Category Archives: Libya

Krauthammer: The Shrink of Romney-land

A friend of mine asked after the attacks in Libya and Egypt – and Mitt Romney’s mindless and mistimed and lying reaction – “is there any decorum left?”
In this strange divided land, there certainly isn’t.

The dividing lines among Democrats and Republicans are stark – have a look at the closed loop of talking heads. Consider Doctor Charles Krauthammer, the Fox television analyst and pundit and columnist (who happens to be a physician and psychiatrist), and witness the depths of self-delusion.

Rallying troops more ignorant than he himself, the doctor tells us today – predictably – that the attack on the U.S. embassy this week was the result of Obama policies. Doctor Krauthammer parrots Romney’s nonsense about “apologizing for America.”

“The substance of what Romney said at the time was absolutely right…The problem is he needs to make a larger argument. There is a collapse of Obama’s policy. It began with the Cairo speech, it began with the apologies to Iran. It began with regret for the Iraq war, it began with the so-called outreach and it completely collapsed. It has gotten nowhere on Iran. These are the fruits of appeasement and apology.”

The good doctor is not alone – the Romney spin masters have sent out Senator Rob Portman of Ohio; the former senator of Minnesota, Norm Coleman, Laura Ingraham and their ilk to spit bile, to lie and confuse.

Romney lied about events in the Middle East this week – by creating talking points untethered to reality. Is there decorum? Is there shame? No.
How can such bull permeate the airwaves?

American journalism bears some of the blame for the state of affairs. The rules of the game say that we must be balanced; newspapers and magazines report that “both sides” are exploiting events for their own political advantage. All would be well, but journalism doesn’t know how to place a flashing light under the visage of a liar. Newspapers publish lies and then place the fact-checking elsewhere in separate columns, even separate pages. There must be a better way.

The Republicans have been lying and deceiving and blocking legislation – hell-bent on taking power, waging war based on fraud and then taking power again — for at least a decade. With a more reliable front-man than Romney, some day too soon, a Reaganesque know-nothing smooth talker one day will win. Probably not this time, unless the Supreme Court-authorized multibillion dollar campaign spending spree works.

One always had the idea that a doctor, a psychiatrist, would be a healing force. That is why Doctor Krauthammer comes across as such strange apparition. The obvious thing to say is “doctor, heal thyself.” And then heal thy brethren.

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Filed under 1, Egypt, Elections, Journalism, Libya, Middle East, Obama, Politics

Libya: The Reality you won’t hear–yet.

It is possible to parse and figure out President Obama’s plan on Libya – as long as you’re not playing politics while analyzing the evidence.

Don’t expect an open explanation of the strategy. What good is a public announcement from the battlements? Or a nationally broadcast speech? Make no mistake – the endgame is that someone – maybe not foreigners on the ground – ousts Gaddafi.

One week after the U.S.-organized attack on Gaddafi, rebels are no longer holed up and surrounded in Benghazi. No accident, and the reverse in fortune is not just the result of the no-fly zone. You can bet that American, British, French, even Italian intelligence operatives are the covert alliance in this story—providing support, training, tactical help – maybe even covert operatives – to rally the opposition to Gaddafi on the ground.

Here’s Pat Lang, a retired former senior officer with U.S. military intelligence:

“Someone has gotten the rebels up off their haunches and headed back to the west.  Who that someone might be is, at this point, a bit of a mystery.  The passage of time will undoubtedly clarify that point.”

“Qathafi’s ‘forces’ are extremely brittle. They have already begun to run from air attacks or even the sound of aircraft, abandoning their equipment and supplies as they flee in civilian vehicles. It is not necessary to arm or supply the rebels. Qathafi’s disintegrating forces will provide the needed materiel as they withdraw.
“As the rebels approach Tripoli the populace will rise again. How long will all this take? As I have written elsewhere, an outside estimate of six months is reasonable. The actuality may be a considerably shorter departure date for Qathafi.”

It’s obvious. How does an amateur, amorphous, largely unknown Libyan rebel force suddenly start capturing territory and move into the oil-rich heartland of the country? With a little well-placed “encouragement.”

It wouldn’t also be surprising that Obama’s ardent detractors have gotten the word.

Listen to John McCain, who early on lashed out at the president when he held fire until a U.N.-backed coalition was in place. McCain would be happy to appeal to the tea-bagging set, but instead his message on Fox News over the weekend was effusive support:

“The fact is that Gadaffi said he’d go house to house and kill people, and thankfully at the 11th hour with the quote-unquote ‘no fly zone,’ we prevented that,” McCain said. “This is a moment of historic proportions, and this will give us a moment of opportunity to help with the spread of democracy.”

No doubt McCain, Boehner and others will have received the secret briefing: Western intelligence is engaged, helping the rebels, driving Gaddafi from office, sooner or later.

You may not hear about it on the talk shows, not yet. But stay tuned.

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Filed under Intelligence, Journalism, Libya, Obama

Half baked ideas on intervention in Libya

The misguided word among some on the fast-draw media circuit is that President Obama should be “DOING SOMETHING” about Libya. Give us a president, they say, who can make a decision and get it done!

Criticism of the U.S. role in some quarters is based on the illusion that overt U.S. threats, followed by military might on air, sea and land always work. Critics would even mock the notion that President Obama is able to think on his own, and act with care. For them, military intervention is such a given, such a standby in the American bag of tricks that anything else seems weak.

They fail to explain to us how calling Gaddafi a maniac and launching quick military action would save lives.

President Obama thankfully has held counsel, measured his response and kept the powder dry. Examine the reality:

The Obama administration has focused, as it must, on the safety of Americans in Libya. Moments after several hundred Americans – including diplomats from the U.S. embassy – left Tripoli by ferry and by airplane, the United States was freezing Libyan assets. Immediately, the administration started “ratcheting up” the pressure on Gaddafi, the Washington Post reported.

That sounds like a reasonable move, contrary to an editorial in the same newspaper, which complained about presidential inaction. The editorial page was rooting for immediate U.S. military action, the same editorial page that still fawns over the faulty, fraud-based Bush invasion of Iraq.

The U.S. image in the Middle East and elsewhere is improved somewhat; however, trust in America collapsed worldwide after the Bush administration set the precedent of preemptive war and lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Unilateral U.S. action in Libya would be akin to what happens to local police when they respond to domestic disputes—both sides turn on the would-be peacemakers.

Neoconservatives venerate the mystical, vapid, Reaganesque Marlboro man image of American power. In 2011, concerted United Nations or regional action would be the preferred way to go in Libya, if it comes to that. President Obama, thankfully, doesn’t shoot from the hip.

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Filed under Bush, Journalism, Libya, Middle East, Obama

Libyan Protests — Low Priority So Far

By all scant news available, Libya is undergoing serious protests and disruptions, very little making its way into the news technosphere. There is some material on Youtube, such as this one from Al Jazeera

and reports from Human Rights Watch and Christian Science Monitor on protests, arrests, deaths and injuries.

This email was relayed by a reliable source overnight, with more detail than seen elsewhere and includes a plea for news coverage. A late check shows very little tweeting from and about Libya:

Juma Abdel majid, the brother of the head of the National front for the liberation
of the Tebu self immolated in the city of Kufra inside the offices of the Libyan Revolutionary
guards. He was protesting the taking of young school kids by the Rev
Guards in demonstrations for Qaddafi. He is at the hospital now. I have
confirmed this news with his brother Issa , who lives in Norway.

At the moment we have reports of 13 dead in the city of Al-Bida, over 50
dead in the city of Benghazi, 5 dead in the city of Ajdabi 2 dead in the
city of Rajban. The Libyan uprising is spreading all over the country,
and calling for Qaddafi’s removal. I urge you to do more coverage on
Libya and tell the world of the Massacres that are taking place in Libya
now.

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Filed under Intelligence, Journalism, Libya, Middle East