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Total number of comments: 2636 (since 2013-11-28 14:21:48)

joe from Lowell

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  • China offered Qaddafi Armaments in midst of war
    • Those of you moving the goal posts from "UN-backed military intervention" to "covert assistance" aren't making nearly as impressive a point as you think.

      The UN voting in favor of a humanitarian intervention makes it easier for the US to unilaterally send the CIA to conduct clandestine operations...how, exactly?

    • Well here you go: link to google.com

      The plane can be seen entering the frame at 1:27.

      You've been looking for this for a decade? This video was released in May of 2006.

    • Excellent comment. And just as the humanitarian mission to Indonesia doesn't tell us anything about the morality of the Iraq War, nor does the Iraq War tell us anything about the morality of the UN protective mission in Libya.

      I grew quite sick, during the Bush administration, of people who believed that they didn't have to know any relevant facts about a particular military action in order to draw a conclusion about it - that they merely needed to have the proper ideological stance towards America and military force in general, and they could just assume that the facts would back them up.

      I don't find this habit of thought any more respectable when it's utilized by the other side.

    • I'd like to take a moment of silence for the crews of the artillery and rocket systems that were shelling civilians in Misrata when they were killed by Predator drones.

    • LIbya was a Soviet client state for decades. Most of his weaponry was Warsaw Pact equipment.

    • This thread is going to be full of people insisting that it's unfair to exclude them from the category "People who favored saving the civilian populations of Benghazi and other eastern Libyan cities from Qaddafi’s tanks and artillery," on the grounds that they had warm feelings about the would-be victims.

  • Israeli Likud Gov't Buffeted by Turkish Suit, Massive Protests
  • Qaddafi was a CIA Asset
    • Actually, Obama called for Gadhafi to step down a whole month before the armed rebellion started (in response to Gadhafi's military attacks on the protesters), back in mid-February.

    • Perhaps if you had "hardly bothered" a little bit more, you would have noticed that Juan's comment threads are regularly filled with actual, honest-to-God defenses of Gadhafi as some sort of great leftist hero, helping his people and resisting the terrible imperialists.

      These claims were never made by any of the opponents of the Iraq War.

    • but whether the liberal or “humanitarian” interventionism you favor is any wiser or more virtuous than the neocon variety

      You're really having trouble with figuring out if a limited air campaign to support an indigenous liberation movement and prevent massacres is any wiser than invading countries with tens or hundreds of thousands of ground troops, occupying them, installing puppet governments without local support, and sticking around indefinitely to fight the inevitable uprising?

      I'm sorry, but this is the easiest question in the world.

      military force should be limited to the protection of American lives and the prevention of attacks on the United States

      Because American lives are so much more important than other people's lives?

    • something whose end result cannot be known and which history has shown can be an unmitigated disaster for countless tens of thousands of people

      The end result of not intervening in this case, on the other hand, is known quite well: rivers of blood in the street of Benghazi. Like the rebels themselves, I'll take the chance of a good outcome over the certainty of a great massacre.

      One can hope for the best...

      One can hope for the best now, because the UN intervened. There was no hope for anything but the worst on March 15.

    • more limited measures which could have limited the violence and eventually led to the Libyan people’s freedom

      Name one. The armored column is driving towards Benghazi. Gadhafi promised to go to door to get the rats.

      It would great to hear some practical steps that would have stopped him. Let's hear 'em.

    • er, and NOT the CIA, that is.

      Yes, events happened very differently than in a CIA-sponsored coup.

      Hmmmmmm...what could we possibly conclude from this?

    • Why, it's almost as if the Libyan people themselves, and not the CIA, were the driving force behind this year's uprising.

    • Holy shiite.

      I can't denounce anyone for trying to make peace with an enemy. Accepting Gadhafi's olive branch and wooing him back into the international community was a fine thing for the Bush administration to do. It's through contact and trade that closed states open up - this is a perfectly valid stance to take. I certainly liked it better than dividing the world into "American allies" and "enemies."

      But this is extraordinary. Even during the thaw between Reagan and Gorbachev, the US wasn't getting into bed with the KGB.

      On a personal note: I'll bet this is a pretty sweet comeuppance, Prof. Cole. Do a little endzone dance for me.

  • Libya: Oil Bids on Basis of Capacity; World releases $15 bn in Assets
    • Citing the failure of a company in this economy as evidence that its entire field in not viable is nonsensical.

      A gas station went out of business in Lowell recently. Does that demonstrate that selling gasoline to Americans is not viable? No, it demonstrates that the economy is lousy.

      China will be using traditional sources of energy for decades to come.

      China is the world's leader in investing in solar power.

    • If the USA were energy independent, would we have been fighting wars in the Middle East for the last 10 years?

      We'd probably still be in Afghanistan. That is a war for security (agree or not that it's a smart one), not oil. But we almost certainly would not have invaded Iraq, which was primarily a war for expanding our presence in an oil-rich region, at a time when the Saudis were nagging us to find somewhere else to station our troops.

      Would we have stepped in to help Libya?

      Probably. We had a fine oil relationship with Libya, and it came to an end only when we objected to the oil dictator crushing a rebellion - which, you might remember, set off an oil spike.

    • Super390,

      +1. There, now you're Super391.

  • NATO Refuses Ground Troops for Libya as "Friends" Conference Opens
    • It's meaningless to you when western powers accede to the desires of a developing world ally and don't work to expand their military presence in a resource-rich country?

      OK.

      There's a large difference between special forces troops and ground forces. Just looking at the numbers, we're talking about the difference between a handful of people and thousands.

      But just as important is the difference is in what they do. Ground units actually fight the battles, seize the territory, and occupy the population centers. Special forces train formations of local fighters, and maybe stage raids or target air strikes.

      In short, the footprint they leave, in terms of their intrusion upon the lives of the general population and in terms of their control over the battle space, is a couple orders of magnitude smaller.

    • Similarly, we've never had qualms about confronting the latter, such as our hostility to the secular regimes of Mossedegh and Saddam Hussein.

    • Except for the part about NATO carrying out a siege, and there being an assault on a civilian population center, this is a great comment.

    • No True Scotsman fallacy? Really?

      Let me guess: Aum Shinrikyou isn't a Buddhist group, but al Qaeda are perfect examples of Muslims. Have I got that right?

    • That is perhaps because the issue of the conflict of interest does not arise with China. It arises only with countries that overthrew Libya’s government

      Huh? Countries advance their interests by protecting satellite states and allies, just as much as they protect their interests by being hostile to states. It was very much in China's interest to look the other way while Gadhaffi carried out his massacres.

    • 1. I don't understand how news about the new Libyan government wishing to sell oil is supposed to demonstrate anything about the motives of the West. If the intervention had been carried out under the direction of Mother Theresa, Ho Chi Minh, and Harriet Tubman for the most idealistic, humanitarian reasons, would the new government not be signing oil contracts? Would they not be more favorable to the countries that helped them than to the countries that didn't? I keep seeing opponents of the intervention linking to stories about the Libyans - gasp! faint! - continuing to operate the country's biggest industry, as if they've just definitively proven something.

      2. Does it make me a terrible person if I think that the Libyans who fought against the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan kind of had a point?

      3. Isn't it funny how so many violent radicals move from violence to participation in democratic politics once there are democratic politics in which to participate?

  • What the UN Can and Cannot do for Libya
    • Perhaps the UN can play Good Cop in negotiating the surrender of Sirte.

      I don't see any useful military role, however. Maybe border guards until the TNC-successor gets the organs of the state up and running.

    • If the people of Algeria rise up against a tyrant and ask for the world's help, as happened in Libya, then we should not turn our backs on them.

      But an article noting that there is political violence in a country isn't the same thing.

  • Iraq Adopts Iran's Backing of Assad
  • How to Avoid Bush's Iraq Mistakes in Libya
    • Removeing Saddam,and establishing a more democratic Iraq is of a MUCH higher Difficulty Level than whacking tiny Libya’s tinpot despot.

      Indeed: it's the difference between $1.5 trillion and $1.1 billion. Between 4300 dead troops and 0. Between perhaps a couple hundred dead civilians and perhaps a quarter million.

      Christian just war doctrine teaches us that the costs of a war must be proportionate to the benefits that can be realistically expected. Not that you're necessarily a Christian, but that traditional way of appraising wars has a long pedigree in western society.

      (Although I was a betting man, I'd wager that you are both a Christian and a big supporter of western civilization.)

    • What do you mean "get out?" We're not in.

      You ask why NATO Is necessary. When was the last time two European countries went to war against each other? Rather remarkable run they've had, taking the long view of history.

      BTW. NATO had no involvement in Iraq.

    • Withdraw them...which is exactly what he's doing.

    • The Iraq occupation under Rumsfeld was the worst of all possible worlds. They dissolved the Iraqi state, while also keeping foreign troops all over the place, while also refusing for a long time to take responsibility for providing security - while ALSO attracting thousands of foreign terrorists into the country who decided to go on a massive murder spree in order to provoke a civil war just to screw with us. What a disaster: produce a security crisis, refuse to provide security, and don't let anyone else do so, either.

      Re: solar farms in Libya - I've long wondered if the huge solar potential in the Sarhara could be used to support energy-intensive manufacturing industries for the huge European market just across the Med.

  • New Libya, Welcomed in Mideast, Rejects NATO Bases
    • I think the new, democratic government of Libya is going to sell all the oil it can, for all the money it can get, to those countries that protected the people of Libya from Gadhafi and made his overthrow possible.

      I don't think the NATO countries' interests in Libyan oil require any repression at all.

    • The Iraqi government, as it and the political situation existed in 2007, could not have endured without the support of the U.S.

      However, the promise and reality of the withdrawal of U.S. troops was a major development in Iraqi politics. It has strengthened the government's credibility and convinced large segments of the opposition to pursue politics instead of armed struggles against the government.

      So, I'm hopeful.

    • You know, the rebels were always going to sell oil. They helped fund the revolution that way. Why shouldn't they meet with oil companies?

    • You know what comes with American boots?

      Al Qaeda, launching a murder spree to turn the country into a disaster area just to screw with us.

      Introducing American troops into Libya is last thing the country's long-term stability needs.

    • there’s nothing to stop the new and sympathetic Libyan government we helped install inviting us in

      If a post-revolutionary government, after the war is over and it's no longer fighting for its life, decides that they want to invite the US in, that's rather a different matter than American troops entering the country to wage war and then staying.

    • So the theory here is that the western powers couldn't have motivated by human rights concerns in March, because the TNC decided in August that it would favor the nations that aided it, rather than those that did not?

      If some countries that were motivated by human rights concerns had intervened, therefore, the TNC would have totally not favored them in post-war oil deals.

      Are you sure you want to stick with this argument?

    • We know that Westerners don’t care about Muslims.

      Well, we know that you don't care about the Muslims in Benghazi and Misurata.

    • The next time a power decides to help topple a government,</i?

      So now we're just writing the Libyan people and their uprising out of this story, eh?

      it will be just that little bit harder to urge respect for international law.

      The UN Resolution doesn't make it even the slightest bit harder to argue for international law. It makes it easier.

    • The Libyan rebels and the Arab League: cat's paws for American oil interests.

      Uh huh.

    • The statement about bases can't be a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the facts of this operation. Heck, the UN Resolution explicitly forbade a foreign occupation.

      If NATO was looking for bases, they wouldn't have agreed so readily to keeping out ground forces. In the case of the US, we absolutely insisted on there being no ground forces.

  • Top Ten Myths about the Libya War
    • The problem with the Libyan plan is the same as the Iraqi one. Once the government is overthrown, what follows?

      I'll tell you what doesn't follow: an occupation by foreign troops, an attempt to run the country by the conquering nation, thousands of foreign jihadists deliberately making the country ungovernable in order to mess with those foreign occupiers, the absence of an indigenous political force with credibility among the populace to guide the transition.

      This is a very different situation than Iraq.

    • The rebels just announced that there will be no foreign military bases in Libya.

      American companies were in Libya, making a fortune drilling that oil - most of which went to western Europe.

    • It brings into question the veracity of the rebels’ claims to control 80 percent of Tripoli, as well as their other claims.

      Western journalists in the country, such as the invaluable Richard Engel, are reporting that the rebels do indeed control 90% of Tripoli, with just of couple of pockets still controlled by Gadhafi forces, and that the rebels are now attacking those pockets.

    • if he had successfully squashed the uprising and secured his position, strict sanctions would have been enacted

      You mean the West would have acted against their own material interest in access to Libya's oil, as a result of humanitarian interests?

      I agree.

    • It doesn't look so stupid anymore.

      I wonder how the new Libyan government is going to look upon Tunisia's decision.

    • Indeed, it was taken out of context by the media.

      I can't even lay this off on the opponents - that really is how his statement was reported, and how those looking back through news reports a few weeks later would have seen it.

    • New players such as Qatar’s national oil company and trading house Vitol are set to compete with established European and U.S. majors.

      Damn this war of western oil imperialism!

    • I can't believe I'm constantly having to remind so-called-anti-war people that the use of force is only for the most extreme circumstances, and after all else has failed.

      Isn't this supposed to be one of their foundational beliefs?

    • But now we see the least brutal intervention - indeed, and intervention that saved tens of thousands of lives - being carried out in a country with a great deal of oil.

      So, no. Your lazy appeals to vastly different episodes from history aren't going to help you here. If you can't understand that something rather dramatic happened in American foreign policy this past spring, you'll be forever wandering in a haze, making inapt comparisons.

    • The Mossad is from the Emirates?

      Man, they really are devious!

    • Islamist jingoism

      Oh, please. The boilerplate language about Sharia being a source for law is not "Islamist jingoism."

      What a load of hysteria.

    • IOC’s have accepted stiffer terms based on their high expectations of LIBYA’s HYDROCARBON PRODUCING POTENTIAL, the comparatively low cost of oil recovery in LIBYA, the generally high quality of LIBYAn crude, LIBYA’s close proximity to European markets and rapidly rising oil and gas prices.

      In soccer, they call this an 'own goal.'

    • Greenwald has certainly expressed a great deal more hostility and suspicion towards the Free Libya Forces than towards Gadhaffi.

    • I keep seeing people assert the oil canard, with nothing to back it up but their own incredulity that everyone else doesn't believe them.

      That is the sign of a movement that has grown intellectually lazy.

    • BTW, why does anybody need a professor’s ‘brilliant’ analysis to realize that a country of 6.5 million people will be beaten by the combined armed forces of 29 or so NATO countries, which together represent well over half a billion people? Gee, who would have thought?

      Because people like you spent the entire episode chortling about "quagmires" and "entrenched stalemate?"

      Because the Gadhafi regime wasn't beaten by the combined military force of 29 nations, but by an "army" of d00ds who turned out to carry banners, and ended up trying to learn how to shoot a rifle?

      And since when did leftists begin to describe dictators and their hired guns as being "a country?" What were the Free Libya Forces - Belgian? Apparently so, because now their overthrow of their dictator is "western aggression."

    • "Had it been a country without any important resources, this type of intervention would have never happened."

      It was right in the middle of the Libya operation that the French conducted another UN-authorized humanitarian intervention into Ivory Coast.

      Perhaps there's a big French ivory trade that I've not heard about.

    • Obama did not toss aside any ally in this Spring. He clung onto Mubarak until the point of no return

      This is nonsense. Obama was calling for Mubarak to step aside long before it was obvious what the outcome would be, and the administration actually had our military officers call their peers in Egypt to try to convince them not to fire on the protesters.

      He is still siding with Bahrain’s and Yemen’s dictators

      Actually, he's called on Yemen's dictator to step down.

      Same with Syria, where Assad has been worse than Qaddhafi

      No, not even Assad has been "worse than Qaddhafi." Things are plenty bad in Syria, but it is gross hyperbole to claim they are worse than the impending doom of Benghasi, or the rocketing of Misurata.

      You are making up facts to fit your narrative, and then concluding that your narrative proves the facts you want to believe.

      Oh, btw, where's the oil in Ivory Coast? You might remember, it was the last poster child for why the UN Protective Mission in Libya couldn't possibly be an example of humanitarianism, right up until the French went in.

    • War is a last resort. The situation in Bahrain has killed far less than 1% of Gadhaffi's war against the Libyan people.

    • You naturally avoided the point about the Arab uprisings being linked – and about the awesome contribution NATO could have made to not only overthrowing Gaddafi but all the other tyrants they support – with no bombing required at all.

      I thought I'd start with your errors of fact, get those straight, and then go onto your errors or interpretation.

      Hard to justify massive military expenditures if you never use your military.

      Jimmy Carter when his entire term without using the military, and then launched a big increase in military spending, to popular acclaim.

      “Humanitarian intervention ” is a way – liberals expecially – want to sell militarism.

      What an odd thing to write about Juan Cole, and all of the Iraq War opponents on this site who, somehow, found that their liberal principles led them to support the Libyan uprising even when the UN supported it, too.

      But I take your point: you're the only one who is actually honest and has values, while the rest of us mere adopted the pretense of humanitarian concern in order to "sell militarism."

      That's an expecially good point.

    • The death toll in Bahrain is approximately 1/500th that in Libya.

    • Noting that Libya has oil does not demonstrate the intentions of the Arab League, United Nations, NATO, or any of its members.

    • Remember Obama’s “days not weeks” quote.

      I remember it so well that I know it was not a prediction that the war would last that long, but that American forces would cease to play the leading role in commanding or carrying out the mission.

      And I further remember that, less than two weeks later, we were not playing the lead role.

    • Was it a surprise that Qaddafi was beaten by a coalition of industrial powers and their high tech, capital intensive militaries?

      Given how often I read the words "quagmire" and "stalemate" over the past four months, I'd have to say yes, it was a great surprise to most of this operation's opponents that the Free Libya Forces would win they way they won this war that they fought in their own country without foreign troops on the ground.

      bomb the bejesus out of Libya...the imposition of mass destruction

      These off-the-shelf descriptions demonstrate not only a profound ignorance about events in Libya, but the willful disregard of facts that comes from one who thinks that merely adopting the proper ideological narrative is all one needs to understand events, and the facts can just be assumed to fit it.

    • Every damn war is a defeature for peace.

      People who say things like this don't have a whole lot to add to a discussion about whether a particularly military action is or is not wise.

      It's like asking a vegan if you should use a certain recipe for ribs. Their answer is useless; they're just going to try to make a point.

    • I love it when internet commenters use the word "naive" to try to make themselves sound more worldly and informed than, say, Juan Cole.

      1. why haven’t they stopped the mass slaughter of protesters in Bharain too? Why do they still support authorian regimes like Saudi Arabia.

      Because war is a last resort, and the situations in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia don't even begin to rise to the level of what was happening in Libya.

      2. You have absolutely nothing on which to base such a slur against the Transitional Nation Council - link to ntclibya.org - except a wish not to be proven wrong.

      3, 4, and 5 are mere assertions, assumed to be true based on nothing but their adherence to a predetermined ideological stance.

    • Does the United States, in general, greatly concern itself with “a lawful world order”?

      That varies from administration to administration. This one seems particularly to value international law. A President Dukakis, for instance, would have done so as well. President Carter scored pretty highly in this regard.

      Others, as you say, not so much.

    • Since when does the US spend political resources for the sake of “people.”

      Since when does the US toss aside a longtime ally whose regime was the cornerstone of our regional security interests? And yet, the Obama administration's reaction to Arab Spring coming to Cairo was to help ease him out of power. Since when do we do that?

      Since the Spring of 2011, that's when. Something changed, and it's time to revisit some cherished narratives.

    • the strange, expert insight that U.S. special forces will now be operating on the ground in Libya, hunting remaining “guerrillas”, who she conflates as Gaddaffy supporters and Islamists.

      Ugh.

      I can feel my brain melting.

    • The UN Protective Mission was a last resort. Gadhafi had been slaughtering protesters for weeks, and his forces were right on the doorstep of Benghazi, hours away from a great massacre and the end of the uprising.

      As for "an excuse for bloated military budgets," the American contribution cost 0.147% of last year's military budget. There have been no appropriations bills sent to Congress, because we paid for the operations out of the Pentagon's petty cash fund.

    • I don't think that an affinity for dictatorship explains why do many liberals and leftists ended up taking such a morally-indefensible stance on this operation. They were certainly on the side of the Libyan protesters before the UN protective mission began.

      Rather, I think it goes back to a lazy habit of substituting anti-Americanism for anti-imperialist, pro-democracy principles.

    • Alexander Cockburn understands post-Cold War geopolitics about as well as he understands climate science.

  • The Great Tripoli Uprising
  • Qaddafi Rule Collapsing as Rebels Take Brega, Zlitan
    • Can I just add that Mussa Ibrarhim is a much, much better spokesman than Jay Carney?

      Obama should demand his services as part of any deal for Gadaffi to go into sanctuary.

    • Brega has been the de facto border between Qaddafi-held territory and TNC territory in eastern Libya for months, and its fall is a milestone on the way to the collapse of the Qaddafi government in Tripoli.

      UPDATE Late Saturday Libyan time AP & Aljazeera Arabic are reporting that Qaddafi brigades have taken back the industrial area of Brega.

      I'm hopeful, too, Professor, but seizing territory doesn't mean a whole lot in a Libyan war.

  • Obama demands Regime Change in Syria
    • The death toll in Barhrain is 36.

      The death toll in Syria is in the thousands.

      Personally, I'm sick to death of false equivalencies offered as excuses.

    • Richard Miller,

      she opposes giving military assistance to the rebels fighting Libya strongman Moammar Gadhafi, saying she believes al Qaida fighters have infiltrated their ranks.

      So, no, this is not about military bungling. This is about opposition to the Free Libya Forces cause, and to the movement itself.

      I choose military bungling

      Military bungling has nothing to do with national interest. If an action is against our national interest, then you oppose doing it well just as strongly as you oppose doing it poorly.

      But spare yourself the effort of doing your part. Despite the outsized role it obviously plays in your opinion about the UN protective mission, your opinion about Barack Obama isn't actually relevant to this discussion, or to the nonsensical nature of Bachmann's criticism.

    • To oppose the misguided and abysmally executed Libyan intervention while criticizing Obama for not being more diplomatically aggressive in Syria are not mutually exclusive positions.

      That depends. What were the grounds on which Michelle Bachmann has criticized the Libya mission?

      Rep. Michele Bachmann, continuing her drumbeat of criticism of President Obama's policies and priorities, ripped his rationale Wednesday for intervening in Libya, arguing that it isn't justified by any compelling national interest.
      The Tea Party stalwart, riding a wave of national attention since aides said she may be on the cusp of a presidential run, also said she opposes giving military assistance to the rebels fighting Libya strongman Moammar Gadhafi, saying she believes al Qaida fighters have infiltrated their ranks.
      "I would not have gone in" to Libya, Bachmann said on NBC's "Today" show.

      I think Prof. Cole landed a clean punch.

  • Is Qaddafi Really going to Flee to Tunisia?
    • And the rebels are not pleased about that?

      I think the point is, the rebels are not pleased the NATO is not doing something that is could help them win battles, not that the rebels think there is a shortage of dead army troops.

    • After NATO’s intervention the uprising “revolution” aborted

      No, it didn't. It was violently put down where the Gaddafi military was strong enough, but it never aborted. It took Gaddafi forces weeks to put down the uprising in Zawiya. The revolutionaries were able to hold out in Misurata, and look at the uprising, weeks after the UN protective mission began, in the Nafusa Mountain towns.

  • Top Ten Reasons Radical Jihadis shouldn't have Threatened David Letterman
    • That's terrible, but unlike radical jihadists, tv talking heads don't actually have any history of killing people.

    • I really like the list. I do.

      But if I didn't know you from your writing, I might have questioned what #8 was supposed to mean.

      Most people read something about terrorists and the phrase "jerk in his pajamas" and...y'know.

  • Campbell: Egypt’s Spring Becomes a Long Hot Summer
    • Do I recall rightly that a number of American politicians and “Statespersons” had their knickers in a twist about the NERVE of the people of Egypt to put their old Pharaoh on trial?

      I can't speak to what you "recall," but there isn't anything remotely like that in the passage you quoted.

  • Tripoli Surrounded, Cut Off
  • Rebels Advance, Surround Tripoli, as Qaddafi Totters
    • Indeed. I don't mean to understate the geographic significance, just the claim that the loyalist forces are collapsing.

      I think they've just been forced to move.

    • The unanswered question remains what sort of regime will take its place.

      It is specifically because this question is unanswered, and has been all along, that the off-the-shelf "anti-imperialist" arguments of people like Glenn Greenwald have rung so hollow.

      I've seen the sort of American imperialist policy Greenwald is projecting onto the UN protective mission over Libya. It doesn't look like this.

    • Qaddafi forces do not appear to have defended Zawiya very vigorously, suggesting a collapse of esprit de corps. The same conclusion could be reached on observing the sudden decamping of Qaddafi loyalists from Tawarga, which left even the rebels puzzled.

      Territory is cheap in Libyan wars; ask Erwin Rommel. Keeping an advancing force from getting behind you by going back to shorter lines is much more important than controlling more territory in determining the outcome. I've been saying this all summer, while the confused media kept writing about a "stalemate" because there weren't "dramatic" advances on the map. And the same observation holds true here as well. This lack of stout, static defense probably means the Khadaffy forces staged a strategic withdrawal to new lines closer to Tripoli, not that they're beat or ready to collapse.

      Don't get me wrong; this is clearly good news, in that it puts the rebels in a better strategic position and does serious harm to the loyalists' resupply efforts (and, obviously, that it liberates those residents from the oppressive boot of the regime), but it's not the turning point. It just moves the fight closer to Tripoli.

  • Paul, Santorum and the Sixth War (on Iran)
  • Obama may Call for al-Asad to step down
    • Saudi Arabia is happy to take our money, but they sure don't dance to our tune.

      Oil would be a whole lot cheaper if our military aid got the House of Saud to do our bidding.

    • How is making statements "galavanting around the world?"

      Isn't "use your words" what you say to a child to stop him from hitting?

    • The principle of noninterference in the affairs of a sovereign state has never, since the invention of sovereignty, included restrictions on criticism, the withdrawing of ambassadors, or sanctions.

    • Good question.

      I'd also like to hear about the difference, if any, between sanctions while there is a strong protest/resistance movement, vs. when there is not (like in Iraq).

    • The Libyan protests were peaceful and unarmed when Khadaffy unleashed air strikes, artillery, and tanks against them.

      The protesters took up arms in response to Khadaffy's military assault, not vice-versa.

  • Jordan Plans Green Star Trek Theme Park

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