Afghan Drawdown, Libyan Murder 83

Could anyone watch Jeremy Bowen’s piece on BBC News last night, which showed a grieving father hugging the wrapped bodies of two tiny children killed in a NATO bombing? The fact the tiny childrens’ grandfather was a Gadaffi minister seemed to Jeremy Bowen a possible justification – he posed a dichotomy that by killing these children, more civilian lives could be saved.

But how could this warping of utilitarian judgement work in practice? Bowen quoted NATO as saying there were command and control structures in the house as well as the Minister’s family. So bombing it saved civilian lives elsewhere. What constitutes a command and control structure in these circumstances? A mobile phone? A computer? And how does destroying that little bit of infrastructure save lives so directly that it could atone for our killing of tiny children? Jeremy Bowen, who interviewed me in Tashkent and I like, should be ashamed of himself. But he did get the tiny dead children on the ten o clock news for two minutes, which has done something to undermine the pro-war propaganda pumped out everywhere.

NATO is not saving civilian lives. It is killing civilians.

Meanwhile, Obama announces the beginning of the end of the utterly pointless occupation of Afghanistan. The Afghan war was was not as illegal as the Iraq war, as it did have a connection to 9/11. But we have achieved nothing after ten years we had not achieved after one year. There is still no non-fraudulent democracy, no rule of law, no women’s rights and no economic development outwith the narcotics sector. Nor will there be, and we will have made as little societal change as the Anglo-Afghan Wars or the Soviet occupation.

We have, however, killed an awful lot of small children. And lost many of our own who were little more than children,

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83 thoughts on “Afghan Drawdown, Libyan Murder

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  • Courtenay Barnett

    Ruth and Clark,

    If this report is accurate:-

    ” The mass pro-Gaddafi street demonstration of one million Libyans held in the capital Tripoli has gone unreported by Western media as has news of civilians killed for the past three months.” (

    then, it would be fair of me to ask the question:-

    Where is the equivalent show of political support by the opposition in Benghazi or elsewhere in the east of Libya?

  • Courtenay Barnett

    “History suggests nothing less than the kind of machination revealed by two senior diplomats at the United Nations, who spoke to the Asia Times. Demanding to know why the UN never ordered a fact-finding mission to Libya instead of an attack, they were told that a deal had been done between the White House and Saudi Arabia. A US “coalition” would “take out” the recalcitrant Gaddafi if the Saudis put down the popular uprising in Bahrain. The latter has been accomplished, and the bloodied King of Bahrain will be a guest at the Royal Wedding in London.” (

    • Clark

      Courtenay, we know this to be fact; Craig reported it at the time:
      Gadaffi may well be re-electable – Blair, Thatcher, Bush etc. all proved to be re-electable. And there probably have been demonstrations in support of Gadaffi; our local propaganda would surely play that down. None of this makes either the war or Gadaffi’s regime right.
      Note how limited thinking benefits the powerful – one evil power confronts another evil power. Our human tendency to choose a side causes us to make excuses for one side or the other, and see them in a better light than they deserve.

  • mark_golding

    Lizzie makes a strong case Courtenay – Listen this is crude but unfortunately true; we are spending a £billion in Libya, that is £1000,000,000 of tax payers money but hey the ROI is x100 in oil revenue and money talks in this world, not innocent civilians, not children as ‘Anno’ quite rightly tells us.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    Well if ” democracy” implies the rule of the people, and thus a majority of the people – my observations should have some credibility as political argument for a peaceful solution,with an end this NATO bombing.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Vronsky, Ingo, I’d love to, and thanks again, but am working on Friday during the day. How odd, Vronsky, I’d thought at one point awhile back you’d said that you lived in Orkney! I must’ve thought you seemed somewhat Orcadian – or perhaps it was the Finfolk and that Dark Island ‘Thor Skullsplitter’ beer! Weird indeed! I’m off work on Saturday 2nd, but if Friday’s good for you both and if you’re actually both in the ‘Central Belt’, then then I could join in another time, eh. Btw, if either of you are in touch with Clark, he has my e-mail contact (or you can e-mail me via my site and it’ll get to me). I wrote a story about a haunted rectory in Orkney, where a ghost-hunting Londoner gets more than he bargained for… it was inspired by an actual house which I spotted on the island of Stronsay, a dark building standing on its own, far out across the fields.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Very eloquently said Clark.

    Courtenay – i don’t trust Press TV as they’re under the control of the Iranian government, which is far from democratic. Some of what they broadcast may be true, but a lot of it isn’t. They’ve broadcast “confessions” from people who have been tortured as if they were regular interviews.

    I’m sure there have been demonstrations in favour of Gaddafi and that many Libyans support him, but we’ve no way of knowing how many support him because they think it’s dangerous not to and how many genuinely support him. As Clark said there is propaganda from all sides of the conflict and Gaddafi and the Iranian government are putting out as much of it as NATO and the rebels are.

  • ingo

    Great idea to join us later, Suhayl, we will be staying overnight, all night 😉

  • Vronsky

    @Ingo, Suhayl

    Saturday is also OK for me – same venue, same time, Saturday and Suhayl can join us? (I didn’t understand Suhayl to be saying he would come later on Friday)

    • ingo

      Fine, but I have to get back to Edinburgh that day, would prefer Friday.
      Sat 2 pm it is. Should anything change I let you know via internet cafe.

  • YugoStiglitz

    Ray McGovern is obviously quite a brilliant person!

    In addition to the following, he makes bad calls all the time. Apparently, he was always just about to be sent to Guantanamo by the Bush administration, and the Bush administration was going to commit a false flag and suspend the last presidential election.

    He doesn’t know how to be right!

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Okay, guys – Ingo, Vronsky – thanks very much – much appreciated and look forward to meeting you both then. Vronsky, please could you send me an e-mail via my website (the link to my name, here) so we’ve got a channel of communication for this other than Craig’s blog, as it were! Thanks very much. See you then!

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