Posts tagged Libya

Humanitarian intervention

Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, Commander of NATO’s Military Operations in Libya, would like you to know that NATO is fulfilling its U.N. mandate to stop and prevent attacks against civilians with precision and care. Protecting Libyan civilians apparently includes taking the time to fire two missile into a family home and executing babies for having the wrong grandfather. But not taking the time to stop and rescue 72 Libyan refugees — people fleeing the war that NATO is practicing with so much precision and care — from dying of hunger and thirst while adrift at sea.

After several hours of waiting, it became apparent to those on board that help was not on the way. The vessel had only 20 litres of fuel left, but the captain told passengers that Lampedusa was close enough for him to make it there unaided. It was a fatal mistake. By 27 March, the boat had lost its way, run out of fuel and was drifting with the currents.

“We’d finished the oil, we’d finished the food and water, we’d finished everything,” said Kurke, a 24-year-old migrant who was fleeing ethnic conflict in his homeland, the Oromia region of Ethiopia. “We were drifting in the sea, and the weather was very dangerous.” At some point on 29 or 30 March the boat was carried near to an aircraft carrier – so close that it would have been impossible to be missed. According to survivors, two jets took off from the ship and flew low over the boat while the migrants stood on deck holding the two starving babies aloft. But from that point on, no help was forthcoming. Unable to manoeuvre any closer to the aircraft carrier, the migrants’ boat drifted away. Shorn of supplies, fuel or means of contacting the outside world, they began succumbing one by one to thirst and starvation.

The Guardian has made extensive inquiries to ascertain the identity of the aircraft carrier, and has concluded that it is likely to have been the French ship Charles de Gaulle, which was operating in the Mediterranean on those dates.

French naval authorities initially denied the carrier was in the region at that time. After being shown news reports which indicated this was untrue, a spokesperson declined to comment.

— Jack Shenker, Aircraft carrier left us to die, say migrants, in The Guardian (8 May 2011)

I’m sure that they had something very important to do that day.

For most of the migrants, the failure of the ship to mount any rescue attempt proved fatal. Over the next 10 days, almost everyone on board died. We saved one bottle of water from the helicopter for the two babies, and kept feeding them even after their parents had passed, said Kurke, who survived by drinking his own urine and eating two tubes of toothpaste. But after two days, the babies passed too, because they were so small.

On 10 April, the boat washed up on a beach near the Libyan town of Zlitan near Misrata. Of the 72 migrants who had embarked at Tripoli, only 11 were still alive, and one of those died almost immediately on reaching land. Another survivor died shortly afterwards in prison, after Gaddafi’s forces arrested the migrants and detained them for four days.

— Jack Shenker, Aircraft carrier left us to die, say migrants, in The Guardian (8 May 2011)

Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, Commander of NATO’s Military Operations in Libya, would like you to know that NATO regrets all loss of life, especially the innocent civilians being harmed as a result of this ongoing conflict. A Spokesman for NATO would like you to know that Saving lives is a priority for any Nato ships. Progressive Peace President Barack Obama would like you to know that his Kinetic Military Action in Libya was necessary to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.

See also:

Military targets

The news has been full of headlines about the United States killing Osama bin Laden. I don’t have anything in particular to add to what’s already been said on that. But what you may have missed in the rush is that last weekend they actually went for a twofer and tried to kill Muammar Gadhafi too. They didn’t manage to do that, but they did kill his 29 year old son, Saif al-Arab Gadhafi. They did this by having NATO war-planes fire two missiles into a family home. This is what all the news stories talk about.[1] They also killed three of his grandchildren. This is almost never put in the headlines and almost always tacked on as a single sentence with an Also, by the way…. It took about half an hour of searching, but the one story I found with anything to say about the grandchildren — the majority of the victims of this strike — is this article by Richard Boudreaux from the Wall Street Journal. Two of the grandchildren they killed were toddlers, a two-year-old girl, and a two-year-old boy. The other was a baby girl only 5 months old.

Libyan officials called the airstrikes an assassination attempt on Col. Gadhafi, who they said was in the compound but escaped harm, and an attack on a residential neighborhood of Tripoli. The leader’s 29-year-old son, Saif al-Arab Gadhafi, was reported killed while hosting a family gathering. Two of his nieces, aged 5 months and 2 years; a 2-year-old nephew, and an adult friend also died in the blasts, the officials said.

— Richard Boudreaux, Gadhafi Strikes Port After Kin Killed, in the Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2011

Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, Commander of NATO’s Military Operations, Said In A Statement that All NATO’s are military in nature. He said that NATO is fulfilling its U.N. mandate to stop and prevent attacks against civilians with precision and care. He said that We regret all loss of life, especially the innocent civilians being harmed as a result of this ongoing conflict.

Here is the military target that Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard had blown up with a missile.

Neighbors said the bombed compound, across town from the Libyan leader’s main residential complex at Bab al-Aziziya, has belonged to the Gadhafi family for decades. Saif al-Arab, the sixth of the colonel’s seven sons, lived there, but it was also used by his parents and other relatives, neighbors said. Its walled grounds encompass two residences; two other buildings, one used as a den and the other as a kitchen; and an empty stable.

Two missiles struck the compound, one stopping the kitchen clock 45 seconds after 8:08 p.m. Several pots of food—pasta, rice, fish, stuffed peppers—had been cooking on an electric stove.

— Richard Boudreaux, Gadhafi Strikes Port After Kin Killed, in the Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2011

The target was a family home in a residential neighborhood. One member of the family happens to be a thug and a mass murderer, and if he died, it’d be as righteous a kill as any in this world. But 2 year olds and babies being set down to dinner have nothing to do with that. But they, not he were the ones who died, in the infinite precision of blowing up houses with air-to-surface missiles, so that NATO could fulfil its U.N. mandate to stop and prevent systematic attacks on the Libyan population and populated areas.

They said that was a precision strike against a known command and control building. They said that they intend to step up strikes against broadcasting facilities and command centers in the capital. They are so sorry, they regret so much, and they are going to do it again, and again, and again.

Somewhere out there, at the bottom of the chain of command, there is a soldier from America or Europe who pulled the trigger and fired a missile into a house full of people on the off chance that it might kill a politically-significant target. He killed a baby and two toddlers instead. He must be so proud.

When he comes back home, people will clap him on the back and tell him Thank you for your service and those of us who suggest that there is nothing noble or courageous about shooting missiles into residential neighborhoods and murdering babies will be told what a bunch of naifs, or ingrates, or wretches we are if we blame those who were just following orders, instead of supporting the troops.

Meanwhile, at the top of the chain of command, there is an immensely powerful gang of generals and heads of state, calling the shots and signing off on the plans to launch missiles on mission after mission like this one, knowing perfectly well that these kinds of aerial assaults, the policy and the tactics that they have chosen to prosecute their chosen wars, constantly and predictably mean killing many times more civilians, families, and children than people allegedly targeted by the mission. They call for this over and over again, in the off chance that one day the massacre will also manage to kill off somebody who matters. All so that that Progressive President Barack Obama can give a press conference and pound a podium and say My fellow Americans to announce another landmark triumph for Justice and American Forces. Those of us who mention all the friends and kinfolks and babies and bystanders they killed in this cynical policy of massacres are accused of being sensationalists, perhaps not even engaged in adult conversation. Those of us who say that governments shouldn’t be launching this kind of aerial assault, given how many innocents it inevitably kills, will be told that we just don’t care enough to try and stop a repressive regime from slaughtering Libyan civilians.

It took me a while to write about this because everything about it it makes me so angry, and so miserable.

See also:

  1. [1]Cf. CNN: One of Gadhafi’s sons killed in NATO airstrike, BBC: Nato strike “kills Saif al-Arab Gaddafi,” Libya says, AP: Libyan spokesman says Moammar Gadhafi survives NATO missile strike that kills his youngest son, etc.

Friday Lazy Linking

    <ul>
<li><p><a href="http://cherylcline.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/the-just-world-bias-gets-us-all/">The Just-World Bias Gets Us All. cherylcline, <cite>der Blaustrumpf</cite> (2011-03-28)</a>. <q>After reading about the horrific gang rapes of a Texan child, and the assault of Lara Logan in Egypt, I am starting to suspect that anti-rape activists and sympathizers are as caught up in the just-world bias as rape apologists.  In this NYT “update” on its previous coverage of the...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2011-03-30.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://cherylcline.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/julian-assange-and-naomi-wolf/">Julian Assange and Naomi Wolf. cherylcline, <cite>der Blaustrumpf</cite> (2011-03-28)</a>. <q>Last year Naomi Wolf wrote some interesting essays on the international indifference to sexual violence; unfortunately, they were written to defend a rebellious and charismatic man, Julian Assange, who may very well be a rapist.  I was very tempted to go easy on Wolf because she sometimes seems like the closest...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2011-03-30.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2011/03/c4ss-fundraiser-one-more-day.html">C4SS Fundraiser:  One More Day. Kevin Carson, <cite>Mutualist Blog:  Free Market Anti-Capitalism</cite> (2011-03-30)</a>. <q>Well, we've got one more day left in the C4SS fundraiser and still need a little less than $1800 to pay our writers and staff through December. As Director Brad Spangler says, if we don't raise enough money by the end of the First Quarter to pay our expenses through...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2011-03-30.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/Anarchism/comments/gbtel/best_general_strike_poster_ever/">Best General Strike Poster Ever. <cite>reddit: the voice of the internet -- news before it happens</cite> (2011-03-25)</a>. <q>submitted by rechelon to Anarchism [link] [4 comments]</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2011-03-30.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110330/04055413695/monsanto-sued-organic-farmers-who-dont-want-to-be-accused-patent-infringement.shtml">Monsanto Sued By Organic Farmers Who Don't Want To Be Accused Of Patent Infringement. Mike Masnick, <cite>Techdirt</cite> (2011-03-30)</a>. <q>Monsanto's incredibly overaggressive use of patents to corner the market on certain crops and to bully farmers has been well-documented over the years. Some of the really crazy stories involve Monsanto accusing farmers of patent infringement, because some of its "patented" seeds were used by neighboring farms, and the newly...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-04-01.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://c4ss.org/content/6621">You Say Anarchy Like It’s a Bad Thing. Thomas L. Knapp, <cite>Center for a Stateless Society</cite> (2011-03-30)</a>. <q>Writing in The American Conservative, William Lind bemoans the tendency revealed by current upheavals in the Middle East. “[T]he worst possible outcome … is the disintegration of states and their replacement either by statelessness — as we see in Somalia — or by fictional states, as in Iraq and Afghanistan.”...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-04-01.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://sheldonfreeassociation.blogspot.com/2011/03/unsorted-thoughts-on-libya.html">Unsorted Thoughts on Libya. Sheldon Richman, <cite>Free Association</cite> (2011-03-26)</a>. <q>Jacob Sullum put it well when he wrote, “Obama claims 'we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy.' Yes, we can, and we often do." I’d only add this: Some of “our” best friends have been tyrants (sometimes called prime ministers...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-04-01.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://eyeofthestorm.blogs.com/eye_of_the_storm/2011/03/i-loveour-political-culture-on-tuesday-senator-charles-schumer-convened-a-media-conference-call-of-democratic-senators-in.html">i love our political culture. On Tuesday, Senator Charles. Captain Capitulation, <cite>eye of the storm</cite> (2011-03-30)</a>. <q>i love our political culture. On Tuesday, Senator Charles Schumer convened a media conference call of Democratic senators, in order to talk about the budget negotiations. Moments before the call was to start, Schumer briefed the other senators on the talking points they should be using. But the phone line for the...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-04-01.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://laughingmeme.org/2011/03/30/1-for-knowing-your-history/">+1 for knowing your history. Kellan, <cite>Laughing Meme</cite> (2011-03-30)</a>. <q>“+1″ is a convention that arose on the Apache Software Foundation mailing lists. The ASF still has the best, most functional process for mailing list based collaboration which has ever been evolved of which -1/0/+1 is only the thin wedge. (the whole vocabulary of lazy consensus, commit-then-review, etc is incredibly...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-04-01.)</em></p></li>

Friday Lazy Linking

    <ul>
<li><p><a href="http://fafblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/humanitarians-of-year.html">Humanitarians of the Year. the Medium Lobster, <cite>Fafblog</cite> (2011-03-23)</a>. <q>Freedom! If there&#39;s one thing America loves, it&#39;s... well, war. But if there&#39;s two things America loves, it&#39;s war and torture. But if there&#39;s three things America loves, it&#39;s war, torture, and genocide. But if there are several dozen things America loves, they are war, torture, genocide, chattel slavery, apartheid,...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2011-03-23.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/Anarchism/comments/g4udc/at_the_end_of_the_day_who_the_fuck_cares_if/c1kydzm">rechelon on At the end of the day who the fuck cares if Intellectual Property encourages creativity or not? Censorship is censorship, full stop. You don't get to own my thoughts, experiences, memories or communications. <cite>reddit: the voice of the internet -- news before it happens</cite> (2011-03-16)</a>. <q>**My right to the integrity of my own thoughts is not something you ever had the authority to &quot;*grant*&quot; me.** Autonomy means nothing if not the freedom to construct, share and express my thoughts (information) however the fuck I like. Even if you &quot;totally had that thought first&quot;. You can&#39;t...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2011-03-23.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://flipfloppingjoy.com/2011/03/22/michigan-votes-against-illegal-fetus-chompers/">Michigan votes against illegal fetus chompers. bfp, <cite>flip flopping joy</cite> (2011-03-22)</a>. <q>Things can always get worse in Michigan. We have one of the chronically worst economies in the US. Most people who have jobs are working two and three part time jobs rather than one stable full time job with benefits. Unemployment is soaring. There’s next to no economic investment and...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-03-24.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://cherylcline.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/this-only-seems-bad/">This Only Seems Bad. cherylcline, <cite>der Blaustrumpf</cite> (2011-03-08)</a>. <q>President Obama today issued an executive order that permits ongoing indefinite detention of Guantánamo detainees while establishing a periodic administrative review process for them. The administration also announced it will lift the ban on bringing new military commissions charges against detainees that don’t already have ongoing cases in the substandard...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-03-24.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://sheldonfreeassociation.blogspot.com/2011/03/un-authorizes-war.html">UN Authorizes War. Sheldon Richman, <cite>Free Association</cite> (2011-03-17)</a>. <q>"He who mounts a wild elephant goes where the wild elephant goes."I thought of those words of Randolph Bourne, the Progressive who became disillusioned by his fellow Progressives' enthusiasm for U.S. entry into World War I, when I heard that the UN Security Council, led by the Obama administration, voted...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-03-24.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://reason.com/blog/2011/03/11/godzilla-vs-real-life"><em>Godzilla</em> vs. Real Life. Jesse Walker, <cite>Jesse Walker: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts.</cite> (2011-03-11)</a>. <q>The word &quot;Godzilla&quot; was trending on Twitter this morning, as an army of would-be wits reacted to the catastrophe in Japan with identical wisecracks. The joke is dumb and tasteless. But it&#39;s actually worth taking a moment to think about Godzilla right now, because what happened last night illustrates an important...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-03-24.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://reason.com/blog/2011/03/15/the-rasta-man-vs-the-state">The Rasta Man vs. the State. Jesse Walker, <cite>Jesse Walker: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts.</cite> (2011-03-15)</a>. <q>Joseph Diliberti -- identified by the L.A. Times as a &quot;veteran, Rastafarian, flutist and iconoclast&quot; -- is locked in a battle with the government over some weeds. No, not the kind of weed you&#39;re thinking of. Tony Perry of the Times reports: What started out in 2004 as a $27,000...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2011-03-24.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://www.qwantz.com/index.php?comic=1927">did you see what i did there with Machine of Death?  I BELIEVE THAT IS CALLED "SYNERGY" <cite>Dinosaur Comics</cite> (2011-03-25)</a>. <q>archive - contact - sexy exciting merchandise - cute - search - about← previousMarch 25th, 2011nextMarch 25th, 2011: As always when I mention specific dates or people in the comic, they're dinosaur versions: dinosaur 17th century, dinosaur Titanic (scaled up to fit dinosaurs), dinosaur sleeping beauties; it's hard to imagine...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-03-25.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://www.sq-skim.com/">VeriFone Must Be Scared Shitless About Square. John Gruber, <cite>Daring Fireball</cite> (2011-03-09)</a>. <q>VeriFone, a large payment processing corporation, has launched a full-on hit job against Square: Today is a wake-up call to consumers and the payments industry. Last year, a start-up named Square introduced a credit card reader for smartphones with the goal of making it very easy for anyone to accept...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-03-25.)</em></p></li>