Both-And Bombing Campaigns

A very quick note on what’s going on in Libya, and I apologise if it is blindingly obvious. Even within the limits of what can be seen, heard and read, I have not been following things all that closely since the US-led bombing of Libya began. And yet what is coming across fairly clearly from the reportage and opinion is a sort of dichotomy that characterised coverage of the Iraq invasion, and going further back, Kosovo. That is, you are pushed into a choice of thinking that either this really is the time when the humanitarian protections under international law are vigorously asserted by its most powerful (and, natch, enlightened, Western) actors in the interests of democracy, or this is one more time when the imperialist powers are bombing some foreign devil in order to exercise strategic control over natural resources that do not belong to them. Well, why can’t it be both? I mean, what could be more enticing for imperial powers to assert control over a region’s resources -and its people- than the clear cut likelihood of a massacre about to be conducted by a foreign devil (who of course was their ally not so long ago etc etc) against people who want to overthrow a dictatorial regime? The fact that Gaddafi would be unremittingly vicious in inflicting his punishment against the insurgents is a clear green light for imperial powers to roll out the heavy artillery.

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March 2011

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