Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Short Victorious War

More and more each day I think there might be something to Justin Raimondo's "bizarro world" theory - that this is actually a parallel universe, a parody of our own.

At moments it appears to be 1992 and not 2011, as John McCain and Joe Lieberman clamor for "arming the rebels" and call for sanctions and a no-fly zone. Only this time it is Libya, not Bosnia, in their sights.

As I argued last weekend, the creeping intervention in Bosnia in the 1990s was declared a brilliant success at the time, and that perception was trumpeted even more in the wake of fiascoes that were Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. The current Clinton Restoration government wants nothing more than to repair the Empire's shredded credibility, shaken not only by the futile wars but also the economic crisis and the "sandstorm" of revolts in northern Africa. So they are trying for a Bosnia scenario in Libya, with the usual suspects saying the usual things, while emotional Libyans go on CNN and beg for the Empire to "do something."

Much of modern warfare is perception management (though not all of it; at the end of the day it's still men with rifles that decide things, as the Empire had plenty of opportunities to learn, but somehow never did). The problem with the Empire being so good at it, though, is that after a while other people have begun to understand it as well. So, while a freelance reporter could spin Bosnia as seventeen different flavors of aggression and genocide before breakfast, today such a mission is a tad more difficult.

For example, RT reporters in Tripoli, who were trying to confirm CNN and Al-Jazeera reports of bombings and gunfire in Libya's capital, found none of it. Which begs the question how much of what we hear as "news" from Libya is actually accurate, and how much is the product of a Hearstian directive to furnish the pictures so the Empire could furnish the war?

RT had me as a guest on their evening news yesterday, talking about that particular topic. Even a casual observer can get a sense that everything that's being said and done about Libya these days has been said and done before, in other places, regarding other people. It sounds, reads and feels like a script. Probably because it is.

What business is that of the United States of America, or the European Union, that there seems to be a civil war in Libya? Egypt and Tunisia I could understand, on account of Ben Ali and Mubarak being recipients of American and European funding. Who rules Libya and how can be of concern to the EU only regarding the number of immigrant boatloads landing in Italy, and to the U.S. not at all. Unless having oil automatically makes a country an American "territory of interest"?

Another proof that we live in a bizarre universe is that Eric Margolis and I actually agree on something. When the Empire was targeting the Serbs, he was baying for blood. Only when those bombs and missiles were aimed at Muslims did he suddenly discover the virtues of non-interventionism. Whatever his reasons, though, he's right to argue against an intervention in Libya.

To most Americans, war is an abstraction. It is something that happens in faraway lands, and may require some people to sacrifice their children, but otherwise doesn't do a thing to interfere with anyone's everyday life. There hasn't really been a war on American soil since 1865. So the generals at the Pentagon move markers on maps, and the harpies at the State Department shriek about a military that needs to be used, and the kids that enlisted because McDonald's wasn't hiring push the buttons they are told to push, and foreigners die. Except when those foreigners fight back, and those very same kids end up without lives, arms, legs, or sanity. Not that the generals, the harpies and the vast majority of the country actually care.

For far too long, America's policymakers have lived in the parallel universe of managed perception, to the point where they've begun believing their own manufactured reality is the actual one. In their heads, there's nothing like a "short, victorious war" to cheer the country up, buoy the economy, and give the ruling party a boost at the polls. If they would bother to check the actual history, they would see that this scenario has never worked, for anyone who tried it. But they don't. And so they prepare to go to the shores of Tripoli, unaware that their own Empire is unraveling so quickly that all it needs to collapse completely is just a little push. Which going into Libya just might be.


Mark Johnson said...

Okay, GF, I'll throw down the gauntlet here. A question with no right answer:

What is the most appropriate form of international intervention in a case like Libya; a bloody revolution where the details are far from clear?

CubuCoko said...

Why does anything need to be done? I mean, it's their country. They have the right to sort it out themselves. And neither the US nor the EU have neither the right nor the obligation to get involved at all.

Of course, if it is true that the revolt was actually organized in DC (I've seen allegations to that extent), then the intervention is already well underway...

Aleks said...

Writing of wierd stuff, 1: Ex head of the British armed forces General Dannatt just wrote:

"...But if that did not produce the desired effect, in the way that the bombing campaign in Kosovo and Serbia in 1999 nearly failed to achieve its aim, is the international community willing to take the intervention to the next level?"


It's nice to see it confirmed by such a person that NATO almost imploded over Kosovo. It's a pity that he glosses over or is economical with the other facts in his letters such as it was the US threat to carpet bomb Belgrade that made Yeltsin stab the serbs in the back and lead to 'peace'.

2: My other bugbear is to do with Chirac who is supposed to be put before the judges for corrupt political practices. He, in my opinion, has just as much blood on his hands as the Germans and Austrians do for formenting the war in the former Yugoslavia. By flying in to Sarajevo 'to save it' he in fact gave Izetbegovic and friends a critical breathing space which was exploited and led to the war continuing with the deaths of over 100,000 people. If 'begovic had been forced in to uncontestable defeat at this point, there wouldn't have been all these deaths, but no, the West had to keep it going until the right side 'won' and reach a peace agreement that was essentially the same at the end of the war as the Cutilhero plan proposed before the war.

The above sailent facts follow to the present day to highlight how Chirac's 'do something' action which many of the humanitarian interventionist squeal at the drop of a hat or the repetition of massively exaggerated casualties in fact leads to far more death.

Nothing learned, nothing gained.

Further, on Libya, shouldn't the media be asking the real question, WTF aren't their neighbors supporting the rebels (though we can assume that weapons are in the pipeline already)?

CubuCoko said...

Aleks, thanks for that first link. Truth will out, even if by stealth!

Now as for Chirac, he wasn't the one who visited Sarajevo; that was his predecessor and rival, Mitterand. Right criticism, wrong Frenchman.

Mark Johnson said...

You're right. It's not like 'we' have to get involved. The US getting involved in any way, as usual, will be an unqualified disaster. The neighbours have made it known they're not keen on outside intervention.

What I meant to imply was the moral quagmire of what happens when there are multiple shades of gray: Humanitarian disasters, atrocities, calls specifically for international help from the affected. And, we note, certain commodity price increases.

And these conditions prevail whilst we don't know the conditions or the truth of the matter, etc...

It says enough that the neighbours haven't mobilized yet already. I'm not asking to prove a point or some such. I really don't know what to think of foreign military intervention in a humanitarian situation within a civil war.

No deliberate allusions to any past conflicts intended. Indeed, this situation is different enough in it's own way that there is no clear precedent.

Aleks said...

Thanks for putting me straight GF. It was a long time ago and all those french presidents behave the same, obnoxiously superior.

My thought process went something like this:

a) Balkans+
b) Annoying Frenchman+
c) A big gesture that leads to or perpetuates disaster.

Speaking of timing, I've just heard that the French have 'recognized' the Libyan opposition as the legitimate government!!!

Now all Gadhaffi has to do is massacre some nuns and the west can storm in... It could be a musical called 'Gadhaffi Act' where the libyan opposition hides out under wimples from the evil Gadhaffi and un-surprisingly has the other nuns pitch in to save them at the last moment.

Musn't mention France's gloroius behavior over Algeria in 1991 either.

Bruno said...

Hello grey falcon i have seen some videos of the Bosnian muslim terrorists at a forum called above top secret, it didnt take only a matter of seconds and minutes for the bosnian muslim to attack the forum user who posted them and even called him a lair, and they have said that the videos he posted wont fly.

If you want to see where debate is going heres the site

I wonder what yours take on it?

CubuCoko said...

Bruno, normally I'd consider this an off-topic comment, but I'll respond.

The original poster is handicapped by the inability to argue in English, but his detractors' "arguments" are demonstrably untrue.