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March 23, 2011


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Thanks, Jon. This has been a most confusing adventure. I try to temper my knee-jerk aversion to the horrors of war-making, try to give a fair hearing for each of these "goatfuck" operations.

So many on the left seem just a little too quick to jump on the idea that the United States government is actually assisting revolutionaries. As you've discussed here, it's a tad bit more "complicated" than that...

I'll confess to some quiet hope that getting rid of a horrible dictator will make life better to the people he tyrannized. The funny thing is that I knew that would probably not be the case in Iraq, that overthrowing Saddam would only serve to release tribal animosities and destabilize the region. So what's the difference?

For what it's worth, I think it was the sight of individuals risking everything against a monster like Gaddafi. The David vs Goliath imagery was all I needed to feel emotionally charged. And it's that charge that can fortify us against the bitter pills of realism and caution.

We don't know what the ultimate price will be, the outcome, or the number of dominos that will fall. We like to think we will be courageous when a situation demands action. So, we persuade ourselves that this war is a proxy for personal courage (whereas the wars that don't make it to our TV screen can be safely ignored).

Sometimes these things work out according to the Hollywood script. Usually, they don't. When a John McCain demands that we not only establish a no-fly zone immediately, but that we also apply other resources (presumably including combat troops), we know the empire is speaking through its ass. For McCain, it's enough to pose as a valiant warrior since it's his only claim to our respect. But some of us will ponder whether our nation can be liberated from its war cheerleaders and plutocrats. I'd be content if we at least established a no-lie zone over Washington.

Wasn't McCain in Libya in 2002 or '03 kissing dictatorial ass in order to get arm sales?


I completely empathize with the emotions and imagery associated with the nascent revolution in Libya, and others elsewhere.

However, I think that it's the ultimate poison-pill to any revolution to have any state, let alone an empire, "assist" it.

Might have been possible of the US actually embodied its ostensible charters, but those days are past (and probably never really existed.)

electricdog, true, and even more recently: http://www.tfdnews.com/news/2011/03/22/87748-john-mccain-was-favor-supplying-military-aid-gaddafi-before-he-for-forces-looking-topple.htm

Petro, I agree. To be clear: I think this "war" is a bad idea.

Oops! Had that backasswards! Thanks for the link soleri.

It will require enormous willpower to stop when there is no more to be done by simply using air power. What happens if there is a military stalemate? What if the rebels win and commit massacres in Tripolis? What if Libya drifts into anarchy? Already there is mission creep. Are they 'protecting civilians' or flying air support for the rebels? A French newspaper reports that the French secret service is delivering heavy weaponry to Benghazi (arms embargo?!). If the situation stalls I'm afraid the ego of Président Hyperactif and everyone else won't let it go. The ironies of history are brewing again.

A reporter who visited Libya as the rebellion broke out called the reflex of the West to think of the protests as a fight for democracy "wishful thinking à la CNN". And it's true. The narrative of the imminent genocide and the murderous dictator who is being removed by freedom fighters is as clichéd as it is ubiquitous. This seems more like a tribal power struggle than a fashionable revolution tailed by a long-running conflict (refugee crisis incl.). Also a good opportunity to learn how to let go.


This "war" is a bad idea. Our assistance was needed if any action was to occur (other countries don't have our jamming and air power capabilities) but I truly hope European powers take their commitment seriously and our boots remain off Lybian soil! I strongly believe American ground forces will not be deployed as an invading and policing force.

You go into the future with the population you have and not the population you wish you had...

Look at the population we have...
We don't know much about anything. Do we?
So much so, I've thought of starting a blog to capture every news item that begins "half of all Americans don't know." Steve Allen saw it coming years ago. He gave it a name. He called it Dumbth. It's now here in the flesh and running for President in 2012. And you too can become a fan of it on facebook....

Which also prompts me to ask: What do Americans know?

Well we have been watching Gunsmoke and it's various incarnations since infancy. We've seen 1000s of hours of shows of this sort. So much so, that in our American minds violence is the universal hammer that works on every ilk of nail. The bad guys always get the bullet. The white hats win. We know how all our dramas end; yet still we applaud when the good guy pumps the bearded bankster full of lead. Catharsis! Happiness is a warm gun...

Now given all that...
And given that I think that reelecting President Hoover with his Spock ears is absolute vital --and here I see you demurring, so let me explain why:

President Hoover and his Administration believes in Science with a big S. And with 7 billion humans and with global warming drawing nigh, all desirable solutions to saving humanity going forward are totally dependent on science. Full double stop.

The alternative is a Republican president who believes in talking snakes, thinks science is for pinkos, believes in the efficacy of prayer, and doubts global warming, the germ theory, and evolution. The only future with that sort of President is one that is hand-made with dirty nails and whooping coughs. Where we squat in our yurts and feed carefully husbanded cow pies into the heirloom brazier and mumble antique prayers for the return of the sun...

Please. We are too far along to go back.
Get over your romantic ideas of the past.

The bottom line is that Science will either save us or it wont. But nothing else will...
So Science is the ticket going forward.
Lots of it...

And that's why President Hoover with the Spock ears must win in 2012...

What's all this got to do with Libya?
I think it will end successfully.
The bad guy will get the bullet in the end.
The audience will applaud the one thing they understand: Violence works!

In other words, the Libyan entanglement INCREASES Hoover's chances of being reelected, and science funding continuing on apace...

Like I almost said at the beginning: You go into the future manipulating the population you have, not the population you wish you had.

This is the right war at the right time against the right foe. I tip my hat to the guy with Spock ears.
Well-played Mr. Obama.

What's with the Spock ears thing?

As eyesight and hearing diminish, I've come to trust my gut more and more. It tells me that we had no choice but to put the clamps on what would have been a human disaster. Granted, what happens from here could be some version of Jon's goat analogy. Or not!?

There were too many sudden questions about the risks of nuclear power. It's impossible to not notice how quickly those questions became muted as soon as the bombs started falling in Lie-be-ya.

The same industries that make nuclear power systems also make bombs. Bombs are way more fun when they explode.

What's with the Spock ears thing?


There has been a great media obsession regarding Obama being dispassionate and logical. This has caused a collocation of the words Obama and Spock.

Since I was writing about Science, it seemed appropriate to point out that there is more to President Hoover than just his economic passivity. In other words, at least Hoover has an ear for Science....

With the Spock comment...I now understand. I had to think for a minute, not having grown up in the Star Trek era of Spock. Then I remembered the newer Star Trek movie of 2009, with Chris Pine, and it came to me...

War Hope Peace war Hope Peace War Hope Peace War Hope Peace War Hope Peace
As I reported previously, I have two Jewish friends. I also have two liberal Democrat friends. However I only have two friends not four. Upon the election of Obama my liberal democratic Jewish friends were extremely elated and had great HOPE for the future. I told them I was very sad and they said that’s because you are a republican. I said no I feel sad for you and many others like you. For while Obama offered hope I knew not even Superman could do much to change the course of the future. The human condition would prove to be the ball of kryptonite around his neck and the yoke harnessing mans ability to practice the art of free will. For the likes of you hopeful, may the power be with you. Personally I am taking a flat in Algeria and wile away the time smoking French cigarettes, drinking Arabic coffee, lifting a few veils and visiting the haunts of Camus.
Maybe the OAS was right?
Absurd just F---ing absurd

@cal Lash:

With all due respect (and not least because you are a presence here respected not only by me but by many others!), the Problem With Obama is that he wasn't "Superman," to put it glibly. Far from it, he answered to overlords in a fashion to similar to the Republican way.

Not to say he should've martyred himself against the PTB and the Military-Industrial Complex, etc... but, wait, yeah. He should've.

Hyperbole aside, he didn't even give a friendly wink to the people. A disingenuous one or two, to be sure, but the man could've done more, he didn't, and here we are.

Thanks Petro at times I feel really challenged to stay with the intellect that inhabits this blog.

The intervention may have prevented or delayed the slaughter of many civilians. It should also be acknowledged that the US actions taken by Obama were in accordance with much of the world unlike the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 which alienated much of the world. The actions do not appear well planned, however, the US planned the 2003 Iraq invasion for quite a while and how did that work out?

Domestic problems continue to grow. This will occur as long as the Reagan illusion that the solution to all social and economic issues is to lower taxes. This philosophy has run its course, but the true believers on the right can't adjust their outlook. In 1980, the top income tax rate was 70% and federal regulations were excessive. The US has slowly swung to the other end of the spectrum with too little taxation and inadequate government oversight.

Adsolute power corrupts absolutely. The powers the neocons and Congress gave Bush 43 are being taken a step further by Obama. Cheney must be wetting himself in frustration that he won't enjoy such power himself.


This is Bob Herbert's last column for the Times. I didn't read Herbert consistently until a couple of years ago. Then he started writing about the economic crisis in a way other pundits either couldn't or wouldn't. He found his voice and my gratitude. This one is a gem.

Wow. Herbert, Krugman, and Rich are the only columnists worth reading in the NYT. Only one left.

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