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When Russia and the NATO countries sold tanks, artillery, land mines, cluster bombs and helicopter gunships to Mummar Qaddafi they did so knowing that he would very likely use those weapons to suppress any opposition within his own country. While those weapons made his regime more stable, they also assured that any attempt to overthrow it would result in the spilling of much more Libyan blood.

They in effect traded blood for oil, in that most imperial of ways, they traded Libyan blood for Libyan oil.

Providing those heavy weapons to the Qaddafi regime was a most important form of imperialist intervention which AFAIK, no one on the left objected to.

NATO put no troops on the ground in Libya nor did they provide the opposition, which we now know, represented the overwhelming majority of all Libyans, with heavy weapons. But the NATO air campaign cost Qaddafi his helicopters and war planes, and limited his rocket and artillery attacks to places he could hit from batteries he could hide in population centers. [Note this trick won't work against a Qaddafi or an Assad.] Thus he was able to maintain the siege of Misrata from Tawergha for so many months. And although NATO only destroyed a small percentage of his armor, the air cover forced him to abandon the use of his heavy tanks. The Qaddafi forces had to use the same sort of technical vehicles the NTC forces relied on and engage their enemy close up where air support couldn't easily get at them but now the thuwar could. The NATO intervention leveled the battlefield.

[BTW - I strongly objected to the use of the phrase "pro-Qaddafi forces" then or "pro-Assad forces" now by people on the left in the face of ample testimony to the fact that these "leaders" kill soldiers who refuse to fight for them, kill them and their family. Would you describe a man who opens a safe with a gun to his back as "pro-bank robber?"]

The main effect of the UN mandated NATO intervention over Libya was to somewhat neutralize the tremendous advantage in aircraft and heavy weapons given to him by the major arms exporting countries who also happen to be the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. This is what many on the left rose up to object to.

Once the "great powers" have supplied a dictator with cluster bombs and the systems with which to deliver them, he should be free to use them on a rebellious population without any outside interference. Is that the stand of the left? I fear there is much more suffering in the future of humanity than need be.

We can see the terrible results of what the anti-interventionist left wanted for Benghazi and Misrata in Homs, Hama, Idlib, Duoma, Houla, Dara, and now Damascus and Aleppo.

The "Battle of Damascus" has been raging for six days now in the oldest living city in the world. Heavy weapons and bombs are being used indiscriminately by a government against its rebellious communities on a scale never seen before AFAIK in one of the world's great cities.

This may be the first such wildly uneven urban battle but I'm afraid it won't be the last. I fear for the precedent being set and the world's acceptance of it.

If I say "What a tragic loss of life yesterday." and you think Denver, then the wool has already been pulled over your eyes.

Are helicopter gunships dropping cluster bombs over neighborhoods and all the rest okay now?

I fear that what is happening first in Damascus may eventually happen in Los Angeles, New York or London. Will those centers of power yield with any less violence once so few have objected to the precedent being set in Damascus and Aleppo today?

And finally, I am shamed by a left that seems bent on making its main legacy on this point a few pro-Assad rallies, much propagation of Assad lies and a lot of talk about non-intervention.

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, SyriaGlenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
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

And these are my articles on the Libyan Revolution:
The Elections and Libya's Violent Militias
#Libya at the crossroads: The ballot or the bullet
Is Libya better off than it was?
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

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)

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

    by Clay Claiborne on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 11:10:20 AM PDT

  •  You bring a shotgun to a laser fight (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So long as there are more than about 11 people on Earth one of them will be expressing some misguided opinion or another. Now we can choose to describe this individual as misguided or we can just blaze away with the ol' scattergun and implicate them all.

    I don't know what you want to accomplish by picking at old scabs while accusing everyone around you for causing the wounds in the first place.

  •  Clay, I want to know what you advocate. (3+ / 0-)

    What are you saying we (or our governments) should do?

  •  As much as I supported intervention in Libya (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, glorificus

    I just don't see it for Syria.  Now, I haven't been following as closely until recently because it's too hard to watch.  But I think that getting overtly involved would likely make things much worse.  If that seems hard to imagine, remember the Lebanese civil war of the '80s.  If we got into a proxy war with Iran and Russia, the outcome could be far worse than even that.
        I hope and suspect that we are providing some behind the scenes support.  It's an approach that takes a strong stomach. But I think we are doing what we should be doing and that everyone should thank the deity of their choice, or make one up, that Obama is making the decisions and not, say, George W Bush.

  •  Clay when you say you are ashamed at the left (3+ / 0-)

    that proposes non-interventionism, you implicitly attack people such as myself, BigAlin, Claudius, Fire Bad Tree, etc.

    But you fail to understand that military-liberal intervention is a failed policy. It has the potential to cause more deaths than it saves. More harm than good. Take the example of Kosovo.

    As Noam Chomsky writes:

    “At least this much seems clear. NATO chose to reject diplomatic options that were not exhausted, and to launch a military campaign that had terrible consequences for Kosovar Albanians, as anticipated. Other consequences are of little concern in the West, including the devastation of the civilian economy of Serbia by military operations that severely violate the laws of war. Though the matter was brought to the War Crimes Tribunal long ago, it is hard to imagine that it will be seriously addressed. For similar reasons, there is little likelihood that the Tribunal will pay attention to its 150-page “Indictment Operation Storm: A Prima Facie Case,” reviewing the war crimes committed by Croatian forces that drove some 200,000 Serbs from Krajina in August 1995 with crucial U.S. involvement that elicited “almost total lack of interest in the U.S. press and in the U.S. Congress,” New York Times Balkans correspondent David Binder observes.”
    Both Assad and the rebels are committing  HR abuses:
    Reporting from Beirut — Syria'sarmed rebels have committed "serious human rights abuses," including kidnappings and torture, and reportedly executions, of security personnel and civilians, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.
    Intervening to dethrone Assad will inevitably aid one rights abuser over another and quite possibly Kosovo will be repeated in Syria.
  •  I'm not aware of any heavy weapons supplied (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sky Net, joe from Lowell

    to Syria by NATO countries.

    Look to former Soviet Bloc countries if you want to find the weapons suppliers for Syria.

    The same was true for Libya, except for the 155 mm self-propelled howitzers that Italy had sold to them in the mid 1980s.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 11:53:48 AM PDT

  •  Utterly simplistic reduction of the issues to (5+ / 0-)

    intervention or non-intervention, and frankly a gratuitious insult to those opposed to or hesitant with respect to intervention in Syria (such as myself) for reasons different than those of the far left whom you choose to represent as the entire left.

    As for the three penultimate paragraphs, they're heading off the rails...

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 12:17:47 PM PDT

  •  This summarizes your case (4+ / 0-)
    And finally, I am shamed by a left
    You dont like the left.   It is becoming obvious.  Are you sure you are posting on the right place?  I bet that your pro-war, pro-intervention diaries supporting "freedom fighters" would get much more applause in Redstate.   They all think like that there.
    •  Redstate? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cynical Copper

         I don't look at that rightist blog often enough to say what opinion is there about Assad, and the FSA...but, I do know that the U.S. right-wing is quite divided over Syria. Some on the Right call for arming the FSA, openly and in more than sufficient quantities to allow them to overthrow Assad regime like...months ago. Others on the Right , see in Syria , as well as the rest of the "Arab Spring," an Islamist Winter, an Ikhwan Muslim Brotherhood Apocalypse.
          Clay, it is my impression , is an old 60's leftist . I seem him post on a Marxist listserv, and another fora on the revolutionary left, , so I think this baiting of him as some type of proto-neo-con is not called for. Here he is cited in the 2nd paragraph .

      •  So? (0+ / 0-)

        The fact that he may be an old 60's leftist does not change the fact that he supports intervention and wars now.   He would not be the first.

        Libya is a disaster in chaos after the NATO intervention, and anyone who keeps supporting the new dictators there probably does not understand what has happened there.

        •  For you to call the elected Libyan government (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cynical Copper, angry marmot, killjoy

          "the new dictators" makes it perfectly clear who does, and does not, understand what is happening in Libya.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:09:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Can Libya's Liberals and Islamists Get Along? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shawn Russell
            Can Libya's Liberals and Islamists Get Along?
            Jul 21 2012

            You might think, based on the headlines in the Western press, that Libya's July 7 vote delivered a resounding victory for the country's liberals.
            But axiom "all politics is local" is true in Libya as well, and what Jibril's candidates have most in common is not by any secular-liberalism or lack thereof, but deep local roots. It seems that in some urban areas, based on my conversations with people in Libya, that voters selected Jibril's candidate assuming he or she would share Jibril's views, only later discovering that this was not the case. Some local candidates seem to have bandwagoned on Jibril's name and popularity, without actually holding his liberal or secularist views. The same thing appears true of many candidates on the so-called "independents" list.
            Libyan politics, then, are still fragmented and fluid; it's far too soon to declare victory for liberals or for anyone else. The political landscape is in some ways like the security situation, which is primarily enforced not by unified national army or police, but by a few dozen independent, locally organized militias.
            Yet the transitional leadership has been embroiled in a fight over which governmental body will even be in charge of writing the constitution. With the Libya struggling to resolve even these procedural matters, which are important but less ideological charged than the looming debates over the actual contents of the constitution, the newly elected government may have a harder time establishing the post-Qaddafi era than many observers think.

            •  It's still a very fluid situation. (0+ / 0-)

              But the different sides are working it out in the political sphere so far.  Just look at how long the Americans had to work at it before settling on an enduring constitution.

              I wish the effort to build an enduring democracy got as much attention as the effort to take down the old dictatorship.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:47:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  sure (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shawn Russell, BradyB

            the same  Libyan government that tolerates  torture, war crimes and other atrocities by friendly criminal gangs and factions.   And it is not me who says that.   It is Amnesty International.  

            Last time I checked democracies dont allow torture and war crimes.   Only dictators do.   Like in the new Libya.

            •  No, it's not. (0+ / 0-)

              The Libyan government is struggling to assert its authority over the country, while militias are often able to operate with impunity.  You don't even seem to know the difference.  Or care, as long as you can keep slandering the government.

              Someone who actually wanted to see the country become peaceful would be rooting for the government as it works to expand its capacity.  That is, someone unlike you.


              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:51:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  usually I criticize the staunch non-intervention (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot

    ists who post in these diaries--but I agree with their criticism this time.  What specific measures do you propose in this situation?  It's not a walk in the park.  It could make things a hell of a lot worse--regionally and perhaps internationally.  It's not 'non-interventionism' that I  have a problem with--it's when posters make blanket comments without anything to back it up.  All your diary is doing is condemning non-interventionism without laying out your case.

  •  Anti-Imperialism of Fools and the Syrian Spring (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell Fresh off of arguing that North Korea is a live issue for American socialist organizing in the context of Occupy, Paul D’amato takes issue with my argument that the Western left puts itself at odds with revolutionary Syrians by opposing U.S. intervention full stop – no ifs, ands, or buts. Siding with revolutionary Syrians and Libyans regardless of their calls for foreign airstrikes since they do not have an air forces of their own to protect themselves hardly adds up to cheering the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” the United States military.

    I side with the Arab Spring, no matter what country it spreads to, no matter what dictatorship comes under threat, and no matter what side the U.S. government eventually decides to back. As Clay Claiborne said elsewhere, I did not side with U.S. imperialism on the Libyan revolution, U.S. imperialism sided with me.

  •  Clay, I'm grateful (0+ / 0-)

    that you do all these mostly very detailed diaries on the conflict in Syria.  No one else is putting in as much effort.

    If we're going to get into the ideology of these conflicts, one has to be somewhat systematic.  Basically there are two axes, Left-Right and liberal-conservative, forming the four combinations of these things.  Plus a kind of center of the 2x2 box, centrists.

    The centrists are the force behind what is generally called "humanitarian intervention", which is well meaning but politically without macroscopic objectives.  

    Right-conservatives aka reactionaries are usually antiinterventionist to the point of isolationism.  This is an irresponsible position as demonstrated by WW2; it is the usual conservative thing of being emotionally serious and cognitively unserious.

    Right-liberals aka classical Rightists are out to dominate people they don't like.  So they are essentially arbitrary, but they will do imperial or colonial interventions if given an opponent and the chance.  This is what Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and the Perle/Wolfowitz/etc do.  We got the occupation of Iraq from them.  But these same people were willing to let Milosevic and Serbians have their way with Bosniaks and Kosovars.  The Right-liberals can be historically right by accident but the motivation will always be inpalatable and so will be what they try to do with any conquests.

    Left-liberals aka liberals do so-called liberal interventionism.  This means to back efforts to establish liberal democracy by the means compatible with the end.  Where this can be done nonviolently or without outside force via political or financial pressures this is great to be preferred.  (E.g. the democratizations of South Africa, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, probably Egypt and Burma most recently.)  Where liberal democrats are being suppressed with violence but have the broad public backing to succeed, liberal interventionism means to give them the military assistance that is situationally appropriate and compatible with liberal democratic values.  Deciding when to escalate from nonviolent means to providing arms to sending in the cruise missiles and laser-guided munition dropping bombers, is a very hesitant- but outcome deciding- process and one where non-Left-liberals try to wedge in.

    Left-conservatives aka classical Leftists are, like their enemies the Right-liberals, principally concerned with power.  In the current worldwide dynamic of incremental overthrow of pre-Modern orders by Modern forces, being Left-conservative means siding with pre-Modern Old Left-identified movements and governments.  This does curiously mean siding with empires on the defensive like Russia and China and their in truth Right-conservative ruling elites.

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