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Ultimately this is the question by which the revolution will be judged. After all is said and done, did it actually result in an improvement in the quality of life for the Libyan people?

And today is a very good day to have that discussion because it is the 16th anniversary of the Abu Salim prison massacre. On June 29, 1996 the murder of 1270 prisoners was carried out by the Qaddafi regime. It was seven years before people found out, as family members continued to bring money and food for the dead prisoners, and the prison continued to accept them. This is the first year they will be able to openly commemorate that tragedy without fear of government repression. So it is a very good day to take on the views of the Party for Socialism and Liberation [PSL], Workers World Party and others, as expressed by Diana Barahona, that thinks "Libya Worse Off After NATO Takeover".

That is the title of a critique she has written of my "Qaddafi lies live on after him." Frankly, it reads less like a good critique of my work and more like an example of exactly what I was talking about. As a matter of fact, I might even say On the Left, Ghadafi’s Lies Live On,” for example we have "Libya Worse Off After NATO Takeover" from a comrade who has been writing about Libya for the PSL, because she takes on my paper with the same old, now well debunked, pro-Qaddafi mis-information peddled by Cynthia McKinney and other supporters of Brother Leader during his reign.

She gets so involved in taking on my paper and me that she never really gets around to addressing the very important question raised in her title, so before we can delve into the minutia of her critique we must spend a little time addressing this question that she raised and then neglected.

I have some Libyan facebook friends that I'm sure would say that Libya was better off now simply because they feel safe enough or free enough to use their real names on the Internet. I've yet to know the fear that something I wrote in a blog might have me disappeared in the middle of the night, or a member of my family, so I'm not sure how to value that in the better off/worst off spectrum of choices but certainly it must be considered.

Hamid sent me this tweet on June 20. I think you can guess how he feels. Libyans are going to the polls July 7th in their first national elections in 60 years. Since May Day, over 2.9 million voters have been registered, as have 3702 candidates, including 625 women and 349 political entities. The lights are on, the people are getting back to work, the schools are in session, rebuilding is taking place everywhere, thousands injured in the war have been sent abroad for treatment and oil production is back up to 90% of pre-war levels.

A year ago, Libya was pretty much were Syria is today, a ruthless dictator was clinging to power and using massive military force against his own people. Now the gun fire in Libya is down to the occasional outbursts that make the news. So I don't think that there is any question whether Libya is better off now as compared to a year ago.

Of course the more important question, the one to which she undoubtedly is referring to is: Are the Libyans worst off after what she calls the "NATO takeover" as compared to the golden era of Qaddafi's Green Jamahirya.

To answer that question, in this context, we first must address a certain difference in frame of reference or POV of some groups on the left like PSL and WWP as compared with reality because the very way she frames her answer already indicates that she is living in an alternate universe. So first we must deal with the mythology of what Libya was like under Qaddafi versus the reality and then we must deal with mythology of the "NATO takeover" and the reality of the Libyan Revolution.  

Mary Lynn Cramer in Counter Currents gives us a good example of the rosy picture pro-Qaddafi leftists painted of Libya before the revolution:

Before the USNATO and “rebels” began their murderous and destructive attacks on the Libyans and their government, people In Libya had the highest gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita of all of Africa. The government took care to ensure that everyone in the country shared in the wealth. Libya had the highest Human Development Index of any country on the continent. In Libya, a lower percentage of people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands....Libya ranked 61st, with a lower incarceration rate than Czech republic. It had the lowest infant mortality rate of all of Africa. Libya had the highest life expectancy of all of Africa, less than 5% of the population was undernourished, In response to the rising food prices around the world, the government of Libya abolished all taxes on food.
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
                                                     --  Mark Twain

Contrast that with this view of Qaddafi's Libya published on the eve of the February 17th uprising in afrol News:

afrol News, 16 February - While the Libyan economy drowns in petrodollars and its "Great leader" Muammar al-Ghaddafi buys support abroad, almost half of its youth are unemployed. The non-oil sector is tiny.

Libya is the richest North African country. Counted in GDP per capita, Libya indeed is on an Eastern European level.

But that does not reflect the real economy of the average Libyan, with around half the population falling outside the oil-driven economy. The unemployment rate is at a surprising 30 percent, with youth unemployment estimated at between 40 and 50 percent. This is the highest in North Africa.

Also other development indicators reveal that little of the petrodollars have been invested in the welfare of Libya's 6.5 million inhabitants. Education levels are lower than in neighbouring Tunisia, which has little oil, and a surprising 20 percent of Libyans remain illiterate.

Also, decent housing is unavailable to most of the disadvantaged half of the population. A generally high price level in Libya puts even more strains on these households.

But the key of popular discontent is the lack of work opportunities, which strongly contrasts the Libyan image of a rich nation constantly propagated by the regime and its Soviet-style media.

One Libyan, responding to those like Cynthia McKinney, who were repeating Qaddafi's lies and telling the world how wonderful Qaddafi's Libya was, had this to say:
Have you been to Tripoli and seen the districts of Hadba Shergeeya, AbuSleem, Hay Alislami, Soug al Jomaa to name only a handful? Is it acceptable that in 2001, in a country with vast oil riches, and after 42 years of trying, that this country still has raw sewage pouring onto streets where children play, that some parts of the capital do not have phone lines or water pipeline? Is this credible leadership?

5- You mention that in Libya there are ‘excellent institutions of learning’. This is nothing short of laughable. Did you know that some libraries in the main uni have no books? Did you know that in other libraries where they have sections for books, you are forbidden to enter these sections? Did you know that corruption in academic institutions is rife, where most lecturers take bribes to allow students to progress, largely because their wages are pathetic, and sometimes delay in receiving these wages sees them without pay for months. Did you know when the ‘brother leaders’ daughter was studying Law in the main uni they banned all males from the law school for the duration of her uni years? So if you were her age, male and wanted to go to law school at tripoli’s main uni….you couldn’t. Tough luck. The ‘brother leader’ says you cant, so you cant.

6- Please tell me I misread your statement that Libya has good ‘medical facilities’? Are you not aware that most Libyans who require specialist care travel to foreign countries to receive this care? some countries FAR poorer than ours, i.e. Tunisia. Such is the market for ‘medical-tourism’ to Tunis that there are Libyan-only medical centres. Perhaps you don't know that you cant even get simple things such as the Flu jab in Libya. Its in such low quantities that it runs out within weeks. Perhaps you don't know that when one of my friends passed away with a heart attack the hospital where he was taken (well known) took 15 minutes to find an ECG that worked, and later kept replacing the defibrillator, because they were malfunctioning. Is this not a farce?

7- You talk of our sense of belonging to Africa. Do you not know how much money Qaddafi pumps into Africa? Have you not heard of the war with Chad where countless Libyans and Chadians needlessly died? Do you not know of Qaddafi funding of rebel movements around Africa contributing to more bloodshed?

You need to seriously revise your knowledge of the country if you want to be a credible activist for peace, or a worthwhile defender of Qaddafi. You are doing him more harm than good by demonstrating your lack of grass roots knowledge.

This is just a sampling. There is a lot more information available for a fact-based analysis that show that even on the highly touted economic front, Qaddafi's Libya wasn't all it was cracked up to be by those under the spell of the illusions he so skillfully created for them.

So to begin with they are comparing the Libya of today, not with the Libya of say, two years ago, but with the Libya of their imagination. One result of this is that they tend to see Libyan problems of long standing, problems aggravated by the 42 year Qaddafi regime, like racism against black Africans, as new problems to be blamed on the revolution.

The second problem with her title, and this too is typical of the anti-interventionist perspective, is that she sees the Libyan Revolution as a produce of NATO intervention. Most of these anti-interventionists woke up to events in Libya when their country got involved and their normally healthy reflex was to oppose their government's intervention in the affairs of another third world country. In Libya, it was the struggle between the regime and the people that was center stage, both before and after NATO started flying air support. To many anti-war activists in the United States it was "just another Iraq" and the main struggle was between US imperialism and another third world country. Moreover, in an attitude that I think smacks of western chauvinism, they demanded that the Libyan activists view things from this western "anti-imperialist" perspective.

When they refused, when they persisted in demanding that someone, even NATO, stop Qaddafi's slaughter of the Libyan people, these anti-interventionists decided that no true Libyan revolutionaries would ever allow such a thing and then they proclaimed the NTC and the whole leadership of the Libyan Revolution to be tools of NATO. By implication, the great masses of Libyan people that fought for the revolution, militarily or otherwise, were dupes who didn't know a good thing when they had one.

When it started to become clear that the people would have their victory, these anti-interventionists started to fume. and they started to turn into counter-revolutionaries at least with regards to the Libyan revolution. A blogger, who has named himself lenin, give us a typical anti-interventionist view of what the post-Qaddafi Libya would look like. He published this on August 21, 2011 as Tripoli was being liberated:

The rebel army is commanded by someone who is most likely a CIA agent.  As far as I know, it has around 1,000 trained soldiers, within a total force of about 30-40,000 people (and within a population of 6.5m people).  It is directed on the ground by intelligence and special forces.  It isn't well armed, and it will probably now be either rapidly disarmed, or integrated into the post-Qadhafi state.  There may be a small number of jihadis among them, but these will either adapt, integrate, or be hunted down and killed on the basis of the new Libya's remit of fighting 'Al Qaeda'.  (Recall, preventing an 'Al Qaeda' takeover was one of the major justifications for intervention when the think-tanks started thinking tanks).  There is as yet no political force through which the masses could act independently of the new government, were they even of a mind to do so.  The rebels will be disarmed, and the initiative will rest with pro-US politicians and other ruling class spokespeople.
This hardly paints a true picture of Libya today. Even today those who looked upon the Libyan Revolution from the POV of NATO intervention cannot see this incredible accomplishment of the Libyan masses, instead they still strive to boaster the alternate universe of "NATO" takeover and paradise lost.

That's not so easy to do now with no NATO planes over Tripoli and no NATO "boots on the ground," none we can see, in any case. Certainly not like Iraq and Afghanistan, boots by the hundreds of thousands, bases everywhere, no hiding them, and still they couldn't control the situation. So the anti-interventionists speak of "invisible boots" and they require no proof. They speak of CIA control and amplify every claim of special forces involvement no matter the source. As if by magic, the CIA are controlling the destiny of Libya with a few score of secret agents more surely than they could Iraq or Afghanistan with special forces up the ass not to mention ten of thousands of combat troops.

What the anti-interventionists can't allow is the thought that a genuine revolution is taking place in Libya, the most far reaching and complete of all of those collectively called the Arab Spring. At a time when they should be studying developments in Libya the way Karl Marx studied the Paris Commune, they are turning up their noses and averting their eyes, looking down at Libya now only when they can point out some dirt.

They show by their actions that their concern is not for the people of Libya because Qaddafi is gone and there's no getting him back, so rather than looking to the future of Libya and asking the people how they can help build it, all they can do is embellish the past and lament about mistakes made.

So with that as an introduction, let us now look at highlights of Diana Barahona's Response to Clay Claiborne’s “On the Left, Ghadafi’s Lies Live On." Diana Barahona begins her paper by assuring the reader I'm an intellectual lightweight:

Claiborne, who has no academic credentials making him a Middle East expert, has published 95 opinion pieces supporting the overthrow of the Libyan government.
My writing wouldn't matter, she assures you, except I am now supporting revolution in Syria. Then she leads with her strongest argument:
First to address is his assessment of the human cost of the war. He throws around the figure of 30,000 dead without citing reliable sources. This figure is problematic since it comes from the new government,
She doesn't like the new government so she doesn't trust its numbers. That much is clear.

I have three problems with this: One, who else in Libya is in a position to make a creditable count of the dead nationwide? Two, Diana doesn't supply any alternate numbers, let alone sources for them. And three, none of my arguments depend on the number of Libyans killed overthrowing Qaddafi. The HRW finding that only 72 civilians were killed by NATO bombs is significant only because some anti-interventionists like to talk about carpet bombing and NATO bloodbaths.

She then goes on to talk about

civilians who allegedly died at the hands of the Ghadafi government.
Why does she give Gaddafi such benefits? why "allegedly" went it comes to the ones killed by Qaddafi? One might as well say the whole 30,000 is "allegedly."

She goes further than that. While millions of Libyans were demanding "regime change" she saw the Qaddafi regime as the legitimate government of Libya and a good thing.

I consider government soldiers and police doing their job in repelling a foreign-backed overthrow to be victims as well.
So she was, and is, opposed to the revolution. She should take no offense at being called counter-revolutionary because there it is.

Of course the American revolution was also "foreign-backed", so was the Vietnamese revolution "foreign-backed" and for that matter, most revolutions.

She then goes on to trot out the usual litany of pro-Qaddafi stories, no "allegedly" here, her sources are to be believed.

We do know for a fact that NATO bombing deliberately targeted the families of government officials, which is a war crime, and that the opposition militias also murdered many civilians (approximately 300 in Sirte alone), either because they were seen as pro-government or because they were black-skinned foreign workers.
There is a problem with Racism in Libya. That is why I wrote the piece by that name for the Libyan thuwar and I am very happy to see it posted on various Libyan websites and discussed among them. But the way I feel about those on the left that have only discovered Arab racism after Qaddafi, harbor many illusions about the racist Qaddafi and his relationship with black Africa, and now see in revolutionary Libya racism even where it ain't, is best summed up by a tweet:

I think it is the role of revolutionaries anywhere in the world to support revolutions everywhere in the world, not to stand on the sidelines carping.

That means supporting the people' struggles to recreate themselves in whatever way you can. It means pointing out flaws in a constructive manner so that they can be corrected and the revolution moved forward. It does not mean using any problems to stoke a desire to return to the past.

And for a Marxist, it means both teaching and learning from the revolutionaries. I have learned so much from my Libyan brothers and sisters and it makes proud that some have called me an honorary Libyan. And I was very happy to see my "Qaddafi lies live on after him" republished on the Libya Tweet Forum a week after I posted it to the Daily Kos.

Anyway, she goes on for a while, laying out her alternate reality for Libya. I don't know where she gets her facts and sometimes I wonder what she is thinking, as in,

Additionally, Special Forces were infiltrated into Libya, among them thousands of easily concealed Qatari commandos.
Easily concealed from who? Libyans? Other Arabs? Unless, of course, they are all in on the conspiracy and only westerners needed to be fooled.

She ignores a number of my major pieces, including Helter Skelter: Qaddafi's African Adventure and Racism in Libya so that she can say:

The fact that anti-Ghadafi militias murdered many civilians, including the killing, torture and forced expulsion of up to 250,000 of African workers living in the country with their families, is not mentioned by Claiborne,
Then she goes on to disparage the up coming elections in Libya as meaningless:
He also makes a big deal about people registering to vote, as if being allowed to choose only among candidates acceptable to the global capitalist elites meant anything.
Of course she doesn't bother to explain just how the "the global capitalist elites" were able to filter the over 3700 candidates running for 200 positions. But then, its not her revolution, she can afford to be flip about it.

Finally, near the end, she gets to my favorite part of her whole paper. In recalling an ANSWER Coalition forum on Libya June 18, 2011, at which I took the picture below, she made a valuable admission.


When Cynthia McKinney came to Los Angeles after witnessing the destruction of the NATO bombing campaign in Libya, it fell to a group of us to form a cordon outside to prevent Libyans from entering the event and disrupting it.
I want to thank Diana Barahona for that honest description because after I wrote No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum I was subjected to all manner of abuse by people from ANSWER and PSL. For example Ian Thompson published an open letter in which he said:
But, political line aside, the article is full of patent distortions, mischaracterizations and shoddy analysis from start to finish. It's headline and main assertion that there were "no Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya forum" featuring Cynthia McKinney is a flat-out lie.
...
The only folks prevented from entering the forum were the few who came specifically to protest and disrupt the event. It wasn't because they were Libyan. Several Libyans and Arab Americans participated in the event and discussion. Some pro-war, most anti-war.
 
So now, I can consider that matter settled. Like I said, to me, that was the best thing in her whole critique.
Here are my related diaries on Syria:
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout

For more background on the Libyan Revolution and links to lots of information see my other writings at the DailyKos and WikiLeaks Central:
Libyan Elections to be held July 7th
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Libyan High Court strikes down anti-free speech law
Where should Libya's Saif Qaddafi be tried?
MSM plays Hankey Panky with Libya
Qaddafi lies live on after him
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Libya's Qaddafi helped US & Israel against Iran in Olympic Games
Why is Russia demanding NATO boots on the ground in Libya?
#LyElect Libyans register to vote 1st time in 60 years
Libya's Revolution: How We Won - The Internationale in the 21st Century
Good News from Libya
On Libya & Glenn Greenwald: Are the anti-interventionists becoming counter-revolutionaries?
UN: NATO killed 60 civilians in Libya
Libya in the news today
Amnesty International on Libya again
The Current Situation in Libya
Democracy Now & Amy Goodman gets it wrong again.
Why is Chris Hedges calling for "boots on the ground" in Libya?
The Worm Has Turned: Good Film on Libyan Revolution from PressTV
Why NATO's mission in Libya isn't over yet
Libya's Freedom Fighters: How They Won
Racism in Libya
Abdul Rahman Gave his Eyes to See the End of Qaddafi
BREAKING: Secret files reveal Dennis Kucinich talks with Qaddafi Regime
BREAKING: Libyan TNC won't extradite Lockerbie bomber
Who really beat Qaddafi?
#Feb17: @NATO Please help MEDEVAC wounded from #Libya
What should those that opposed NATO's intervention in Libya demand now?
BREAKING: Qaddafi's Tripoli Compound Falls!
Does PDA Support Qaddafi?
BREAKING: Operation Mermaid Dawn, the Battle to Liberate Tripoli is Joined
Helter Skelter: Qaddafi's African Adventure
Qaddafi's Long Arm
SCOOP: My Lai or Qaddafi Lie? More on the 85 Civilians presumed killed by NATO
Did NATO kill 85 Libyan Villagers As Qaddafi Regime Contends?
CCDS Statement on Libya - a Critique
The Assassination of General Abdul Fattah Younis
NATO over Tripoli - Air Strikes in the Age of Twitter
How Many Libyans has NATO Killed?
Qaddafi Terror Files Start to Trickle Out!
Have Libyan Rebels Committed Human Rights Abuses?
Tripoli Green Square Reality Check
Behind the Green Curtain: Libya Today
Gilbert Achcar on the Libyan situation and the Left
NATO slammed for Libya civilian deaths NOT!
2011-07-01 Qaddafi's Million Man March
NATO's Game Plan in Libya
February 21st - Tripoli's Long Night
Did Qaddafi Bomb Peaceful Protesters?
Tripoli Burn Notice
Libyans, Palestinians & Israelis
'Brother' Qaddafi Indicted plus Libya & Syria: Dueling Rally Photofinishs
An Open Letter to ANSWER
ANSWER answers me
2011-06-22 No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum
Are they throwing babies out of incubators yet?
Continuing Discussion with a Gaddafi Supporter
Boston Globe oped supports Gaddafi with fraudulent journalism
2011-04-13 Doha summit supports Libyan rebels
Current Events in Libya
Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi
Arming Gaddfi
North African Revolution Continues
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation

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Comment Preferences

  •  I wouldn't sweat it too much. (7+ / 0-)

    Yeah, it sucks getting sniped at by name by an ideologue with Walter Duranty glasses, but she's small peas.  All eyes are on the election, and how things go from there.   Lots of challenges, lots of reasons to be on edge, lots of reasons to be optimistic, too.  

    By the way, it's funny that she takes you to task for being a non-academic, given her own credentials.  At least you should be able to get a good laugh out of her work.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 01:09:11 AM PDT

  •  The only reason that I was against direct (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, IreGyre, angry marmot, Smoh, Wee Mama

    NATO intervention in Libya was because I wanted it to be their revolution and for the world to see that it was so.

    I believe that is the result, and I wish them well over the coming decades and that the revolution can then be deemed a success. It takes time.

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 01:16:15 AM PDT

    •  At the time, I was unemployed and glued (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Smoh, Wee Mama

      to livestreams that had my heart in my throat.  If NATO had not intervened at the exact moment they did, the genocide would have been counted into 6 digit figures.

      There were many on this blog that violently disagreed with NATO (American) involvement in Libya.  But I guarantee, had any of them been watching moment to moment as I had been, they would have known it was the only possible route for people of conscience.  

      My heart still skips a beat for Egypt and I've heard nothing of Tunisia at all.

      Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

      by Gustogirl on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 02:58:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree completely (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, Gustogirl

        in their statement on Libya, CCDS compared Libya to the Iraq war saying "we've been through this movie before." I think the problem is that they came came in to the movie in the middle.

        If they were following events in Libya in Feb, early March 2011 they certainly wouldn't be calling it NATO's war.

        I think the NTC was very smart with NATO, accepting air support only.With no boot on the ground it is very hard for NATO to control events on the ground. All they could do after Qaddafi was defeated was fly away.  

        Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

        by Clay Claiborne on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:06:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  targets (0+ / 0-)

    This is a great takedown, but taking on the Workers World Party is a pretty easy target.  I don't think anything they wrote was worth wasting any of your time on.  Does anyone other than a few loonies listen to them?

    History will be kind to us because we will write it.

    by Sky Net on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 01:44:41 AM PDT

  •  A good question, but one that ultimately (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native

    must continue to be asked on an ongoing basis.  Even judged on this question, there is no single point in time at which one can honestly say, 'The state of Libya at this moment shows that intervention was a (mistake/good thing).'

    And anybody that claims a revolution/civil war's aftermath should be settled out even within a few year's time is an incredible optimist.  I would suggest that the American Civil War was an offshoot and result of the 'handling' of the aftermath of the Revolutionary War nearly a hundred years before.  Someone like Ms Barahona could pop up in the aftermath of our own nation's bloodiest war ever, in which brother slaughtered brother, and ask 'Weren't you better off before you split from England?'  

    If you think that's too far a stretch, why not just look at the state of the US in the year or so after the Revolutionary War itself?  The country was devastated, the people split, widows and orphans all around.

    But was it 'worth it'?  I would suggest most Americans today would say yes, despite the blood, the pain, the loss of life.  And quite frankly, our own overthrown despot was nowhere near as brutal to Americans as Qaddaffi was to Libyans.

    McKinney has her moments, but it's almost a stopped clock sort of thing.  She's right at times and wrong at times, but simply doesn't seem to understand the nuances that make her either right or wrong.  The automatic anti-American intervention movement should always remember that their standard-bearer is Ron Paul.  

    Absolutism without reflection is quite often a bad move, situations need to be examined individually, because they're not 'all the same'.

  •  It's not empirical question, though. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, native

    It's a philosophical one.  Some people would prefer democracy to dictatorship if they could live even a little better in material terms, because what democracy brings to the table they don't value ("politics bores me"), or they active hate ("I'm a secularist and most Libyans would vote Islamist").  Some people would prefer democracy "all things being equal" but might prefer dictatorship if they strongly feared material collapse or the wrong winners under democracy.  And some people would always prefer democracy even if they lose, because they value freedom above everything.

    There's a distinction to be made between democracy and relative freedom, though: you can have an undemocratic regime in that people don't get a determining role in who rules them, but which doesn't have to be explicitly repressive because people know nothing's going to change (and/or they re happy with the outcomes).  Kuwait or Qatar, for example.  

    Romney '12: Bully for America!

    by Rich in PA on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 05:48:42 AM PDT

  •  I think (0+ / 0-)

    we should probably ask some Black Africans in Libya are things better now.

    You know, the least of these and what not.

    •  I don't understand this comment. (0+ / 0-)

      The diarist not only addresses this, but he links to his diary on the problem - a diary you approvingly commented on, no less.  

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 10:43:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is the rest of the world? (0+ / 0-)

    http://gulfnews.com/...

    Egypt seizes weapons smuggled from Libya

    "Cairo: Egyptian security forces on Friday seized a large stash weapons, including rockets and automatic machine guns, smuggled into the country from neighbouring Libya and allegedly bound for the Gaza Strip, Egypt’s interior minister said.

    Gen Mohammad Ebrahim said security forces acting on a tip uncovered the weapons in a car and truck on the highway near the Mediterranean resort city of Marsa Matrouh, which is along the coastal highway that runs to the Libyan border. After chasing down the vehicles, one of the smugglers was killed in an exchange of fire, Ebrahim said.

    Among the munitions confiscated were 138 grad rockets and some 7,000 rounds of ammunition, according to Ebrahim, who called the bust the “biggest” in the history of the Interior Ministry.

    He said the weapons were smuggled from the Libyan city of Sirte, the hometown of the country’s late dictator Muammar Gaddafi and the last regime stronghold to fall in the Libyan civil war last year. He added one of the smugglers said the weapons were bound for Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and from there to the Gaza Strip. "

    "
    Egypt seizes weapons smuggled from Libya

    Among the cache was 138 grad rockets and some 7,000 rounds of ammunition

        AP
        Published: 14:19 June 30, 2012
        Gulf News

        Share on google Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on email More Sharing Services 0

    Cairo: Egyptian security forces on Friday seized a large stash weapons, including rockets and automatic machine guns, smuggled into the country from neighbouring Libya and allegedly bound for the Gaza Strip, Egypt’s interior minister said.

    Gen Mohammad Ebrahim said security forces acting on a tip uncovered the weapons in a car and truck on the highway near the Mediterranean resort city of Marsa Matrouh, which is along the coastal highway that runs to the Libyan border. After chasing down the vehicles, one of the smugglers was killed in an exchange of fire, Ebrahim said.

    Among the munitions confiscated were 138 grad rockets and some 7,000 rounds of ammunition, according to Ebrahim, who called the bust the “biggest” in the history of the Interior Ministry.

    He said the weapons were smuggled from the Libyan city of Sirte, the hometown of the country’s late dictator Muammar Gaddafi and the last regime stronghold to fall in the Libyan civil war last year. He added one of the smugglers said the weapons were bound for Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and from there to the Gaza Strip.

    Article continues below

    During the eight-month conflict that led to the toppling and killing of Gaddafi, Libyan citizens-turned-fighters stormed weapons storehouses and military camps to arm themselves, and the country is awash in everything from machine guns to mortars. Since then, the country has become a key source of illicit arms.

    A flood of weapons from Libya has added to security concerns in Egypt, where police have yet to fully return to the nation’s streets since disappearing early in last year’s uprising.

    Authorities fear the weapons most often fall into the hands of Islamist militants in Sinai who have moved swiftly to exploit the security void, carrying out almost daily attacks on security forces. They enjoy near complete control over parts of border towns like Rafah. Elsewhere in Sinai, they have taken advantage of long-standing grievances by the area’s Bedouin inhabitants over services and development to recruit and whip up anti-government sentiment. "

  •  Thanks, Clay (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clay Claiborne

    Those voices are small, but opinion about Libya is a matter of small groups in American politics.  If I could I'd keep a close eye on these pathologically skeptical folks, even though they are fringe.  They get money and encouragement somewhere.  They're someone's useful idiots.  And that someone doesn't care for substantive justice and liberal democracy.

    NATO, acting from outside, essentially destroyed Gaddafi's advantage in machines of war he brought in from the outside- a neutralization in effect.  Libyans fought other Libyans person to person for control of the country and change of regime.

  •  Will Libyans be better off with new oil PSA's (0+ / 0-)

    being renegotiated in favor of NOC's?

    Here's what Gadaffi was doing with oil contracts to foreign oil companies in 2009. Terms got even tougher in 2010 as previous contracts came up for renewal. (So much so that a number of the NOC's dropped out.)

    FRENCH TOTAL-LED CONSORTIUMS ACCEPT LOWER PRODUCTION SHARES IN LIBYA
    31 Jan 2011
    Passed to the Telegraph by WikiLeaks

    Date: 6/4/2009 13:07
    Origin: Embassy Tripoli
    Classification: CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN

    1.(C/NF) Summary: Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) renegotiated the terms of its production sharing agreements with France's Total and its partners in Libya (Germany's Wintershall and Norway's StatoilHydro), adjusting the existing stand-alone contracts to bring them into compliance with the Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) rubric. The renegotiation of Total's contract is of a piece with the NOC's effort to renegotiate existing contracts to increase the Libya's share of crude oil production.
    ...
    2.(SBU) The NOC had already renegotiated its agreements with other international oil companies (IOCs) producing in Libya to align those contracts with the EPSA-IV framework. Under EPSA-IV terms, IOCs commit to upfront signing bonuses to the NOC, a lower share of produced oil and gas, technology transfers, training of local employees and investment to re-develop existing fields.
    ...
    4.(SBU) Each consortium will take 27 percent of oil production, down from the 50 percent take they had under the previous agreement. For gas, the consortium will take a 40 percent share (down from 50 percent), which will be reduced in the future to 30 percent.
    ...

    Now here is what is in the works for renegotiating both old and new contracts. Companies such as BP have already got new terms under a mechanism called force majeure.
    Libya to Offer New Production-Sharing Contracts
    Posted on 14 June 2012.

    Libya will offer new production-sharing agreements to international oil companies on improved terms to existing contracts, but this won’t happen this year, said the country’s Minister of Oil and Gas, Abdurahman Benyezza Wednesday.
    ...

    Shell’s Pulling Out of Libya: A Warning Message to both Oil Authorities, People
    31/05/2012

    In a statement on Monday Royal Dutch Shell announced it will cease exploration activities and abandon drilled wells in Libya citing harsh contracts and current insecurity as major factors in the decision.
    ...
    Many Libyan oil experts consider the terms of EPSA IV contracts to be favorable and transparent but remain amongst the toughest in oil industry. The EPSA IV agreements are not popular among IOCs and they have caused a number of them to pull out of the Libyan oil market in during the latter years of Gaddafi regime.
    ...
    While Libya holds the largest oil reserves in Africa and the eight largest oil producer in the world its oil is even more attractive due to its low cost of oil recovery, high oil quality and proximity to European markets, Shell's pulling out represents a message from key players in oil industry to the Libyan government and that is 'we do not see eye to eye'.

  •  Militias Become Power Centers in Libya (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.commondreams.org/...

    Published on Saturday, June 30, 2012 by The Progressive
    Militias Become Power Centers in Libya

    by Reese Erlich (who I recall, used to write for the Line of March newspaper, Unity, back in the day)

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