Posted by: quiscus | April 4, 2011

April 4, 2011

1.  ” false dichotomy by charles davis

Governments don’t abide by the same rules that govern the rest of us. They steal. They kidnap. They kill. And they do so with impunity, possessing a monopoly over the legally sanctioned, societally condoned use of force.

So it’s odd to see University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole writing of the U.S. government’s commitment to a military alliance, NATO, in terms of a “moral obligation” – one to bomb Libya, no less – as if the same state that killed millions in Vietnam and Iraq possesses the desire or ability to be an upstanding moral actor. Odder still: demonstrating the existence of said “moral obligation” by citing NATO’s participation in an unjust military occupation of Afghanistan that only underscores the inability of Western powers to carry out the “humanitarian” wars of liberal lore.

Thanks for the reminder, professor: NATO has long been a means for the U.S. to circumvent democratic input and gain supporting firepower for its unjust wars and brutal military occupations – wars and occupations “almost universally” opposed by the citizens on whose behalf they’re ostensibly being undertaken. But are we supposed to think that’s a good thing — that an alliance that repeatedly defies the will of the public to carry out immoral wars is something to be preserved and protected, rather than undermined at every opportunity?

If Cole really cares about protecting civilians, he should be cheering “the end of NATO,” not raising the specter of its collapse as a bugaboo by which to justify another bombing campaign against a Muslim nation with oil. After all, as Cole points out, NATO is crucial to the occupation of Afghanistan, where almost every day brings news of more innocent women and children murdered by their country’s occupiers. Should the alliance collapse — as it should have two decades ago when its stated reason for existence, the Soviet Union, dissolved — so could the occupation of Afghanistan (and the deadly drone war next door in Pakistan), an outcome that would save a lot more lives than tossing cruise missiles into Libya and prolonging a bloody civil war.

But the good professor seems more concerned with myopic imperial considerations and the playing the role of an ivory tower Kissinger — pretending nation-states that carry out immoral wars have “moral obligations” to a military alliance — than the big picture ramifications of bolstering an organization that regularly kills poor people who have the misfortune of living somewhere of “strategic interest.” A U.S. refusal to participate in a war against Libya could anger officials in Britain and France, Cole gravely warns, which could jeopardize the very existence of the military alliance that makes the occupation of Afghanistan tenable!”

2.  “Gaddaffi’s African “Mercenary” Story is a Disinformation Ploy by the CIA

Adding to the psychological warfare operations that trumpeted the presence of ‘African mercenaries’ among the Gaddafi forces was a ‘made-in-Israel’ report that Gaddafi, with the support of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Aman intelligence chief Aviv Kokhavi had arranged, through the Israeli security firm Global CST, the secret transport of 50,000 African mercenaries into Libya. Gaddafi was said to have paid Israel $5 billion to the Israelis for the mercenaries. The report of an Israeli connection to blacks in Libya fueled the anger of radical Islamists among the Libyan rebels who were convinced that Gaddafi not only had a secret deal with Israel but that he was a ‘crypto Jew’ because his grandmother was Jewish. The charge was broadcast on Israeli national television by a Libyan Jewish woman who claimed she was related to Gaddafi. Other Zionist-influenced media sources reported that Gaddafi was relying on Serbian, Ukrainian, and Syrian pilots and a group of fierce Tuareg tribal warriors recruited from across the Saharan Desert.

The Washington Times, a right-wing fringe newspaper owned by self-proclaimed Korean ‘Messiah’ Sun Myung Moon, ran an op-ed on March 21 by Prince Mohamed Hilal al Senussi, a member of the former Libyan royal family Gaddafiousted in a 1969 coup. Senussi likened the Libyan rebels to members of the Republican ‘Tea Party’ in the United States and he repeated the charge that Qaddafi was using black African mercenaries: ‘In Baida, over 100 perished in the hands of Gaddafi-employed African mercenaries from Chad, Niger and Mali, prompting local police forces and members of the army to break ranks from the regime to protect their unarmed countrymen.’

The connivance of Western intelligence agencies, in concert with Israeli elements and Western corporate media, laid the groundwork for the massacre of black Libyans and blacks from other parts of Africa, has enraged African-Americans who previously supported Obama in his political campaigns in Illinois and nationally.Obama, America’s first African-American president, now has the distinction of being the only American president to launch a bloody war on an African nation. In the eyes of many African-American political activists, Obama has revealed himself to be as much a tool of the CIA, Wall Street, the oil companies as past white American presidents.”

3.  “There are several points worth highlighting about all of this. First, it demonstrates how many people purport to believe in free speech but don’t. The whole point of the First Amendment is that one is free to express the most marginalized, repellent, provocative and offensive ideas. Those are the views that are always targeted for suppression. Mainstream orthodoxies, harmless ideas, and inoffensive platitudes require no protection as they are not, by definition, vulnerable to censorship. But as has been repeatedly seen in history, ideas that are despised and marginalized are often proven right, while ideas that enjoy the status of orthodoxy prove to be deeply erroneous or even evil. That’s why no rational person trusts the state — or even themselves — to create lists of Prohibited Ideas. And those who endorse the notion that ideas they hate should be forcibly suppressed inevitably — and deservedly — will have their own ideas eventually targeted by the same repressive instruments.

If you’re someone who wants to vest the state with the power to punish the expression of certain views on the grounds that the view is so wrong and/or hurtful that its expression should not be permitted — as European countries and Canada routinely do — then you’re someone who does not believe in free speech, by definition; what you believe is that one is free to express only those viewpoints which the majority of citizens (and the State) allow to be expressed. Many of the most important views throughout history have been, at some point, hurtful, dangerous and even violence-engendering. The whole reason for free speech protections is to safeguard such ideas — despised by the majority — from suppression. Burning the Koran is despicable, but it’s every bit as much core political speech as burning the American flag or an effigy of a hated political leader, or tearing up a picture of — or publishing cartoons unfavorably depicting — a religious leader.”


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