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Friday Afternoon Roundup - Bomb, Bomb Libya... Not

In 2002, France was denouncing any proposed US led liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein as 'unilateral'. But now suddenly France is leading the call for air strikes against Libyan government forces and what amounts to unilateral action against Khaddafi. In 2002, France demanded a UN mandate for any attack on Iraq. But now France and the media have decided that a UN mandate isn't necessary after all.

Now some context, Khaddafi is a madman and a terrorist sponsor, but he's nowhere near as bad as Saddam Hussein was. During the Anfal Campaign alone, Saddam Hussein's forces may have killed as many as 100,000 people. Most of them belonging to minority groups. (This was the sort of thing the media didn't like to discuss in the run up to the war.) There are worries that Khaddafi might use chemical weapons against his people. Saddam Hussein did use them. (As apparently is Turkey's Erdogan in Iraq.)

Crazy-Gaddafi-Quotes002But France which was hostile to removing Saddam, is suddenly gung ho about removing Khaddafi. What's the difference? As usual follow the money. 

What's more interesting is the media's sudden switch, from skepticism and hostility toward removing Saddam, to an aggressive propaganda push for removing Khaddafi. Again what's the difference? The case for removing Saddam was much better than the case for getting rid of Khaddafi. There's no UN mandate for air strikes or any kind of military intervention in Libya. And all the talk of national sovereignty that was so popular in 2002 has suddenly gone by the wayside.

The media has made the emotional case for supporting the rebels. But who are the rebels and who is to say that they are any better than Khaddafi? The Coalition which invaded Iraq at least planned to oversee its transition. There is no such plan in place for Libya. A recent New York Times story admitted that the rebels are a confusing bunch of groups fighting among themselves. France has recognized the rebels as the official government of Libya, based not on any kind of plebiscite or even an actual takeover of the country.

The liberal push for hitting Khaddafi has turned their opposition to the War in Iraq into a joke. It's clear that they support unilaterally removing dictators, so long as it's the right dictators, and as long as their man in Washington can claim the credit in time for the next election.

The media's eagerness to hit Khaddafi derives in part from their desire to bolster Obama's image. A quick non-war, some air strikes and a mission accomplished banner, and maybe another Nobel Peace Prize. But the problem is that government forces appear to be winning. And even implementing a No Fly Zone is likely to turn into an Iraq situation, if the rebels lose, we end up indefinitely camped out on Khaddafi's doorstep until he finally does something to force us into a war, or we finally throw our hands up and leave. That is what happened with Saddam.

Oil prices go up and if Khaddafi survives, he has every incentive to go back to sponsoring terrorism. All a time when US forces are already critically overextended.

Cameron is drastically carving up the UK's air force while calling for a No Fly Zone. There's a certain amount of cognitive dissonance there. To enforce a No Fly Zone, you'll need an air force and you'll have to spend a whole lot of money hitting anti-aircraft targets, radar installations and enemy jets. Each bomb costs money. So does the fuel. For the cost of the entire operation, the UK could just stop cutting its air force and be a world power again.

Here's Secretary of Defense Gates' assessment of what even a No Fly Zone would mean

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told a House congressional committee that if the Obama administration orders the creation of a no-fly zone over Libyan air space, the U.S. military can make that happen. But he said it would be a serious undertaking.

"A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses and then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down. But that's the way it starts," Gates said.

Gates also told the panel that at least two U.S. aircraft carriers would need to be in the region to support such an operation.

By contrast UK's Defense Secretary Liam Fox had a convoluted response to the same question in which he tried to have his cake and eat it too, and admitted that there is essentially no actual proposal for how such a No Fly Zone would be enforced. Which makes Cameron proposing one absolutely crazy.

Worse yet, Cameron and Fox have overseen drastic cuts to British air power. NCO's in Afghanistan are being fired by email and hundreds of RAF pilots have been let go. 1 in 4 new pilots are being let go and training hours for pilots are being cut back.

To understand just how insanely disastrous these cuts have been, read this

Two new aircraft carriers will be deployed ­without jet fighters after the iconic Harrier jump jet is axed in defence cuts this week. The ships, due to enter service in 2014 and 2016, will ­operate with no jets until 2018, leaving a ­gaping hole in Britain’s military firepower...

Instead the Royal Navy will be forced to use helicopters on the £2.5 billion super-carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

The decision has caused anger among defence chiefs. ‘It will make us an international laughing stock,’ said one. ‘Who the hell has ever heard of an aircraft carrier with no jets?’

Former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West said last night it would be ‘nonsensical’ to scrap the Harriers before their replacements, US-built Joint Strike Fighters, were delivered.

Lord West said: ‘If, God forbid, the Argentinians invade the Falklands, it would be totally impossible for this country, even if we had an Army of ten million, to do anything about it.’

The Harriers, the only jet fighters capable of vertical take-off and landing, played a vital part in retaking the Falklands in 1982.

The Ministry of Defence denied that scrapping them would render the new carriers useless.

So now how exactly does Cameron plan to enforce the No Fly Zone? With helicopters. Of course it's a lot easier to get to Libya, than it is to the Falklands. But then shouldn't the UK's priority be to protect the Falklands, rather than Libyan rebels? Unless of course what's really being protected is the UK's oil deals.

Blair and the Duke of York who serves as trade representative were very close to Khaddafi. Cameron made the strategic decision to dump Khaddafi in the expectation that the rebels would win. But if the rebels don't, then Cameron is screwed. Every government that made the decision to back the rebels is now in it to the end. If Khaddafi survives, then there will be economic fallout. Not just the kind that hurts drivers paying more for gas, but the kind that hurts the big boys and girls who really matter. The ones who cut the dirty trade deals and pocket the money. The ones who let the Lockerbie Bomber return to Libya as the world's least plausible humanitarian gesture.

But Cameron's problem is that Germany is as unready to back action under Merkel as under Schroeder. But while Schroeder was a pawn of foreign governments, Merkel is just being pragmatic. That leaves the UK and France with few options. They either have to work through the UN, which won't happen due to Russia and China, or NATO, which will be difficult over German opposition. NATO vessels are already on the spot, with warships and minesweepers there, but short of an accidental or not so accidental incident, that isn't going to lead to war.

That just leaves them with one option, they have to drag the US into another coalition action. That means another unilateral coalition of the willing. Except this time with media backing. But the US is overcommitted in Afghanistan and Iraq, and potentially Iran.

US Sec of Defense Gates hasn't said no, but unlike Fox, he's been very honest about what this would involve. He has said that a No Fly Zone would be an act of war. And that it would involve an extensive commitment of resources. He hasn't said, no. That's in Obama's hands. And if Obama's advisers convince him that intervening in Libya is a sure path to reelection, then he'll go ahead.

For now Obama has been unable to make up his mind. The big zero is even more inexperienced than Cameron, completely out of his depth and surrounded by too many advisers. No wonder he can't make up his mind.

In today's press conference, Obama said nothing of substance, aside from the expected rhetoric about sanctions, nonsense about "tightening the noose on Qaddafi" and isolating him internationally, said that military options include a no fly zone are on the table, without actively endorsing them.

Going back to the Qaddafi question, as I said before, it is in the United States’ interest and the interest of the people of Libya that Qaddafi leave. And we are going to do a -- we’re going to take a wide range of actions to try to bring about that outcome. When you say is it ever acceptable, I think what you’re asking is are we going to do -- engage in any potential military action to make that happen. And as I’ve said before, when it comes to U.S. military actions, whether it’s a no-fly zone or other options, you’ve got to balance costs versus benefits. And I don’t take those decisions lightly.

When you have a decisive answer like this, what can you say really. Absolutely nothing.

But obviously we’re going to have to look at what develops on the ground on a case-by-case basis. I don’t want to generalize right now and say that’s what’s happening and we’re prepared to step in. It’s going to require some judgment calls, and those are difficult ones. But we have sent a clear warning to the Qaddafi government that they will be held accountable, particularly when it comes to assaulting civilians. And some of the rhetoric that you’ve seen -- for example, the idea that when Qaddafi said that they’d be going door to door hunting for people who are participating in protests -- that implied a sort of lack of restraint and ruthlessness that I think raises our antenna. But, as I said before, what I’ve got to do is make sure that we’re monitoring the situation and matching our actions with what we think will be helpful on the ground and also sustainable, and we’ve got to do so in consultation with the international community.

Say what you will about him, but Obama can talk for entire paragraphs without saying a single thing. Which is why no one really cares what he has to say on this issue.

But ironic takeaway of the conf

Number one, the United States believes in the right of peaceful protests and the ability of ordinary people to express their grievances to their government.

Except when they're Tea Party members.

Con Coughlin at the Telegraph highlights the hypocrisy of the situation

What I find particularly amusing about this debate is that many of those now calling for a no-fly zone in Libya were the same people who bitterly opposed the invasion of Iraq to rid the world of another brutal dictator – Saddam Hussein – who had brutalised his people for decades. But what, pray, is the difference between invading Iraq with ground forces and invading Libya’s air space with warplanes?

As Robert Gates, the U.S. Defence Secretary, has pointed out, in order to impose an effective no-fly zone you need first to destroy all of Gaddafi’s anti-aircraft missiles, as well as the Libyan air force, which is tantamount to a declaration of war. And as Gaddafi has made abundantly clear in his latest television rant, he would respond in the same way as any other nation that is attacked by foreign forces, and declare war on his aggressors.

Apart from cutting off oil and gas supplies to the West, Gaddafi would no doubt – like Saddam before him – order his goons to take Westerners hostage. Within the space of a few days the whole situation would escalate to the point where we had no option other than to dispatch the 5,000 troops David Cameron has ear-marked for active service in Libya, and we would be in a similar position to the spring of 2003, with British and American troops fighting their way to Tripoli to overthrow an evil dictator.

Now I personally would love to see Khaddafi pay for his crimes, but unlike Saddam, the madman of Tripoli does not currently appear to be funding terrorism against us or holding WMD's. Which means that taking him down would not be a matter of self-defense or particularly in our interest. And on a human rights level, Khaddafi is not the worst in the region. If we were going to take out tyrants for human rights violations, we would be headed to Sudan instead. (Where despite genocide, there was never a No Fly Zone enforced.)

The appeals for hitting Khaddafi are emotional, but not contextual, and that's where the skepticism kicks in. Why should we act to remove Khaddafi but not so many other dictators? Why were all the liberal critiques of War in Iraq suddenly invalid in Libya? Do we pay attention only to some human rights violations, but not others.

Color me skeptical when Turkey's Islamists use chemical weapons against Kurds, but their leader is cheered in Europe-- while Obama boasts of rolling through the quickest sanctions ever against Libya, and Cameron and Sarkozy cry for a No Fly Zone. The Kurds might appreciate one of those too.

And on that note in the roundup, Khaled Abu Toameh asks a variation of the same question (via Elder of Ziyon's blog) in Where's the outrage at Arab apartheid?

The tragic case of Taha highlights the plight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live in impoverished refugee camps in Lebanon and who are the victims of an Apartheid system that denies them access to work, education and medical care.

Ironically, the boy's death at the entrance to the hospital coincided with Israel Apartheid Week, a festival of hatred and incitement organized by anti-Israel activists on university campuses in the US, Canada and other countries.

Can anyone imagine what would have happened if an Israeli hospital had abandoned a boy to die in its parking lot because his father did not have $1,500 to pay for his treatment?

The UN Security Council would hold an emergency session and Israel would be strongly condemned and held responsible for the death of the boy.

All this is happening at a time when tens of thousands of Palestinian patients continue to benefit from treatments in Israeli hospitals.

...

Just last week it was announced that a medical center in Jordan has decided to stop treating Palestinian cancer patients because the Palestinian Authority has failed to pay its debts to the center.

Other Arab countries have also been giving the Palestinians a very hard time when it comes to receiving medical treatment.

But of course that's not apartheid, just as Sudan's genocidal mania didn't require a No Fly Zone. It's not about the truth, but the political agenda. It always is.

Also via Elder, Rumsfeld has been updating his site and there's an uploaded video he received from Saddam Hussein of Syrians showing their elan by biting the heads off snakes and puppies. But this isn't exactly news, there's plenty of footage of Syrian soldiers showing off the same way. In the runup to war with Israel, Syrian soldiers were filmed doing this sort of thing to snakes and kittens.

Arab armies are big on display of martial feats, which usually involves weird acrobatics or atrocities. In this case atrocities.

Here's a mention from a much older article

Similar acts of animal torture have been publicly broadcast on television from Syria, (I HAVE PERSONALLY WITNESSED THIS) with President Assad of Syria smiling and applauding these horrific acts - male and particularly female Syrian soldiers biting the heads off of snakes and kittens to show what they will do to the Jews.

When I saw this on only one news program, with Linda Ellerbee reporting it (completely shocked with it, herself), at around 2am, I wrote to every major news station. The replies I received were all the same: they didn't want to show it because they didn't think the American public could handle it, it was in bad taste or too violent. I was furious. I wonder what would have happened had they shown this widely, more than ten years ago, so America could see what the Arabs do. Maybe our news is negligent and contributes to such disasters as 9/11 by keeping the public ignorant or in denial. What do you think?

This isn't something I would blame on Islam, but on the general backwardness in the region. A cruelty that manifests itself toward animals and people. Animals in the Middle East are among the most mistreated in the world. Islam claims that an angel will not enter a home with a dog or a cat. Dogs in particular are considered unclean. 'Kalb' or dog is a common Arabic insult.

This is a culture where life has little value and causing pain is a form of entertainment. Compassion is a word without meaning. Sometimes someone notices. Sometimes a news story results. The video Rumsfeld posted will be treated by most as some kind of eccentric thing that has no connection to wider attitudes. The truth is that it does.

Andrew Bostom has a great article, which among other things... cites that dogs in Iran can distinguish between Muslims and Zoroastrians 

In Sharifabad the dogs distinguished clearly between Moslem and Zoroastrian, and were prepared to go…full of hope, into a crowded Zoroastrian assembly, or to fall asleep trustfully in a Zoroastrian lane, but would flee as before Satan from a group of Moslem boys

...incidentally we could use some of these dogs to replace TSA agents

Certainly in the Yazdi area… Moslems found a double satisfaction in tormenting dogs, since they were thereby both afflicting an unclean creature and causing distress to the infidel who cherished him. There are grim…stories from the time

I myself was spared any worse sight than that of a young Moslem girl…standing over a litter of two-week old puppies, and suddenly kicking one as hard as she could with her shod foot. The puppy screamed with pain, but at my angry intervention she merely said blankly, ‘But it’s unclean.’

In the same way Muslims apathetically contemplate the deaths of millions of infidels. "But they're infidels."

Morality is not natural. We're not born with it as children. It has to be taught. This is how Muslim children are raised. And there's no reason to wonder at the beheading of animals and the beheading of Christians and Jews.

In Iran going out into the street with a dog is a crime punishable by lashes. And as Muslims have moved to Western countries, they have begun to terrorize dog owners as well.

The worst victims of this Muslim hatred of dogs have been the blind, who have been driven off buses by Muslim rage at the sight of a dog or denied cab rides by Muslim cabbies and bus drivers. Not just in the UK, but in the US as well.

In July 1997, for example, a New Orleans taxi driver, Mahmoud Awad, got so incensed at his passenger, Sandi Dewdney, trying to bring a dog into the cab that he physically yanked her out of it by the arm while yelling "No dog, No dog, Get out, get out." He harmed her broken wrist. To this, CAIR replied by pointing out that "the saliva of dogs invalidates the ritual purity needed for prayer" and left it to the scholars of Islam to decide whether a guide dog should be allowed in a cab.

Should one be concerned about Sharia law in America when Muslim clergy now gets to decide who can enter a cab, or be physically abused?

One of the ugliest cases of Muslim dog hatred erupted only a few years ago in Minnesota's Little Somalia where a disabled student-teacher was forced to leave over Muslim abuse of his service animal.

Moving on from the abuse of animals to the abuse of people, an Examiner article has an update on the Jessie Bender case, which just gets worse and worse

I learned through other family members that Mike was told two days before they were suppose to go to Pakistan, that Jessie was going to be married off to Mo's brother over in Pakistan because he was in some trouble and they wanted to bring him over to the states. They were going to get paid $3000 for this.

3,000 dollars for a 13 year old girl. Is this the America we want?

Moving on to more domestic news, Project Gunwalker amply demonstrates the hypocrisy of gun control hand-wringing over dealers selling weapons that fall into the hands of criminals. Here it was the dealers who objected and the Federal authorities that wanted to keep the flow of weapons moving. And who says that situation is just limited to Mexico? Does anyone really know how many undercover agents are selling guns to domestic gangs in order to bust them down the road. It might be a valid law enforcement tactic, but it clearly shows that the hype is just that.

The Battle of Wisconsin has finally ended with mixed results. The legal side has been won, but the PR side may have been lost. Ann Coulter blames Walker, but he isn't to blame. Not every Republican politician can be a charismatic powerhouse who can take on the media and his opponents and win the argument every time.

Trying to reform the system means that you go up against the entrenched interests. The unions lost in Wisconsin but they've made other legislatures and governors think twice about taking them on. They've demonstrated that they're a hard target. And that was the real purpose of this. Unions will build their war chest, the leadership gets what it wants, so does the Democratic party. The question is will the Republican party be able to build on this as well.

Walker went way beyond anything Christie has done. And he paid the price in a real showdown. It's the kind of political courage that we'll need in the months ahead. The left is angry and ruthlessly determined to win in 2012 no matter what. The worst battles are still to come. And Wisconsin is a preview of coming attractions.

Powerline has s special report from the zone. Althouse documents another 'academic' discussion of violence in response to Walker's budget. But that's the problem with justifying one sided political violence, it never ends where you think it should. Obama's high handed absolutist agenda touched off a political escalation. Both sides are being radicalized. The left pushes civility one minute and gets in touch with their inner Che the next. All the empty talk of bipartisanship doesn't amount to anything. The media keeps pushing for Republicans to back off, but what if they don't? The left has no answer to that except a civil war.

Finally there's Michael Moore (via Newsbusters) calling individual wealth a national resource. Well yes, the government has been treating individual wealth as a national resource to fund big government. But personal wealth is finite. So is national wealth. Debt on the other hand can be virtually infinite, until people stop lending you money or the underlying system collapses.

Or to put it in a way that Moore can understand. His capacity for eating food will always outpace his ability to pay for it. Moore is capable of eating a dozen of Burger King's 'The Burger' with 'Wagyu beef, white truffles, Pata Negra ham slices, Cristal onion straws, Modena balsamic vinegar, lambs lettuce, pink Himalayan rock salt, organic white wine and shallot infused mayonnaise in an Iranian saffron and white truffle dusted bun', washing them down with bottles of $160,000 a bottle Chateau Lafitte and a 25,000 dollar chocolate sundae served in a goblet with edible gold. But even he would have trouble paying for it. And that's the problem.

Appetite always outstrips resources. That's true of individuals and of governments. Gathering everyone's private property together in a pile and turning into discretionary spending money for the politicians will mean that it will be consumed just as fast as Moore would down that 25 grand chocolate sundae. And there's the nation's problem right there. Resource shortages are not the problem. Uncontrolled spending is. We're not running out of money. We're running out of money to spend. There's a big difference.

From NY to Jerusalem , Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News. Daniel Greenfield is a blogger, author and columnists covering international affairs, the rising threat of terrorism and the growing problems of socialism. His daily blog can be viewed at Sultan Knish.

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