Monday, April 25th, 2011

Oh Good, We Bombed a Library

Things in Libya are… God, this is depressing. But we've apparently done great damage to Gaddafi's Bab al-Azizya compound! Take that, books and files! Worry not, Lindsey Graham and John McCain are out agitating for us to just assassinate Gaddafi. (I'm pretty sure that's what "cut the head of the snake off" means.) You know: the American way.

Elsewhere? Much worse! Apparently government troops are firing on protesters in Yemen today, and, after the horrific weekend in Syria, "Syrian troops and tanks have entered the city of Deraa, where the protests against the Assad regime began last month. Troops reportedly opened fire randomly on people and made arrests." Syria's borders have been locked down; the U.S. is preparing sanctions. John McCain might go over and cut some snake-heads off by hand though?

18 Comments / Post A Comment

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

But don't we all want to live in a world where political assassination is an acceptable option in foreign policy?

anybody else get the distinct feeling that we are on the brink of world war III?

Keith Kisser (#9,714)

@grawlsy, himself.@twitter

Yeah. The bigger problem is, this time we're playing the part of Germany.

deepomega (#1,720)

@Keith Kisser So you're saying that we SHOULDN'T annex Libya???

Of all the reasons to be depressed, NATO's work in Libya should be near the bottom of the list. We're supporting a popular uprising against a venal, murderous despot. Qadaffi is killing dozens a day with shelling, he has all of Tripoli on lockdown and tosses anyone who opposes him into torture dungeons. Sic Semper Tyrannis.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

It would be a little less depressing if NATO's work were, you know, working.

Lockheed Ventura (#5,536)

@louis_abelman@twitter The uprising is just not that popular or effective. Maybe a few thousand active, grossly inept fighters who are largely driven by traditional tribal divisions and not any overarching political agenda. While oppressive, Qadaffi is not the worst dictator in the region and is hardly relevant to American interests. Military adventurism of this nature will only hasten our bankruptcy.

@Lockheed Ventura The rebels have the overwhelming support of the population, at least those who are free to speak without being killed. "traditional tribal divisions"– that's orientalist garbage, and I doubt you have a single source to back it up. Libya isn't Yemen. "overarching political agenda" — how about not living under the whims of a jericurled maniac who uses the country you live in as his private farm and harem? Seems straightforward to me.

@louis_abelman@twitter *pops popcorn*

No but seriously: I have mixed feelings about this Libyan adventure! I think he's a terrible pig! I would like that country to have a civil war that results in meaningful and democratic change!

Not sure I'm gonna get that though….

Lockheed Ventura (#5,536)

@louis_abelman@twitter Qadaffi while a dictator actually shares his wealth with the population and has used graft and jobs to secure tribal alliances. I am sorry, but if you are serious about Libya, you must pay attention to tribal issues.

Do you trust this source?

@Lockheed Ventura I'm not denying the existence of traditional tribes in Libya. But has there been any instance or proof of "tribal division" playing a role in the conflict since it started? The opposition has shown itself to be pluralist; meanwhile Qadaffi fights with his sons' militias and hired mercenaries. Hardly tribe-on-tribe action. "Tribe" is low on the list of things a modern Libyan young person uses to identify him or herself.

roboloki (#1,724)

i completely agree with your contension that tribalism is not a driving force behind the uprising in libya, even though qadaffi exploited those old divisions to bolster his power. i am concerned, though not depressed, that our current endeavors to limit qadaffi's power and influence will inevitably result in another long conflict in which we shouldn't be involved. the no-fly zone was not an effective solution in iraq and i see no evidence that this will be any different.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

Hey, I just had an idea for a new internet rule! Here goes:

Before using the word "tribe" or its derivatives, explain to yourself out loud the difference between "tribe," in this context, and "community of brown people."

Lockheed Ventura (#5,536)

@DoctorDisaster Sorry, the fact that a word might make you uncomfortable does not mean that it not appropriate in this context. There is nothing demeaning or condescending about belonging to a tribal group.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

@Lockheed So… you don't know the difference either?

Lockheed Ventura (#5,536)

@DoctorDisaster Tribal identities exist throughout the world and have a materially different meaning from the generic term "community of brown people"? Tribal groups are a means of social organization based on kinship and traditional values that is different from an ethnic identity, a national identity or a religious identity. Managing tribal relations is critical to the US military operations throughout the world.

Begin reading on page 10.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

@Lockheed Uh… you realize that this paper you linked to cites someone else's use of the word "tribe" and then carefully explains why it will use "traditional social network" instead? I mean, there's a whole lot of interesting stuff to debate here — the author claims that traditional social networks have been "supplanted" in the industrialized world, but gives a definition of them that neatly describes most bible study groups, sports fans, and political activists, for instance — but if you're looking to stump for a particular term, you probably shouldn't trot out a paper that spells out why it prefers a different one.

El Matardillo (#586)

Our actions in Libya are no big whoop. Our boys are just getting in a little practice between tournaments.

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