Sirte – the Apotheosis of “Liberal Intervention” 217


There is no cause to doubt that, for whatever reason, the support of the people of Sirte for Gadaffi is genuine. That this means they deserve to be pounded into submission is less obvious to me. The disconnect between the UN mandate to protect civilians while facilitating negotiation, and NATO’s actual actions as the anti-Gadaffi forces’ air force and special forces, is startling.

There is something so shocking in the Orwellian doublespeak of NATO on this point that I am severely dismayed. I suffer from that old springing eternal of hope, and am therefore always in a state of disappointment. I had hoped that the general population in Europe is so educated now that obvious outright lies would be rejected. I even hoped some journalists would seek to expose lies.

I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

The “rebels” are actively hitting Sirte with heavy artillery and Stalin’s organs; they are transporting tanks openly to attack Sirte. Yet any movement of tanks or artillery by the population of Sirte brings immediate death from NATO air strike.

What exactly is the reason that Sirte’s defenders are threatening civilians but the artillery of their attackers – and the bombings themselves – are not? Plainly this is a nonsense. People in foreign ministries, NATO, the BBC and other media are well aware that it is the starkest lie and propaganda, to say the assault on Sirte is protecting civilians. But does knowledge of the truth prevent them from peddling a lie? No.

It is worth reminding everyone something never mentioned, that UNSCR 1973 which established the no fly zone and mandate to protect civilians had

“the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution;”

That is in Operative Para 2 of the Resolution

Plainly the people of Sirte hold a different view to the “rebels” as to who should run the country. NATO have in effect declared being in Gadaffi’s political camp a capital offence. There is no way the massive assault on Sirte is “facilitating dialogue”. it is rather killing those who do not hold the NATO approved opinion. That is the actual truth. It is extremely plain.

I have no time for Gadaffi. I have actually met him, and he really is nuts, and dangerous. There were aspects of his rule in terms of social development which were good, but much more that was bad and tyrannical. But if NATO is attacking him because he is a dictator, why is it not attacking Dubai, Bahrain, Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe, or Uzbekistan, to name a random selection of badly governed countries?

“Liberal intervention” does not exist. What we have is the opposite; highly selective neo-imperial wars aimed at ensuring politically client control of key physical resources.

Wars kill people. Women and children are dying now in Libya, whatever the sanitised media tells you. The BBC have reported it will take a decade to repair Libya’s infrastructure from the damage of war. That in an underestimate. Iraq is still decades away from returning its utilities to their condition in 2000.

I strongly support the revolutions of the Arab Spring. But NATO intervention does not bring freedom, it brings destruction, degradation and permanent enslavement to the neo-colonial yoke. From now on, Libyans like us will be toiling to enrich western bankers. That, apparently, is worth to NATO the reduction of Sirte to rubble.


217 thoughts on “Sirte – the Apotheosis of “Liberal Intervention”

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  • Tarig Anter

    I might say that invading Libya within the “Arab Spring” program is just a “Democracy Bubble”
    .
    First the World had Asian Financial Bubble (1997)
    .
    Then The Dot-com bubble (1995–2000)
    .
    Then The Real estate Bubble
    .
    Thanks for the Federal Reserve System and its super-banks of the USA and EU

  • Gilgamesh

    I feel the problem lies with us all, I left school at 15 and started to work as man to pay my way. I see the benefits of technology, of the internet, I love it !! But… I spend too much of my time looking into a screen….. and so do you…. I neglect my Grandmother (wisdom and reason) my friends that really need me (charity and love), my community, I live in a bubble of words and screens, recognise yourself, up the revolution…. lol. (embarrassed to be a “wealthy, western demi god” yes) lol come on guys, man up…. I can type it’s easy, spread some love through positive human interaction, or your words are futile. Sorry, I love you all.

  • mary

    You will be hearing a lot about Al Megrahi from the corporate hacks today, inc from the likes of the shills Wyre Davies and Jon Leyne, but you will not be hearing any of this below. The media speculation as to how Mr Al Megrahi is to a ‘near death condition’ is revolting. There is also talk of his cancer drugs having been stolen. ‘They’ would not want him to spill the beans now would they?
    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/aug2011/pers-a29.shtml

  • writeon

    Just one of the things I have against this ‘intervention’ in Libya, is the presumption that whilst killing civilians is wrong, killing Gaddafi’s soldiers is somehow acceptable and right. Clearly we are dealing with two different catagories here, but both of them are human beings as well, as is the pantomime villain, Gaddafi, himself.

    I often wonder is Gaddafi more mad and really more ridiculous, or even bloodthirsty than Cameron, Sarkozy, or even the sainted Obama? I wonder, do the civilians dying in the wars we’ve initiated in Afghanistan, Iraq, Serbia, or now Libya, care very much about the motives, humane or not, of the leaders who give the orders to bomb them?

  • writeon

    I often think that we’ve evolved a new variant of fascism, (contained in these illegal, dubious, and aggressive, neo-colonial wars), that even those who regard themselves as ‘leftwing’ can support, though regretfully.

    I’ve been criticised for not recognising a ‘genuine, people’s, socialist, revolution’ in Libya, when I see one. Which I find hard to take seriously. Criticism by leftwing academics with all the correct credentials and attitudes, people who regard Nato as an openly imperialist tool, but who think, in these special circumstances, Nato is temporarily on the side of the angels, the masses in Libya rising up for freedom against tyranny.

    I’ve got difficulty with this analysis. I find it hard to accept that Nato and the Gulf States, would really support a genuine, socialist, people’s revolution. Especially Saudi Arabia, that luminous, paragon, of democracy and human rights.

    Many on the ledt kid themselves that they are, in fact, deeply bourgeois. It’s fine to be bourgeois in my book. I’m a priviliged member of old, aristocrtic family, and profit substantially from capitalism, and before that we profitted from fuedalism, before some of us joined the French revolution, but at least I don’t delude myself that I’m leftwing and anti-bourgeois, when I’m not, like many on the left.

    It’s also true that many on the left don’t understand that one can be a leftwinger, and, at the same time totalitarian and reactionary, and indeed support fascism, red fascism, also known as Stalinism and Maoism.

    I don’t belive we are witnessing the triumph of the ‘socialist masses’ in Libya, that is a leftwing fantasy and illusion. The fact that the rebels are flying the old Libyan flag, the one the monarchy used before Gaddafi’s coup, symbolizes this for me.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Ruth,

    A blogger by the name, nick Turner, says far more eloquentlya nd imaginativley why any decent person simply cannot support this NATO war inflicted on Libya:-

    “Nick Tucker · 2 hours ago

    Berlin Conference 2011 – Insidious Plunger – What Else Can It Be

    In 1884 the von Bismarck gathering had as its prime directive, “stamp out slavery” – read – “humanitarian intervention”, while the real agenda was the allotment of vast parcels of resource rich land to Caucasian Imperial Wizards.
    In 2011 the Ban Ki-moon gathering had as its prime directive, “humanitarian intervention”, which is no different from the von Bismarck Principle – the re-allotment of vast parcels of resource rich land to Caucasian Imperial Wizards.
    The ‘First Scramble’ resulted in – 127 years of abject misery and bone grinding poverty for the people of Africa, with a few brief years in-between where we the noble savages, struggled and challenged their hegemony over our very lives, but to no avail, and now the time has come for us to renew the original contract with Elijah Muhammad’s ‘Devil’. Thus, the 21st Century contract negotiations began in the same manner with which the 18th 19th and 20th Century negotiations were performed – the culling of Africans.

    If I were tasked to create a stage performance of events in North Africa, I would use the 407 year old fantasy piece, “The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus” as a guide and select my key actors in the following order:
    •Dr. Faustus
    Gadhafi (or almost any other African Union Leader) – all who have attempted to consort with The Devil at some time or the other.
    •Faustus’ Soul
    Libya – 41.5 Billion Barrels of Oil and 144 Tonnes of Gold (or for that matter the population and the resources of almost any other African Country – except those that produce only cabbages and sugar cane – like Swaziland – these we get to keep as a reminder of Caucasian generosity )
    •Mephistopheles
    Ban Ki-moon (this one is definitely Stockholmed)
    •Understudy For Mephistopheles
    Obama (same as Ban Ki), Sarkozy (grand dragon) or Merkel (übermensch) or Berlusconi (brown shirt) – a rather long list
    •The Contract
    (Actually Contractors) NATO, Insurgents, BP, ENI, Total…
    •The Devil (Mephistopheles Boss)
    Global Finance and Military Industrial Complex
    •Score & Sub-Titles
    Written and conducted by Main Stream Media
    •Gretchen
    The Emasculated Left suffering from Stockholm Syndrome much like the Mephistopheles caste members

    A rather ugly and predictable piece of real life theatre – for we know how this story starts and we definitely know how it ends the Devil eventually owns us all, body and soul so to speak. The very fires of hell have been ignited in Libya by Imperial interests and through the very gates of hell stream the salivating demons in the form of NATO and their genocidal insurgents, to commit a Rwanda type massacre of all who stand in the way of the United Nations humanitarian intervention and IMF/World Bank economic progress. What is currently happening in Libya is no fantasy story. It is a situation that ultimately speaks to the fate of all of Africa, for if Libya falls the rest of Africa will soon follow.”

  • Angela Barton

    This is and was a carbon copy of the US/NATO bombing and killing in Kosovo.

    No one complains about Camp Bondsteel, hardly anyone knows of it.

    And Kosovo was a pnac plan: http://newamericancentury.org/balkans.htm

    Besides the great article above, here is 10 year old research that does a pretty good job of nailing the NATO aggression thing.

    “The Real Reasons for War In Yugoslavia: Backing up Globalization with Military Might” -Karen Talbot

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3427/is_4_27/ai_n28813234/

  • Quelcrime

    “I have no time for Gadaffi. I have actually met him, and he really is nuts, and dangerous.”

    Craig,
    I wish you would qualify or expand on this – what do you mean by nuts; dangerous to whom?

    I’m reminded of a recent NYT article attempting to show that Gadaffi had enjoyed an opulent lifestyle but failing to do so (the pictures from his residences show clearly that he lived modestly for a head of state – furnishings much closer to my parents’ bungalow than to Buckingham Palace or the White House) and in the end falling back on that old staple, his physical appearance. They tried to argue that he lived opulently because, when meeting foreign leaders, he dressed flamboyantly.

    The impression I have had (without having met him) is that he cultivates an image of eccentricity. He’s obviously a very intelligent and cunning man. There’s a danger when saying he’s nuts of playing into the hands of those who, like the NYT, will glibly dismiss a man on spurious grounds.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Quelcrime, my point exactly. Now it may well be that he and his family sequestered billions in whatever bank accounts, gold stashes in caves, who knows? He was certainly a cunning and brutal dictator. But the pics of his home show a family-sized swimming-pool, “widescreen TVs and plush settees of which the average Libyan could only dream” – eh? – gosh, sounds like an estate agent’s brochure for a suburban home.
    .
    He was a postmodern, late C20th leader – he comported himself like a stoned rock star. Sort of Jimi-Hendrix-meets-Bono-in-a-kaftan. It was all part of his cult of the personality.
    .
    Personally, I prefer the African psychedelia of Nelson Mandela’s shirts.
    .
    “Oil concessions” is the key phrase in the article below:
    .
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2029831/Libya–1m-bounty-Gaddafi-MI6-agents-join-hunt.html
    .
    Do they mean ‘agents’ or ‘officers’? And then they refer to the SAS (which is not the SIS, though the two work together). The odious Liam Fox pops up again.
    .
    The lead picture is surreal: ‘Jesus with Kalashnikov and Footie’.
    .
    NATO didn’t do it for the freedom of the Libyan people, for Gaddafi’s ‘Carnaby Street’ wardrobe or to get rid of a brutal dictator. They did it for de facto control over the oil and the geostrategic advantage over China in Africa. Even if ‘Gaddafi’ had been, say, Craig Murray and had been a political paragon (which of course Gaddafi was not), they’d have done the same. And they’d have called him mad, just the same.
    .
    “…the Gaddafi family could use a submarine to travel around the Africa.” [sic] The Daily Mail.
    .
    What is this, “Yellow Submarine”?

  • Nextus

    @Suhayl: the ex-CIA psychiatrist you mentioned is Jerrold M. Post.
    .
    Jerrold M. Post is professor of psychiatry, political psychology, and international affairs and director of the political psychology program at George Washington University. Before assuming his position at GWU, he had a 21-year career at the Central Intelligence Agency, where he was the founding director of the Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior. He is the author of Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World.
    .
    Here is a link to his detailed analysis of Gaddifi’s mental state, and its significance, in his own words. Well worth a read:
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/03/15/qaddafi_under_seige

  • Levantine

    “Well worth a read:” Psychiatry from a distance, be it about GWBush or Gaddafi, is always a pseudoscience, and probably a well-paid one. “The psychiatrist who takes upon himself to attempt a character study of an individual whom he has never met is engaged upon a project full of risk….. The disastrous study of Woodrow Wilson by Freud and Bullitt is a case in point.”(Anthony Storr, 1965)
    Furthermore, the Rosenhan study from 1973 concluded, “It is clear that we cannot distinguish the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenhan_experiment
    However, I’m sure people will read that FP article and feel intellectually empowered by it.

  • Quelcrime

    Nextus

    I’m afraid that Foreign Policy article is shallow propaganda and nonsense. He’s taken a brief biography, some Western propaganda, and a few brief quotations from interviews and spun them together to make something which frankly is not worth reading. From your description I had hoped for something which at least attempted to be serious.

    “as a man grows older, he becomes more like himself” I see. Right.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Indeed, Nextus. And Jerrold M. Post states (again): “While this is not a definitive clinical diagnosis, Qaddafi can best be characterized as having a borderline personality.”
    .
    So Post, the longime (now retired) CIA senior psychiatrist (in general hardly likely to be a supporter of Gaddafi) is consistent on his (albeit at-a-distance) view of Gaddafi. That’s exactly what I said Post had said to Eddie Mair on BBC Radio Four. Not “schizophrenic”, not psychotic at all, then.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    I found the demand of the NTC made to the authoritis in Algeria to return members of Gaddafi’s family somewhat at odds with firstly their earlier offer to Gaddfi himself to simply get out of Libya and secondly their avowed humanitarian stance. As I understand it, none of these specific people – the wife, daughter and two youngst sons of Gaddafi – have been accused by anyone of committing human rights abuses. It is incumbent, is it not, upon UN member states, to consider providing asylum to people escaping war-zones? If they have cases to answer, then the ICC can still file those cases. The aggressive terminology used by the NTC that Algeria is committing “an act of agrression” by allowing these memebers of Gaddafi’s family to cross the border is completely inappropriate. One suspects that the NTC may be conveying a message from their de facto masters (NATO) to the regime in Algeria, which may be next for the NATO chop. However, one suspects that France and the USA may be somewhat at odds over Algeria. Also, Algeria lacks massive oil reserves.

  • Nextus

    “Well worth a read.” Yes, to determine what Post’s view actually is when he is cited as an authority for Gaddafi’s mental state (which he was – by Suhayl); yes, to get an insight into the reasons why people who’ve met him get the impression he‘s a bit ‘mad’; no for inferring a conclusive clinical diagnosis.

    @Suhayl: I never suggested that Post diagnosed Gadaffi as schizophrenic. You cited him as an authority the diagnosis, so I thought it’s worth checking out his real evaluation. I note he also says:
    .
    “His reality testing is episodically faulty. While most of the time Qaddafi is “above the border” and in touch with reality, when under stress he can dip below it and his perceptions can be distorted and his judgment faulty.”
    .
    Which suffices for the point I was making (if you trust Post’s assessment – which you seem to, but others don’t).
    .
    Incidentally, my original comment, which sparked this debate, was “There are numerous reports that Ghaddafi cycles between moments of lucidity and periods of schizophrenic irrationality, sometimes drug-assisted.” That was a comment about the reports, in particular the description of his irrationality in the reports. Examples like the following warrant my statement about those reports (even if the reports themselves are construed as pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo):
    http://news.scotsman.com/libya/Gaddafi–39He39s-psychotic-maybe.6726935.jp
    .
    To offset such strong opinion, I also cautioned about the perils of remote diagnosis and pointed out that schizophrenia is widely regarded as an unscientific construct. I’m not aware that anyone else here has a contrary view. (Suhayl, you probably came the closest by both citing Post’s clinical judgement, and arguing that schizophrenia is a very disabling illness with a very specific set of diagnostic criteria – but other point you made seem somewhat contradictory.) There are bullets flying in all directions, and I’m no longer sure who the target is.
    .
    @Levantine: Thanks for that Storr quote. The Wilson controversy and others prompted the American Psychiatric Association to introduce the ‘Goldwater Rule’ in 1971, which prohibits practicing psychiatrists from offering remote diagnoses via the media. I’m not sure how Post thinks he evades this (maybe he’s classified as a political commentator in media terms).
    .
    The incompetence of psychiatrists in distinguishing people who are insane from people who have been pretending to be insane during clinical consultations (as in the Rosenhan study), does not mean there is no such thing as insanity (so it is still possible that some people are genuinely ‘mad’, to use a colloquial term). Specifically, nothing about Gaddafi’s mental capability can be inferred from it. For that reasons, from our perspective, Gadaffi’s mental state or cognitive coherence is still a matter of opinion. And the uncertainty cuts both ways. Nobody here is in a position to refute the numerous reports of the people who met him and worked with him that he is sometimes ‘incoherent’, a bit ‘nuts’, or ‘mad’ (or whatever) by armchair reasoning alone. Likewise those reports don’t prove anything – they need to be evaluated critically in context – and it’s up to all of us to work out whether to trust them or not. Political sympathies are likely to play a significant role in the evaluation, particularly for those inclined to extend media conspiracy theories to include independent activists like Craig.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Paul, thanks for that link. Cole’s viewpoint and argumentation is important, as are the views we’ve seen expressed on this website by Ruth and ‘FreeLibyan’. You see, I suspect it’s a very complex picture on the ground. I think that the next struggle the Libyan people will have is likely to centre of just how much influence and control NATO/ the West will have over their country. I don’t think it’s necessarily ‘Orientalist’, though, to suggest that it is likely that NATO forces have been in direct combat on the ground – even the Daily Mail, possibly from jingoistic motivation, accepts that they have been – and that they have played a very significant role. Not to say that the Libyan people have not played the major role, of course. But they’d have had no chance without NATO – that was obvious from the start. So, Cole’s portrayal may be part of the ‘truth’, but seems likely to be somewhat skewed to justify his views throughout this crisis/war. So, in essence, as I’ve said before, it ought to be possible for us to hold two thoughts in our minds simultaneously, namely that:
    .
    1) The Libyan people are freeing themselves from a brutal regime.
    .
    and
    .
    2) That NATO/the West is attempting to make strategic inroads in Libya wrt resources and geostrategic power-play and that they are using and fuelling the Libyan uprising as a vehicle for those ends.
    .
    These are not even contradictory ideas. So we don’t need to be geniuses.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Nextus, I did not cite Post as an “authority” on Gaddafi’s mental state. That is a misrepresentation of my position. I was arguing, in response to your suggestion that Gaddafi was “schizophremic”, that if even the most truculent enemies of Gaddafi, the CIA, in whose interests it would be maximally to smear him and his mental state, think and state that in their view he is NOT clinically insane, then why has the MSM been arguing constantly, for years, that he is?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “Specifically, nothing about Gaddafi’s mental capability can be inferred from it. For that reasons, from our perspective, Gadaffi’s mental state or cognitive coherence is still a matter of opinion. And the uncertainty cuts both ways. Nobody here is in a position to refute the numerous reports of the people who met him and worked with him that he is sometimes ‘incoherent’, a bit ‘nuts’, or ‘mad’ (or whatever) by armchair reasoning alone. Likewise those reports don’t prove anything – they need to be evaluated critically in context – and it’s up to all of us to work out whether to trust them or not. Political sympathies are likely to play a significant role in the evaluation, particularly for those inclined to extend media conspiracy theories to include independent activists like Craig.” Nextus.
    .
    Yes, this is precisely what I was arguing. You, Nextus, were the one who used the term, “schizophrenic” in relation to Gaddafi. That is why I took issue with you on this matter.
    .
    So, it may be best, perhaps, that we simply accept that Gaddafi’s mental state is unknowable by us and that really, views on it are likely to be instrumentalised by the greater politial diorama.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Anyway, Nextus, it is always a great pleasure to debate with you on matters narrow and broad. Sometimes, it can become debating for the joy of it – a wonderful aerobic pursuit – and for me, it is akin to being granted a fencing bout with a master.
    .
    I don’t think we’re really in serious disagreement here, to be honest. Perhaps now, we ought to leave Muammar Gaddafi’s brain to history. The state of his cerebration was of some importance when he was in power, but since his fall, it is likely to be of peripheral relevance to the problems – and, I hope, opportunities – which Libyans will face.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Paul, thanks for the link. I do hope that what the Prof. is saying will come true and that the new Libyan regime will be independent of NATO/ the West, that there will be no NATO bases on Libyan soil, etc. We shall have to wait and see.

  • Ruth

    Suhayl,
    I think what you said is almost right:
    1) The Libyan people are freeing themselves from a brutal regime.
    .
    and
    .
    2) That NATO/the West is attempting to make strategic inroads in Libya wrt resources and geostrategic power-play and that they are using and fuelling the Libyan uprising as a vehicle for those ends.

    But I don’t think ‘fuelling the Libyan uprising’ is quite right. The majority of Libyans didn’t/don’t need any encouragement to revolt against Gaddafi – they absolutely loathe him. There’ve been many unsuccessful attempts to get rid of him but because the West had armed him up to the teeth it was impossible.

    The UK had huge investments in Libya and no real need to change things. France, which I believe is the main instigator of the uprising, didn’t and seems to be economically vulnerable. The oil blocks of the US were producing very little. So no doubt France and the US hope to gain much better contracts at the expense of other countries such as Russia and China.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Ruth, you are very perceptive: Re. “fuelling the Libyan uprising”, you know, I added that phrase after second thoughts/editing. Well, maybe I meant literally supplying materiel, rather than supplying the will an energy.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Ruth,
    As regards who is sane and who is not – I have this to say:-
    http://wfol.tv/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=95:libya-a-question-of-sanity
    As regards the support or lack thereof for Gadaffi, there seem to be 3 fair steps that could have been taken:-
    i) Accept the African Union roadmap to avoid civil war and bloodshed.
    ii) Accept that Gadaffi was willing to have an election – then see who would be elected in a monitored election ( see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uajy3tW1HuU) . How does NATO claim he has lost all support when it took NATO 6 months of bombing to drive Gadaffi out of Tripoli, but on the streets the mass marches were in support and not against his rule?
    iii) Accept that with a Western style election with say , someone such as the respected Jimmy Carter having a track record and participation n such exercise – the result would be certified and the Libyan people would get on with their lives in peace post-election.
    If there was any genuine concern from the US and NATO about, peace and “democracy” as it is defined Western style then the three (3) steps above surely would have yielded a just and fair result. Instead, the leader who has mass support is excluded, Libya is relentlessly bombed, NATO drives the war mission and takes side with a faction in Libya while professing – “his people don’t want him” and off stealing Libyan wealth right, left and centre. What kind of nonsense is this that has led to so much bloodshed? But, aren’t Iraq and Afghanistan just wonderful models to follow?

    So, ” Suhayl,
    I think what you said is almost right:
    1) The Libyan people are freeing themselves from a brutal regime.”

    And who will free the Libyans from what the US and NATO have already done, and shall continue to do?

    In essence – is a nationalist leader who raises the livng standards a better bet than Western colonial occupation. Those – truth be told – are the options facing Libya.

  • Nextus

    “So, it may be best, perhaps, that we simply accept that Gaddafi’s mental state is unknowable by us”.
    – Yes. There is an important corollary. If we accept that, then we can’t cite our personal conviction about Gadaffi’s mental state as evidence of deceit by the media or anyone else. (We would only be cashing out our own prior assumptions, as if that could confirm anything.) In other words, we can’t conclude that Craig and other witnesses are lying or mistaken simply because we think the MSM is lying or mistaken and they are reporting the same thing. The inference is valid in classical logic, but not in probability calculus, due to the element of uncertainty. Uncertainty in conclusions can’t be reflected back to reduce the plausibility of the hypothetical premises. The more reliable witness dominates. I’ll spare you all the Bayesian proof.
    .
    I do enjoy these mental workouts, provided they don’t lapse into petty point-scoring. They help to refine my opinions on important issues. I only yield by logical persuasion, so personal slights or insinuations (which can crop up occasionally but thankfully didn’t happen here) are water off a duck’s back.
    .
    Ruth, thanks so much for your valuable insights, particularly the explanation of how the UK switched sides when Saif threatened to crush the resistance in Benghazi. When I tell people what it’s happening in Libya, it’s generally your account that I’m reporting,

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “I only yield by logical persuasion… the more reliable witness dominates.” Nextus.
    .
    Well, I didn’t think you’d be into dominatrices, but whatever turns you on, man.

    (!)
    .
    Remember too that propaganda and many other forms of human communication do not necessarily conform to classical logic and that actually they tend to play largely on emotions such as fear, i.e. on irrationality.
    .
    The end result being that we can have opinions on such matters but cannot reach definitive conclusions.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Completely right Craig. NATO have pretended that overthrowing Gaddafi = protecting civilians, so that when Gaddafi’s forces shell towns with tanks and artillery to kill rebels and kill civilians in the process they are killing civilians, but when the rebels do the same they are ‘protecting civilians’.

    Gaddafi’s dictatorship was pretty ruthless and brutal – and if the CNN interview with Hannibal Gaddafi’s maid is genuine i wouldn’t have been sorry to see the rebels hang him or his wife (the maid showed recent and older burns across her body from Hannibal’s wife pouring boiling water over her and refusing to let her go to a hospital for treatment), but a long civil war as in Somalia or Afghanistan would be even worse – and we’ve seen from Afghanistan and Iraq what US led ‘democratisation’ looks like – massive corruption, more people going hungry than under sanctions, civil war and US trained police and ‘counter-terrorism’ units torturing and murdering critics and opponents of the new government the same way the dictatorships did before them (with the torturers and killers often including the ones who did the same job for the dictator)

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