The New York Timesreports on what US bombs have done to regular civilians in Syria since airstrikes began this summer:
many people are angry at the Americans. Food and fuel prices in Raqqa have soared, power blackouts have prevailed, and order is now threatened by a vacuum of any authority.
For all their violence and intolerance toward disbelievers, the fighters of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, at least functioned as a government, providing basic services and some semblance of stability.
“People don’t want some outside power to attack,” Khalid Farhan, a Raqqa resident, said during a recent trip to Turkey.
“What Happened to the Humanitarians Who Wanted to Save Libyans With Bombs and Drones?” asksThe Intercept.
I’m writing mostly to answer this question because it isn’t explicitly said in the article: what happened to advocates of the western war on Libya was that they were rewarded with further inclusion in media circles as members of the serious establishment who believe that the US has humanitarian intentions, bombs can save lives, and war can bring peace. The co-author of the piece, in fact, is one of them. Continue reading “Libyan lessons learned”
Molly Crabapple, a political artist whose artwork I frequently admire and appreciate and some of which decorates my walls, recently admonished what she terms the “Western left” for failing to properly and tangibly support the Syrian revolutionaries fighting their government. She coats this condemnation in deep concern for the Syrian people, but the barely latent thesis shines through: Crabapple is arguing for military intervention.
If it wasn’t clear, Crabapple elucidates when responding to questions about her piece from Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola.
Very often on the left there’s this way where we simplify things, where we’re like, ‘America has fucked up in the Middle East, America murdered hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq.’ And then we look at something like Syria where a nonviolent opposition was met with extreme violence and then after trying to arm themselves they were asking for military aid and we’re like “America’s fucked up in the Middle East, America’s murdered hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq. Let’s not even look at these people. Let’s pretend they don’t even exist.” And I think that there’s a legitimate debate about military aid and intervention.
Author and Western leftist David Mizner responded deftly to the original piece with ’For 3rd Anniversary of War in Syria, Molly Crabapple Turns Into a Liberal Hawk.’ He explains how Crabapple is refuting claims her subjects aren’t making to highlight her own empathy — those she condemns are not cheering the status quo, they are simply trying to prevent further horror. Continue reading “Empathy for empire”
Representative James McGovern and Senator Ron Wyden have introduced joint legislation calling on the U.S. to suspend the sale of American-made weaponry to Bahrain, in light of that country’s violent, heinous crackdown on citizens protesting their leaders.
The bill provides a clear list of the extensive human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed by the autocratic Bahraini government since February 2011.
These include the killing of at least 32 people (3 of whom were in detention), torturing detainees, limiting due process in military courts, holding political prisoners, failing to prosecute government officials accused of human rights violations, imprisoning doctors for treating political opponents, destroying mosques, and discriminating against Shi’ites. It’s exhaustive and disturbing. The congressmen note that Bahrain is party to both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against torture.
Due to these accusations, the U.S. State Department said that Bahrain warranted “human rights scrutiny” on June 15, 2011.
Following the fall of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s “Coalition of the Youth of the 25 January Revolution” refused an invitation to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “due to her negative stance towards the revolution during its inception and the approach of the US Administration towards the Middle East Region” that rendered her subsequent invitation hypocritical and opportunist.
[Warning: links about Libya events below may contain graphic content]
Spencer Ackerman quasi-jokingly predicts the “The Post-Gadhafi Journalism You Will Read In The Next 72 Hours” following the summary execution of captured Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi. First on the list, Ackerman suggests Tom Friedman will write a story called “Why Gadhafi’s Death Vindicates ‘Leading From Behind’.” It’s meant to be a joke since Friedman is a rather predictable hack, but he may very well be drafting that story as we speak.
Beating him to it, though, is fellow NYT writer Nick Kristof, who upon learning of the news tweeted: “If Qaddafi is dead, this is (tentative) vindication of a brave Obama decision to back rebels trying to overthrow him.” Notice Kristof didn’t make the claim when Gaddafi fled Tripoli and was effectively out of power, but he said it when Gaddafi was confirmed dead.