Libya: Why Western Forces Selectively Police the World

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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 8:44 am » by Edgarrothstein


Ten days ago, a besieged Arab leader decided to crush his country's democracy movement. First, he called in 2,000 foreign troops to suppress the uprising. Then he declared martial law and cut off phone and Internet services. At dawn he deployed tanks to clear the streets and ordered his forces to arrest or shoot anyone who tried to resist. Government troops surrounded and seized a hospital used by demonstrators to treat their wounded. Medical personnel were prevented even from taking away the dead bodies. "Shocking and illegal conduct" is how the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Human Rights described reports of the regime's "arbitrary arrests, killings [and] beatings of protestors."

This ruthless use of force against unarmed civilians was carried out not by Muammar Gaddafi, but by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, the ruler of Bahrain, and backed up by troops from Saudi Arabia. And yet even as Western warplanes prepared to launch air strikes on Libya to stop Gaddafi's aggression, the U.S. and its allies barely registered even verbal condemnations of the crackdown in Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. "We've urged the government and the opposition parties to engage in dialogue," said William Burns, the U.S. Under Secretary of State. Washington's unwillingness to intervene to stop a bloodbath in Bahrain has led skeptics to wonder why the Obama Administration has committed U.S. military power to do so in Libya. As Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson writes, "War in Libya is justifiable only if we are going to hold compliant dictators to the same standard we set for defiant ones."

This line of argument has surfaced in nearly every debate about Western military intervention since the end of the Cold War. The British even have a term for it: whataboutery. If you are prepared to go to war to protect Libyan civilians from their government, then what about the persecuted in Bahrain? If countering tyranny is the West's objective, what about Myanmar, whose military rulers are still in power despite massacring thousands of unarmed protesters in 2007? Or Ivory Coast, where government-sponsored violence has forced more than 700,000 people from their homes? Why did the U.S. undertake military action to prevent genocide against Muslims in Bosnia in 1995 but stand by a decade later in Darfur? If we are willing to use military force to help topple a tyrant like Gaddafi, then what about Robert Mugabe or Kim Jong Il?

The appeal of whataboutery arguments is that, from a pure moral standpoint, they are impossible to refute: it's certainly not evident that the Libyan regime is worse than North Korea's. And yet the resort to whataboutery is also deeply cynical. Insisting on moral consistency as a prerequisite for military action is a prescription for American paralysis and isolationism — which happens to be the goal of many proponents of whataboutery, on both the right and left. If we're going to police the world selectively, they would argue, we'd be better off not policing it at all.

Thankfully, most of the world rejects the idea of issuing free passes to tyrants. Even so, every intervention involves contradictions and moral trade-offs. The suffering of the Libyan people isn't any more extreme than that endured by millions living elsewhere under equally repressive regimes. The Libyan rebels don't necessarily deserve close air support any more than the demonstrators in Bahrain do. But doing something in Libya has proved better than nothing. It has prevented Gaddafi's forces from launching a full-scale assault on rebel-held cities and given the opposition time to regroup. Valid questions remain about the scope, duration and ultimate objectives of the NATO mission in Libya. But Operation Odyssey Dawn has so far succeeded in saving untold numbers of Libyan lives, and at less cost to the U.S. and its allies than even conservative military estimates had predicted.

So should we go further? What about places like Bahrain or Yemen or even Syria, where autocratic regimes have also used deadly force against their own people? Why not intervene there as well? The answer is that foreign policy isn't one size fits all — and in each one of those cases, the military and strategic risks of intervention would outweigh the potential humanitarian benefits. Ultimately, our reasons for intervening in other people's conflicts have little to do with either national security or the "responsibility to protect" civilians from slaughter. The world intervenes in places like Libya, and not in others, not because of any high purpose but for the simple reason that it is feasible to do so.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. As the war in Iraq showed, a crusading foreign policy can be just as dangerous as an inconsistent one. And yet we shouldn't dismiss every charge of Western hypocrisy as mere whataboutery. For years, the U.S. condemned the antidemocratic abuses of our enemies in the Middle East (like Iran), while overlooking those committed by our ostensible allies (like Egypt). Such double standards did more harm than good to American prestige — which is why the Obama Administration should now distance itself from the region's autocrats and side more openly with those struggling against them. The democrats of Sana'a and Damascus don't need the U.S. to stage armed interventions on their behalf. But they do expect America's policies to reflect American values. What about that?


by Romesh Ratnesar, TIME, Mar 28, 2011 —

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2061745,00.html
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 8:51 am » by Epicfailure


you know there are rumors that Gaddafi is just protecting the true interests of the Libyan people and these rebels are the ones who are going to bend over and take the westernization in the ass.....

but that is just a rumor.
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 9:08 am » by Edgarrothstein


epicfailure wrote:you know there are rumors that Gaddafi is just protecting the true interests of the Libyan people and these rebels are the ones who are going to bend over and take the westernization in the ass.....

but that is just a rumor.


While we're talking about rumours, i'm currently trying to find some more reliable sources for this :
40 years under Gaddafi

GDP per capita - $ 14,192.
For each family member state pays annually $ 1,000 grants.
Unemployment Benefits - 730 $.
Nurse Salary - $ 1,000.
For every newborn is paid $ 7,000.
Newlyweds receives $ 64,000 to buy an apartment.
For the opening of private businesses a one-time financial aid - 20 000 $.
Major taxes and levies are prohibited.
Education and medicine are free.
Education and Internships abroad - at government expense.
Chain stores for large families with symbolic prices of basic foodstuffs.
For selling products with past their expiry date - large fines.
Part of the pharmacies - with free dispensing.
Counterfeiting of medicines - the death penalty.
Rents - is absent.
NO electricity charges for households.
Sale and use of alcohol is prohibited.
Auto Loans and apartments - no interest.
Realtor services are prohibited.
Buying a car and 50% paid by the state militia fighters - 65%.
Petrol is cheaper than water. 1 liter of gasoline - $ 0.14


http://f2bbs.com/bbs/show_topic/384255

And :

* GDP per capita - $ 14,192
* If unemployed after school, you receive the average wage of that profession
* Each family member in the state receives $ 1,000 a year subsidy.
* Unemployment - $730 a year in addition to the $1,000
* For every newborn the family receives $7,000
* Marital "negative tax" - newlyweds receive $ 64,000 to buy housing
* Major taxes and levies prohibited (no income tax)
* Education and healthcare are free
* Chain stores for large families with symbolic prices of basic foodstuffs.
* Loans for buying a car or house have no interest (it is prohibited)
* Electricity and phone service is free
* basic goods subsidized by 40%
* Buying a car: 50% subsidized by the state, 65% subsidized for army soldiers
* Gasoline is cheaper than water, $0.14 for a liter
* a meager 6% live under the poverty line


http://atomeve.posterous.com/42-years-under-gaddafi

These rumours are most probably rough translations of the article from a Russian online newspaper :

http://www.echosevera.ru/politics/2011/03/17/314.html

I still consider this a hearsay, don't know for sure yet... :

I am just reading a Serbian article (a country that NATO bombed in 1999 under very similar pretenses, the tensions of which have still not dissolved) which interviews a Libyan and a Serbian, both of whom lived in Libya for the past two years, about the quality of life in Libya. Yes, at this point I get my news from obscure Serbian newspapers, I know:

I do not think that the riots have erupted because of dissatisfaction. They have no reason to be satisfied because they live like gods ... not working hard, and come to the office around 9 am and noon to go home to pray, and it happens five times a day ... They have free medical treatment , education, electricity and all products are between 30 and 40 percent cheaper than at home. Anyone who wants to study abroad only need to write an application and receive a scholarship from the authorities. Nearly 5 million people have registered 15 million cars. In general, are luxurious cars and good, and have easy access to them because for a car you pay EUR 50.000 EUR 3.000 or 4.000, and the rest is subsidized by the state.

Cheap food, cheap fuel, education and free health care. Soon, Gaddafi will come to lament. Our people have lived and worked there knows this. May God give us Gaddafi government for 40 years.

The statements of our citizens who have lived and worked in Libya agree absolutely.The phone is free, electricity is free and available interest-free loans for up to 10 years. Housing is provided by the state or its price is symbolic. For a few dollars filled the tank of your car.

I returned to Serbia in the evacuation yesterday of Serbian workers from Libya. I would deny the false picture of events in Libya that have been shown in some reports. In the town where I lived it was very quiet, to the point where the kids went to school normally, shops were open and people moved freely. The Libyans who I worked with tried to convince me that the people are with Gaddafi ... Our people have experienced the same scenario and everyone knows well how propaganda works. I hope this is over as soon as possible and all, including the news agency [B92] show the true picture of events in Libya.


You know, many of Croats and Serbs worked in Libya for a quite substantial sums. Most of them were extremely satisfied. I know quite a few of them, so i guess i'll have to ask them. :D

My experience with Libyans and Libya was great, but that was some 20 years ago, so i can't talk about the recent situation...
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 10:22 am » by Svaha


Also deep drilling for water in the desert.

Most people just don't believe this, see how dependant we have become on info sources that lie all the time.
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 10:25 am » by Legalizeheroin


Gaddafi is no prince charming, but he has been demonized by western powers to make their cash(oil)-grabbing imperialistic nonsense more palatable to the sheep.
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 11:05 am » by Edgarrothstein


I can only hope that Wesley Clark was lying. Otherwise...

"Flashback: At a Democracy Now! event held on March 2, 2007, former presidential candidate and Four-Star General, Wesley Clark (Ret.), described a memo he was shown that the Bush Administration planned to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran between 2007 and 2012. "


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The things regarding Libya are from 1:22 >

Just disregard that pseudo-occult entourage, and listen to the general. :wink:
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 11:23 am » by Svaha


edgarrothstein wrote:I can only hope that Wesley Clark was lying. Otherwise...

"Flashback: At a Democracy Now! event held on March 2, 2007, former presidential candidate and Four-Star General, Wesley Clark (Ret.), described a memo he was shown that the Bush Administration planned to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran between 2007 and 2012. "


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The things regarding Libya are from 1:22 >

Just disregard that pseudo-occult entourage, and listen to the general. :wink:


People like Cheney where / are behind that plan, I think the 'final' goal is to get a grip on China.
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 11:26 am » by Edgarrothstein


svaha wrote:
edgarrothstein wrote:I can only hope that Wesley Clark was lying. Otherwise...

"Flashback: At a Democracy Now! event held on March 2, 2007, former presidential candidate and Four-Star General, Wesley Clark (Ret.), described a memo he was shown that the Bush Administration planned to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran between 2007 and 2012. "


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The things regarding Libya are from 1:22 >

Just disregard that pseudo-occult entourage, and listen to the general. :wink:


People like Cheney where / are behind that plan, I think the 'final' goal is to get a grip on China.


Oh, i think that's going to be a very hard nut to crack...
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 12:03 pm » by Svaha


Yes, I agree, the Chinese sticked to planning the old way, long term planning, and that pays of now.
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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 2:06 pm » by Frankenstein


svaha wrote:Yes, I agree, the Chinese sticked to planning the old way, long term planning, and that pays of now.


The Chinese are indeed very long term thinkers and it is paying off well for them at the moment. But many things can come unstuck and the result could be WWIII. China is currently on target to be the next world power. Nothing the west has done has slowed that down in the slightest and China's military is far ahead of what the west expected.

We certainly live in interesting times.



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