BBC BLOGS - Mark Mardell's America
« Previous | Main | Next »

What Obama has to tell America about Libya

Mark Mardell | 14:50 UK time, Monday, 28 March 2011

President Barack Obama tonight makes a speech he'd rather not be making: Explaining to his country, proud of its military but weary of war, why he has decided to bomb the armed forces of another Middle Eastern country.

TV networks are gearing up for live coverage. Mr Obama doesn't want to be a foreign policy president when most Americans are far more interested in the state of the economy, but he may not be able to avoid that fate.

The networks wouldn't dream of breaking into normal programming for one of his frequent economic speeches, so it is as though he never made them. This, on the other hand, could be a defining moment.

Some think it is too late. One usually supportive commentator writes: "This is really, truly unbelievable to me, and the worst thing Obama has done as president."

The man who speaks for House Republicans, John Boehner wrote a letter listing a series of worries, concluding, "all of these concerns point to a fundamental question: what is your benchmark for success in Libya?"

The president has made his task more difficult with an approach that is either sophisticated or confused, depending on your take.

He has to tell America why it is worth taking action. He also has to explain why he doesn't want the US to be in the lead or in charge. It took more than a week of wrangling before Nato agreed to take full control.

Donald Rumsfeld made the point the coalition should be defined by it aims, not the aims by the coalition. This is a real philosophical difference: politics as the art of the possible or an act of will.

America's low profile may be genuine or just spin, smoke and mirrors to disguise America's real role, but either way it is hardly heroic.

But it may be this tepid message reflects the American public's own lukewarm enthusiasm. A Gallup poll finds 74% back action, much lower than support for the Iraq war or Afghanistan at the time.

If I was Mr Obama that wouldn't worry me too much. He doesn't want to be in Libya in 10 years.

Indeed, explaining why this is not a long-term commitment like Iraq or Afghanistan has to be an important part of the message. So does being explicit about the goals. A lot of people have trouble getting their heads around his repeated contention that a Libya without Gaddafi is a political goal of the US but not a military one. The military goal is to protect civilians. The lines may indeed be blurring as the armed rebels advance on cities where some civilians may support Gaddafi.

We will be getting briefings throughout the day, so I will update, but I expect he will start with the latest "good" news.

He will stress that the US is acting as part of an international coalition, with Arab backing, and that the US's aims and commitment are limited. And he'll throw in some stirring rhetoric about the Arab Spring and universal human rights.

I doubt that he will address what to me are the fascinating contradictions at the heart of Obama's dilemma.

  • The tug between not wanting to be the world's policeman and being the only guy with the gun and the muscle to stop a murder.
  • The whole-hearted desire to act in concert with other countries, and the realisation that implies going along with stuff they want to do and you don't. (Being dragged into a war by the French, imagine.)
  • Not wanting to be out front when many world structures are designed in the expectation that like it or not, America will lead.
  • Intellectual appreciation that the ghost of Western colonialism is a powerful spirit never exorcised, and frustration that an untainted liberal interventionism hasn't grown in other countries.
It took a long time for Mr Obama to decide to take action, and the route he has taken, a genuine commitment to acting with other nations with the US in the lead, has made for the appearance of more muddle. Now it is time for clarity.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Always is the time for clarity.

  • Comment number 2.

    Out of interest what is the source of the 79% figure for backing the US being involved in military action in Libya? The last survey I saw was the Rasmussen one which showed only 45% supporting it.

  • Comment number 3.

    Your article is similar to the American right' tactic of the damned if you do & damned if you don't. I think that he has taken his time on this is to rustle up the suport from other countries . More importantly, getting ,at long last,Europe to step up. A lot of this is like herding cats. Just in the nck, the job got done. Can anybody explain what the upside is if the US had immediately gone in full force? We've done that & are still trying the back door exit from two wars.

  • Comment number 4.

    It seems highly probable that a massacre is taking place in Misrata even as I write these words.

    The ruthless regime that Q presides over has been exposed in a constant stream of lies. Thus, they claim that the rape victim who came forward is free, when she is not -- she may very well be dead.

    They are continuing to detain people for no reason at all, often without charge -- entire families -- and are not allowing international humanitarian bodies to visit the detainees and care for them.

    They are lying about the situation in Misrata and have not been honest about the situation in Sirte, either.

    An immediate release of all prisoners is essential, along with an actual end to violence.

    Western powers have satellites & other technology that allow them to ascertain with great precision exactly what is going on in Libya, in any of its localities.

    I hold the current Russian leadership personally accountable for persisting in mouthing Q's lies via all Russian media and even the Russian Foreign Ministry. The purpose of this campaign of disinformation is to attempt to sway and influence those members of Nato with whom Russia has historically enjoyed close ties (e.g. Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia etc.) By helping Q prolong the suffering of Libyans, and encouraging his obduracy, and giving any play to the notion that he might "remain in power" in some fashion, Mr Putin, Mr Lavrov and many Russian media personnel have become accessories to, and accomplices in, the torture and murder of helpless Libyans.

    The USA, and President Obama, can be rightly proud of having joined France & the UK on an urgent mission of mercy to save lives, put an end to atrocities, expose monstrous lies & crimes against humanity.

    The cruel tyrant in Tripoli will answer for his crimes.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think one of the "fascinating contradictions at the heart of Obama's dilemma." that you missed was; picking and choosing which countries to intervene in.

    Why is it that we find ourselves connecting with the plight of some countries and not others? I know its a well worn argument (if Iraq, why not Burma, N. Korea etc etc) but after watching Bahrain successfully crush their own flowering of the arab spring whilst our governments said and did nothing its hard for Obama and other heads of state (not the war mongering French of course) to claim that we are not taking sides.

    I'm with the Swiss, lets just start staying out of thing, for all the best intentions in the world we usually mess it up.

  • Comment number 6.

    MM: One usually supportive commentator writes: "This is really, truly unbelievable to me, and the worst thing Obama has done as president."



    That's a view of quite a few original Obama supporters.



    "The man who speaks for House Republicans, John Boehner wrote a letter listing a series of worries, concluding, "all of these concerns point to a fundamental question: what is your benchmark for success in Libya?"




    John Boehner hasn't asked just that.


    And he does not not speak merely for Republicans.



    He's, in case you 've not noticed, a duly elected Speaker of the whole House.

    Which has not been consulted by BHO re our military involvement in Libya.

    [in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan]

  • Comment number 7.

    MM: But it may be this tepid message reflects the American public's own lukewarm enthusiasm. A Gallup poll finds 74% back action, much lower than support for the Iraq war or Afghanistan at the time.






    Why don't you check polls on Wednesday, by which time the may already be some reaction to Mr. Obama's speech. ["Mission accomplished"?]

  • Comment number 8.

    Coming back to this subject after a few days' absence seems to reveal how fast things can progress. Although I haven't been closely following the events recently, (or able to hear whatever Obama has to say) it already seems that in a few more days Gaddafi's forces will either have deserted or surrendered, leaving the way clear for the opposition forces. Or do I get the wrong impression? Today French TV is focusing more on the comparatively uninteresting local elections than on anything happening in Libya. One announcement now however, on LCI: The French airforce have just hit a Gaddafian 'command centre' near Tripoli.

    With regard to which country to help, surely this question is easily answered. Libya is a first choice, not only because it's inadmissible today that a people be crushed by whoever is supposed to be representing them, but the people were clearly asking for help themselves, and the opposition Delegation of Transition was asking to be recognised by the International community.
    There are no such demands or delegations from Syria nor from Yemen. In the latter case the uprisings could be provoked by radical movements. Nothing seems yet clear elsewhere, or perhaps even comparable with the North African uprisings.
    (It also goes without saying that the democratic world can't tolerate instability in oil rich nations).

  • Comment number 9.

    Well, I wasn't an original Obama supporter, but I support him now.

    What I find unbelievable is that no matter how brilliantly he performs, there are those who can always put a new negative spin on it.

    First he isn't doing enough.
    Then he's doing too much.

    When he gives speeches but doesn't take action, he is a puffed up ditherer.
    When he takes action, he is accused for not communicating clearly enough.

    Does anybody really believe that Congressional leaders were not consulted before America committed forces?

    American forces have been in action less than two weeks.
    There hasn't been a single American boot placed on the ground as a land force (two downed pilots being an exception)

    America is scaling back its role, and has nothing on the ground to tie it down in any event.


    And still you people complain endlessly.


    President Obama's real mistake here has been to do something humanitarian that is in line with America's founding values. Whenever you do that, people complain.



    The oil industry and its paid flacks will complain about anything and everything President Obama does - unless the intervention is to overthrow a foreign government for their benefit. Recognize it for what it is, and turn off the volume.

  • Comment number 10.

    It seems that nothing annoys Republicans more than a Democrat President using international violence to distract from his failed policies at home. Only Republican Presidents can do that.

    As with other invasions you have listen carefully with words that become deconstructed in a way their meaning justifies violence. In Bosnia it was 'humanitarian intervention'; Afghanistan and Iraq it was 'stabilizing the region'; and now in Libya it's to 'protect civilians'. What does the government mean by 'protect' and what do they classify as a 'civilian'? As far as I can ascertain it means bombing people who do not share our world-view - is this what they mean by defending freedom?

  • Comment number 11.

    As for a "need for clarity", well, if you want to talk about that subject, you really need to be spending a bit more time covering the more Northern portions of the continent.

    Over the weekend we had one of the most stark demonstrations of hypocrisy from a political leader that I can remember - and, to make it even more stark, the evidence was in the form of a letter that the politician himself, Stephen Harper, had signed in 2004. The guy is now a laughing stock in Quebec.

    And, to top it off, the last action of his government before dissolution was to stand up and vote in the House of Commons in favour of

    (a) a cabinet minister's right to commit the Parliamentary equivalent of perjury.
    (b) the right of cabinet to conceal and withhold evidence from Parliament.

    The government fell on being held in contempt of Parliament.
    This is the formal impeachment that even Richard Nixon avoided by resigning.

    You'd think that this would be a newspaper columnist's dream.

    You'd think that the headline across the top of every front page of every newspaper in Canada, and a headline on at least one news item in the BBC US & Canada coverage would be:

    "Prime Minister Shown to be Hypocrite in Own Signed Letter"

    In terms of political theatre and farce, it just doesn't get any better.

    Can anyone imagine that if this had happened in the UK, the press wouldn't be having a field day with it?

    So where is the horde of journalists descending on the man demanding that he answer?

    Where are the questions?

    Why aren't there crowds with placards everywhere he campaigns, and at every speech he makes chanting "Hypocrite, Hypocrite, Hypocrite."?

    How is it that the guy is still willing to show his face in public?

    But no, ...

    ... Instead, we get articles like this one, trying to make something out of really, really small potatoes (e.g., as compared to Iraq or Afghanistan), where the US administration has performed glowingly well.

    I still haven't heard any commentator explain how America could have come out of this adventure smelling any better. Just what aspect of America's performance so far are they complaining about? How could any American government have handled this crisis any better? Is anybody suggesting that any US government in living memory would have done better?

    Is anybody suggesting that any other candidate seeking their party's nomination for the Presidency in 2008, for either party, would have done any better? (With due allowance that Hilary Clinton has been at the heart of this and deserves heaps and heaps of praise for her outstanding work).


    Yet we get these stupid articles about non-news, while a classic news story - a veritable Richard III story - of political hypocrisy, and deceit, laid bare in public with the stark possible evidence, goes virtually uncovered.

    Pinko, Publius, et al., I need some help here.

  • Comment number 12.

    If Obama tells Americans we're involved but we're not involved, then I expect they will be reasonably ok with that.

    Amplified as we had to do something to stop a massacre in Benghazi but now our allies have had to step up to the plate and take some responsibility.

    Which is what has happened.

    Nobody wants this to drag on a minute longer than necessary, so the Obama foot will be subtly pressed against the Gaddafi throat until he passes away, but to all intents-and-purposes, it will be presented as NATO's foot.

    Maybe too sophisticated an approach for the Big Gipper, but possibly even more effective.

  • Comment number 13.

    It looks like that 74% support from the US public is wrong: the numbers are flipped. It should be 47%.

    And there is no definition for 'action'.

  • Comment number 14.

    I assume he will explain why this is different from Iraq.

    He will then tell us why he decided to ignore congress and tell us why this war is of vital and immediate interest to the US.

    He will tell us what the objective of the war is and how we will know when that objective is reached.

    He will tell us the projected cost.

    I will be taking notes...

  • Comment number 15.

    TimR1944 @ 14

    POTUS Obama does not have to tell you why the US is involved in Libya.

    I will.

    America stood by during previous massacres in Bosnia and Rwanda, when it (alone) had the power to do something.

    May I remind you that the USA is the mightest empire that the world has ever seen and has broadly used that power for the common good.

    So, almost at the point where it was too late in Libya, America acted as saviour.

    If you are an American, then you should be very proud of POTUS Obama for acting on behalf of humanity, as sanctioned by the UN.

    This blogger is, and I'm an Englishman.

  • Comment number 16.

    #15 JohnConstable


    POTUS Obama does not have to tell you why the US is involved in Libya.

    I will.

    America stood by during previous massacres in Bosnia and Rwanda, when it (alone) had the power to do something.

    May I remind you that the USA is the mightest empire that the world has ever seen and has broadly used that power for the common good.

    So, almost at the point where it was too late in Libya, America acted as saviour.

    If you are an American, then you should be very proud of POTUS Obama for acting on behalf of humanity, as sanctioned by the UN.

    This blogger is, and I'm an Englishman.

    -------------------------------------

    Rescuing the population of Libya is a noble goal. I agree.

    But we should be told what the goal is. We should know why we are there. Specifically. Idealism is not enough.

    I disagree that Americans alone were responsible for Bosnia and Rwanda. That is an unacceptable accusation. Europeans and other nations might have stepped in.

    Our congress should and must be involved in any war, except where we are in immediate danger.

    Remember - we were given many reasons for Iraq. We know how that turned out.

    I am bewildered by your extraordinary romantic view of the US as a mighty empire that does good. There is some truth in that - but not all. We are in bad financial shape. We do not have the money for this.

    And we know what happens if something goes wrong. Americans and others will suffer there. The pendulum of anti-Americanism will move back again, and here we will be reading of how the world (and Britain) despises us and hold us in contempt. We have had more than enough of that.

  • Comment number 17.

    We're a country of laws. This is the law of the land:

    United States Code, TITLE 50, CHAPTER 33, section 1541:

    CHAPTER 33—WAR POWERS RESOLUTION

    (c) Presidential executive power as Commander-in-Chief; limitation
    The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to
    (1) a declaration of war,
    (2) specific statutory authorization, or
    (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

    The President needs to explain how the situation in Libya met number 3 tonight, otherwise it's time for Congressional hearings (at least). If the Administration wishes to challenge the constitutionality of the War Powers act, then Mr. Holder should bring the case now.

    The President must not be allowed to run roughshod over the Congress.

  • Comment number 18.

    No. 11, Interestedforeigner: What you say is only too true.

    And we see it in the tongue-twisting that goes on even in the coverage of this very straightforward story in Libya...

    The real question here is: "Why do some insist on defending the indefensible?"

    (Speaking of which I just heard that Alan Dershowitz has accepted an offer to defend Leonid Kuchma for the murder of a journalist -- money must be an angle, although there may be others...)

    In a court of law, everyone is entitled to a defence, of course.

    But it is impossible to hold public servants to any kind of standard if there is a reluctance to treat their performance, and pronouncements, seriously. Coverage is called for.

    Powermeerkat, most Americans today are too worried about their finances and futures to be very focused on the Libyan crisis. All they see is efforts being made for someone other than themselves, and some of them get very angry... At the same time, the same US voters don't make it easy to help them, do they? As we have seen with health care reform, as well as the 2010 vote, and now the budget wrangling, Americans want mutually exclusive, contradictory & irreconcilable things. Decent services, or pension reform, but not higher taxes -- even though the population has grown, and also aged. I know in the UK there are similar debates, except in the UK the numbers are considerably less skewed and scary than in the States.

    Basically, Americans want the last few years to not have happened. On a human level, I can't help but feel for them -- only of course life (and government) does not work that way.

    As I see it, one of the issues really of greatest import, not just in Libya, but indeed all across the Middle East, where so many millions, led by the younger generation, have chosen this time to finally make a stand for a more civil society, is that in our inextricably intertwined global economy, Humanity needs greater -- not less-- Freedom in order to address the burning issues of the day.

    Because we cannot afford to pay for all the care and services everyone needs, we need to loosen up the constraints that limit and inhibit personal responsibility within legitimate aspirations.

    And we need governments in countries that are actually drawn from categories of people with intelligence and integrity, motivated to do better than merely amass vast mountains of loot.

    At some level, I think the voices that are expressing squeamishness over Q's fate, or the obviously called-for intervention on behalf of endangered Libyan communities, are people who are very uncomfortable with the idea that you won't just be able to buy a signature anymore, or a contract; that wealth will no longer be, in and of itself, a bomb shelter of last resort.

    I cannot possibly agree with Jonathan Marcus's view that Turkey, calling for an "honourable" (???) exit for Clan Q, is all of a sudden "the big player" in North Africa, while France, that showed compassion and initiative, is suddenly sidelined -- or the UK, or the US.

    What Obama ought to remind Americans, in some fashion, since they are concerned about their daily budgets, is that a free Libya will have a positive effect on the price of oil -- and America, as the world's biggest consumer of petroleum, cannot simply stand by and allow the world's inevitably dwindling oil supply to be held hostage by unstable, unpredictable, murderous sociopaths.

    In more or less so many words.

    We are not in this struggle to "take" Libyans' oil treasure -- we are in it to end a highly irregular situation where only 1 family benefits from all those oil fields, while the people who work them are left with less and less to live on, as oil prices rise.

    What makes a better living situation for Libyans, up in arms against the tyrant who has enslaved them, coincidentally also makes a better situation for Americans.

    Not to mention that, along with the reconstruction of Japan, these two major crises we are dealing with will indirectly generate further stimulus for growth. As awful as these dramas are, Americans should read the situation more positively than some of them seem inclined to.

  • Comment number 19.

    @baircash: "damned if you do, damned if you don't" looks to me like a debate tactic of the Europeans ag America (doesn't get involved in international affairs, too trigger happy, etc).

    As questionable as military action Iraq/Afghanistan was, this is even worse. I see no self-defense value beyond securing our oil supply, and no other reason beyond trying to steer regime change the way we like it.

    The reason for the UN is becoming clear: decide which country can exist and which citizens can survive. We are floating further away from the goals of self-government.

  • Comment number 20.

    Dear Mark Mardell,

    What a good old fashioned go USA blog, well I think that it is very nice to be able to see another world leader especially one from a super power in the core blimey media every now and then. So what is the flip flop news from no.10s weekly press conference... Perhaps they have only just been shown how to play with the intelsat in geostationary orbit over Lords, GPO to AF1 over!

  • Comment number 21.

    Fluidly Unsure, No. 19: You are not aware of Clan Q's track record, are you?

  • Comment number 22.

    As a Republican I think that most of those criticizing Obama's actions in Libya- regardless of whether they are on the left or right- are just opportunists. It's certainly true that the administration's line has been kind of muddled, and Boehner and Mardell are right that these questions need answers, but the answers are going to have to do some evolving as conditions arise on the ground- esp. as we get to where it's more apparent what everyday Libyans' intentions are when not being heavily intimidated by one group or the other and as Arab League nations settle on their ideas about what's going on.

    Hopefully we'll soon reach a point where humanitarian groups can safely enter Misrata. Once we reach that point, questions about our goals & endgame become more pressing, but until then there's an immediate disaster to deal with and the main response to critics can be "help us save some lives here or get out of the way." You don't sit a fireman down in the first few minutes after his arrival at a blazing building and ask him about his exit strategy and long-term commitments.

    I was glad to see, after nervously watching the administration sit on their hands as Gadhaffi's brutal reaction began and as it started to look like the rebels would be massacred, that the president (along with Sarkozy etc) took action. Reminds one of the unsourced Churchill quote "Americans will always do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the alternatives."

  • Comment number 23.

    Further illogical arguments of the flavour meant to help shield Q:

    (1) "The Coalition air strikes have essentially spared the "rebels" (Libyan popular army of liberation) from having to do the job themselves."

    Such statements (and variations on this theme) blithely ignore the fact that if the people of Libya will not rest until they win, then obviously they are the ones driving the events -- not any Coalition in the skies.

    These humble people of varied backgrounds, united in their rejection of any further enslavement by Brand Q; and who, in spite of lacking proper training and decent weapons in quantity, continue to fight and fight and fight -- insisting they have a single goal: to oust Q and to have a free, sovereign state in which they can choose their government -- are simply doing what many others have done before them in history. Why is this so hard to believe?

    We know this has happened in Mexico, in Argentina, in Bolivia, in the USA, in the Baltics... it happened without violence in Egypt, a mere month ago, but that struggle might easily have tipped into violence as well, had the army not immediately let Mubarak know they would not risk their lives for his lies.

    If you know the history of Valley Forge, you know the American colonists who fought for the independence of their 13 states were not initially much more of a fighting force than what we see today, in Libya, confronting a far superior, well-armed force. So please don't deny them the credit they deserve.

    These are brave Libyans -- brave, not just passionate; not just 'idealistic' and not just 'enthusiastic.'

    They are people fed up with being subjected to hateful reprisals, totalitarianism, slave-like conditions and suppression of dissent, all the time.

    (2) The rather silly suggestion that "If the forces of Libyan liberation endanger civilians, then will Nato bomb them?" To repeat this piece of casuistry is to indulge in the Doublespeak spewing from Q's PR team.

    It was Q who endangered the civilians. In fact, most of the liberation forces Are Civilians.

    The way to stop endangering civilians is simply for Q to call off his goons. That does not require any special dispensation, Papal encyclical, mediation from Turkey, march with olive branches...

    All it requires is for the violence to stop, and the roads to Tripoli to be opened to any Libyans who wish to use them.

    All the military action of the liberation forces has been strictly in self-defence, and in an effort to secure & safeguard their inalienable rights to self-determination.

    If Clan Q surrenders peacefully, their lives will also not be in danger. If they fail to surrender peacefully, they have only themselves to blame for what follows.

  • Comment number 24.

    'Obama doesn't want to be a foreign policy president (...)'.
    It would be novelty, because let's face it, he has never been one.

    But why does he have to be apologetic about all this? There's no question that it's going to last a decade either, and there's no question of landing any troops in Libya, that is if the requests of the opposition forces are to be respected, which of course must be the case, because they know what they want and the last thing would be to have Europeans or Americans telling them how to go about obtaining it.

    Does he feel he should apologise for not being up front in classic John Wayne style?
    No one is giving speeches in Europe to justify their actions to the public. There's no need to. If anything maybe Obama should explain what took him so long in the first place to support such an intervention, because not a great deal more was ever expected of him. In fact the more the US hold back on this one, the better.

  • Comment number 25.

    The problem with Libya is not that we`re there in a humanitarian capacity but we have taken sides.Who are we to say that the civilians who side with the Quaddafi regime have less rights than their opponents?

    Television news had shots of rebels armed to the teeth with grenade and rocket launchers racing towards Sirte,the sound of allied bombing clearing the way for their advance as the commentator announced the bombing was to protext civilians.Irony is lost on these people wandering in the fog of their soundbites.

    Is Libya a surrogate for all those despotisms we depend on and protect starting with Saudi Arabia? I suspect it is.Mr.Obama is too intelligent not to see the contradictions in the policy,too political not to see the dangers of a Quaddafi inspired bloodbath for which his inaction would be held responsible.But the USA has no strategic interest in Libya,Robert Gates instinctive reaction early in the crisis was the right one.It`s an Arab problem,give humanitarian aid impartially,Quaddafi`s soldiers bleed,

    Facing us in the Gulf is an implacable Iran already whipping up Shia pupulations to fury against their Sunni oppressors.Further down the road Al Quaeda waits to exploit our every weakness and has infiltrated the rebels in libya and the Yemen.

    We have no end game or exit strategy,the groups most likely to succeed after the rebels start fighting each other are those who have a unified and coherent political programe.We know who they are.

  • Comment number 26.

    19. Fluidly Unsure

    You also seem to be fluidly unsure of why Nato and the USA are in Afghanistan.
    The US in fact went in too late. Europe or the US should have gone in when asked, (France was asked by the Afghan minister of Defence) before the 11/9, in 1997 or 98. Not only did they go in too late, they also left too early. Far more mistakes were made concerning Afghanistan, than in Iraq, although post election wise, it's the same war with the same enemy.
    What many people fail to grasp, is that these are not national wars. They are part of an international jihad to bring down democracy where they appear to be most fragile.
    But the issue is even more fundamental. The world is getting smaller. Wars between European nations are now totally inconceivable, and Europe is made up of democratic nations. When a democracy is in danger elsewhere, Democracy is in danger. That's the way we have to see it because that's the way it is.

  • Comment number 27.

    Obama hasn't made a speech or sought Congressional approval because he doesn't know where this is going, or what kind of hole he has dug together with the UN. When is the last time anybody went to war and not even had an idea of who will be in charge? On top of that, look at the names and groups that belong to the rebel forces. They have among them groups that have been previously identified as terrorist organizations by the UN, the US, and the UK to boot. Some have even been in Gitmo and released, desire an Islamic state like Iran, as well as fought NATO troops in Afghanistan and Iraq! What is going on here? I don't see this ending well at all, as well as never being just a no-fly zone to protect civilians in the first place, that's a facade for other goals, all of which seem to vary by country involved. He may not want to lead, but will certainly be left holding the bag... "you break it, you bought it" Colin Powell warned Bush, and Obama should have taken notes.

  • Comment number 28.

    re.#2. At 15:55pm on 28th Mar 2011, Schwerpunkt wrote:
    Out of interest what is the source of the 79% figure for backing the US being involved in military action in Libya? The last survey I saw was the Rasmussen one which showed only 45% supporting it.

    ----------------------

    I guess I and my friends and acquaintances are in the minority then: I know a lot of people who are sympathetic to the anti-Gadhafi rebels but no one who sympathizes with them enough to intervene directly in their civil war, and that's exactly what Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron have done. Oh sure, Gadhafi has made it easy to paint him as a villain with his despotic rule and support for revolution and terrorism but this intervention smells a lot like payback.

    Libya is not worth the life of a single U.S. serviceman and the president's political advisors will find the tepid support for Obama's new war will chill quickly when the body bags start coming home.

  • Comment number 29.

    25. bryhers

    'Arab problem'? If it was an Arab problem, why did the Libyans who wanted to be free of their regime ask Europe for help? And to which Arab State could they have otherwise requested help?

    The surest way of appreciating the goal of the opposition forces would have been to meet and discuss this with the Delegation of Transition. This apparently never crossed the mind of the US president. He declares categorically that Gaddafi must go, but doesn't even bother to consider the possibilities of a first step alternative, when such a first step alternative presented itself. This is incoherent.

    Issues such as 'strategic interests' sound way out of date, and remind one of Avatar. Surely we don't always have to have egoistical interests to do what's right? Where were the US interests in Normandy in 1944? They must have had a lot of such interests to sacrifice so many brave men on the beaches then..

    No contradictions. The Libyan forces of the opposition with some direct help from France and UK, backed up by the USA, are getting rid of a tyrant who has proved to the world that he and his regime are not fit to govern them or worthy of doing so..

    What is being done in Libya will also serve as an example to Iran. It will represent hope for the many Iranians who are oppressed. This general shake up is not likely to make things easier for the Iranian regime.

    'We have no end game or exit strategy'.. Who are you talking for? One would think one is dealing with a hoard of savages. They know what they want. Obviously they aren't fighting this war to set up another totalitarianism regime.

  • Comment number 30.

    re. #25. At 20:06pm on 28th Mar 2011, bryhers wrote:
    Facing us in the Gulf is an implacable Iran already whipping up Shia pupulations to fury against their Sunni oppressors.
    -------------------------------------

    Which raises the question of what are we doing to moderate the actions of the regimes supposedly doing the oppressing? The Shia populations in those states are asking for are the very things we regard as universal human rights: freedom to worship as they please, freedom to petition their government for redress of greivances, freedom of speech, a greater say in how their countries are run, the right to be arrested and tried for a crime in a fair and impartial court of law without being tortured or brutalized. Perhaps most important of all, those regimes have failed to offer hope for the future. When you have a rising number of young people who can't find work it's a recipe for social unrest. Instead of importing cheap foreign labor or hiring outside experts they could be hiring their own people and paying them better wages, its not like they can't afford it. A more equitable sharing of the wealth produced by the natural resources of those countries might go a long way toward establishing the legitimacy of the regimes in the eyes of their people.

    Iran may be providing the match start the fires of revolution but by suppressing what are legitimate aspirations of the people in those states the Sunni ruling class have been piling up the fuel for decades.

  • Comment number 31.

    I wish Mark would try to find the answer to the glaring question.... is America willing to also attack Yemen, Syria,Jordon or even Saudi Arabia because they have also been shooting their own people. And what about America's policy to shoot down civilian airliners with American's on board if they are heading to the White House or the Pentagon? Doesn't any country have the right to use lethal force for anyone who is using lethal force to attack the government? Why is America and it's allies bombing retreating troops? Why are they bombing a path for rebels whom they know nothing about? (Some of the rebels have been reported to be with Al-Queda).
    There are dozens of questions that leave one "Gobsmacked" at what is happening here. Surely the best way to save civilian lives is to stop fanning the flames of a civil war.

  • Comment number 32.

    There is always a need for clarity. I remember as earlier massacres were under way in Europe Germany, Bosnia and Africa Darfur, Uganda, etc as well as Myanmar and so on
    Then people asked "Why doesn't someone do something?" They complain and everyone looks the other way. Now we have a President who says Enough. And he gathers the leaders of other countries to join in protecting civilians from a sworn executioner. Should we now complain?

  • Comment number 33.

    "I hold the current Russian leadership personally accountable for persisting in mouthing Q's lies via all Russian media and even the Russian Foreign Ministry. The purpose of this campaign of disinformation is to attempt to sway and influence those members of Nato with whom Russia has historically enjoyed close ties (e.g. Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia etc.) By helping Q prolong the suffering of Libyans, and encouraging his obduracy, and giving any play to the notion that he might "remain in power" in some fashion, Mr Putin, Mr Lavrov and many Russian media personnel have become accessories to, and accomplices in, the torture and murder of helpless Libyans."

    ??? !

    Who lives in Russia, Maria, do you or do I?

    State-ish newspapers so far keep to one message "Kaddafi will fall because his forces are un-equal to NATO". Where do you read things, I wonder.

    And as to ground opinion - judging by the jokes - yes, folks sympathise now with Kaddafi. We have no own preferences in the conflict and simply sympathise with the weaker side. When initially Kaddafi was pressing the rebels - we naturally fanned for the rebels.

    Another attitude type is "I bought pop-corn there will be good internet and TV programmes to see in the weekend :o)))))), one doesn't need movies."

    There is nothing beautiful going on there, from neither of the sides.

    PS About opinion of "Romania, Slovakia" :o))))) and who else in NATO - Russia cares like about last year snow. It is not our military organisation and none of our business. Actually, first time hear from you here that someone in NATO was against.

    So, careful with labels. For Putin and Medvedev the West has handles, as we have too much together to loose :o)))))) but for the Russians on the ground - hands short so far :o)))) We will think (and joke) and take sides as we please.

  • Comment number 34.

    Hoist by your own petard.

    If, as according to an injured Gaddafi soldier in a Benghazi hospital, they were confined to barracks for months on end, only fed State propaganda about various 'bandits' infesting Libyan cities, then it is hardly surprising that these Gaddafi Libyan soldiers have been shooting at anything that moves in these places.

    Thus providing the Coalition with the justification they need to 'protect civilians'.

  • Comment number 35.

    The King's Speech, fascinating that a domestic policy president is now giving a speech to the nation in 2 hours, defending the invasion, by air, of a sovereign although thoroughly corrupt, nation-state. Libya has not declared war at all.

    A comparison to President John Kennedy's speech after the failed bay of pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. The current secretary of defense and the two current wars are inherited from the previous administration 2001-2008. This is the first significant military action of the the new centre - left US regime and is Multilateral, having allies and a consensus, thus ending the Bush doctrine. Hopefully over the next 6 years we will see more alliances and UN involvement in these wars and hopefully fewer of them. Freedom awaits the good people of Libya and a brighter futre to all the middle east. Perhaps membership in NATO

  • Comment number 36.

    Nostrana 29

    Your comments are so naive it is hard to know where to start.

    National interest is a good starting point for a foreign policy especially if it means going to war, defined by Clausewitz as a continuation of politics by other means.

    This involves a rational assessment of outcome which is impossible with this rag tag army of rebels sheltering behind Nato air power and shouting slogans.

    The contradiction is not the regime is tyrannical,we know that,but so are many others we support militarily,especially the kingdom of the Sauds.

    To think the Arab Spring "Will serve as an example to Iran" Just shows how far out of touch you are.Repression has tightened,Ashtiani`s death by stoning confirmed as the regime increases its reign of terror.

    The Arab world may call for democracy but lacks the political ogans to make this happen.What you are left with is a situation similar to Iraq,deep cultural,religious and ethnic differences which leads to faction.These are the circumstances where those forces who know what they want and have to cohesion to achieve it will prevail.Unless you think we should police them for the next hundred years.

    Mr.Obama knows this,so does Mr.Hague.Both are too politically compromised to say it.

  • Comment number 37.

    #35 Jollyroger

    This is the first significant military action of the the new centre - left US regime and is Multilateral, having allies and a consensus, thus ending the Bush doctrine.

    -----------------------------------------------

    There were allies involved in the Iraq war as well, and there is no consensus here - as there was no consensus regarding Iraq. A united front consisting most notably of German, China and Russia are openly and vocally opposing the war in Libya.

    There are far more similarities between the two wars than you suggest. At least Bush worked with congress - and they shared responsibility. Obama went ahead without any involvement of the congress.

    This is simply another chapter of intervention when we should be focusing on domestic issues. And there is no indication that the current alliance will last. When Iraq became less popular, the Spanish ran away, screaming for cover. The opinion of Americans collapsed into extreme anti-Americanism. We have only been at war for a few days. No one knows where we will go from here.

  • Comment number 38.

    #36 bryhers

    The Arab world may call for democracy but lacks the political ogans to make this happen.What you are left with is a situation similar to Iraq,deep cultural,religious and ethnic differences which leads to faction.These are the circumstances where those forces who know what they want and have to cohesion to achieve it will prevail.Unless you think we should police them for the next hundred years.

    ----------------------------------------------

    Excellent point. The idealism about democracy in Libya, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and all of the other Arab nations facing internal unrest is troubling and fatuous. We assume a structure comparable to our own that simply doesn't exist.

    As a result we commit ourselves to a goal that may be laudable but does not align with reality.

  • Comment number 39.

    "The tug between not wanting to be the world's policeman and being the only guy with the gun and the muscle to stop a murder.

    The whole-hearted desire to act in concert with other countries, and the realisation that implies going along with stuff they want to do and you don't. (Being dragged into a war by the French, imagine.)

    Not wanting to be out front when many world structures are designed in the expectation that like it or not, America will lead. "

    -------------------------------------------------

    These comments, like so much of this blog, belong to a world that vanished many years ago. The last time this would have been truly accepted would have been the early 60s. The last time it was tenable at all was the late 1980s.

    Now it merely seems like a time capsule. Only a few years ago Americans were perceived to be the greatest threat to world peace. Now we read of the US as a righteous protector of nations again? I simply don't believe it.

    Too much has happened in recent years. The Truman/Ike/JFK world is gone - and will never come back. Even the Reagan era is gone - and will never come back.

    How can we be the world's policeman without money? And with most of the world perceiving us as a threat to peace? And without the will of our own population?

    Let someone else step up. It's more than time.

  • Comment number 40.

    Mardell: Explaining to his country, proud of its military but weary of war, why he has decided to bomb the armed forces of another Middle Eastern country.
    -------
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_obama_libya
    An excerpt:
    A central problem for the White House is that the Libya military effort is expressly not intended to achieve what Obama openly wants to see — Gadhafi's ouster. The United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing force speaks to protecting civilians but not regime change. It was part of Obama's challenge to explain to the American public how the goals are not in conflict. The White House insists it has other, longer-term ways with allies to pressure Gadhafi to leave. Left unclear is what happens if he does not.
    ------------
    I already know why (B/c Obama feels bad for Libyans getting killed by Gaddafi, he wants to earn his Nobel Peace Prize/place in history and b/c he wants to appease Europe who is still not happy about being dragged into Iraq/Afghan- but now here they are dragging us into their war in return, so now we can claim the same thing about them) but what I want to know is how Obama, Camereon and Sarkozy plan to oust Gaddafi without using physical force?

    (B/c we all see how the Iranian sanctions have hardly affected Iran, so political diplomacy is clearly second to physical diplomacy- actions speak louder htan words)

  • Comment number 41.

    #8 Nostrano wrote:

    "Today French TV is focusing more on the comparatively uninteresting local elections than on anything happening in Libya."

    You sound like someone who would rather watch a ´John Wayne´ film -- Rather than hearing a radio discussion on the rise of Fascism.

  • Comment number 42.

    35. At 22:13pm on 28th Mar 2011, jollyroger and others:
    “The King's Speech, fascinating that a domestic policy president is now giving a speech to the nation in 2 hours, defending the invasion, by air, of a sovereign although thoroughly corrupt, nation-state.”

    The US has not “invaded” Libya. Neither have the other NATO countries that intervened to stop a massacre of civilians like the one in Srebrenica that was not stopped.

    Would you rather that the people of Benghazi had been treated like “rats and cockroaches” as Col. Q threatened; so then you could complain that, like Srebrenica, nothing had been done to stop the genocide?

    Shame on all of you! You appear to be putting your political views and talking points ahead of morality, self-interest instead of honesty.

  • Comment number 43.

    Speaking of other countries, its really sad that Saudi Arabia does not allow women to vote...
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110328/wl_afp/saudivotewomenrights
    An excerpt:
    The head of the electoral committee charged with preparing for next month's municipal polls said the kingdom was not ready to allow women to vote.
    Women in the conservative Muslim state were not allowed to run as candidates or to vote in the 2005 polls, a first for the highly-centralised monarchy where all government posts are appointed. Saudi women are banned from driving and cannot travel without authorisation from their husband or a related male guardian. They have also to cover from head to toe in public.
    ---------
    I would rather be a poor, free American than a rich Saudi Arabian who can't vote and is a slave...

  • Comment number 44.

    #40 LucyJ

    but now here they are dragging us into their war in return, so now we can claim the same thing about them

    ---------------------------------------------

    I don't see its as 'their war' any more than it is ours. I don't see them taking the lead.

    Britain especially has been desperate to appease, placate and make friends with Gadaffi. After all, their government fully supported and encouraged the outrageous release of the Lockerbie bomber and ignored the pleas of Americans. Indeed, Americans were denounced by some there for not being 'compassionate' enough and not stuffed with enough love for Megrahi and his family.

    There is something very odd about Britain's involvement in this war; it makes no sense at all. After doing so much to please Gadaffi, why have they suddenly decided he must go?

  • Comment number 45.

    33. At 21:48pm on 28th Mar 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    We will think (and joke) and take sides as we please.

    -------------------

    Russia is a riddle,
    Its plain to me.
    Wrapped in a mystery,
    Not many can see.
    Inside an enigma
    Only Turins can free.

    So whats its pourpose ???
    Don`t bloody ask me...

  • Comment number 46.

    29 Nostrano wrote:

    "Where were the US interests in Normandy in 1944? They must have had a lot of such interests to sacrifice so many brave men on the beaches then.. "

    Would you PLEASE read this --and get edumacated on who participated in the slaughter of US troops at Normandy !

    http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/llt/51/pauwels.html

    This repeated childish non-questioning nationalism -- is insulting to our intelligence !

  • Comment number 47.

    Tim: Now it merely seems like a time capsule. Only a few years ago Americans were perceived to be the greatest threat to world peace. Now we read of the US as a righteous protector of nations again? I simply don't believe it.
    -------------
    I love watching any movies before 2005, because for some reason, it just seems like that's the year it all went downhill, but I especially love our American movies from 90's and back b/c it symbolized a time in America when we were doing good, were truly happy and most of the movies and music had beautiful, sweet niceness, it was so golden, yet we were so imperfect- but that imperfection made it perfection...America before 2005 was sublime, b/c we were wholesome then...

    U watch the rap videos today and many are really rough- too rough for me to watch even- and rap has taken over music, u watch the movies today and many are rough- the morals in America are diminishing and being replaced by morallessness...

    Minorities are replacing majorities, our country is eroded and being illegally invaded, our trust in govt is vanishing, our morals are almost gone, and we are broke...its almost all bad news nowadays...everything we loved is going away, including most importantly, thousands of soldiers wounded and killed, ppl we can never replace...

    Its not the same America on the outside, altho underneath, real Americans do still exist, but there are less of us than ever before and the ones that do exist are being economically or otherwise ruined...
    --------------
    Tim: Too much has happened in recent years. The Truman/Ike/JFK world is gone - and will never come back. Even the Reagan era is gone - and will never come back.
    -------------
    JFK is symbolized by helping inspire and support putting man on the moon- now NASA's budget is cut and we no longer have space shuttles...

    Reagan is symbolized by creating good relations with Russia, overcoming distrust to find common ground, now we are cutting our nukes to low levels and relying on Russia to ferry us to moon...
    ----------
    How can we be the world's policeman without money? And with most of the world perceiving us as a threat to peace? And without the will of our own population?
    -----------
    Its only a matter of time before we are replaced by China being head policeman...America's trade with China helped China grow rich and America grow poor- our politicians sold us out on that one...
    ----------
    Let someone else step up. It's more than time.
    -----------
    China is waiting to step up and when the time is right, it will...

  • Comment number 48.

    #43 LucyJ wrote:

    "I would rather be a poor, free American than a rich Saudi Arabian who can't vote and is a slave..."

    http://www.inourownbackyard.us/photoessay/index.html

    -- now eat your words ?


  • Comment number 49.

    Tim: I don't see its as 'their war' any more than it is ours. I don't see them taking the lead.
    --------
    They want to take the lead, but we are the ones with the tools...they need us for this war and we need them for the other current wars, both needing each other for support...

    It is clear from reading on BBC and this blog (not from American media) that I will say in my personal opinion Britain and France were determined to go and that they knew the only way they could do it appropriatly and accurately was with us...

    USA is powerful, but when u get USA and our allies all together, then we are really, really powerful and I think UK and France know it too...our superpower status is not just b/c of what we have done, its also b/c of our allies...
    --------
    Tim: Britain especially has been desperate to appease, placate and make friends with Gadaffi. After all, their government fully supported and encouraged the outrageous release of the Lockerbie bomber and ignored the pleas of Americans. Indeed, Americans were denounced by some there for not being 'compassionate' enough and not stuffed with enough love for Megrahi and his family.

    There is something very odd about Britain's involvement in this war; it makes no sense at all. After doing so much to please Gadaffi, why have they suddenly decided he must go?
    ---------
    Well, as for Megrahi...

    Oil deals...

    As for the involvement in this war, I think its different things from different British ppl...some may want USA to help them the way they helped us, some may think this will make us suddenly known for being humanitarian- perhaps they think they are saving us, some may think ( like UK) its simply the right thing to do to help suffering ppl- honest integrity there- and some may want the oil deals...so I think with the British and the French, too, its different things for different ppl...

    But what Americans like myself are apprehensive about is the day when the bottom drops out...

  • Comment number 50.

    re#44
    why do you find UKs involvement so strange? Seems straight forward. The new conservative government wants to undo the Labour legacy. Plus there are a few old Torys around from Thatchers day who think they have unfinished business with Kadaffi because of Lockerbie,the Libyan Embassy shooting and the fact that Kaddaffi suplied The IRA with the semtex to Blow Thatcher up in The Brighton Hotel bombing.
    Now that you are involved righty or wrongly, youd better finish the job because if Kaddaffi stays in power he will want his revenge on the US, UK and France. remember this is a man that sponsored terrorism all through the 80's and 90's. And had his agents running round the world assasinating oponents. You could end up with another lockerbie on your hands and that is Americas interests

  • Comment number 51.

    re. 48. At 23:39pm on 28th Mar 2011, quietoaktree wrote:
    #43 LucyJ wrote:

    "I would rather be a poor, free American than a rich Saudi Arabian who can't vote and is a slave..."

    http://www.inourownbackyard.us/photoessay/index.html

    -- now eat your words ?

    ---------------------

    Zing! He scored with that one. LucyJ. There is only one unforgivable sin in America and that is being poor. They are marginalized, ostracized, stereotyped and taken advantage of by liberals and conservatives alike. Even when the government is supposed to be helping them it sometimes acts as if it can trample on their rights because they're poor and dependent and have no means to fight back.

  • Comment number 52.

    "What Obama has to tell America about Libya"

    -----------------------------------------------
    I'll do it for him.

    Libya isn't a current threat to the U.S. Libya has oil. On the other hand, Syria is a MUCH bigger threat to the U.S. & EU. Syria has no oil. We aren't going to be bombing Syria.


    That about covers it.

  • Comment number 53.

    Russia is a riddle,
    Its plain to me.

    So whats its pourpose ???
    Don`t bloody ask me...
    "
    ukwales, I have a feeling you bought Komsomol Truth newspaper today in the subway kisok:o))))))))) because you are right on track. The one I have bought today says onthe last page: "Russky-people has no plan of action. It is scary by its improvisation..." :o))))))))) !

  • Comment number 54.

    22 century. Over the Earth globe senselessly dash NATO planes...
    Oil has ended up everywhere :o(

    ;o)))))))))))

    2030, a girl and a boy in a pub.
    - So, where do you work?
    - I'm in the oil industry.
    - Wow. And what aircraft are you flying?
    ;o)))))))))))

  • Comment number 55.

    Nostrano, MagicKirin, PMK, Maria, LucyJ

    Now I am going to do a ´Fox News´ on you !

    You have read my #46 ?

    http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/llt/51/pauwels.html


    You will now agree, America not only participated in the Holocaust but also participated in the murder of British troops landing in Normandy in 1944 ?

    ---- Whose view of history is correct ?

    ---how would you interpret the facts ?

    --- childish nationalism is a double-edged sword.

  • Comment number 56.

    Would some Canadian be kind enough to tell me (or provide me with a link to) how the rest of Canada (besides Ontario and Quebec) thinks about the Harper administration is doing, etc? My local newspaper provides scanty information about Ontario and Quebec, and none at all about Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the northern territories. The last time I can remember an article about British Columbia appearing, it had to do with some field of pot that authorities found, and the last time Manitoba was mentioned (several years ago) some crazy guy had murdered somebody on a bus. Hardly a real picture of politics/life in Canada, I'd guess.

    With all due respect,
    A curious Yank

  • Comment number 57.

    Minorities are replacing majorities, our country is eroded and being illegally invaded, our trust in govt is vanishing, our morals are almost gone, and we are broke...its almost all bad news nowadays...everything we loved is going away, including most importantly, thousands of soldiers wounded and killed, ppl we can never replace...

    Its not the same America on the outside, altho underneath, real Americans do still exist, but there are less of us than ever before and the ones that do exist are being economically or otherwise ruined...
    "

    strangely, I am feeling the same. in another geography. Lucy

    Lucy, cheer up!
    if I were your president :o)))))), I would find words to cheer you up.

    First - this Libya campaign is pea-nuts. And it is doomed for success. You can't possibly loose on it in reputation - only gain. Look here - the USA did a corrective action, compared to the prev. cases - curtsied to the UN ;o))))), involved non-NATO chaps, or well, at least, tried to :o)))

    Give democracy a chance! Twice it failed, God after all likes Trinity. It's the third attempt, two first failed , in those deserts and places - but this one is a very compact desert, and with clear borders.
    It doesn't border with Pakistan which is already something.
    There aren't any tricky mountains there like in Afghanistan where terrorists or locals nevermind :o)))))) can hide for centuries. It is flat as a plate, open as a table, it is straightforward un-tricky desert, in which there are a handful of cities here and there, connected by excellent roads.
    Its population is not Afghanistan or Iraq either but just 7 million people.
    It is like managing one ordinary city.
    You can't possibly stuck there have problems in military terms.
    There won't be any US losses.
    Compared to Iraq and Afghanistan you can only do better, in practical terms and in PR of the USA terms.

    When Libyan oil fund money arrested abroad as controlled by Kaddafi will be returned back to Libya. one hopes they will :o)))) - Western Libya clans will get them and be so much happy about democracy that one will be able to stack a picture file of happy Libyans for a hundred years ahead :o)))))) They've already got a new own TV station in Qatar and will advertise their democracy like dear me.
    To say nothing when they get to the state TV at home. America can't possibly loose on its image after the victory there.
    Plus - Libyans indeed are going to be alright. PR or none - they are going to be alright in real terms. They are so few for their oil income that at kaddafi minimum onthly salary is a thousand US dollars, one would think getting democratic they won't be able to spoil that . even if they try hard :o))))))) One thing is Afghanistan or Iraq - 10 times more poor places with so much more people - democracy or not - you can't show any results there. Another thing is a small rich Libya.
    Europe will certainly care and not step back on that campaign leaving the USA, because Libyan oil, though tiny in world percentage is prime clear in quality and makes up European aviation benzine. The USA have purification oil plants and do not care for that oil in particular - at all, but Europe doesn't - and cares.
    In short, instead of Kaddafi there will be some ? Baddafi :o))))) and all will go fine.

    As to China, Russia and Germany - all have their own reasons and it's not some kind of a special accord. Germany, for instance, was working hard on fixing its reputation post the war and can't allow itself to spoil all the effort and money spent in reparations to the Jewish, for example, to risk all this work on a spontaneous un-worked out campaign of unclear how to say, anyway. ;o))) To be even suspected to be an aggressor. Russia is Russia :o)))), not an indicator, and China all know gets very nervous when someone goes against the state.
    Well, I would have said approx. something like that to console you.

  • Comment number 58.

    quietoaktree, (#55. At 01:29am on 29th Mar 2011)
    ”... You have read my #46 ?
    http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/llt/51/pauwels.html
    You will now agree, America not only participated in the Holocaust but also participated in the murder of British troops landing in Normandy in 1944 ? . . .”

    Why do you post such absurd drivel? You obviously did not read the article, as the word “Normandy” occurs exactly once, in the sentence “When Americans landed in Normandy in June 1944 and captured their first German trucks, they discovered that these vehicles were powered by engines produced by American firms such as Ford and General Motors.” That’s it. Nothing else. So in what way did America “participated in the murder of British troops landing in Normandy in 1944?” Come on, Big Guy, is this trash the best you have?

    Now let’s move on to your claim of American participation in the Holocaust. Spell it out Big Guy. What was the American participation in the Holocaust? There are exactly six instances of the word “Holocaust” in the article. Two are the TITLE OF A BOOK “IBM and the Holocaust,” and two are in the article’s FOOTNOTES. Take the remaining two, and explain your claim “America not only participated in the Holocaust”

    Do you really think everyone else will be fooled and NOT follow your link?
    Wow! What nonsense!

  • Comment number 59.

    S Hannah:

    Try:

    CBC/SRC - Public Broadcaster with national mandate. Only major national news service whose ownership is not tied in one way or another to the Conservatives.

    The reason you get most Canadian news from Ontario and Quebec is because that's where most of the people live.

    Canada has 34 M people.

    13.5M live in Ontario, the majority of them living in a crescent called "the Golden Horseshoe" around the western end of Lake Ontario.

    Quebec has about 8.0m
    B.C - 4.5m
    Alberta - 3.7m
    Manitoba - 1.2m
    Saskatchewan - 1.0m
    Nova Scotia - 0.95m
    New Brunswick - 0.75m
    Newfoundland - 0.50
    Prince Edward Island - 0.14m

    NWT - 45,000
    Yukon - 35,000
    Nunavut - 33,000

    ----------

    Big Newspapers in Vancouver: Province, Sun
    Calgary: Calgary Herald
    Edmonton: Edmonton Journal

    Saskatoon Star-Phoenix
    Regina Leader-Post

    Winnipeg Free Press

    Toronto: Globe & Mail (Center Right - the best of the lot, by a fair margin)
    Toronto Star (Populist, Center-Left)
    Toronto Sun (Hard Right, car stereo adds, girls with skimpy clothing)
    National Post (Sycophantic pro-Harper, pro-Israel, pro-Tea Party)

    Hamilton - Hamilton Spectator
    KW - Kitchener-Waterloo Record

    Kingston Whig-Standard (a small community, with a small paper that punches miles above its weight)

    Ottawa - Ottawa Citizen

    Montreal - La Presse (the Toronto Star of Montreal)
    - Le Devoir (miniscule circulation, incredibly influential, well respected paper written by and for the Quebec Intelligentsia)
    - The Gazette (Well, what can you say? It is the Gazette, after all)

    Halifax - Chronicle-Herald

    Of all of these newspapers, only the Globe and Le Devoir have consistently good writing. The rest? Well, they're what you'd expect.

    TV Broadcasters:

    Rogers Communications (Harper Sycophants, even worse then Canwest Global)
    CTV (the Stephen Harper Channel)
    CanWest Global (more Harper sycophants)

    You can see that concentration of media ownership in Canada has very significant consequences for the balance of political free speech. In essence, without the CBC, virtually the entire broadcasting industry would be owned or controlled by allies of the Conservative Party.

    It's not quite so bad in print media, but its pretty bad.

  • Comment number 60.

    59. InterestedForeigner
    Thank you very much.

  • Comment number 61.

    A sad day -- with no plan for a Libyan end game anywhere in sight.

  • Comment number 62.


    1) Libya apparently is in a state of civil war, a war which developed from reasons internal to Libya and not from reasons caused by other nations including those nations now represented there militarily.

    2) Apparently this civil war has been a long time in the making and in the coming, long enough to have developed an armed rebel resistance, a sign of genuine conflict.

    3) Although it could be difficult to distinguish between the armed rebels of a ragtag army and civilians, apparently innocent and unarmed civilians became a target of Libyan military forces, which in turn became justification of international interdiction.

    4) The aftermath of such interdiction invites a friendly relationship with whatever group eventually wins the civil war, and makes it difficult for international hostility to foment, with such as al Qaeda in mind.

    5) In my opinion, not only did President Obama do the right thing, but, by insisting that the role of the US be limited to that of partnership in an international coalition, President Obama did the right thing in the right way.

  • Comment number 63.

    61. At 03:10am on 29th Mar 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    A sad day -- with no plan for a Libyan end game anywhere in sight.
    ------------------------------------

    I started out trying to gauge, by the comments posted here, how many conservatives (or is it neopacifists?) are still thinking, and how many just do a knee jerk of denial when presented with the change that was promised a little over two years ago.

    It seems not many are still thinking creatures, so far. The world is so much more complex than you or I were taught that it was. The last American Pres that was up to the job was Bush Sr. Unfortunately, he had only the vaguest impression of who the public were. Before him, Reagan, and he also had that ability to seem 'folksy'.

    This is not Uncle Rush's world, and it isn't John Wayne's, either. Guess what. It isn't ours either.

    But what this half-black Harvard graduated Hawaiian said he would do, that you all scoffed at as campaign rhetoric, he is doing. I guess the rhetoric was so slick, so scary, that you didn't hear a word he said.

    Not tonight, either. The end game will come when the Libyans take him down. They will do it, with the help and encouragement of their friends, who are most of the world; we happen to have joined them. And it is just as likely, maybe more likely, that Tripoli will be intact when he is gone. Whether Gadaffi is or is not is not material. We have a right arm, and a left arm (caution - metaphor here), and between them we have both a heart and a brain, both full of intelligence. It's not too late to start listening to something beside your own fears.

    Grrumph!
    KScurmudgeon

  • Comment number 64.

    There's that canard again: "It took a long timr for Mr Obama to decide to take action, ...". (from Mardell) No, it didn't. The President decided right away not to take unilateral military action, but to work through the United Nations. When the UN Security Council authorized intervention, the US was ready to do its part.

  • Comment number 65.

    TmR1944 asks: :How can we be the world's policeman without money?"





    "A well regulated Militia"? :-)

  • Comment number 66.

    I wonder if Obama will land on his feet like a cat?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0ViPCmr318

  • Comment number 67.

    "What Obama has to tell America about Libya"

    -----------------------------------------------
    I'll do it for him.

    Libya isn't a current threat to the U.S. Libya has oil. On the other hand, Syria is a MUCH bigger threat to the U.S. & EU. Syria has no oil. We aren't going to be bombing Syria.


    That about covers it.






    And YEMEN is running out of its oil.

    But not of al-Qaeda 'freedom fighters' and their explosives/Kalashnikovs producing factories.


    [Although I understand they have now one less. ]

  • Comment number 68.

    Re #67 A correction:


    "What Obama has to tell America about Libya"
    -----------------------------------------------
    I'll do it for him.

    Libya isn't a current threat to the U.S. Libya has oil. On the other hand, Syria is a MUCH bigger threat to the U.S. & EU. Syria has no oil. We aren't going to be bombing Syria.


    That about covers it."

    It is a quote from #52 post by Illogicbuster [00:49am on 29th mar 2011]


  • Comment number 69.

    Ref# 11 IF
    Steven Harper sounds as if he's a nastier version of Francis Urquart.
    I did a bit of snooping around and the bulk of what you're writing is verifiable, while any refutations appear to use diversion rather than contradiction, which should tingle that antennae of any decent journalist and makes its absence in the mainstream media all the more baffling.
    Personally, I'd like to see the BBC give you a blog of your own. Your contributions are entertaining and thought provoking and you provide an insight into North America that Mark seems not to be bothered about.

  • Comment number 70.

    46. quietoaktree

    One can find whatever one wants on the web to support almost any idea, but that doesn't negate or change the facts of history. It doesn't cancel out the ultimate sacrifices one sometimes has to make to defend freedom. And you call that childish?

    In times of 'peace' it's business as usual, with Saddam or Gaddafi, and why not even Hitler. But when such despots go too far, then something has to be done. If nothing is done, then eventually one is going to be hit by the same tidal wave. This was also the case with the Taliban. The West had to learn the hard way before they eventually moved, and it's not over yet.

    Sorry if defending such an opinion insults your intelligence. Yet maybe real intelligence can never be insulted.

  • Comment number 71.

    36. bryhers

    Perhaps it's better to be naive and positive than cynical and negative.
    Basically I don't agree. And I don't need to stoop to easy insults to point out why.

    The proof. Afghanistan. When Europe was asked for help, it wasn't forth coming. This led to the 11/9 and the assassination of the former Afghan minister of Defence two days before the Twin Towers were hit. National interests? None, unless the laying of gas pipe-lines means one has to solve the problem via Pakistan, who fostered the evil in the first place.

    When regimes are relatively stable, even if they're not democratic, the people don't spend their time demonstrating or turning to Europe or the US crying for help.

    Any positive outcome regarding Libya can only have a positive influence on its neighbouring countries. This whether you like it or not. Here we are alluding to North African countries.
    Regarding the ME. If, as you affirm, Iran is tightening up even more. How long do you think it's going to last before an oppressed people seriously react? Are you according such a care-free future to the Iranian regime? Look what's taking place in Syria. All the projects that Ahmadinejad was so sure about, which would include his 'divine destiny', have been shaken in no uncertain manner by all the unanticipated uprisings and events.

    The future developments of Egypt will also be a key factor, and it looks as if Egypt is going to come through its transition positively.

    With regards to what Obama knows or doesn't know, let's not be hypocritical about that either.

  • Comment number 72.

    What does Obama have to tell the world about Libya?
    Not much, even after one wades through the Obama DoubleSpeak, or maybe even his every-day-becoming-more-evident disassociation
    How can a leader as totally non-sensical (and even ignorant) as Obama expect the world to take him seriously?
    Obama has been using air strikes, drones, depleted uranium warheads against Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and probably Somalia. In his March 28 speech, Obama justified his air strikes against Libya on the grounds that Gadhafi, was using air strikes to put down a rebellion. So what? Did it ever occur to Obama and his administrative minions that these rebels SHOULD BE PUT DOWN, need to be put down.
    Why?
    Because they are Mislim Extremists, in fact a hub of Muslim Extremism.
    There is no doubt that the current & previous US presidents (Bush/Cheney Regime) have murdered many times more people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia than Gadhafi has ever murdered in Libya.
    Moreover, Gadhafi is putting down a rebellion AGAINST STATE AUTHORITY, but Obama and Bush/Cheney initiated wars of aggression based entirely on LIES and MISINFORMATION.
    Gadhafi is being demonized, and Bush/Cheney/Obama are sitting on their high morality. Obama described himself as saving Libyans from violence while Obama himself murders Afghans, Pakistanis, and whomever else gets in the way of American imperialism.
    Further, the Bush/Cheney/Obama wars of aggression have bankrupted America. Joseph Stiglitz, former chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, has gone on record: that the money wasted on the Iraq war could have been used to fix America’s Social Security System for more than half a century. Instead, the money has been diverted to American Imperialism, the Military Complex.
    The United States of America has become atrocious
    - wars of aggression,
    - profits of the offshoring corporations, and
    - the purely obscene bailouts of the rich financial gamblers
    have left the American public with annual budget deficits of approximately $1.5 trillion. How are these deficits being covered?
    By rolling the printing presses.
    Sooner or later, the printing presses will cease functionung and
    1. the US dollar will collapse and
    2. domestic inflation will explode.
    3. Social Security benefits will be wiped out by inflation rising more rapidly than the COLA. IF the United States survives, no one will be left but the elitist-rich....unless, the citizens of American have their own internal revolution.
    If the Federal Reserve puts the brake on monetary expansion, interest rates will escalate, sending the economy into a deep, deep, bottomless pit of depression.
    As Stiglitz notes:
    The costs of the Iraq war alone could have
    a) kept every foreclosed family in their home,
    b) provided health care for every American child, and
    c) wiped out the student loans of graduates who cannot find jobs because they have been outsoured to foreigners.
    But the Great United States of America prefers (for some unknown, mysterious reason) to murder Muslims in order to enhance the profits of the military/security complex. Even more money is spent violating the constitutional rights of Americans - e.g. the Patriot Act.
    The moral authority of the West is collapsing.
    When Russia, Asia, and South America look at Africa, Europe, Australia and (my own country) Canada, they see American puppet-states that contribute towards aggressive wars. The French president, the British prime minister, and the rest have become mere functionaries of the American Empire. These puppet rulers routinely sell out the interests and welfare of their peoples in behalf of American hegemony.
    Why?
    In his war against Libya, Obama has taken America one step further into imperialism. Obama did Bush one step better: He did not even bother to get CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORIZATION. Obama claimed that HIS MORAL AUTHORITY trumped the US Constitution. So, in then United States the Constutuion gets walked over, somewhat sullied by the righteouness of the President.
    Obama: “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”
    But, but The American Administration is one of the key offenders. Can the world not see this?
    Just look at Israel and how the United States turns a blind eye to its atrocities against the Palestinians. Just look at the drones and the air force slaughter civilians EVERY day of EVERY year.
    Evidently, Obama believes that a million dead Iraqis, 4 million displaced Iraqis, and an unknown number of murdered Afghans is just fly in the ointment of American imperialism.
    It's getting so that I find it hard to even listen to an Obama speech. It is always so full of misinformation and outright lies.

  • Comment number 73.

    69. At 09:33am on 29th mar 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:
    Ref# 11 IF
    Steven Harper sounds as if he's a nastier version of Francis Urquart.
    I did a bit of snooping around and the bulk of what you're writing is verifiable, while any refutations appear to use diversion rather than contradiction, which should tingle that antennae of any decent journalist and makes its absence in the mainstream media all the more baffling.
    Personally, I'd like to see the BBC give you a blog of your own. Your contributions are entertaining and thought provoking and you provide an insight into North America that Mark seems not to be bothered about.







    What is it all about?

    This is a North American blog. Covering North America.


    And that's why we've been discussing here, ad nauseam, developments in the Middle East.


    [I tought it would be obvious.]

  • Comment number 74.

    "Iran is tightening up even more."



    Please notice, Nostrano that I, for one, have no been not clamoring for a military intervention in Iran.

    Or even a no-fly zone over the Islamist Republic sponsoring and arming terrorist outfits outside of its borders. [incl. those in Iraq and Afghanistan]

    Although Iran is a much bigger threat to American vital interests than Libya.

  • Comment number 75.

    Nostrano: "With regards to what Obama knows or doesn't know, let's not be hypocritical about that either."





    "What did the president know, and when did he know it?".

    [does it ring a bell?]

  • Comment number 76.

    71 Nostrano.

    My problem with you is not what you think but how.You flit from topic to topic without any convincing analysis.For instance you say as if it`s self evident that any positive outcome in Libya will have positive effects on its neighbours.

    First you should ask yourself positive for whom? and why? A positive outcome for Mr.Quaddafi`s supporters would have different consequences than one for the rebels.If the rebels win,what would they consider a positive outcome? The answer is uncertain since apart from slogans we don`t have a handle on the kind of political programme they want.The Transitional Council according to the FT is chaotic and disorganized.

    Have Saudi Arabia and Syria concluded that ousting a fellow despot by force is a positive outcome.Then there are those providing the military muscle who wouldn`t want to see Al Quaeda behind the rebels, but who already have forces in Libya.Meanwhile the Shia in Eastern Saudi and Bahrein are already turning to their co-religionists in Iran.

    By taking sides in a civil war we have made ourselves responsible for the outcome without knowing what that will be.I don`t subscribe to emotional reflexes myself,I think things through and ask myself why.I would hope our leaders would do the same.

  • Comment number 77.

    Oak: -- now eat your words ?
    -------
    No, I don't eat my words on that one...we all know that illegal immigrants are at times treated like slaves- slave labor- and that its illegally done- an illegal immigrant is not an American b/c they crossed our borders/entered our country illegally, so of course a non-citizen/illegal immigrant can't vote and only American citizens or ppl in our country legally should be allowed to drive...no matter how poor women are, we don't hafta legally have supervision by male...

    As for hte blacks in America, children of the GUlf, ect, they do have the right to vote (reaching age 18) and to drive with a driver's license- and that was my point- even if u are poor, no matter how poor- you have the right to vote and to drive with valid driver's license- where does oak tree say this is not true?

    I stand by my point: I would rather be poor and able to vote/have rights than live in another country where are rich, but treated like slave and can't even vote...

  • Comment number 78.

    ALice: strangely, I am feeling the same. in another geography.

    Lucy, cheer up!
    if I were your president :o)))))), I would find words to cheer you up.
    ---------
    Thanx, Alice....its true, I am somewhat glum, but I do not wish our situation upon anyone else...its ours to bear...

    It just kinda feels like everything is happening at once- what some older ppl here call 'feast or famine'...

    But most of all, I miss our wholesomeness...

    Its like minority culture is overtaking the old culture and its hard to get used to it...

    And underneath it all, I sense underlying anger issues...

  • Comment number 79.

    BTW, Alice, my brother was telling me that he heard on some foreign news that China owes Russia money for gas imports and China refuses to pay until America pays them and now they are suing via WTO?

    Have you heard anything of this?

  • Comment number 80.

    76. bryhers

    A positive outcome is that. It's based on the likelihood that the rebels aren't fighting to replace Gaddafi and his henchmen with another totalitarian regime. It's based on the assumption that the majority of Libyans are perfectly well informed to know that democracy is the best possible choice of system, and that is what they would want.

    It stands to reason that if they succeed in setting this up, unaided by the West and Europe- at least no more than the Libyans themselves will request- it will have a positive impact on other North African States who are also going through a transition process.

    There will be radical elements amongst the oppositions forces. They will try to influence the transition proceedings, but they are not the majority. It's possible that al-Qaida elements will try to punish the Libyans assuming they choose to set up their own democracy, as they did in Iraq, and as they still do in Afghanistan. That is also a reality young democracies seem to have to contend with today.

    If Saudi Arabia was against the idea they would have said so. It's true that by supporting this engagement the Saudi authorities may be perfectly aware that they are putting their own necks in a slowly tightening noose. One would suppose that they, like the Egyptians, would have the sense to gradually allow for the obvious changes that are effecting the Muslim world.

    We have taken sides because, we didn't like what we were seeing and we were asked for help. This is the first time for many years that France and the UK have taken such an initiative without the full guaranty of US backing. Had Sarkozy been in power when Massoud asked for help against the Taliban, maybe relatively recent world history would have been vastly different and a lot less tragic. This is also an allusion of course to 11/9.

    Obviously one should always look before one leaps, but I still maintain that had Obama delayed his support by even one day, certainly two, Benghazi could have been taken and the war would have been over. Any engagement on the part of France or the UK would have then been considered vindictive interference, and totally out of place. I see this as so plausible, that whether Obama now makes fine speeches or not, and tries to recuperate the initiative instigated by France and the UK, it doesn't alter such a probability in any way whatsoever.

    I have no 'problem' with anyone who wishes to exchange opinions, but so far no one has been able to influence my way of seeing things. I'm always open to modifying my opinion, based on the views of others that I can agree with, and certainly of being corrected when I'm wrong.

  • Comment number 81.

    75. powermeerkat

    There may be many such bells. History is full of their noisy tolling, certainly recent history.

  • Comment number 82.

    76. bryhers

    One last point. On what basis do you judge the Libyan Delegation of Transition? Did Obama ever talk to them or even recognise their legitimacy? No.
    If it's preferred to assume that they aren't worthy of their function, this would sound more like a lame justification for not bothering to recognise them in the first place, after having publicly proclaimed that Gaddafi must go.
    Sarkozy recognised their legitimacy. I believe he was the only head of State to do so. He may not be the most popular guy in France, but he wouldn't make such a commitment if he thought that the delegation wasn't worthy of his support.

  • Comment number 83.

    82. At 19:29pm on 29th Mar 2011, Nostrano wrote:
    76. bryhers

    "One last point. On what basis do you judge the Libyan Delegation of Transition? Did Obama ever talk to them or even recognise their legitimacy? No.
    If it's preferred to assume that they aren't worthy of their function, this would sound more like a lame justification for not bothering to recognise them in the first place, after having publicly proclaimed that Gaddafi must go.
    Sarkozy recognised their legitimacy. I believe he was the only head of State to do so. He may not be the most popular guy in France, but he wouldn't make such a commitment if he thought that the delegation wasn't worthy of his support."

    Articles in the "Financial Times" judged the DOT to be "chaotic and disorganized." In which case they reflected the rag tag army whose advance has been by courtesy of allied air power.

    Mr.Sarkozy is wholly opportunistic in his support for the rebels,hoping to get the votes of the large Algerian population in the Banlieu`s, who while they may loathe him for his activities while mayor of Paris,fear Ms Le Pen even more.

    At least Mr.Sarkozy has a rational if disreputable motive for his attack on Libya,Mr.Cameron has none.The British public are ambivalent,no vital interests are involved and he can`t control the endgame.Perhaps he needs a Falklands as the economy struggles? It rescued Mrs.Thatcher.

  • Comment number 84.

    83. bryhers

    Did the Financial Times meet them? Were they ever invited to England?
    They looked to me perfectly respectful, and also as if they knew what they were doing. At least I had the opportunity to make such an observation.

  • Comment number 85.

    83. bryhers

    Re. motives, I don't agree with your reasoning either. Maybe in the USA one has to have an additional motive to do what's right, but I sincerely believe that Cameron and Sarkozy acted spontaneously, not out of any ulterior motive to win election points or gain in the popularity polls, but simply out of the conviction that no one should stand idly by whilst a madman massacres his own people.
    Neither C nor S has any illusions about their popularity. One can clearly see that already. Whatever Sarkozy does it's automatically wrong in the eyes of the French, presently veering either to the left, or to the extreme right.

    Re. the Algerians and any immigrants living in France, they always vote left wing, because the Socialists always buy their favour thus their votes, in one form or another.

  • Comment number 86.

    69. At 09:33am on 29th Mar 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:
    Ref# 11 InterestedForeigner

    “I'd like to see the BBC give you a blog of your own.”

    I second that motion. I also think that Canada, especially when embroiled in a serious constitutional issue, deserves much more support and coverage than it ever gets.

  • Comment number 87.

    quietoaktree, (#46. At 23:26pm on 28th Mar 2011)

    ”... Would you PLEASE read this --and get edumacated on who participated in the slaughter of US troops at Normandy !
    http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/llt/51/pauwels.html ...”

    I have.
    Will you?
    When will you be prepared to discuss where in the article one might read about "who participated in the slaughter of US troops at Normandy"?
    Will you ever be prepared to do so?
    Will you ever get “edumacated?”

  • Comment number 88.

    I don't know why Chryses is flogging this dead horse (87). For one thing, it's off topic. For another, General Motors bought most of Opel in 1929. It's not surprising that Germany had GM truck engines in WWII. Similarly, IBM had Hollerith equipment placed worldwide before the war. Business is international.

  • Comment number 89.

    Re #88

    GH1618, you're correct.

  • Comment number 90.

    GH1618, (#88. At 02:47am on 30th Mar 2011)

    "I don't know why Chryses is flogging this dead horse ..."

    Because quietoaktree posted the same link twice, he was entitled to two rebuttals, and received them. His behavior (posts) are distasteful and warrant response.

  • Comment number 91.

    86. At 01:22am on 30th Mar 2011, JMM wrote:
    69. At 09:33am on 29th Mar 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:
    Ref# 11 InterestedForeigner

    “I'd like to see the BBC give you a blog of your own.”

    I second that motion. I also think that Canada, especially when embroiled in a serious constitutional issue, deserves much more support and coverage than it ever gets.
    -----------------
    This lack of topics,on things that, which ordinary American /Canadian folk contend in their daily lives with is so frustrating.I sounded off once, but I will admit my timing was bad,due to events in the middle east.I rightly or wrongly visualize Mark Mardel in Washington sniffing around for the latest tit bit of political tittle tattle in the bars,
    that other political hacks of a similar ilk frequent,like some political blood hound.For crying out loud ,whats the weather like in the Grand canyon,is Ogunquit Main that beautiful place by the sea still there,is Winchester House that California mansion still as creepy,any thing just a morsel for pity's sake.Its a massive land mass, but may be if the BBC is not interested then it does not exist...

  • Comment number 92.

    Ref# 91 UK Wales
    "I rightly or wrongly visualize Mark Mardel in Washington sniffing around for the latest tit bit of political tittle tattle in the bars,
    that other political hacks of a similar ilk frequent, like some political blood hound."
    ____________
    I'd have to disagree with the idea that Mark sniffs around for stories. his reports are editorials. They are there for perspective and they are meant broadcast on BBC World News America and the World Service. Being laid down verbatim as a blog is a fringe service. I would doubt Mark gives any thought to this blog at all unless he is covering something fast breaking like the State of the Union and he can't broadcast on TV straight away.
    I'm not having a pop at Mark, no sane editor would provide the kind of reporting you're looking for - that's new-start reporter stuff. But the BBC really should be providing that in blog form. We may get a good 10 or 12 posts further than we currently do before resorting to the same old topics. Look at the power outage stuff Mark did last winter. That sparked off a couple of cracking threads.

  • Comment number 93.

    92. At 13:09pm on 30th Mar 2011, PartTimeDon :

    You are right,.But I love the whimsical the off beat & what make other nationality`s tick.Philly mom gave details of the pressure she found in day to day living in America, I found fascinating.May be I should be grate full for the"lives of others"when things go off topic.Any way,thanks for being gracious in pointing out the obvious.Some times on this forum,its like swimming with sharks...

    PS, if Interested Foreigner had not explained the turmoil in Canada's political arena
    I would not have a clue about things there.The BBC are missing out on important
    events in Canada.

  • Comment number 94.

    The real question, don't you think, is this:
    What should Obama be telling the American People about the Libyan rebels that he is assisting.
    Gaddafi has been blaming al Qaeda for creating this turmoil, and the west laughed.
    Gaddafi has been saying there is a conspiracy to control Libya and its oil, and the west laughed.
    I for one never laughed because I knew both these statements were true.
    A CANADIAN intelligence report written in late 2009 called the anti-Gaddafi stronghold of EASTERN LIBYA the “epicentre of Islamist extremism” and said “extremist cells” operated in the region...and now our PM Harper has sent the Canadian-led NATO coalition to protect these rebels, assist these rebels.
    I am ashamed to be a Canadian.
    The Intelligence report by the government’s "Integrated Threat Assessment Centre stated without uncertainty: “several Islamist insurgent groups” are based in eastern Libya and orthodox mosques in Benghazi were/are urging followers to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, and wherever else Islamic militancy needed reinforcement.
    The report further stated: “Within the region, the population holds more conservative views compared to the rest of Libya and Islamist activism is strongly concentrated.”
    The report, originally labelled ‘‘secret’’ has now been released to several newspapers, including the National Post under "The Access to Information Act".
    Therefore, unless Obama does not read newspapers, prefering his IPod, there are deep concerns re the composition of the "rebels" fighting for freedom in Libya.
    Meanwhile, the US, Britain, and Qatar are considering arming these rebels (Sounds like the Americans and the Muyahudeen Afghanistan, does it not, and did that decision not come back to haunt the west?).
    US Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, said there were “flickers” of al-Qaeda in the Libyan opposition.
    Excuse me?
    These are not "flickers". Check the names of these rebels. Check their history.
    US Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe added THAT THERE WAS NO SIGN they were a significant component of the group that would replace Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who by the way, if you remember is not being targeted and therefore should not need replacement.
    US Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe called the opposition “responsible men and women who are struggling against Col. Gaddafi.” When you get thgrough laighing, maybe you should start to weep and wail.
    Just over one year ago, the Canadian government, in an intelligence assessment written at the request of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, raised concerns about Islamists in eastern Libya. Eastern Libya was called a hub of Muslim extremism.
    The report seemed to downplay direct links to al-Qaeda but said the terror groups were a definite influence and a seed-bed for suicide-bomber volunteers.
    Libyan opposition leaders met in London with Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, and David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, who signaled they would allow Col. Gaddafi to seek exile, rather than face a war crimes tribunal.
    How nice!
    But then what?
    What are these important, influential people doing abandoning Libya to Islamists, and extremely dangerous Islamists at that?
    Adm. Stavridis: “We are examining very closely the content, composition, the personalities, who are the leaders of these opposition forces.”
    Why doesn't he read the Canadian Intelligence Report?
    Adm. Stavridis: “We have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential al-Qaeda, Hezbollah.”
    The accusations, as you can see, were the truth (spoken by Col. Gaddafi). Gaddafi has repeatedly warned that the rebellion is driven by Al Qaeda, and the west laughed.
    The admiral added, “At this point, I don’t have detail sufficient to say there is a significant al-Qaeda presence or any other terrorist presence.”
    Wow, I wonder who is feeding the Admiral his intelligence?
    The Canadian intelligence report, dated Dec. 8, 2009, said “several thousand” fighters began regrouping in Libya after returning from the Soviet war in Afghanistan. After attempts on his life in 1996 and 1998, Col. Gaddafi responded with a counter-insurgency campaign that “effectively suppressed the Islamist insurgency.”
    The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, formed in 1991 was supposed to overthrow Col. Gaddafi and install shariah law; this was crushed. Its leaders imprisoned or exiled.
    But during the Iraq war, imams at Benghazi’s mosques issued fatwas instructing followers it was their duty to fight in Iraq. In geographical terms, therefore, the eastern regions represent the epicentre of Islamist extremism in Libya.
    The west has pathetically stuttered vague and weak statements such as:
    -The unrest in the east partly on high unemployment and called Benghazi “underdeveloped relative to the rest of Libya.”
    - The eastern region has traditionally been the site of previous rebellions against the Libyan regime and where several Islamist insurgent groups were based.”
    Canada’s relationship with Libya had “strengthened considerably” since Col. Gaddafi renounced terrorism and stopped producing weapons of mass destruction in 2003. A dozen Canadian firms were operating in Libya as of November, 2009.
    What are the United States, Nato, Britain, France, Qatar, etc. doing supporting Al Qaeda insurgents? This looks like deja vu: Afghanistan all over again!
    Please someone, give me an explanation!

  • Comment number 95.

    Here's an American story that I posted once before and shall post again b/c its simply outrageous that so many billion dollar corporations do not have to pay taxes, but yet Americans do all because of Bush and Obama and Congress!!!
    --------
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thecutline/nightly-news-stays-mum-on-ges-0-tax-bill
    An excerpt:
    As the New Yorker's former press critic, A.J. Liebling, famously said, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." Perhaps that quotation is framed somewhere in a boardroom at the General Electric Corp., which owns NBC News.
    In spite of robust profits of $14.2 billion worldwide, GE has calculated a corporate tax bill for 2010 that adds up to zero, via a creative series of tax referrals and revenue shifts. The curious thing about this year's tax story is that it turned up in many major news outlets, with one key exception: NBC News.
    -----------
    Ironic that NBC news will report foreign stories, but won't report that GE did not pay anything in taxes, eh?

  • Comment number 96.

    I've got some more American stories...
    Here's one:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_no_border_plan_analysis
    AN excerpt:
    She said the first step should be to define "secure." Congress has asked for operational control, which it considers the "prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States," including terrorists, illegal immigrants and drugs. But Napolitano and other department officials say the goal is keep illegal crossing and smuggling to a "manageable" level.
    ----------
    Either the law stands for everyone or no one- no exceptions...
    --------
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_us_japan_nuclear_blackouts
    An excerpt:
    A 2003 federal analysis looking at how to estimate the risk of containment failure said that should power be knocked out by an earthquake or tornado it "would be unlikely that power will be recovered in the time frame to prevent core meltdown."
    Without the electrical grid, or diesel generators, batteries can be used for a time, but they will not last long with the power demands. And when the batteries die, the systems that control and monitor the plant can also go dark, making it difficult to ascertain water levels and the condition of the core. Eleven U.S. reactors are designed to cope with a station blackout lasting eight hours, while 93 are designed for four-hour blackouts.
    ------
    Clearly, USA needs to look at all our nuclear reactors and determine what we would do in a situation such as Japan's in which the back-up generators are not working due to being messed up by earthquake, ect- we need a back up to our back up system plan, as this is something serious that could destroy our entire country- this is more important than war in other countries- its a home issue and needs to be appriopriately discussed and addressed...

  • Comment number 97.

    American right wingers try to take over Canada! Breaking news, stop the presses? Hardly, as IF can tell you they have been at it since 1812. My part of the US [New England] opposed that war and even threatened secession over it. We still oppose conservative/Neocon "adventurism" and certainly oppose an American right wing attempt to take over Canada in the 21st Century.

    The actions of the Harper government not only undermine the government of the Dominion of Canada, but threaten to alter the balance of all of North America. How can the fate of Canada not be importance or of interest in the UK? And how not important to North America?

  • Comment number 98.

    No, Lucy, haven't heard of China owning Russia for gas and trying to pay via making the USA paying them first. That would look a bit scandalous? China does not operate via big scandals :o) At least, between us and them, at least, formally, there has never been any loud things or disagreements. All quiet.
    I would rather think we owe them gas forever :o))))))) as they have pre-paid for 25 years ahead and we have spent the money in about, eh, at once:o))) This I heard :o))))))

  • Comment number 99.

    JMM, (#97. At 21:01pm on 30th Mar 2011)

    ”... oppose an American right wing attempt to take over Canada in the 21st Century.”
    Remain resolute!

 

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.