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The just fight not fought

September 14th, 2011

That’s the title of my Fin column from 1 September, which I meant to post earlier. It’s over the fold

The just fight not fought

In most respects, the outcome of the revolution in Libya have been as good as could reasonably be expected. Gaddafi is gone and, even if he finds temporary refuge with some friendly fellow-dictator, will almost certainly end his days in a prison cell somewhere. While the fighting has been bloody, it has probably cost less lives than if Gaddafi had been allowed to carry out his threats to hunt down his opponents, ‘alley by alley’.

While there is no guarantee that Gaddafi’s departure will be followed by the emergence of a democratic, or even stable government, success or failure will be primarily up to Libyans themselves. The NATO countries have avoided the near-certain disaster of becoming occupying powers.

Finally, by comparison with other recent wars, the Libya effort looks cheap. Reports suggest that the cost to the US, UK and other European members of NATO will be around $1 billion each. The destruction and disruption of economic activity within Libya must be many billions more. But even total costs of $10 billion are insignificant compared to the trillion dollar costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with no real end in sight in either case.

By the standards of military spending, then, the $1 billion the US spent on the Libyan war is a derisory sum But it is the same amount that the US gave last year to global efforts to fight malaria and TB, largely preventable diseases that kill millions of people every year and disable tens of millions more. It is twice as much as the US has given to relief efforts for the East African famine which has already claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Similar calculations could be made for the other NATO countries. Indeed, the same is true of Australia. We were happy to spend $1 billion for the liberation of Timor, and hundreds of millions more to redeploy troops in the wake of civil disorder in 2008. Yet our annual development assistance to Timor, one of the poorest countries in the world, is barely $100 million a year.

Of course, it would have been terrible to allow Gaddafi to murder thousands of his citizens as he threatened to do. More generally, it is hard to stand by and watch crimes like Gaddafi’s being committed. The urge to use force to prevent such crimes is almost irresistible.

And it is here that the big danger from the Libyan war arises. The success of the Libya campaign will encourage yet more military interventions, some of which are bound to be disasters like that in Iraq.

Already there is talk of an ‘Obama doctrine’, in which Libya will serve as a template for future NATO operations, conducted at long distance, and with minimal risk of casualties on the NATO side.

In this respect, the example of Libya is far less encouraging than it might seem. After the sudden collapse of Gaddafi’s resistance, those who predicted an endless stalemate are looking a bit foolish. Nevertheless, the NATO campaign took nearly six months to weaken Gaddafi to the point where the rebels could prevail. The crucial constraint was the need to avoid civilian casualties.

The US, in its drone campaigns against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, has been much more willing to undertake attacks where civilians are, or may be, killed.

As a result, the US campaign has killed dozens of leading figures in both Al Qaeda and the Taliban, along with hundreds, if not thousands, of rank-and-file jihadists. On the other hand, there is a seemingly endless supply of replacements. Undoubtedly, many of these recruits are motivated by the desire to avenge family members and friends killed in earlier raids.

So, the advocates of military intervention need to face the fact that, if the killing of innocent civilians is unacceptable, such interventions will be costly and the outcomes uncertain. On the other hand, if civilian casualties are treated as inevitable ‘collateral damage’, interventions may achieve their military goals quickly, but then fail politically as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Opponents of intervention must accept that their position means that the crimes of dictatorial regimes will often go unpunished. Even if there is no better alternative, this is a very bad outcome. But it is far worse that the world allows the daily deaths of thousands, many of them children, from entirely preventable causes.

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  1. haiku
    September 14th, 2011 at 07:00 | #1

    Is there a typo in para 3? Afghanistan should be Libya?

  2. Oliver Townshend
    September 14th, 2011 at 09:10 | #2

    And another type – rebels not revels.

  3. TerjeP
    September 14th, 2011 at 09:28 | #3

    Opponents of intervention must accept that their position means that the crimes of dictatorial regimes will often go unpunished. Even if there is no better alternative, this is a very bad outcome.

    As somebody that generally advocates a non-interventionist foreign policy, except were important alliances are at stake, I accept that bad people will go unpunished. It is not the role of government to punish bad people resident in other jurisdictions. The role of our government is to protect our people.

    Having said that our government shouldn’t be punishing our people if they join foreign militia to liberate foreign lands. For the sake of clarity the government should maintain a list of foreign governments that are fair game. North Korea should be on the list and Zimbabwe should be considered.

  4. John Quiggin
    September 14th, 2011 at 09:43 | #4

    Fortunately, the sub-editor at the Fin picked up the first typo before it went to print, but I still didn’t change my own version. Thanks to haiku and also Oliver for sharper eyes than mine.

  5. Chris Warren
    September 14th, 2011 at 10:42 | #5

    I don’t know whether anyone noticed the typical TerjeP statement:

    I generally support X as policy but in reality I do the exact opposite.

    And so the Yanks (and Blair plus Howard) blunder their way across the globe and through history.

  6. Fran Barlow
    September 14th, 2011 at 12:53 | #6

    I’d broadly endorse the PrQs observations both for good and ill.

    It seems to me though that there were three important factors that separated this intervention from others

    1. Local initiative. There’s no realistic basis for thinking that the strife in Libya was an expression of US/NATO design. Both during the conflict with the regime and now that it has fallen, it’s very clear that the question of sovereignty was local. There was also no good evidence that outside of the Gaddhafi clan and some mercenaries, that anyone wanted to defend the regime. Once it became clear that defecting was safe, the supporters became invisible.

    2. There was no prospect of physical occupation of the territory and the action had a clear end point on a fairly short timeline.

    3. It was very clear from the regime’s statements that there would be very large scale reprisals and collective punishment in areas controlled by the regime, delivered by indiscriminate uise of heavy weapons. There was thus a compelling reason to act to prevent what would be by any reasonable standard a war crime on a very large scale and in context, reasonable grounds for thinking that NATO assistance might restrain the worst of these atrocities. It certainly fit the description of a Chapter 7 violation.

    In short it ticked the boxes for technical, operational, schedule, legal and ethical feasibility. It might even have come up feaiblie on costs, thiough this would have been harder to assess. Assuming 5 million Libyans benefit, that’s about $2000 per Libyan. At a cost of about 3-5 trillion for Afghanistan/Iraq that works out at perhaps $100,000 per citizen aided, so far, and of course the mission is not complete or even successful and one would doubt that any tangible and sustainable benefit has flowed. We also have to look at the burgeoning local toll in casualties and the role of the aid in buttressing corrupt practice..

    So Afghanistan 2001-11 and 2003-12 in Iraq are very different from Libya 2012.

  7. TerjeP
    September 14th, 2011 at 13:05 | #7

    Chris – what are you accusing me of? I didn’t support Bush or Howard in their invasion of Iraq and I critical of the war objectives in Afghanistan (they should have mostly decapitated the Taliban and then left). If you are going to accuse me of something please be specific.

  8. TerjeP
    September 14th, 2011 at 13:08 | #8

    Fran – your observations are accurate but my conclusion is that we should have stayed out of Libya. And indeed Australia did.

  9. Donald Oats
    September 14th, 2011 at 13:26 | #9

    @Fran Barlow
    O/T: Fran, about an hour ago I saw Rob Oakshotte (in the House of Representatives) speaking to the “carbon tax” bills, and he quite deliberately spelt out that it is not a tax, that anything which can be bought and sold can hardly be a tax. So if you are looking for evidence that it is not a tax, you have his support in the place that matters most, at present.

  10. sam
    September 14th, 2011 at 13:37 | #10

    I pretty much agree with all this JQ. However, I have two things to add;

    The effects of the Libyan intervention go beyond just that country. There’s an expectations effect too. Future dictators may be more hesitant to use such brutal tactics to suppress their civilians if they know NATO planes will destroy their palaces. This effect would be difficult to quantify, but it is an additional argument in favour of intervention.

    Why not mention increasing access to contraception as a development strategy? Many conflicts now are over resource scarcity. This will only increase in the future as ecological pressures mount. The best, cheapest, and least coercive thing the West can do to reduce this is to support family planning in poor countries. This will mean both less overall suffering, and less wars than otherwise. Malaria and TB treatments are important, but they won’t produce as many long term benefits to societal stability as the stabilisation of the population.

  11. sam
    September 14th, 2011 at 13:44 | #11

    @Fran Barlow
    I agree with everything you say here Fran, and I think 3-5 trillion dollars is actually conservative. Joseph Stiglitz’s book “The three trillion dollar war” came out in 2008, and a lot more money has been spent since. It was only concerned with the costs of the Iraq war, and only with the effect on the US economy, not the world.

  12. rog
    September 14th, 2011 at 14:59 | #12

    Was the $1B nett of normal military costs? After all, the soldiers need to be paid regardless of their location.

    From what I have seen a lot of aid comes with strings, it has to be of goods and services originating from the donor country and may not be appropriate to the situation.

  13. rog
    September 14th, 2011 at 15:01 | #13

    Stigliz looked at the entirety of the Iraq conflict, which includes temporary and permanently incapacitated personnel and loss of attention to domestic issues, like banking.

  14. rog
    September 14th, 2011 at 15:03 | #14

    The US campaigns have created more enemy, for the local populace every day is a 9/11 with no end in sight.

  15. September 14th, 2011 at 15:48 | #15

    Every “intervention” involving boots on the ground carries within itself the seeds of its own ultimate failure (http://davidhortonsblog.com/2011/09/08/miracle-play/). The NATO approach in Libya carefully avoided that trap, but even there Ghadaffi could accuse the rebels of being traitors for fighting alongside NATO, and if the bombing campaign had continued for too much longer Libyans may well have begun to accept that view of proceedings.

  16. Fran Barlow
    September 14th, 2011 at 16:41 | #16

    @Donald Oats

    O/T so brief:

    That is interesting. Malcolm Farr also argued (not very persuasively IMO) that it was not a carbon tax in a blog on the Australian.

  17. Chris Warren
    September 14th, 2011 at 17:16 | #17


    Maybe rereading your original post would help.


    A – I generally support a non-interventionist as policy

    B – In reality I do the opposite – I support intervention (with such excuses as; alliance, on list of countries etc. etc.).

  18. rog
    September 14th, 2011 at 17:45 | #18

    ..or, these are exceptional circumstances requiring an exceptional response.

    Looking at recent footage of 9/11, when the plane hit the Pentagon Rumsfeld went out and helped with the injured. Noble sentiments but had he deserted his post? – he was unavailable for communication for quite some time. His subsequent comments and actions make me think that he lacks critical judgement, it’s all about him.

  19. Donald Oats
    September 14th, 2011 at 18:15 | #19

    Libya had the right confluence of factors for NATO’s no-fly zone strategy to be enough to tip things the rebels’s way. If fewer military people had crossed over to the rebel’s cause, if the rebels had too few weapons, if NATO hadn’t bombed fortified civilian areas where Gaddafi’s army had set up anti-aircraft artillery, cannons and the like, if a ground-swell of anti-Gaddafi protest had taken off too slowly so that Gaddafi’s army could suppress them successfully; if any one of those things had been the case, Libya might have blown up in NATO’s face.

    Luckily, it didn’t blow up (in NATO’s face). Now the big test is whether a democracy can rise from the rebel powerbase; and even bigger test is whether a secular democracy can be created. Hopefully this is a defining moment in Libyan history, and for all good reasons.

  20. Fran Barlow
    September 14th, 2011 at 18:44 | #20

    @Donald Oats

    I think it will be difficult. Being oppressed and bruatlised for four decades isn’t a great basis for open and transparent government. Neither is oil wealth. Just as individual long term abuse victims take a while, if they ever do, to put together what they need to get on with life it will probably be some time before they achieve effective and inclusive governance, if ever they do. If they mess up in the near term, we should attribute the lion’s share of responsibility where it properly lies — with the ancien regime.

    Of course now the door is at least notionally open, and that is is qualitatively better than was the case in February.

  21. Peter T
    September 14th, 2011 at 20:20 | #21

    “Doctrines” are largely exercises in rhetoric. Wars are all different – most of all because both sides learn and adapt. But Libya has similarities with the interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo (air in support of local forces, a ruler with a small and vulnerable political base, an army reliant on superiority in heavy weapons which make good targets…). These conditions are not likely to be common. As JQ says, the danger is that someone will mistake Syria for Libya or, worse, Iran.

  22. TerjeP
    September 14th, 2011 at 21:18 | #22

    Chris Warren :
    Maybe rereading your original post would help.
    A – I generally support a non-interventionist as policy
    B – In reality I do the opposite – I support intervention (with such excuses as; alliance, on list of countries etc. etc.).

    Chris – qualifying a position does not mean that in practice you believe the opposite. You have a way of reading what you want into what people say. And you tend to assume the worst of others. You ought to lighten up a touch.

    Do you think we should intervene abroad to honor an alliance?
    Do you think we should allow our nationals to volunteer to join foreign militia free from risk of prosecution?
    Do you think that we should otherwise stay out of wars abroad and use our defense force to defend our own territory?

    I agree with all three propositions. I’m not splitting hairs I’m just being frank about what I believe. If you disagree with me on some of these points then that’s fine but please don’t infer that I believe the opposite of what I say I believe.

  23. Chris Warren
    September 15th, 2011 at 09:32 | #23


    Almost all exploitation is camouflaged by pundits saying one thing and doing another, or attaching fine print as qualifications. In modern circumstances this is the basic subterfuge (or standard ploy) of profiteering and capitalism.

    Your real position is that you support and advocate intervention – whenever suitable, but you like to wear a cloak labelled “non-interventionist”. This is the old wolf-in-sheep’s -clothing trick.

    Most social democrats will support interventions based on their sense of morality and will oppose them also based on their sense of morality. Capitalists support interventions based on their sense of commerce and politics and oppose interventions where there appears to be no financial or political gain or purpose – irrespective of the moral need.

  24. pablo
    September 15th, 2011 at 10:29 | #24

    An interesting recent article in the Fin Review by a legal whiz (apologies for no name) gave details of share movements immediately prior to 9/11 suggesting certain international financial interests had prior knowledge, and subsequently profited. This possibility adds a whole new dimension to ‘interventions’ but I have seen nothing further in the AFR on the issue.
    You wonder if there wasn’t a bit of short selling on oil stocks prior to NATO intervening in Libya? New high tech weaponry probably moves the odds a way against a few other regimes falling…with market consequences!

  25. pablo
    September 15th, 2011 at 12:59 | #25

    Hugh McDermott a criminal barrister and a former ASIC manager of major fraud (AFR Sept 10/11).. quoting the International Organisation of Securities Commissions ” financial manoeuvres in days before 9/11 constituted the most important crime of insider trading ever committed”.

  26. Alan Wood (not that one)
    September 15th, 2011 at 14:35 | #26

    Chris Warren, almost all opinion needs some qualification. Thought requires classification and distinction where differences are significant. In post-modern circumstances, most people are aware that the world is a complex place and simple sloganeering doesn’t help discussion.

    Terje has made his position clear. External military action in support of alliances is not exactly ‘intervention’ – or were we intervening when we lost troops in Singapore? A policy of non-prosecution of private individuals for acts done outside our jurisdiction is not exactly intervention either – or was England intervening when it let George Orwell go to Catalonia? Neither of these constitutes support or advocacy of intervention “whenever suitable”. In fact, Terje indicated to Fran that he agreed that intervention in Libya was probably feasible, but that we still shouldn’t intervene in such a case.

    In your third paragraph, you get to your real problem with Terje. You seem to think that ‘whenever suitable’ means ‘based on cash’ for him, and ‘based on morality’ for you. You have couched it in terms of ‘most’ of two sides, which blurs the issue somewhat, but that seems to be your core objection. Otherwise, you seem to be saying that a difference between two systems of economic thought makes social democrats morally superior ipso facto. While Terje may be amoral, and indeed all libertarians may be, you haven’t demonstrated that. You have imputed nefarious motives to the viking boy just because you don’t like his political stripe. At least do better than ‘Did anyone else notice that I don’t like Terje?’

    Terje, how would you feel about Irish Americans funding the IRA, or Sudanese refugees in Oz funding the SPLM? (I have no evidence that the former happened, and don’t even suspect the latter – I’m just curious how far private liberty extends on this, in your view)

  27. sam
    September 15th, 2011 at 15:15 | #27

    TerjeP, I must say I find the absoluteness of your policy prescription a bit confusing. You might say, “In practice governments intervening militarily in foreign disputes for human rights reasons usually make things worse. Therefore governments generally should not do this.” I understand that as a reasonable position. You seem to go further and say “Governments intervening like this are actually acting immorally.” Surely we should just be utilitarian about this?

  28. Chris Warren
    September 15th, 2011 at 16:05 | #28

    @Alan Wood (not that one)

    Qualifications are fine – but not when they go as far as to undermine the subject or object of a qualification, or amount to restating to original.

    Example: Once-upon-a-time, the Australian Democrats put out a policy supposely banning nuclear powered ships from Australian ports. However in reality (ie in their draft Bill) this was qualified with “except for ships availing themselves of the right of innocent passage”.

    This was a stunt to cannibalise vote from the then NDP.

    As all ships to Australia enjoy “right of innocent passage” this qualification meant that all ships were exempted. Naturally the Democrat Billnever got anywhere, but everyone had a good laugh.

    We were certainly intervening when we lost troops in Singapore.

    George Orwell was certainly intervening when he went to Spain.

    Whenever suitable is a judgment based on other than just moral grounds, butfor capitalists mostly includes commerce and politics. Please do not reduce this to “cash”. There may be other grounds eg religion, ethnicity, border disputes.

    Cash motivates mercenaries (so sometimes applies).

    Social democracy is morally superior to Libertarian-capitalism.

    What a State may do when a citizen makes a private choice, is a complicated matter, and may or may not indicate State intervention. Although America has used supposed private citizens to intervene eg Bay of Pigs.

    External military action in support of alliances is always ‘intervention’ .

  29. TerjeP
    September 15th, 2011 at 19:46 | #29

    Terje, how would you feel about Irish Americans funding the IRA

    I don’t feel good about it. The nature of the IRA was (is) complex but much of it’s activity was criminal. The choice for the American government under the framework I envisage would be to choose to either recognise the legitimacy of the British government or not. If it recognised the British government then American nationals funding or participating in the IRA would be subject to legal reputations (either deportation or prosecution for foreign terrorism). However if the American government chose to list the British government as an outlaw regime it’s nationals would be free to participate in any militia activities against it. However non interventionism would suggest that the American government not send troops at taxpayer expense to fight for the Irish against the British. Noninterventionism means not spending taxpayers money on foreign campaigns. It does not necessarily mean preventing voluntary action by individual citizens.

    Ultimately though if America did invade Britian Australia should stay out of it unless our alliance agreements with Britian require otherwise (which they probably would).

  30. TerjeP
    September 15th, 2011 at 19:51 | #30

    Sam – we should be utilitarian but in terms of the action taken by the Australian government it is the utility of Australians that is of concern. Saving innocent life in Tunisia or elsewhere may be a worth activity for you or I but it is not the role of the Australian government. I believe in limited government and jurisdiction and borders are an important set of limits that healthy government is in general confined by. Just as they are confined by the words in the constitution and the rule of law.

  31. TerjeP
    September 15th, 2011 at 19:56 | #31

    p.s. I meant extradition not deportation in my answer to Alan.

  32. Fran Barlow
    September 15th, 2011 at 20:47 | #32


    Our “alliance” obligations are to consult. Nothing says we have to commit troops or even give support.

  33. TerjeP
    September 15th, 2011 at 21:11 | #33

    Fran – that depends on the nature of the alliance. A mutual defense agreement does create obligations.

  34. Mulga Mumblebrain
    September 16th, 2011 at 12:38 | #34

    What utter, pernicious, tripe. It could have been written by Greg Sheridan. What happened in Libya was a crude regime change operation, by the global bully-boy in chief, NATO, to remove a ruler who they have been relentlessly subverting for forty years.
    And why did they hate Gaddafi? Because he supported the ANC while the West was supporting apartheid. Because he supported the Palestinians throughout the decades of their suffering. Because he exploited Libya’s oil reserves in a ‘nationalistic’ fashion, to the benefit of Libya’s people, not Western transnationals. Because he favoured the Chinese, Russians and Indians in exploiting these resources. Because he was leading Africa to establish an African Central Bank, Monetary Fund and ‘gold dinar’ for inter-African trade. Because he helped pay for satellites for Africa, that removed the Western grip over African communications. Because he invested money in Africa not in US Treasuries.
    The West was behind this phony revolt from the start, with Special Forces from the UK, France, the US and Egypt organising the rebels, a motley crew of jihadists and emigre security ‘assets’ from the very start. These thugs, who have committed numerous murders, particularly of black Libyans and black Africans, won not a single victory that was not prepared by saturation NATO bombing. To say that this bombing protected civilians is a Big Lie worthy of Goebbels. There have been 20,000 sorties with thousands of civilian deaths, with radio stations bombed (as in Serbia) and vast areas leveled. And the NATO forces, France in particular, simply ignored the UNSC Resolution forbidding arms deliveries and poured armaments in. They will get their reward by taking over most of Libya’s oil industry, which will be privatised by the stooges.
    What this regime change aggression, and the despicable mendacity and bias of the Western MSM, show, is that no country on the planet is safe from Western aggression. Libya tried co-operating with the West, only to discover that Western treachery and perfidy, as they have been for five hundred years, are bottomless. Libya will now revert to the model for the lands of the global untermenschen-a corrupt puppet-state, run by a compradore elite who will loot the country in the manner of those Western darlings Mubarak, Marcos, Mobutu and Suharto, transferring the gelt to the West. The Gaddafi social welfare system will be destroyed, but the hypocrites and liars of the Western MSM will be as disinterested as they currently are in the fate of the Yemenis, Bahrainis or Gazans. And the NATO global enforcers, emboldened by the easy victory, will hasten their plans and efforts for their big upcoming projects,the showdowns with Russia and China, both of which are being slowly encircled by military bases, cruising carrier-groups and the ‘missile defence’ systems, part of an openly aggressive first-strike doctrine.

  35. Mulga Mumblebrain
    September 16th, 2011 at 12:42 | #35

    If this naked aggression was all about ‘the responsibility to protect’ when does the carpet bombing of Israel to protect the brutalised Gazans begin?

  36. TerjeP
    September 16th, 2011 at 14:10 | #36

    Mulga – assuming for the moment that you are right and this uprising was all organised by NATO. Why did it take them 40 years?

  37. Chris Warren
    September 16th, 2011 at 14:51 | #37

    TerjeP :
    Mulga – assuming for the moment that you are right and this uprising was all organised by NATO. Why did it take them 40 years?

    Maybe the relationship between Gaddafi and the West was different 40 years ago.

    Maybe the West’s need for oil was different 40 years ago.

    Maybe the revelations of the Church Committee forestalled earlier plans.

    Maybe propping up more- favoured dictators took precedence.

    Who knows. If TerjeP thinks there was 40 years of either intent or effort, the truth is probably the opposite.

    So presumably the US did not want to tackle Gaddafi over this time span.

  38. TerjeP
    September 16th, 2011 at 15:51 | #38

    Chris – you seem to have an issue with me that goes beyond intellectual disagreement. I’m sorry if I have somehow offended you but can you please try and keep a civil tone.

  39. gerard
    September 16th, 2011 at 16:05 | #39

    The files now discovered from 2002-2007 show that Gaddafi had close ties with Western intelligence agencies, who rendered prisoners to Libya to be tortured.


  40. Mulga Mumblebrain
    September 16th, 2011 at 17:06 | #40

    Terje, the West has attempted to assassinate Gaddafi on numerous occasions, succeeding only in killing various children and other bystanders, financed and armed insurgencies inside Libya (using their old allies the salafist jihadis) and sanctioned, blockaded and blackmailed Libya for most of the last forty years. They falsely accused Libya of complicity in Lockerbie, after two years or so of it being acknowledged, universally, that the PFLP(GC) did it for Iran, as revenge for the Iranian air-bus shot down by the USS Vincennes. After the sham show trial in Holland, which returned the imbecile verdict that only one of the two alleged ‘conspirators’ was guilty (a slur on Scottish jurisprudence to this day) the framed patsy al Megrahi was visited in gaol by Nelson Mandela, amongst others. He was released, not on ‘humanitarian’ grounds, but because the Scottish appeals process was nearing a decision that his conviction was an miscarriage of justice which it plainly was. The decision to get Gaddafi this time was taken in France last November, when one of Gaddafi’s top aides defected. The French began inserting Special Forces troops disguised as agricultural experts soon thereafter. All this and much more was known thanks to the work of real journalists almost from the beginning, but was suppressed by a Western MSM propaganda apparatus that lies and dissembles with one voice.

  41. Mulga Mumblebrain
    September 16th, 2011 at 17:09 | #41

    If the ‘responsibility to protect’ now governs human affairs, when are the bases from which the US killer drones, that have slaughtered hundreds of innocents in Afghanistan and Pakistan, are controlled, to be blasted into dust?

  42. TerjeP
    September 16th, 2011 at 19:06 | #42

    @Mulga Mumblebrain

    Okay but that is not the same as saying the uprising in Libya was concocted by NATO. If it was concocted by NATO then given it was such a useful tactic why didn’t they use this tactic previously. It seems self evident to me that even if NATO played a significant role there was none the less something that changed on the ground. In short I don’t think you can dismiss that there was a people’s revolution even if aided by outside forces.

  43. Donald Oats
    September 16th, 2011 at 20:55 | #43

    Libya was used as a rendition country. Why? God only knows. Perhaps the return of the Lockerbie bomber(s) was for services rendered, so to speak.

    Both Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi ruled with a mailed fist and showed no hint of mercy for those who fell out of favour. Both enjoyed uneasy relationships with the US, and for both of them time ran out. As I’ve wondered elsewhere, did the US give the Libyan uprising (against Gaddafi’s regime) a “gentle” shove, before the 24/7 News guys caught up with events? I’d say probably, but only time will tell.

  44. September 16th, 2011 at 22:47 | #44

    TerjeP at 38: While you are admonishing Chris Warren, could I ask you please to try to use grammatical English.

  45. Fran Barlow
    September 16th, 2011 at 22:58 | #45


    I’m no fan of TerjeP’s politics but his English at 38 was near enough. He might have used a question mark at the end and avoided “try and” but in this place it falls within the register.

  46. Jarrah
    September 17th, 2011 at 00:17 | #46

    “TerjeP at 38: While you are admonishing Chris Warren, could I ask you please to try to use grammatical English.”

    I’m a stickler for good grammar, and the only questionable part of Terje’s comment is if he should have used “try to keep” rather than “try and keep”. Even then, it’s not strictly incorrect, as it is being used in an informal sense, and as an exhortation, thus rendering it acceptable according to Fowler’s Modern English Usage.

    In short… go suck an egg.

  47. TerjeP
    September 17th, 2011 at 04:01 | #47


    Thankyou for your inquiry as to whether you may ask me to use grammatical English. I grant thee permission. However what happened to your question mark?

  48. Mulga Mumblebrain
    September 17th, 2011 at 06:12 | #48

    Donald Oats, the facts, that this ‘revolt’ was entirely concocted by the West, led by France, and that ‘Special Forces’ from the US, UK, France and Egypt (later joined by Qataris and Eastern Europeans)were on the ground in Cyrenaica from the very beginning, have been freely available on the net since the beginning. Unfortunately the Western MSM, being a mendacious, hypocritical and recidivist propaganda apparatus, all these facts were suppressed and replaced with the usual total ideological bias that is such a mark of the “free Press’ in the West. 100% ‘on message’, as always. As to the query as to why this tactic has not been used before, well, of course, it has. The US overthrew Mossadegh in Iran with a concocted and financed ‘revolt’. Arbenz was removed in Guatemala in similar fashion, as was Aristide in Haiti in 2004. Scores other examples are there for those with eyes to see. The West, led by the USA interferes in every country in the world, sometimes with military aggression, as here or in Iraq, sometimes with phony humanitarian intervention, as in Kosovo in 1999, sometimes with ‘colour revolutions’ as succeeded in Ukraine and Georgia but failed in China in 1989. Sometimes the bullying thuggery is economic and handled by those hit-men of the ‘Washington Consensus’, the IMF, World Bank and WTO. At other times the USA has the interfering, bullying, gall to finance political parties in other countries through its ‘National Endowment or Democracy’, which ALWAYS finances only the most Rightwing parties, those most likely to be stooges of the US Empire. What gives the USA the right to interfere in every country on earth, while its own society is a bedlam of Dunning-Krugerite sadists who wildly applaud when Rick Perry boasts of his 200 plus executions? Why, “Gawd Almighty, Himself’, of course.

  49. Chris Grealy
    September 17th, 2011 at 06:53 | #49

    I look forward to your column advocating the jailing of Bush, Blair, and Howard.
    Still waiting……

  50. Fran Barlow
    September 17th, 2011 at 07:36 | #50


    Moreover Jarrah, there’s no clear evidence that TerjeP wasn’t trying to use grammatical English. “Trying” is a mental state. I’d be astonished if JohnL were in a position to evaluate TerjeP’s enthusiasm for grammatical usage.

    Had TerjePs text been littered with unorthodox syntax, one might have been entitled to such an inference, assuming one also had a control body of text demonstrating TerjeP’s capacity to use orthodox syntax when so minded. The text cited by JohnL fails that condition and shares an error with JohnL, estopping him from citing it as an exemplar of want of the desire to deploy grammatical English.

    In my opinion, I’m as fond of orthodox and elegant syntax as anyone, but one does need to be sensitive to matters of register. In this place, sentence fragments and elements of the vernacular, along with typos should be passed over only lightly, save that they raise a salient political or cultural point. Their citation merely against the poster is trolling.

  51. John Quiggin
    September 17th, 2011 at 07:49 | #51

    To restate, Gaddafi was well and truly back inside the tent by hte beginning of 2011, and the idea that the revolt was dreamed up by NATO is just silly. But let’s work through the logic just to see how sillly.

    The Libyan revolt was triggered by successful revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, and accompanied by ongoing revolts in Yemen, Bahrein and Syria among other places. According to MM all of these occurred after the plot to overthrow Gaddafi began in November, so there’s no question of opportunism

    So, we presumably have to suppose that NATO, starting last November, decided to throw overboard two of their strongest allies in the region, and provoke chaos in Bahrein (home of the 5th fleet), Yemen (where the US is fighting an undeclared war against AQ) and Syria (seen by Israel as a regime they can deal with, unlike a democratic successor), all to get rid of somebody they’d already kissed and made up with.

    Alternatively, we have the hypothesis that having dumped Mubarak and Ben Ali, who had always been loyal allies, the NATO countries had no reason not to do the same to Gaddafi. Of course, they expected the revolt to be successful much more quickly, given a modicum of air support.

  52. John Quiggin
    September 17th, 2011 at 07:59 | #52

    @Chris Grealy

    I wrote about this here. If there is ever a serious prospect of war crimes trials over Iraq, I will certainly support them, but that seems a long way off, so until then I’d rather focus on working for things that might actually happen.

  53. Chris Warren
    September 17th, 2011 at 09:18 | #53

    The “Moslem Brotherhood” appear to have been an outside influence, and may have encouraged Western powers along the provocation/intervention path. However the Brotherhood and women appear to have been excluded from the interim government.

    This is not unprecedented, American support for Israel was similarly husbanded by Zionist elements in America.

  54. Mulga Mumblebrain
    September 17th, 2011 at 09:22 | #54

    John your comment makes no sense, I would say, in that I see it as a non sequitur. That France had begun planning to overthrow Gaddafi last November, when Nouri Mesmari, defected to France bringing details of Gaddafi’s power structure and who could be relied on to join a regime change project, has been established by real journalists, acting outside the Western MSM propaganda system, that has actively suppressed the facts, in typical service to power. A French ‘commercial delegation’ soon thereafter visited Benghazi, replete with intelligence operatives, and they contacted Abdallah Gehani, a Libyan Air Force colonel who Mesmari had nominated as a potential ally. Internal malcontents joined the jihadists, many released from Guantanamo for the purpose, others recruited with Saudi money in Afghanistan, and various emigres, monarchists, renegades from the Gaddafi regime etc, and became, by NATO diktat ‘the Libyan people’. These are the stooges who NATO bombed to power with 20.000 sorties, which is very far from ‘a modicum’ a most unfortunate expression in the circumstances.
    While this NATO, French-led regime change was underway, other revolts broke out in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain, and as far as one can see they were legitimate expressions of mass discontent, and their appearance absolutely coincidental. They have, as one could have bet one’s life on, been successfully strangled by the West, its Saudi and Gulf allies and, no doubt, Israel, but discreetly. No ‘responsibility to protect’ in Bahrain or Yemen, just total support for brutal Western stooges. And, in Syria, we have seen a Western and Saudi attempt to destroy the regime, or provoke civil war, with Wahhabist clerics in Saudi declaring that one-third (the non-Sunnis, Shia, Alawites, Christians etc)must die, so that two-thirds, the Sunnis, may live. Nice peoople, but loyal allies of the Empire. And, once again, as always, the Western MSM ‘reporting’ events with absolute, 100% bias and groupthink, and not a little invention and outright mendacity. My favourite was the huge pro-regime rally in Damascus that the ABC simply and falsely reported as anti-regime demonstrators, for which, as far as I know they never even acknowledged ‘error’.

  55. John Quiggin
    September 17th, 2011 at 12:47 | #55

    Quite a coincidence! So, even though they all claim to be part of the same movement, the Libyans and Syrians are Western stooges (including the thousands of Syrians who have died in the service of NATO) while the Egyptians, Tunisians and Bahreinis are the real deal.

    How about the failed uprising in Iran? Stooges or real deal? The Palestinians?

    Even better is the claim that the French puppeteers just happened to make their move three months before their longstanding pal in Tunisia was overthrown, then made lemonade out of lemons by using this as a pretext to get rid of Gaddafi

  56. Mulga Mumblebrain
    September 17th, 2011 at 14:47 | #56

    The failed ‘uprising’ in Iran was a thwarted ‘color revolution’ of the type successful in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, but defeated in China in 1989. And the Palestinians include both stooges like Fayyad and Abbas (why do you think he has been left alive, when almost his entire generation of Palestinian leaders, up to and including Arafat, have been murdered by Israel?)and those who have not sold out, like Hamas. Who are the ‘they’ who claim to be part of what movement? In Syria it is simplicity itself to find numerous eye-witness accounts of people present in various regions (including Australian frequent visitors, Russians and various Europeans) who state that there were no disturbances in certain cities where they had been reported, and that the locals put it all down to foreign interference. One Belgian academic was in Hama when there was an alleged demonstration of 500,000 people. His estimate was 10,000 in a city with a population, in any case, of 360,000 only. Instead of these eye-witnesses we are supposed to believe the recidivist liars of the Western MSM, they of Saddam’s WMD and innumerable other affronts to truth, and various ‘NGOs’ and Syrians invariably equipped with US and UK accents. I, for one, am not as stupid as I look. I have no reason to believe the Syrian regime to be cynical liars, save the word of a Western MSM who I definitely know are serial, repetitive and conscienceless peddlers of untruth. It’s not rocket surgery-the West, led by the USA and its NATO co-conspirators, are seeking ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ of the entire planet because they believe that they are civilizationally superior to all the various untermenschen. The history of the last 500 years says so, with few, and minor. exceptions.

  57. John Quiggin
    September 17th, 2011 at 21:02 | #57

    “I have no reason to believe the Syrian regime to be cynical liars”

    Especially since the regime is a second-generation personal dictatorship, and the sons of dictators are always brought up to be scrupulously truthful 🙂

    Seriously, MM the view that revolts against dictatorship are good/bad depending on whether the dictator in question is pro/anti West isn’t any different, in essentials from what you get when you change signs. It amounts to supporting dictatorship, provided the dictator goes the way you want.

    It’s especially silly in this instance, since Western governments were cosying up to both Gaddafi and Assad in the last few years. The eagerness of the French government to fight Gaddafi largely reflected Sarkozy’s personal embarrassment at having backed Ben Ali almost to the last, and fear that they would be seen as having done the same in Libya. The idea of a perfidious plan dating back to last year is just silly.

  58. alfred venison
    September 18th, 2011 at 00:13 | #58

    dear Mulga Mumblebrain
    nato is an alliance of nations with different national interests & i don’t see different reactions to the current “arab spring” as necessarily outcomes of alliance scheming. certainly, nefariousness on the part of france, is not nato nefariousness. the plotting against gadaffi was more likely just french diplomacy, looking after french national interests & the interests of french business, as seen by france.

    similarly, the perception of national interest informed the position of germany, leading, incidentally, to the present political discomfort of its defence minister. the position of italy, at the beginning, with its reluctance to permit use of its bases in sicily, no doubt concerned for its business interests & gas supply, whilst the course of the revolution was still uncertain. the position of turkey against bombing, the memory of which is being “massaged” as we write. nato members, all.

    20,000 sorties is a big number, but nato is cautious & thorough and for every combat mission there would have been awacs, fighter support, in-flight refuelling, electronic countermeasures, search & rescue. every sortie flown from england, for example, needed in-flight refuelling, which is why italian bases were important. a better number to look for is the number of combat missions & the amount of ordinance dropped. but, even including such support missions among the 20,000 mentioned, its still probably a big number of sorties & a lot of ordinance. that’s not counting what the us navy contributed in sea-launched missiles early on, while largely refraining from air strikes itself.

    nato intervention, or not, is contingent, i believe, on other factors. i’m a simple man, but the older i get the more it seems to revolve around two things: oil & palestine. and, while some of these nations are prepared to use nato resources to secure their oil supply & others are not, all of them scramble to stay out of israel’s way, particularly where there’s little or no oil involved. things are getting antsy now that oil production is peaking, in reality or just in people’s minds. peak oil’s not like a switch, its analogue like an audio valve & its just warming up. and then there’s palestine, a valve that’s been warming up for a long time already. the crystal set is overheating & when it blows all nato’s sorties won’t put it back together again.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  59. Mulga Mumblebrain
    September 18th, 2011 at 09:26 | #59

    Actually alfred, NATO is now the ‘planetary policeman’ enforcing Western global dominance. Not only has it been extended right to Russia’s borders, in direct contravention of solemn promises made to Gorbachev (a credulous fool) but it is also engaged in a neo-colonial war with massive civilian casualties, in Afghanistan, and a naked aggression (the ‘supreme crime’ for which the Nazis swung at Nuremberg)in Libya.Moreover it is busy adding members, and encircling Russia and China with bases, particularly for the US ‘missile defence’ system which is, in reality, an integral part of the nuclear first-strike doctrine that the US has never abrogated. NATO represents the Western world’s last ditch attempt to thwart the West’s decline and to maintain its grip of death over the rest of humanity.

  60. Mulga Mumblebrain
    September 18th, 2011 at 09:37 | #60

    John, I find the categories ‘dictator’ and ‘democracy’ to be amazingly fluid. In Syria you have a supposed ‘dictator’ Assad, who is, in fact, merely the figure-head for a possibly ‘dictatorial’ regime. If you are inferring that Assad is equivalent to Stalin, well I think that is bollocks. The regime he heads is a complex alliance of interests that has ensured peace in Syria, despite its fractious religious and ethnic mix, which is now being targeted by those foreign forces who wish either to cause regime change or foment civil war. Assad has broad support in that Syrians do not wish to share the fate of Lebanon, where foreign interference provoked a vicious civil war. The Syrian regime, in fact, leaves its people well alone, unless they are actively working to overthrow the regime, in which case they can be famously brutal, but are they any more brutal than the USA or Israel? I would say, emphatically, not.
    In any case in our so-called ‘democracies’ the ‘elected’ leaders (often blessed with minorities, in electorates where barely half, or less, of those eligible vote)almost invariably these days, govern as elected dictators, only having to balance the forces within their regimes, just like Assad. In fact I doubt that Assad is any more ‘dictatorial’ than, say, George Bush, ‘the Decider’ or Tony Blair who dragged his country to the infamy of the aggression in Iraq.

  61. Tim Macknay
    September 19th, 2011 at 11:42 | #61

    Comments likw mulga’s always remind me of this excerpt from Orwell’s Notes on Nationalism:

    Pacifism. The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to the taking of life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists whose real though unadmitted motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration of totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writings of younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States. Moreover they do not as a rule condemn violence as such, but only violence used in defence of western countries. The Russians, unlike the British, are not blamed for defending themselves by warlike means, and indeed all pacifist propaganda of this type avoids mention of Russia or China. It is not claimed, again, that the Indians should abjure violence in their struggle against the British. Pacifist literature abounds with equivocal remarks which, if they mean anything, appear to mean that statesmen of the type of Hitler are preferable to those of the type of Churchill, and that violence is perhaps excusable if it is violent enough. After the fall of France, the French pacifists, faced by a real choice which their English colleagues have not had to make, mostly went over to the Nazis, and in England there appears to have been some small overlap of membership between the Peace Pledge Union and the Blackshirts. Pacifist writers have written in praise of Carlyle, one of the intellectual fathers of Fascism. All in all it is difficult not to feel that pacifism, as it appears among a section of the intelligentsia, is secretly inspired by an admiration for power and successful cruelty. The mistake was made of pinning this emotion to Hitler, but it could easily be retransfered.

  62. Mulga Mumblebrain
    September 19th, 2011 at 13:12 | #62

    Dear John; Thanks for the mention on Background Briefing, but, you see, I’m a conspiracy documenter, or relayer of information, not a ‘theorist’. The conspiracy to oust Gaddafi is backed with solid evidence, and to simply dismiss it as if it didn’t exist is intellectually mistaken, I believe.
    As to Tim Macknay, yes I’m a pacifist, up to the point that it gets millions killed. I’m particularly opposed to that Western state terror and aggression that continues to crucify the planet even today, and I support those resistance movements that are battling it across the Near and Middle East. I see them, even the religious fascists that I would otherwise detest, as very much the lesser evil, in comparison to the greatest force for evil in human history. The most recent victims of Western fascism are found in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen and Bahrain. I imagine Orwell would have opposed those aggressions too, considering the millions killed, maimed, widowed, orphaned and exiled by it. The quote you transcribe at some length is Orwell criticising pacifists in relation to Hitler, and I’m with Orwell. A dreadful, devouring, murderous obscenity like Nazism must be resisted, and that is where you have, in my opinion, inverted reality. The monster stalking the world today, as fascism of another type did in the 30s and 40s is the West, is the US/Israel/NATO Axis of Evil, and it’s that behemoth that I denounce, as I’m sure Orwell would have as well.

  63. Mulga Mumblebrain
    September 20th, 2011 at 07:55 | #63

    I see that the UK did a ‘modicum’ more bombing the other day. Their heaviest bombardment yet, in fact, as their jihadi and CIA controlled exile mates (you know-‘the Libyan people’) were having trouble with the Gaddafi remnants, despite the weeks of NATO and Qatari Special Forces training and the massive military build-up delivered in absolute contempt for the UNSC Resolutions. And I’m confidently expecting the ‘humanitarian bombing’ of Yemen, in response to the regime massacres there, to start almost immediately. I mean, the ‘responsibility to protect’ is a bedrock of really existing ‘Western morality’ is it not?

  64. Malthusista
    September 20th, 2011 at 11:15 | #64

    (If the links I have attempted to include in my post turn out not to have been properly formed on your browser, I trust that you will be able to find, somewhere in them, the URLs which you can then use to use find the pages I have referred to.)

    Thanks, Mulga Mumblebrain (at #4 etc) for speaking the truth here as well as on the site for ABC Radio National’s Background Briefing’s story “Don’t Trust the Web” of 18 September.

    Professor Quiggin,

    All the arguments put here to excuse NATO’s crimes against the Libyan people have been thoroughly refuted in articles globalresearch.ca and elsewhere on the Internet (including on candobetter.net — comments there, welcome).

    I am more than happy to put those arguments here myself as paraphrase, direct quotes and links to save others the trouble of having to find them.

    Only when someone can show me where that evidence and logic has been addressed by supporters of NATO’s invasion of Libya, let alone rebutted, will I even consider giving my retrospective support to that war or to NATO’s planned invasion of Libya.

  65. Tim Macknay
    September 20th, 2011 at 18:01 | #65

    Mulga @12, the thing I don’t understand is why your denunciation of aggression by Western powers appears to extend to the endorsement of regimes like that of Qaddafi or the Assad regime in Syria. It is one thing to oppose Western interference intended to depose these regimes at the cost of many lives, but it’s entirely another to endorse the system of secret police surveillance, arbitrary arrests, disappearances and extradjudicial killings (including large scale massacres) that characterises these regimes (as is well documented by Amnesty International, for example). I find the argument that these arrangements should be tolerated on the basis that they are “the lesser evil” than Western aggression to be quite unconvincing.

    It is right to be suspicious of Western media reports which have the effect of justifying military interventions by the Western powers, but I can’t understand why it’s necessary to then go to the opposite extreme and uncritically accept the characterisation of (say) Syrian critics and opponents of the Assad regime as being, essentially, criminals or Western stooges. Whenever this kind of view is presented to me it always appears hypocritical, because the person putting it seems quite willing to exercise their freedom to vehemently criticise their own government without repercussions (and rightly so), while being apparently unconcerned that people in a similar position in countries like Syria or Libya face arbitrary arrest and legnthy imprisonment, or possibly even death, for doing the same thing. It may not be your intention, but it really does appear to me to be a double standard. Western interference in Libya may be wrong, but that does not make Gaddafi right.

    Malthusista, I couldn’t open the globalresearch.ca link, but I had a look at your link to candobetter.net, and I’m sad to say I was disappointed. The writer of that article decided to become a personal fan of Gaddafi on the basis of a 4 minute Youtube video? Hardly an improvement over getting your information from two minute reports on CNN, and it does not speak well for the level of intellectual rigour on that site.

  66. Malthusista
    September 21st, 2011 at 02:04 | #66

    Professor Quiggin,

    Have you not approved my post yet because you consider it too verbose?

    If so, could you at least publish the short post included immediately below, with a link to where I have instead posted what is still “awaiting moderation”?

    Please vist the web site candobetter.net for my most recent comment which includes a response to Tim Macknay’s most recent post (#16)


    Could you also allow to be published the follwing paragraph containing corrections to my most recent post?

    The last sentence on my previous post (#14) should have ended: “… will I even consider giving my retrospective support to that war or to NATO’s planned invasion of Syria.” (not Libya). Also, the last pronoun ‘in’ was missing in the following sentence:

    “All the arguments put here to excuse NATO’s crimes against the Libyan people have been thoroughly refuted in articles in globalresearch.ca.” My apologies.

  67. Mulga Mumblebrain
    September 21st, 2011 at 20:54 | #67

    Tim, I regard both Syria and Libya as lesser evils by far than they are painted by the Western MSM. The Western MSM is a propaganda system that works to demonise the victims, actual or potential, of Western aggression. You may have missed it but the West has been attacking, colonising, pillaging and destroying the non-Western world for 500 years, all the while nauseatingly braying about their ‘morality’. I’m certain that Assad and Gaddafi and their regimes have done some vile things, but far, far, fewer that the US and UK in recent years, let alone the last 200. And I know that the real reason Gaddafi is reviled by the West is that he has done good things, that the West opposed, such as supporting the ANC while the West supported apartheid, supporting the Palestinians while the West supports their brutal oppressors, and aiding Africa to throw off the neo-colonial yoke that the West seeks to impose on it. In short the true Gaddafi is a man to be admired which is precisely why the West sought to remove him for forty years, and why the Western MSM lied through its teeth to demonise him.

  68. Malthusista
    September 22nd, 2011 at 20:00 | #68

    Professor Quiggin,

    In France, French ex-foreign minister Roland Dumas says “he is ready to defend Muammar Gaddafi in the International Criminal Court, which has issued a warrant for his arrest,” that is, if the NATO criminals and their Libyan hirelings don’t murder him first.

    Maybe it’s time you backed up your support for the war against Libya with evidence that would be admissable in a criminal trial of Muammar Gaddafi, instead of just repeating the kind of vague statements, which appear in our newsmewdia, which imply that Gaddafi is a monster, but which have no substantion that I can find:

    “… it would have been terrible to allow Gaddafi to murder thousands of his citizens as he threatened to do.”

    “Opponents of intervention must accept that their position means that the crimes of dictatorial regimes will often go unpunished.”

  69. John Quiggin
    September 23rd, 2011 at 02:02 | #69

    @Malthusista: presumably, we that the appropriate way to resolve this issue would be for Gaddafi to surrender to the ICC, at which point the evidence admissible in a criminal trial will be presented. While I don’t expect that to happen, I think it likely that Gaddafi will (unwillingly) have his day in court and I will be happy to accept the verdict. Obviously, I have an expectation based on the evidence that’s publicly available. How about you?

  70. TerjeP
    September 23rd, 2011 at 06:21 | #70

    I don’t see how such trials can presume innocents let alone deliver an innocent verdict where the accused walks free. Perhaps I’m too cynical but in such cases the stakes are too high. I think there is a risk that such trials are merely for show.

  71. Malthusista
    September 23rd, 2011 at 19:10 | #71

    Professor Quiggin, you seem not to have understood my point.

    Abundant evidence that NATO has broken international law in Libya is to be found on Global Research (for example in the story Destroying a Country’s Standard of Living: What Libya Had Achieved, What has been Destroyed). That evidence is specifc and detailed.

    Where are the crimes which have are alleged to have been committed by Gaddafi been described in similar detail and substantiated? If they have not, how could Gaddafi be convicted in a fair trial?

    Are you going to go on just repeating the catch-phrases that have been churned out by the newsmedia to justify the war against the LKibyan Government or are you going to show us where those claims have been substantiated?

  72. Mulga Mumblebrain
    September 25th, 2011 at 15:18 | #72

    John, if you think that Gaddafi would get a fair trial at the ICC, I have a Harbour Bridge you may be interested in purchasing. He’ll get the same kangaroo ‘justice’ al-Megrahi received, if lucky. If he begins to embarrass his persecutors, perhaps a convenient ‘heart-attack’ as in Milosevic’s case might be considered necessary. The ICC is, in my opinion, a despicable farce that persecutes Africans and Moslems only. It jumped to in days to follow orders regarding Gaddafi, yet after two years has done nothing yet concerning Israel’s brutal crimes against humanity in Gaza.

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