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Monday, April 25, 2011


Shades of Yugoslavia (and elsewhere)

The latest news from Libya:
"A separate airstrike elsewhere in Tripoli targeted Libyan TV and temporarily knocked it off the air."
Will we hear a single American newsperson condemning this attack on the press? As in Yugoslavia, and as in U.S. attacks against Al Jazeera in Afghanistan and Iraq, I very much doubt it.

And as far as bombing a library and reception hall in Tripoli to "protect civilians," will we hear a peep from the U.N. about the outrageous violation of their sacred resolution? Will we hear a single U.S. politician outside of perhaps Ron or Rand Paul and Dennis Kucinich condemning the attack? I very much doubt it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Let's talk cluster bombs

I continue to hear references to Libyan government use of cluster bombs, despite the fact that A) there haven't been any new alleged instances since the first; and B) there hasn't been any significant proof of even that first use. I continue to hear the phrase "banned by most countries in the world" without the following phrase "not including the United States."

And just what does the U.S. do with their cluster bombs, which are orders of magnitude more deadly than the ones allegedly used in Libya (which had 20 sub-munitions)? Read this account by Jeremy Scahill of their use in a 2009 attack in Yemen:

"The operation kicked off at dawn, as a Tomahawk cruise missile was fired from a submarine positioned in the waters off the coast of Yemen...

"Among those found at the scene were BLU 97 A/B cluster bomblets, which explode into some 200 sharp steel fragments that can spray more than 400 feet away. In essence, they are flying land mines capable of shredding human beings into small pieces. The bomblets were equipped with an incendiary material, burning zirconium, to set fire to flammable objects in the target area. The missile used in the attack, a BGM-109D Tomahawk, can carry more than 160 cluster bombs."
Notwithstanding such incidents, you'll continue to hear how it's radical Muslims and their beheadings that epitomize brutality. Not even close. Not even close.

And by the way:

"The investigation determined that the strike had killed forty-one members of two families, including seventeen women and twenty-one children. Some of the dead were sleeping when the missiles hit. Rimi was not among the dead, and survivors said they had no connection to Al Qaeda."
Not even close.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Cluster bomb hypocrisy

I've been hearing and reading a drumbeat of stories about Libyan forces using cluster bombs against Libyan rebels, and it may well be true, although the Libyan government denies it. But let's consider. TV reports and many press reports have only talked of "cluster bombs" being used. But in a handful of print sources, we find that the total number claimed to be used so far is...four (with 21 submunitions each, for a total of 84 submunitions). Not exactly a major development. Furthermore, while many of the news items I've heard and read talk about how cluster bombs are banned in many countries, only one (I can't remember where I read it) actually named the countries that have not renounced their use, countries which include not only Libya, but the United States and Israel. I guess using cluster bombs wouldn't sound so bad if the reports mentioned that they aren't even prohibited from use by the good old U.S. of A.

And the coverage itself is interesting. Needless to say, there hasn't been one word reminding viewers and readers that the U.S. and U.K. used 1400 cluster bombs in Yugoslavia in 1999, with at least 100 civilians dying post-"war" after coming in contact with the unexploded bombs. Nor has there been one word about the massive use of cluster bombs by Israel in Lebanon in 2006, with an estimated 4.6 million "bomblets" which have killed over 200 people since the assault ended. 90% of those munitions were fired in the last three days of the war, in an act which can only be regarded as one of the most massive war crimes ever committed.

Here's something else to note. While Israel was regularly firing cluster bombs during their assault on Lebanon, and while the phenomenon of the unexploded bombs and their consequences was covered by the U.S. corporate media after the war ended, while the war was going on a paper like the Washington Post ran not a single story mentioning cluster bombs. Contrast that to what's happening in Libya today where, on the sketchiest of evidence, and on the basis of alleged use of cluster bombs which is quite literally dwarfed by the number used by Israel against Lebanon and the U.S./U.K. against Yugoslavia, the media is already filled with such stories.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


False pretenses to start a war

Yes, you're shocked, I know. After all, the Obama administration said the U.S. (only in partnership, of course) just had to intervene to prevent a genocide, a slaughter of civilians. Guess what? It was a lie, as data from Human Rights Watch shows. And it was a deliberate lie, as Obama misquoted Gaddafi by claiming that Gaddafi was planning to show "no mercy" to the citizens of Benghazi, when in fact it was the armed rebels to whom he was planning to show no mercy.

The author, like so many others, still holds on to illusions in the U.S. government:

"It is hard to know whether the White House was duped by the rebels or conspired with them to pursue regime-change on bogus humanitarian grounds."
No, it isn't. Obama was no more "duped" by the rebels than Bush was "duped" by "Curveball." In both cases, they deliberately used bogus claims to justify their planned actions.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


You just can't get good help these days

For the second day in a row, NATO airstrikes have killed significant numbers of Libyan rebels.

Be careful what you ask for, especially when you ask it of people who attack from thousands of feet away and to whom all dark-skinned people look alike.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Humanitarian intervention

A little over a year ago there was a very real humanitarian crisis in Haiti (a crisis which continues to this day). Amount the U.S. government thought was appropriate to help solve this crisis? $219 million.

A little over two weeks ago, there were predictions of an impending humanitarian crisis in Libya, allegations that there would be widespread slaughter of civilians. Not an actual crisis, just a predicted (and definitely arguable, though you didn't find any such argumentation in the corporate media) one. How much money has the U.S. spent on that alleged impending humanitarian crisis? It was $550 million as of a week ago plus $4 million/day, adding up to $575 million and counting.

Is the U.S. really doing what it's doing in response to a humanitarian crisis? The numbers tell the story.

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