“Well, fighting internal

Well, fighting internal opposition is legitimate of course, but what is not legit is artillery and tank fire into civilian targets which (from my watching of it) has been confirmed. He was collectively punishing entire towns and cities for the uprising. Do you care to defend that behavior?”

Brendan, I am not defending Gaddafi’s behaviour, I am saying that it isn’t against international law, at least not clearly so. Nevertheless we are seeing an international intervention now. Gaza is a bad comparison, because that is an international conflict, not an internal one. Yemen and Bahrain are better for a comparison. A senior Yemeni officer has just joined the opposition … Will the same allies intervene there, and on which side will they be found?

Even if I shared your opinion (or illusion :-) ) that the countries intervening in Libya had the aim of preventing a humanitarian catastrophe, I would find it very worrying indeed that the UNSC is acting outside international law. Institutions without a legal frame are the worst danger imaginable.

The "allies" have: a) agreed not to occupy, b) are reacting to the actions of Gaddafi, c) have the legal basis to act to protect Libyan civilians (resolution 1973). All is well in the world! Be happy.”

Wonderful. I am reassured. Using superior fire-power to install a Lybian government that immediately invites a few tens of thousands military advisers wouldn’t be an occupation, of course.

How do you know of Gaddafi’s actions, by the way? Have you been there, or do you rely on the media that are embedded by either side of the conflict?

The idea of protection of civilians being the aim of the military invaders is what I find scariest. Militaries are not humanitarian institutions, they are institutions meant to apply violence. At best they can be forced to respect humanitarian law (in varying degrees).

We will have to disagree on the finer points here as I feel personally that preventing artillery, tanks and air power being employed by Gaddafi is a fine objective if they leave it at that.

Completely agree, but there is that “if”. No chance that they leave it at that.

Blowing up his military infrastructure is fine with me, too, if they are seeking to create air dominance and destabilize the military and economic capacity of one crazy SOB

It’s the capacities of the crazy sob now, but it will be the economic capacity of the new, post-Gaddafi Libya. Or rather, it won’t, because the Libyan capacities will be found reduced to rubble. That means some economic advisers too… After all, they are Arabs, too stupid for democracy and even to know where to go shopping. Without proper guiding they might be able to buy equipment from China. Arabs may be difficult to lead, but actually it is a matter of fire-power.

I am alluding to Jay’s post, of course, racist and anti-democratic as one has to expect from him.

Jay, the Egyptian opposition groups are rising against the coalition of US trained military, NDP, and Muslim Brotherhood. And they are doing that admirably which shows that they are very capable to initiate the democratic process.

Your anti-democratic intentions become very clear indeed when you suggest that Hillary Clinton, the world’s most famous advocate of dictatorship, should deliver the west’s “help” (coaching, cajoling, flat-out bribery, and open threats) in order to ensure Egypt’s and Tunisia’s submission. You quoted an inane article a few days ago how warmly Clinton was received in Cairo, but forgot to mention that she invited the opposition to talks. They simply and publicly declined the invitation, saying they had not forgotten that Clinton persistently supported Mubarak’s dictatorship. With allies like that it is really “no surprise that Arabs often wind up with a dictator for a leader, because plurality and majority consensus prove too difficult to achieve”. They are shaking off these “allies” now. “Bombs for peace” can slow down the process, but they can’t stop it.

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