Comments to the T&G article of 3/22/11 "Support, with Caveats, for Mission in Libya":
Who was it that said "there's a smell of sulphur in the air?"
Jim McGovern is a thoughtful, honest, caring and brave man handling an impossible job with grace and humility, attempting to represent our interests in the face of enormous corporate pressure - but this liberal instinct of his to support interventions "in support of democracy" is dangerously naive. He needs to listen better to that feeling in the pit of his stomach and draw some stronger conclusions from it.
If you look at the main players in the US-led coalition - Britain, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman - it is all former imperialist powers or client kingdoms and dictatorships, all concerned with controlling the world oil market. Frankly, anyone who really thinks that they give a rat's tail about democracy in Libya - or that Obama and Hillary really do - has been drinking the Kool-Aide.
Sen. Kerry says this is completely different from Bahrain, and he's right. In Bahrain protesters are being slaughtered by a "friendly" government - friendly to the oil companies and international bankers - under the very guns of the US Naval Base, and the US does nothing but a little bit of meaningless scolding. In Libya we're dealing with a government that nationalized the oil 40 years ago and used the revenue to raise their people from the lowest living standard in Africa to the highest - and the oil companies and bankers want their property back!
My call: this war will end with half a million dead Libyans in a wrecked country governed by another kleptocracy with phony elections, a foreign occupying force that will be there for 20 years fighting another endless low-level war - and the oil fields returned or sold off to Texaco, Chevron, Shell and BP.
The only honest position for anyone who really believes in democracy is to oppose this war.
Qaddafi is no winner and a lot of Libyans want him out. I was at first happy to see this revolution happening - until the curtain was pulled back and we got to see where this is going. But the issue is not whether Qaddafi is good or bad for Libya - however bad he might be he isn't nearly as bad for Libya as this war and the occupation that will follow will be. The issue is: what are "we" doing there? Do you trust the people who are making decisions for our government to act in the interests of us, the American people, never mind the interests of the Libyans?
Liberals imagine that "we" are a group of fair-minded honest democratic liberal smart people who because of "our" great wealth and power have the right and duty to go in and straighten out other people's messes and (in Wilson's words nearly 100 years ago) "make the world safe for democracy." I see no evidence - except maybe, maybe for World War II and its outcome - that the "we" that are making decisions about the use of American power have ever really cared about that.
You don't have to be an ideologue to know when you're being lied to and manipulated by people with hidden agendas.