Our Libyan adventure

Needless to say, I’m appalled that the UN has decided to butt into Libya’s internal affairs, and to support a revolution against established authority, no less.  I know, I know, we’re just so concerned about Gadhafi killing “civilians”.  I’m afraid that sounds just a little too much like the communist propaganda I used to read about reactionaries attacking and killing “workers”.  You’d think that the reactionaries were going around and shooting anybody with a blue-collar job, but of course that would be crazy.  What the commies always left out was that these “workers” were fomenting bloodly revolution, trying to overthrow the government and replace it with a far more savage dictatorship.  So, too, these “civilians”.  Has Gadhafi just decided to kill anybody not in the military?  Why now?  Could it have anything to do with the fact that these “civilians” are in fact rebels trying to overthrow the government?   The minute you start trying to overthrow the government is the minute you stop being a civilian and become a combatant in a civil war.  Gadhafi may be a brutal, incompetent dictator–everything I know about him has come filtered through America’s propaganda machine, so I can’t be sure–but he has established a public order (as opposed to a Leninist “permanent revolution” war against the populace).  It is the sacred duty of constituted authority to crush rebellion.  That would still be, I think, the best resolution.

If the UN were just assisting in a coup, that would be wrong, but not nearly as wrong as what we’re actually going to do.  Our goal seems to be just to keep Gadhafi from crushing the rebellion and reinforcing order.  We don’t pick sides, we insist.  Our only concerns are humanitarian;  we want to protect civilians.  But in a civil war, it’s almost always the winning side that is killing more civilians at any given time, so our “humanitarianism” means always throwing our weight behind the weaker side, so that the civil war goes on forever!

4 Responses

  1. I do not think there is much difference between the “order” established by Lenin & his successors in the USSR and the “order” established by Gadhafi. Let’s not be obtuse here: Gadhafi is manifestly a tyrannical and revolutionary dictator. If you don’t trust the American media (a perfectly understandable sentiment of course), then peruse Gadhafi’s own “Green Book”. He embraces nearly every error of modernity, including secularism and socialism.

    Let’s remember that Gadhafi came to power deposing the legitimate ruler of Libya, King Idris, declared a permanent Socialist Revolution, established a “republic of the masses”, and styles himself Leader and Guide of the Revolution.

    This is not to say the rebels are any better or that the UN intervention is justified, but I thin you’re being far to charitable with Gadhafi.

  2. Hello Roccasecca,

    You may be right. I hadn’t known that Gadhafi made such a revolutionary pose. (Probably something that embarrasses the Leftist media.) Thank you for adding this information. I certainly agree that his deposing the king was a bad thing.

  3. There are some truly insane contradictions in western liberal mindset in middle east policy. While secular Arab nationalists like Saddam and Gadhafi are “tyrants” and “enemies of the freedom”, absolute monarchies and Islamic theocracies like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and others are western allies. How this makes sense according to liberal-secular-democratic mindset of western elites?

    But although secular, Saddam, Gadhafi and Assad in Syria mostly have/had moderately conservative religious policy. What is mostly important to us, Saddam, Assad and Gadhafi are/were also very tolerant to Christianity.

    While we are talking, there is bloody unrest in Bahrain, which is in the process of crushing with the help of Saudi Arabia army (an absolute Islamic monarchy). Saudi Arabia is main financier and exporter of Islamic fundamentalism in the world.
    So why Bahrein absolutist monarch can crush rebellion of 80% of its Shiah population, while Libyan dictator cannot crush rebellion in Cyrenaica? There is also rebellion in Yemen. What makes Libya so special?

    So liberals have problem with secular Arab nationalist dictators like Gadhafi or Saddam, but they don’t have problems with theocratic absolutism of S.Arabia?
    There are some good observations of Roccasecca about nature of Gadhafi’s government. However, this raises question why secular and modernistic West wants to depose secular and modern dictator, and at the same time support theocratic Sunni absolutism of Arab Gulf monarchies?

    It’s interesting to see that intervention in Libya started when conflict is nearly at the end.

    There is another contradiction in comparison of western policy between S. Arabia and Iran.
    Iran is theocracy, like S.Arabia, however Iran have elected government, unlike S. Arabia. But Iran is “repressive”, while S. Arabia is not.


    King Idris was installed by British after WW2, as the king of whole Libya, while he wanted just to rule Cyrenaica (east Libya) not entire Libya. Idris was leader of separatist movent in Cyrenaica. So, he was imposed by foreigners to entire Libya, against his own will. He mostly represented domination of Cyrenaica Arabs, not Berbers, Tuaregs and other Arabs.Rebel movement against Gadhafi is mostly located in Cyreniaca, while Gadhafi have strong support in the rest of Libya.
    Not to mention that Libya itself as a state is modernist creation, result of colonial policy of Italy.

  4. I don’t see why in principle the people couldn’t rebel against Gadhafi, unless the consequences of rebellion would be worse than the problem. As Thomas says regarding sedition:

    “A tyrannical government is not just, because it is directed, not to the common good, but to the private good of the ruler, as the Philosopher states. Consequently there is no sedition in disturbing a government of this kind, unless indeed the tyrant’s rule be disturbed so inordinately, that his subjects suffer greater harm from the consequent disturbance than from the tyrant’s government. Indeed it is the tyrant rather that is guilty of sedition, since he encourages discord and sedition among his subjects, that he may lord over them more securely; for this is tyranny, being conducive to the private good of the ruler, and to the injury of the multitude.”

    And as already noted, Gadhafi’s own legitimacy is questionable.

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