“I’m wondering if there’s a neocon pundit in the world.. who would claim that any of our military interventions of the New American Century did anything other than create humanitarian crises or make existing ones worse.”
– -Jeff Huber, US Navy Cmdr, retired
This is very troubling. I’m finding it very hard these days to find anyone who doesn’t sound like a babbling idiot on the Libyan air campaign. Even Jon Stewart goes deep into conflation territory on Libya vs. the unrest in Bahrain and Yemen, where the populace, so far, has not faced genocide from its government. It must be about the oil! Except that the oil industry already had full access to Libyan oil.
I actually I think that we’ve all been rendered nearly brain-dead by thirty years of “conservative” movement dogma, elite failure across the board and Republican shock doctrine policies. So let me say this straight out: Libya isn’t Iraq, Barack Obama isn’t George Bush and Bob Gates isn’t Donald Rumsfeld.
How this military intervention turns out will be determined by the sanity of the mission and the competence of the people executing it. So far, we haven’t been scare-mongered into sending our army into a country that didn’t ask for us to be there, set up our own government based upon failed “conservative” dogma, build a torture program to elicit false intelligence for political purposes, kill 100,000 civilian non-combatants, and maim and displace millions more. There are plenty of legitimate criticisms one can make about this administration but, unlike the people previously in charge “of our military interventions of the New American Century,” they’re not a bunch of incompetent psychopaths.
Ari Shavit points out that the Israeli government has managed the neat trick of dividing her friends while simultaneously uniting her enemies:
Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Moshe Ya’alon are supposed to know history. They are supposed to know there was no greater mistake than that of the British with regard to the illegal immigrant ship Exodus in the summer of 1947. The brutality employed by the British Mandate against a ferry loaded with Jewish refugees turned the regime into an object of revile. It lost what is now called international legitimacy. British rule over the country ended just 10 months after the Exodus fiasco.
The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara was no Exodus. It carried not Holocaust survivors but provocateurs, many of them extremists. But a series of baseless decisions on the part of the prime minister and the ministers of defense and of strategic affairs turned the Marmara into a Palestinian Exodus. With a single foolish move, the Israeli cabinet cast the Muslim Brotherhood in the role of the victim and the Israel Navy as the villain and simultaneously opened European, Turkish, Arab, Palestinian and internal Israeli fronts. In so doing, Israel is serving Hamas’ interests better than Hamas itself has ever done.
It was pretty obvious that the incident was meant to provoke a response from Israel. It was supposed to be a moral dilemma that put Israel in a difficult position — one where they had to choose between difficult outcomes, none of which cast them in a favorable light. It was a political trap with minimal military impact.
What happened to Israel’s vaunted creativity? Why was the worst of all possible options chosen? Where was the army chief of staff? Where were the intelligence services? Why did we walk into this trap, which we managed to avoid in all the years of the second intifada, with our eyes open? Why didn’t we see that instead of tightening the siege on Gaza, we were about to tighten the siege on ourselves?