Wednesday, June 01, 2011


As more news seeps out about the crumbling of Gaddafi's army, it seems a good time to look back on some of the recent commentary on Libya from the usual suspects - a study in the pathology of pessimism, a peculiar trait of the Guardianista.

First up, here's Richard Norton-Taylor:
In Libya, there is no end in sight to a campaign which is not succeeding in its UN-sanctioned aim to protect civilians.
 Hang on a second. "Not succeeding"?  Have I missed something here? Did Gaddafi's tanks and mercenaries actually carry out their slaughter in Benghazi and then move on throughout the East or did the UN action end up preventing it? And even if the conflict is dragging on with its horrible human cost, doesn't stopping Gaddafi's advance and saving the East from his clutches, at the very least, amount to a success? Isn't it a little early to pronounce the whole affair a failure? The revolutionaries certainly do not agree.

And in the second example even Simon Jenkins admits as much. But being Simon Jenkins he is also always good for a bit of light relief.
Britain has done what it said it was going to do – it stopped Gaddafi visiting his wrath on Benghazi. It should then have left, returning only if he did. 
Did I read this right? The moment Gaddafi was forced back from Benghazi he should have been left to crush the revolution everywhere else, securing his power, reinforcing and re-equipping his army all the while? Is Jenkins really suggesting that British forces should have been withdrawn to let him get on with it as long as he didn't touch this one city? Extraordinary.

Finally, we have the star turn, Jonathan Steele.
The best way to protect Libya's desperate civilians is for Nato to reverse its mistaken policy of taking sides.
Leaving aside the obvious point that not taking sides is not an act of neutrality but is de facto support for the the side with the best military hardware - in this case Gaddafi - has his moral compass gone completely awry?  Should we not choose sides between, on the one hand, a popular democratic revolution and, on the other, a kleptocratic, murderous, family tyranny whose leaders have been indicted for crimes against humanity? Are they moral equivalents to be treated as equals? It is absolutely clear that this is precisely the time to take sides. We should support the struggle for democratic change against the systematic violence of fascistic autocrats. Studious and oh so reasonable sounding neutralism is, in reality, the betrayal of the hopes of people risking everything for the sake of freedom.

The least we can give to the revolutionaries is our solidarity, the best is our help when it is requested, the worst is our disdain for their incredible courage in demanding to have what we so casually take for granted.


Graeme said...

Can't be arsed looking it up but Steele wrote a few years ago about how things weren't so bad under the Taliban because girls were homeschooled, so I'm not sure that he's had much of a moral compass for quit a few years now.

Otherwise, right on.

Bob-B said...

More evidence that if you hate your own society enough you are more or less bound to end up giving aid and comfort to all sorts of disgusting forces including psychopathic dictators.

Will said...

boB-B talks and dribbles shit.

Anton Deque said...

The D.T.'s Con Coughlin was adamant for non-intervention last evening on B.B.C. T.V.'s Newsnight faced with a Libyian democrat and David Owen. It is interesting to recall in this of all weeks that it was the Right (and even further Right) that spoke out against involvement in the Balkans. Life, particularly if it is poor and far enough away is expendable. Our armed forces are merely there to protect the interests of dividend drawers apparently. Yet, the foot draggers and stay-at-homes in Europe have something to answer for also.

Anonymous said...

Libyan democrats generally have no place in the non-interventionist narrative and serve only to confuse them greatly!