A Change of Tune on Radicalization

The opening sentence of an article about events in Libya makes deafening the dog that isn’t barking:

Mourners vowed revenge and rattled off heavy gunfire in a Tripoli cemetery on Saturday as they buried nine men they said were Muslim clerics and medics killed in a NATO airstrike in mostly rebel-held eastern Libya.

Remember when an army of folks, like Senator Barack Obama, would take to the airwaves to mouth wisdom about how American intervention in Muslim countries would only radicalize the region and breed more terrorists. We haven’t heard quite so much from them, and one suspects that the reason isn’t just that Libya is sufficiently disconnected from U.S. national interests to make our motives seem pure.
The article goes on make the case that the increasing the risk to civilians is a ploy by dictator Moammar Gadhafi to make focus aggression on the West, rather than himself, but that’s nothing new. What’s new is that the mainstream media and Democrat operatives have different political motives, these days.

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Russ
Russ
11 years ago

Um, I read something nearly every day condemning the attacks. Your mistake was believing the political rhetoric that Obama was some type of terroist loving peacenik.
http://www.counterpunch.org/tariq04292011.html

It is absurd to think that the reasons for bombing Tripoli or for the turkey shoot outside Benghazi are designed to protect civilians. This particular argument is designed to win support from the citizens of Euro-America and part of the Arab world. “Look at us,” say Obama/Clinton and the EU satraps, “we’re doing good. We’re on the side of the people.” The sheer cynicism is breathtaking. We’re expected to believe that the leaders with bloody hands in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are defending the people in Libya. The debased British and French media are capable of swallowing anything, but the fact that decent liberals still fall for this rubbish is depressing. Civil society is easily moved by some images and Gaddafi’s brutality in sending his air force to bomb his people was the pretext that Washington utilised to bomb another Arab capital.

The corporate media goes along as it always does. William Blum once said the NY Times shouldn’t read “All the news that’s fit to print.” It should read “official sources say.”

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

A good argument against maintaining a million man standing army in peacetime is that it tends to get used. If we maintained the minimum number of troops to defend our country from invasion or significant attack, these idiotic overseas operations wouldn’t even be on the table. Of course then we’d have hundreds of thousands of additional unemployed individuals. There’s a reason it’s called “Republican welfare.”

msteven
msteven
11 years ago

Of course there is something out every day condemning the attacks. There is something out every day condemning every action and/or lack of action. It’s called the internet.
Justin is right that the mainstream media and many political operatives/pundits are reacting very differently than if the same actions would have been taken by a Republican administration.
The argument that this angers many people and makes more enemies is absurd. Does any action that results in threat of retaliation mean that it shouldn’t be done. Oh, if we arrest that gang leader, then we’ll upset his gang members and create more violence!!! Let’s just let him be and do what he wants.
Amazing how that argument is used based on political affiliation. Ideologically, it makes no sense for either side.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

“We’re on the side of the people.”
I am not so sure the “people” are always right. Look at the state of Rhode Island and the ambivalance of the people.
In the present case, “the people” may be right. I am not so sure that being “with the people” permits any and all actions.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

msteven – You are correct that the retaliation argument cannot be blanket applied to every situation, since sometimes defense and even “preemption” are obviously necessary. But you then commit a logical fallacy by moving way too far in the opposite direction than is prudent. A reasonable analysis consists of evaluating how much good we are likely to accomplish in these missions abroad and how much harm is likely be suffered as a result. Retaliation and outrage are two factors in this analysis. In a situation like Iraq or Libya, the first two questions that should be asked are, “Do we really NEED to be there?” and “Why?” The default US position should be letting the rest of the world kill each other, not putting on our world police caps and jumping into the fray. And yes, the reason for that is damage to our political capital and retaliation. If you run into your neighbor’s house without permission and start bossing people around, you will suffer retaliation, and so it is with other countries.

msteven
msteven
11 years ago

“The default US position should be letting the rest of the world kill each other, not putting on our world police caps and jumping into the fray.”
I completely disagree. It seems you will not accept that an ‘international police’ as you would refer to it, does indeed need to exist and the United States is fortunately a significant power in it. The United States has never existed in a vacuum nor should it. Fortunately, every President in my memory understands the role of the United States in the world and that is why we remain involved throughout the world regardless of who the President is. i.e.: Obama has not withdrawn all our troops from everywhere. Not saying I agree with every involvement but there are pros and cons to each involvement. The “neighbors house and bossing around” rhetoric is extremely simplistic. You could say the same thing about any police/military interventions – be it local, state, federal or international.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

The analogy you give of local and state police interventions breaks down because the police are granted a monopoly on the initiation of force by the society in which they patrol. A better analogy would be a state trooper from Rhode Island driving to Arizona and arresting one of their citizens. You can be sure the state of Arizona would not take kindly to that sort of thing. Countries are typically seen as neighbors having equal value and local jurisdiction, like the states. Your insistence that the United States has the right, nay duty, to correct internal problems in other countries is therefore insulting on its face because it necessitates our being superior to and having jurisdiction over those countries. If another country like China stationed troops over here or bombed some of our cities in the name of the international good, I don’t think you’d simply sit back and accept that, whatever problems we were having at the time (the protests of 60’s come to mind). I know, I know, you don’t consider it the same thing – but other countries do and that is what you aren’t realizing. As for our presidents “understanding” the United State’s role in the world, I hear the many kings of England, France, Spain, and Russia “understood” the same of their countries. They were also constantly at war with each other and I’m sure they considered it necessary interventionism back then too. Where are their empires, colonies, bases, and outposts now? All crumbled and rescinded under the weight of their own hubris and overreach. As with most human conflicts, the best approach is to simply stay out of them until you are put directly and imminently at risk. If we lived our personal lives the way our country conducts itself internationally, we’d have… Read more »

msteven
msteven
11 years ago

We will never come close to agreeing or persuading each other.
Just a couple comments.
Your analogy is more appropriate. The thing is if the citizen from Rhode Island had committed a crime, the DA from Arizona might likely allow the trooper to arrest the citizen to face prosecution for the crime allegedly committed. I’d say the cooperation between states for the sake of pursuing justice is a good thing.
“As with most human conflicts, the best approach is to simply stay out of them until you are put directly and imminently at risk. If we lived our personal lives the way our country conducts itself internationally, we’d have no friends, no money, no job, and we would be violently beaten on a weekly basis.”
——- This is the crux of where we differ. In my opinion, if countries (not just ours) conducted itself they way you wish – pretty much live for yourself and let everyone else do what they want – there would be chaos because not everyone keeps quietly to themselves or does right by others. Intervention often has bad and unintended consequences, no doubt. But lack of intervention is no different. Finally, in my view, it is lack of intervention or isolationism that results in no money, no job and no friends. It is a choice, but not black & white. There are pros and cons to each choice.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

I’ve yet to meet a libertarian who is an isolationist. I want free trade and diplomacy with everyone. It’s military isolationism we’re discussing here.

msteven
msteven
11 years ago

I understand that. My point is that military isolationism also has pros and cons.

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

Justin is right that the mainstream media and many political operatives/pundits are reacting very differently than if the same actions would have been taken by a Republican administration.

Yes, I agree. My comment was just that this should be no surprise. The media always goes along and the Democrats are what would be considered a center-right party nearly everywhere except here in the U.S.
See “The Problem of the Media”:
http://www.amazon.com/Problem-Media-Communication-Politics-Twenty-First/dp/1583671056
I think many on the right start believing the rhetoric that the Democrats are actualy arch-leftists and not just the other right-wing of a single corporate party.

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