If I’m Not With Me, I’m Against Me

Juan Cole, who knows more than you do, would like you to know that you’re a Moral Cretin for not agreeing with him:

If the Left opposed intervention, it de facto acquiesced in Qaddafi’s destruction of a movement embodying the aspirations of most of Libya’s workers and poor, along with large numbers of white collar middle class people.

Go ahead. Feel the Guilt. We’ll wait.

And don’t try to rationalize your way out of it, you heartless creep:

Many are crying hypocrisy, citing other places an intervention could be staged or worrying that Libya sets a precedent. I don’t find those arguments persuasive. Military intervention is always selective, depending on a constellation of political will, military ability, international legitimacy and practical constraints. The humanitarian situation in Libya was fairly unique.

Unique in that, yes, we’re not propping up that particular dictator. Our own position, which we’re sure doesn’t forgive us in the severe judgment of Juan Cole, remains Fucking Clueless — like, well, this gentleman:

My analysis is not meant to support an anti-war or pro-war position. Like most people, I have mixed feelings about all this (I despise the Baath Party).

Oh, wait — that’s also Juan Cole. March 26, 2003, as it happens.

But, as we’re sure Juan Cole will be the first to tell you, that was different.

An Open Letter to the Left on Libya [Juan Cole]

I do think there’s a difference here, though how much of a difference is subject to debate.

The invasion of Iraq was clearly an opportunistic act carried out by a government that seized upon still bubbling anger over 9/11 to topple an annoying dictator and free up his oil supplies for more direct Western exploitation (I recall Paul Woflowitz explicitly stating before congress his hopes that Iraqi oil could be used to “break the back of OPEC.”) We invaded Iraq not because of anything new that happened over there, and not because of anything the Iraqis had done to us, but because popular sentiment in the U.S. opened the door to such action.

Now, the current air strikes are similar to the Iraqi invasion in that they are not a response to anything that Libya has done to us, however, they are clearly a response to an immediate humanitarian need occasioned by the Khaddafi regime’s decision to massacre peaceful protesters (including through aerial bombing raids) and then to quash a revolt against the regime that sprang up as a result. There was no such parallel in Iraq. Yes Hussein was a murderous dictator, but he was not actively gunning down crowds of peaceful protesters.

There is a difference, in my opinion, between taking sides in a civil war (what we’re doing now) and invading a country to impose a new political order when there is no active, organized resistance to support and no immediate humanitarian crisis (what we did in Iraq).

As for why we are not ordering air strikes against other Arab nations that are also brutalizing protesters: you have to choose your battles and fight the ones that are likely to succeed. De-stabilizing the entire region by launching air strikes against a half dozen other autocratic regimes that are likely to prevail anyway is not a good strategy for acheiving anything useful.

Blah blah blah blah fucking blah.

Juan Cole is an ass. If he wants to take a position and argue in its favor and argue against the opposite position, fine, but to accuse people who disagree with him in a matter over which they have absofuckinglutely no control is disgusting.

I blame Juan Cole for the death of every abandoned dog and cat in this country because he isn’t standing on a street corner with a can collecting change to save them.

Fuck Juan Cole.

@Serolf Divad:
Real politik, sucks but is unfortunately at play here. Least worst choice and all that.

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut:
I agree that it it is a douche move.

I’m nervous about being with the French on anything.

Isn’t the difference the fact that we are acting as part of NATO? Or at least we are part of a real coalition?

@Dodgerblue: They are rocketing Tripoli with payloads of roquefort.

@Benedick AEA, AFTRA, SAG, DG.:

They are welcome to target my fridge, if they like. A little brie would be nice, too. My mom’s visiting and we usually start in on the wine, cheese and crackers around 5:30.

Worth checking out if you haven’t seen it already:

The Kill Team – Rolling Stone

Another reminder of the relevance of the Stanford Prison Experiment…

@Benedick AEA, AFTRA, SAG, DG.: That’s what Cole argues. And it’s a valid argument. As is the argument that we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing, and may face a new round of Unintended Consequences.

Not valid: Accusing your opponents of being Moral Pussies.

Thoughts at oh-dark thirty, with first coffee:

1. Aren’t “open letters” a funny, and slightly overused device? I wonder who wrote the first “open letter”, and called it such.

2. As said above, Libya is a least worst option. Sure we could be doing more in Cote D’Ivoire (like “open letter” instead of “opinion piece”, I could easily have written “Ivory Coast”) or getting real ballsy and sorting out Bahrain, but getting the Security Council and NATO to sign off on either or both of those would be impossible.

3. I’ve been hanging around these parts too long. When I first read “Juan Cole” I thought “another post about shoes“?

@Nabisco: Without actually checking the provenance, my theory is that “open letter” either comes from Martin Luther nailing his treatise to the door, or Zola’s “J’Accuse!”

@SanFranLefty: Wikipedia is no help, although they suggest that St. Paul wrote “open letters”. And once again, I’m really ashamed I never bought the Compact OED to hunt down stuff like that.

Kveðja, fyndinn daunillur fólk. Excellent speech by the US president. Will it be enough to satisfy his harshest critics? Probably not. And why are his harshest critics his fellow democrats?

Nú verð ég að fara að borða síld!

Hey, Tomm! This Snorri character, and I do mean “character,” is a snowflake. What do you think about that?

@Snorri Haraldsson: I’m sure rotten shark is preferable to [WHATEVER] on burnt toast.

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