happens, the revolution will have been salvaged, albeit at the very last moment. Whether it can endure is another matter entirely.

The US and its European and Arab allies will hope that Gaddafi, facing the prospect of overwhelming, punitive force, will quickly back down, observe the UN demand for a ceasefire, even agree to negotiations. But to be sure of saving Benghazi, a no-fly zone will not be enough. To drive home the point the game is up, it is likely allied air strikes on Gaddafi’s heavy armour and artillery will be required, and possibly also attacks directed at him personally, as Ronald Reagan tried in 1986.

Gaddafi acts like a bully and a coward. But he is full of bluster. Only a sudden, bloody nose will convince him to desist. This is he is probably about to receive. And the betting must be that, once the revised odds become clear, those remnants of the Libyan army and security forces that have so far remained loyal will desert him, too.

The longer term impact of the intervention is immeasurable – but disaster is certainly one possible outcome. Like the first Gulf war, the involvement and support of Arab countries means the Libyan war will not be defined, except by hardline jihadis and al-Qaida, as another western assault on Muslim lands. But if the fighting is prolonged, if Gaddafi does not quit and run, if his more able sons take up his cause, if the intervention makes things worse not better for ordinary people (as in Iraq), if there is no clear-cut win but ongoing low level conflict and resistance (as in Afghanistan), then Arab opinion will turn against the westerners once more. The post-9/11 nightmare of the Pentagon’s long war without end will reproduce on the shores of the Mediterranean.

But there is a reasonable prospect of success, too. If the rebels, rescued from annihilation, prove capable of creating a government able to take over the running of all of Libya, and not just the rebellious east, then Obama’s gamble could pay off.

If Gaddafi, no longer able to deploy superior firepower and mercenaries, is overthrown by his own people, it will be hailed as an improbable triumph for, among others, David Cameron, who took a harder line than most, earlier than most. Britain (and not Germany, which opposed intervention) may profit from the gratitude of a grateful people. If Libya falls to democracy, then like-minded reformers in Bahrain and elsewhere will be greatly heartened.

Obama and Cameron are looking for another Kosovo or Kuwait, not another Iraq. It’s a story, as they would prefer to write it, with a happy ending, producing a newly independent country, and another friend for the west. But they cannot control the outcome. Now they can only wait and hope they were right.

The New York Times reports:

In the most strident verbal attack on Colonel Qaddafi to date by an American official, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that the Western powers had little choice but to provide critical military backing for the rebels. “We want to support the opposition who are standing against the dictator,” she told an applauding audience in Tunisia on Thursday. “This is a man who has no conscience and will threaten anyone in his way.”

She added that Colonel Qaddafi would do “terrible things” to Libya and its neighbors. “It’s just in his nature. There are some creatures that are like that.”

The Qaddafi government responded to the potential United Nations action with threats.

“Any foreign military act against Libya will expose all air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea to danger and civilian and military facilities will become targets of Libya’s counter-attack,” it said in a statement carried on Libyan television and the official news agency, JANA, Reuters reported. “The Mediterranean basin will face danger not just in the short-term, but also in the long-term.”

There were reports on Thursday that warplanes were already bombarding the outskirts of Benghazi for a second day, opening shots, perhaps, in the battle. And after days of batterings at the hands of Qaddafi loyalists, the opposition forces welcomed the promise of Western assistance.

Rebel leaders doubted that the loyalist forces could mount an assault on Benghazi tonight, in that they were still contesting Ajdabiya, 100 miles to the south, on Thursday morning. But witnesses said there were skirmishes on the road to Benghazi in the afternoon, about 30 miles from Ajdabiya.

Mohamed, a rebel spokesman in the embattled, rebel held city of Misurata — the last major rebel foothold in the west — welcomed the new American tone. “We are very heartened yesterday by the moves in the United Nations Security Council and the urgency of the American stand,” he said, speaking over a satellite phone.

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Comments

  1. M. Smith says:

    Well Paul you got your wish.

    I say it’s pure madness. Serial mass murderers hurumphing about the evils of Gaddafi coming to the rescue again. It’s disgusting to hear them blather on. DISGUSTING!

    God help those about to die under our attacks. AGAIN!!!

  2. M. Smith says:

    Gosh Paul,

    Did you notice ONCE AGAIN Tisdall trots out Kosovo? And Kuwait?????? Kosovo was illegally severed from Serbia and turned into a paradise for mafia dons and the international sex trade. Kuwait? Another fiefdom saved by gangster pals in the west.

    The hypocrisy is more than any conscious human being can take.

    I am thoroughly disgusted. No matter what short term “success” we may see from this action in the long run you and your fellow interventionists will have to answer to the NEVER ENDING saga of US led military violence.

  3. M. Smith says:

    And Paul it is a serious disappointment for me to see you turn into an apologist for US violence. I’m truly stunned by your about face. I have been heartened and enlightened by your work for some time now. But I will never view this site in the same way again.

  4. Dieter Heymann says:

    I have elsewhere argued that our country must leave the UN and kick its headquarters out of New York because this non-elected organization allows US Presidents to bypass our constitution to begin wars that are not approved by our elected representatives.

  5. Colm O' Toole says:

    Isn’t it cute to see the Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose grandfather was tortured in the British occupation of Kenya voting to launch a war in Africa. The third US attack on a Muslim country within 10 years.

    The language of the resolution calls for “all actions short of an occupational force”. Be under no mistake this is part of a counter-revolutionary strategy exactly like the Saudi “invasion-invitation” of Bahrain. Funny how there are no calls for a NFZ in Bahrain where peaceful protesters are getting slaughtered. But of course Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are to important to the US Empire. So there will just be platitudes “urging all sides to practice restraint” as Bahrain and Saudi soldiers gun down peaceful protesters.

  6. Noel Tobin says:

    It’s silly to compare this intervention with the Iraq war. The differrences are stark. The dictator is or at least was marchinr across the country to kill his own people because they wanted to decide their own future.
    The west invaded Iraq on the pretext that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction with a readiness to use of 45 minutes which was utter rubbish.
    I was against the Iraq war when it started and I am still aainst it.
    I fully support the intervention in Libya and I hope they can take-out Qaddafi and others that carry out his orders. Hopefully, there will be mass defections from the army and little loss of life.
    Cheers

  7. Colm O' Toole says:

    @Noel Tobin

    A friend of mine of Twitter summed it up relatively well. “You cannot be an anti-imperialist at your convenience; opposing imperialist intervention, in spite of mainstream support, is key.”

    The fact that Libyans are being killed means nothing to the US Military. Just look at their reaction to the massacres in Bahrain. Look at how the US shrugged its shoulders as 400,000 people in Darfur were massacred during the last 8 years and then tell me that the US cares about people getting killed in Africa and the Middle East.

    This appears an obvious fact to me. The question everyone should ask is Why. Why are they intervening in Libya with an estimate 3,000 dead and not any other country where massively more are dead? It is for other reasons apart from the death toll.

  8. The US to the rescue in Libya! Thank goodness. “Responsibility To Protect!” Where would the world be without the US and its allies??

    By Saeed Shah | McClatchy Newspapers, March 17, 2011

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Just one day after a CIA contractor was absolved by a Pakistani court of a double murder charge, Pakistan and U.S. relations were plunged into a new crisis Thursday over a CIA-directed drone missile strike that Pakistan said killed at least 36 civilians.

    Pakistan’s military and civilian leadership condemned the strike in unusually harsh language, demanding compensation for the victims and an apology.

    Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani called the attack a “violation of human rights” and said the dead were peaceful tribal leaders attending a meeting, not Islamic extremists.

    “It is highly regrettable that a jirga (meeting) of peaceful citizens, including elders of the area, was carelessly and callously targeted with complete disregard to human life,” he said.

  9. Today is a very good day; a day when I do not have to shun my mother’s nation and can be hopeful for my father’s.

  10. once again
    the use of force
    to get someone
    to stop using force

    war is always
    a failure
    of diplomacy

    will we never learn ?

  11. AMeshia,
    I do hope you share your good feelings about today with the people about to die from US/British/French bombs. Make sure they know how good you feel about this attack. Do us a favor though. Can you ask them how they feel about dying for your good feelings?

  12. I’m fully in agreement with everyone here who abhors the idea of military intervention being imposed on a population against its will. Obviously not everyone in Libya welcomes the passage of the UN resolution — although Libya’s deputy foreign minister did seem to suggest that the government might welcome this as an opportunity to call a ceasefire. He also claimed that Gaddafi’s forces are on a mission to protect the population. You certainly have to credit Libyan officials with a gift for presenting entertaining press briefings!

    But as for gauging the mood of those in Libya who are intent on overthrowing the regime and what they think about foreign intervention, I’m inclined to attach more weight to the statements these people are making rather than those coming from individuals on the outside who seem to have immense conviction in their own judgments about what is good or bad for Libya.

    I don’t mean to overstate the depth of indigenous wisdom, but merely to say that if anyone genuinely respects self-determination, then you pay attention to what people — in this case Libyans — are saying.

    Chris McGreal provided this useful vignette from Benghazi yesterday which says a lot about how the outside debate on Libya has been perceived by the people whose lives now hang in the balance.

    [Y]oung revolutionaries follow each twist of the diplomatic wrangling, scoffing at western professions of support for their cause when no practical help is forthcoming.

    A couple of young men latched on to Lady Ashton’s opposition, as the EU’s foreign minister, to a no-fly zone on the grounds that it could lead to targeted air strikes and civilian casualties. Or as Ashton put it, “collateral damage”.

    “That’s just an excuse not to do anything,” said Jamal Mahmoud. “What does she think we’ll be if Gaddafi catches us?

    “A lot more people will die if the west lets Gaddafi win. That’s what Gaddafi does. He kills people. He never made a secret of it.”

  13. If he never made a secret of it then what rationale did countries like France and Britain have for selling arms to Gaddafi since the embargo was ended in 2004? They knew the nature of his regime, but did it anyway. Do they suddenly care about human rights in Libya? Paul, why should I trust any of the governments involved in coordinating this effort given their rampant hypocrisy?

  14. Paul,

    You keep talking about military intervention is some weird antiseptic way devoid of the context of WHO would be doing the intervening and their history of mass murder and utter contempt for democracy and as Fedup23 notes the Libyan people themselves.

    I have made many posts now going over what I think are very good reasons to shun the “help” of the murderous European and US governments. The people in Libya are right to scoff at the sudden concern for collateral damage voiced by Ashton because she and the entire western establishment have ZERO moral credibility. They all have millions of dead to account for. Is the concept of a NFZ viable? Yes in a world that doesn’t exist. In a world where the US works in the interests of reducing the violence and showing the slightest interest in the people it purports to be helping to gain their freedom.
    I’ll say it for the umpteenth time. This action will be spun as a good thing and will further encourage more interventions bringing far more death and destruction in the long run then anything Gaddafi could ever dream of accomplishing.

    I agonize over the suffering of the Libyan people. The US government doesn’t give a flying f—-. And the Libyan people will soon find that out.

  15. Well finally.

    If this had been done in the second week 80% of it would be over now.

  16. M. Smith says:

    Renfro,

    Really? 80% over? My what powers of clairvoyance you have.

  17. Vince J. says:

    Don’t worry M. Smith, the US is streching… streching… stretching… It will implode!

  18. Vince J. says:

    What about a NFZ in Bahrain?? No no, don’t need to explain… I just wanted to understand.

  19. M Smith — In a reasonably diplomatic way, I threw down the gauntlet to you: instead of continuing with your sanctimonious rant of the dangers of war (yes, innocent people get ripped to shreds and the people ultimately responsible for the killing usually make their decisions from a comfortable distance), show me some concrete evidence that there are many Libyans who share your views. That means spending some time trawling through news reports and digging up direct quotes, names, locations. If all you are interested in doing is expressing your own opinions, I think you made your point ad nauseam.

    When you refer to Libyans scoffing at Western concern about collateral damage, you’re either a poor reader or you are purposefully mis-characterizing the quote: it came from Libyans who were berating the West for its inaction. “A lot more people will die if the west lets Gaddafi win,” Jamal Mahmoud said. In other words, the perspective from Benghazi is that non-intervention would lead to greater carnage.

  20. Paul,

    I understood the quote perfectly. Mahmoud felt inaction would be worse. My point was in so many words he was saying it was a joke to hear sudden concern for collateral damage spewing from the mouth of a Western diplomat. It was meaningless drivel used in this case to avoid using force in a conflict she deemed for whatever reasons not worth the trouble. I agree with Mahmoud. It’s a laughable excuse coming from the likes of her.

    I could have predicted eventually your hurling such adjectives as “sanctimonious” at me as I continued to “rant” about your disastrous embrace of US intervention. You REFUSED to address my points regarding LONG TERM effects of this action. You demand I come up with a list of Libyans against intervention yet you are unwilling or unable to spell out in detail what the hell a NFZ would mean. You refuse to acknowledge that in every single previous “intervention” by the US the motives were bull shit and the consequences catastrophic. You refused to respond to my points about NATO’s romp in Serbia and it having a DIRECT result in greasing the wheels for the deaths of some million people in Iraq and Afghanistan. You demand I give you Libyans against intervention (common sense says there are as well as many others in the region) but you are unable like everyone else to understand or identify who the “rebels” are, who is behind them (you absolutely refuse to address the obvious and thorny issue of US/European oil/mining interest most certainly working (as it does everywhere) under the cover of such cleverly named organizations as US AID and the National Endowment for Democracy. You are unable (because you can’t) spell out clearly defined end games or points of no return upon the unleashing of this hydra-headed beast. You ignore the obvious stench of the hypocrisy of the US looking the other way (or supporting?) Saudi crackdown in Bahrain, the slaughter in Yemen and Hillary having to give up her dancing partner Mubarak. Drone strikes that kill children EVERY DAY in half a dozen countries seems to be disconnected from your view that the US military can be wrestled to the ground and made to use its weapons for good with meticulous adherence to the laws of war (a ridiculous supposition since in all these instances the assault is illegal).
    “(yes, innocent people get ripped to shreds and the people ultimately responsible for the killing usually make their decisions from a comfortable distance),”
    Right, now its back to your compiling lists of Libyans for intervention to use against me I suppose? Did you read what you wrote above? La dee da, Paul. People torn to shreds but hey we just couldn’t figure out any other way to deal with the situation. There was one way and one way only. Unleash the mad dogs of the west.
    When it comes to making a conscious decision deliberated over for weeks to “shred” innocent human beings you’re damn right I’m going to be “sanctimonious.” And I really apologize for my making my points ad nauseam. I didn’t mean to spoil your breakfast.

  21. I hope the rebels appreciate the text of the resolution, to protect civilians. No occupation force, so it all going to be done from the air. Think gunships and drones. Anyone with a gun will be fair game to the US pilots.

  22. This left-wing trepidation is really irksome. The International community is actually doing a positive thing (far later than preferable) and all the left wingers can do is wring their hands and complain about all the other conflicts that they would have equal trepidation about becoming involved in.

    I have family in Libya, more than i can even name and I can tell you that they are absolutely over the moon that the world has actually done something. Do you not read or look at what Libyans actually have to say about this? Is it always necessary to view the world through the paranoid lense of a anti-American conspiracy theorist? I realize thats the audience here for the most part and I would have counted myself amongst those theoreticians until last night.

    I don’t care what motivates the US, just as I don’t care what motivates the tyrant in Tripoli. What I DO care about is that Libyans who demonstrated like they did throughout the region for freedom got mowed down and attacked from the air frequently by people who weren’t even Libyans half the time.

    You want assurances of what will be there after the dictator is gone look at those who make up his enemies. These are ordinary people fighting for an extraordinary cause and it smacks of deep seated Orientalism to automatically assume that the next in line will be the tyrant-de-jour.

    I expect better from my left wing compatriots than this nonsense drawing parallels with a failed and unpopular war in Iraq does no justice to the cause of the Libyans. Get with the program.

    This is a win for using Western power for good for a change. Such a rare event should be recognized for what it is.

    So Now what you ask. Now the rebels have an edge and it will only be a mater of time before he goes. Where were you people 3 weeks ago? Still wringing your hands and tutting about imperialism probably.

  23. M Smith — The basic issue here is this. Which would be more likely to have a favorable outcome: an attempt to persuade Gaddafi to stop slaughtering his own people that excluded any form of military action, or one that included the option of military action. The first option was tried with little effect. The second option has now come into play.

    Can I spell out in detail what a NFZ will mean? Of course not. I’m not in on the planning of this operation you know.

    Do I know what the long term effects of this action will be? No I don’t. Apparently you do. Historians will be able to dig back into these comment threads and declare: if only the world had listened to Martin Smith, countless lives could have been saved. Or not.

    As another reader points out, Gaddafi is not Saddam. After all his theatrical tirades, his first response to the passing of the UN Resolution — to declare a unilateral ceasefire — seems to suggest that he wants to find a way of maneuvering out of this corner rather than turn himself into a martyr.

    If, as you previously declared, you agonize over the suffering of the Libyan people, then, given that a course of action closer to what I favor than what you favor has been chosen, I would hope that you hope that your predictions are wrong. I don’t have the time or interest to continue this discussion with you any further — as I said a while back, events themselves will be far more telling than this kind of argument. But be my guest — I doubt you can resist the offer: Fire the parting shot, and then we’ll leave it at that.

  24. Noel Tobin says:

    A Meshiea
    You speak with some authority and I absolutely agree with you, I am not in favour of bombing people but sometimes, inaction would leave more people dead. I also agree with those that are critical of the west for not taking action in Yemen, Sudan, Saudi and and other places but that is no argument against intervention in Libya.

    I have seen many Libyans on Aljazeeera arguing in favour of intervention and I have seen their celebrations in Benghazi. I have seen Libyans throwing their shoes at the big screen at Qaddafi and their foreign minister when he announced a ceasefire. Earlier today, I have seen them cheering, clapping and dancing when the news of the UN vote was announced.

    I was watching Obama’s press conference. He quoted Qaddafi’s “we will show no mercy” speech. He says Qaddafi had a choice and now he still has a choice and the rights of civilians are not negotiatable. In Benghazi, he was clapped and cheered. There is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of Libyans agree with this intervention and those that argue otherwise have their heads in the sand. It is also silly to ask for names of people that support intervention, the feeling lives in the masses. Obama says that Qaffadi has a choice but I am hearing reports of carnage in Misurata and continuing army action in Ajdabiya. There will be air strikes for sure and the sooner the better.

    This call for action has broad support from the Arag League, the GCC and Europe. Even Norway to getting involved. I agree with those that condemn the west for turning a blind eye to Saudi and Bahrain and I think we will hear more about this when more people get killed. Consider the trembling in Saudi and other Gulf countries on hearing of this decision. They have seen the regimes of Tunisia and Egypt tumble, perhaps not really putting up a fight but now they see what happens when the regime does fight. They are wondering how they can stay in power and they are announcing tolken bribes such as more jobs and an increase in wages.

    Of course it is too late for them, as soon as the governments use violence on their own people, it only hardens the attitude of the protesters and brings more moderates into the protestors fold. Syria and the Palistinian Authority will be next to go.

    To Colm O’ Toole, “You cannot be an anti-imperialist at your convenience; opposing imperialist intervention, in spite of mainstream support, is key.”
    Go tell your Twitter friend to talk to the people in Benghazi, ask them if they think this action being contempleted is imperialistic in nature. Ask him or her how to describe Qaddafi’s actions. The simple truth is that Libyans are against their ruler because he is ruthless and no amoount of theory or rhetric is smoke enough to screen this fact.
    The fact that Libyans are being killed may or may not mean much to the the US military but does it mean anything to you or your twitter friend. Do you think it is okay to allow the killing to continue.

  25. M. Smith says:

    Paul,

    I have no desire to issue a parting shot over this. I am passionate, even emotional to a fault over the issue of my country’s use of its military power and the mountains of bodies it has produced but I am not so monstrous as to wish for Libyans to suffer grievously as a result of this action so as to prove me right. I most certainly hope with every fiber of my body that I am proven wrong.

    I have as I said been enlightened and inspired by your writing on this site. I have also been deeply frustrated by your eager support for US intervention. I stand by my statements regarding US power and violence and the folly of this action now and the horrors it will engender in the future. It’s unfortunate that we have reached in impasse where you feel you have no choice but to discontinue responding to my posts. If my tone is the sole reason for this then I apologize.

    If I find the energy I may address AMeshia’s comments later.

  26. M. Smith says:

    Response to A Meshiea interspersed below:

    “This left-wing trepidation is really irksome. The International community is actually doing a positive thing (far later than preferable) and all the left wingers can do is wring their hands and complain about all the other conflicts that they would have equal trepidation about becoming involved in.”
    Tired of the description of “wring[ing] [our] hands.” Laying out a case based on the overwhelming historical record against western military intervention which in this case has shockingly come to include “all necessary measures” is not wringing one’s hands.
    “I have family in Libya, more than i can even name and I can tell you that they are absolutely over the moon that the world has actually done something. Do you not read or look at what Libyans actually have to say about this?”
    I’m not deaf and blind. I can see the jubilation (which I understand) among Libyans and have heard their pleas for intervention. This does not in itself make this action the wise course. It comes from understandable desperation. As I said earlier I hope I’m wrong. I hope this intervention is carried out in a way contrary to every other intervention and entanglement the players involved have undertaken.
    “Is it always necessary to view the world through the paranoid lense of a anti-American conspiracy theorist?”
    Define “anti-American conspiracy” for me. I don’t know what that is. What does “anti-American” mean exactly? You do realize that term is an authoritarian concept, yes? It’s like anti-Soviet. Not the rhetoric I would expect to hear from a self-declared progressive. Does being critical of US government policies make me “anti-American?” Does that mean I hate Americans? Do I reject jazz and the Rocky Mountains? You sound like the folks arguing for the invasion of Iraq in 2002. I would suggest you ponder what you’re saying here.
    “I realize thats the audience here for the most part and I would have counted myself amongst those theoreticians until last night.
    I don’t care what motivates the US, just as I don’t care what motivates the tyrant in Tripoli. What I DO care about is that Libyans who demonstrated like they did throughout the region for freedom got mowed down and attacked from the air frequently by people who weren’t even Libyans half the time.”
    I don’t expect to see pure motives out of politicians, tyrants or centers of power. It really is beside the point. But we can deduce a lot from past actions regardless of how important you feel it is to ignore history.
    “You want assurances of what will be there after the dictator is gone look at those who make up his enemies. These are ordinary people fighting for an extraordinary cause…”
    I don’t mean to quibble but like all revolutions some are and some aren’t.
    “… and it smacks of deep seated Orientalism to automatically assume that the next in line will be the tyrant-de-jour.”
    I am talking about western military alliances and their actions making things much worse 100% of the time. I have a superficial grasp of Edward Said’s work and don’t think what I’m arguing here has anything to do with orientalism as I’m focusing on my (US) country’s policies.
    “I expect better from my left wing compatriots than this nonsense drawing parallels with a failed and unpopular war in Iraq does no justice to the cause of the Libyans. Get with the program.”
    I’m not making any comparisons between the Iraq war and the current Libyan situation other than what the ideology (psychology) of “American Exceptionalism” has wrought for millions of others. US intervention in Libya whether carried out by Europeans or others will only give further fuel to this dangerous fallacy.
    “This is a win for using Western power for good for a change. Such a rare event should be recognized for what it is.”
    Oh I agree it’s a “win” for using Western power. Not something in my opinion anyone who truly cares about peace should be applauding.
    “So Now what you ask. Now the rebels have an edge and it will only be a mater of time before he goes. Where were you people 3 weeks ago? Still wringing your hands and tutting about imperialism probably.”
    Doesn’t necessitate a response.

  27. The actions to enforce the no-fly zone will be more likely to create death and destruction BECAUSE of the doctrinaire arguments that prevented such a demonstration of international will three weeks earlier. Smith and others should read 1973/2011 in detail and note the weaselly justifications for abstentions that could offer no more than a call for cease fire and peaceful resolution that Qaddhafi had already ignored in 1970/2011. Do you feel proud to be on that side of the argument?
    R2P is intended to be an international response to such crises as this — separating international operations from the label of being Western, American, or whoever else. This acceptance of the NFZ is the first positive act toward achieving R2P in the past 15 years. That alone deserves more opponents to abstain.
    For the record — blinkers always blind the wearer, no matter what may result.

  28. M. Smith says:

    Mr. Hoare,
    I will respectfully ask you again whether R2P –in the real world we live in– be worth the paper its written on when confronting the crimes of Netanyahu, Sharon, both Bush’s, Clinton, Tony Blair, Reagan, Nixon, etc. etc. as well as the likes of Saddam Hussein when he was a client of the US or dozens of other US clients most recently Mubarak, and any other US client from Yemen to Saudi Arabia to Colombia and beyond. Where are the humanitarians now that their hero Kagame (along with his pal Museveni) has been carrying out massive atrocities for years in the DRC and its environs? Why such silence over these two butchers? Does it have anything to do with the fulsome support of the West/Israel and their respective natural resource interests?
    I’m deeply puzzled by your reluctance to address this huge hole in the logic of R2P.

  29. M. Smith says:

    I would add Mr. Hoare that I don’t see why you’re scolding me for a badly crafted and weak NFZ resolution. I wanted nothing to do with any such resolution – earlier or ever. My “doctrinaire” arguments against a NFZ had nothing to do with the dallying. My arguments were based on the principle of not wanting to unleash the US/NATO killing machine once again. The delay was caused by the usual spectrum of dovish-hawks vs. hawks over practical issues not having anything remotely to do with such quaint principles as the outright rejection of violence employed by criminal states against this week’s bad guy.

  30. Phillip T. says:

    M. Smith, you do make some rather intellectual points, however you are thinking way to deep into this. The fact of the matter is Qadaffhi is not an ally to the Unites States and he is committing crimes against humanity. My question to you is, have you ever even served a day in the military and if so, what was your role? The decision is tough one way or the other, but without privilege to classified intel, it’s hard to see what the true facts on the table are.

    Also, how do you feel about the spike in oil as a result of all the uncertainty. The UN Resolution helped ease some of the uncertainties with oil supply even though they only produce less than two percent.

    We have gone through an appropriate escalation of force beginning with sanctions, a weapons embargo, freezing their assets, and now it’s time for the no-fly-zone. Hillary Clinton said it’s important to not make the same mistake her husband made with Darfur and I tend to agree.

    As an infantry soldier, I would like to personally put an end to this thug’s rule.

  31. M. Smith says:

    Phillip T,

    I join you and the entire civilized world in wanting to put an end to this thug’s rule. The question as always is how and at what greater cost? You are partially incorrect however when you say he’s not an ally of the US. Actually he was when he first took power, then he wasn’t and then as Clinton just reminded us today he was again after he agreed to do what he was told in 2005. Now he’s off our list again.

    I don’t see the relevance of whether I’ve served in the military. I, like overwhelming majorities of the world’s population have not. In democratic societies everyone is allowed to have an open opinion about matters of war and peace. And I certainly have never succumbed to the proven fallacy of “they have the classified intel so we should defer to their wisdom” doctrine of foreign policy and warfare. That kind of thinking has killed more soldiers and civilians than can possibly be counted. I’m actually shocked that a soldier such as yourself would invoke such a monumental stem winder. My reading of grunts’ accounts of war leads me to believe they have zero faith in their intel bearing superiors and for good reason. And according to “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA” Tim Wiener makes a convincing case that the CIA has NEVER been right. It has been one crackpot operation implemented by dreamers, racists and knaves after another. It would be laughable if so many hadn’t died.

    As for oil prices I think it’s more than a little myopic to focus solely on the situation in Libya as the cause of our energy troubles rather than a century and a half of staggering amounts of greed and stupidity in service to oil corporation profits.