The top of this website says it’s about the war of ideas in the Middle East, which means that I as a co-editor am supposed to have a firm opinion about the intervention in Libya. I don’t. Truthfully, I’m thrilled, I think Qaddafi will be gone within days, just as I said, correctly, that Mubarak would be gone; and yet I reflect that I supported the Afghan war and I was wrong about that, and people who know more about the issues than I do are opposed. Here is Abdel al-Bari Atwan at the Guardian saying, this could hurt the Arab spring and solidify the madman’s stronghold in the west. Steve Walt says this should be Europe’s action. Phyllis Bennis says that the action exceeds the rebels’ requests and threatens to impose a global power politics frame on the Arab spring, thereby fostering the scourge of war. Robert Dreyfuss says that the U.S. is muscling an illegal action.
Honestly, my main response to the Libya intervention is, Why didn’t they stop the carnage in Gaza? It went on for 3 weeks, as long as Qaddafi has been rampaging, and for all that time Obama said nothing as president-elect and we wouldn’t impose a ceasefire let alone call off the murderous jets dropping white phosphorus. The Israelis killed 1300+, nearly 400 of them children. I wonder if Qaddafi has killed more– I’m sure he hasn’t killed that many children– and of course he can make the same claims as the Israelis did about militants.
One good thing about Libya is that it demonstrates that Netanyahu is as divorced from reality as Qaddafi, in his commitment to militant rule of the West Bank, and to preserving a Jewish democracy in a land where Jews are in the minority. Still American support never ends. In 2006 George W. Bush repeatedly held off ceasefire resolutions on Israel’s campaign of destruction in Lebanon, even as Red Crescent caravans were targeted and houses filled with civilians bombed.
And of course not two weeks ago Obama vetoed the Security Council resolution condemning Israeli colonization– Obama who in Cairo ’09 called for an end to settlements and for democracy in the Arab world.
They say that Libya exposes our hypocrisy for doing nothing in Yemen and Bahrain. The hopeful side of me says that the Arab spring is unstoppable, and our government’s hypocrisy will melt away soon enough; and that the democracy forces in Yemen and Bahrain will also win.
And that same side of me says that the international intervention in Libya will be short and effective and the Arab uprisings will continue to remake the world, and that the democracy movement will come at last to Israel/Palestine, and the whole world will say, Enough.