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Gates: Libyan No-Fly Zone Would be an “Act of War”

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It started out as a Day of Rage in Libya; a symbolic protest in solidarity with protests in Egypt and in the north of Africa. People rose up in opposition to leader Muammar Gadhafi, who they claimed to be an oppressive tyrant who paid them poorly and stifled all media. Gadhafi forces at that time staged a counter-revolution in Tripoli. Pro-government demonstrators were seen waving flags, and fireworks were exploded. It was reported then that Gadhafi, in response to the criticism, doubled the salaries of some state employees, and released 110 Islamic militants.  Then the crowds of insurgents, local citizens determined to change their intolerable situation, increased in number beyond all expectation. Gadhafi was accused of firing upon the demonstrators, now numbering in the hundreds of thousands, shooting into crowds of protesters. “We will not surrender”, Gadhafi said. He blamed al Qaeda, “We will fight until the last man, the last woman, for Libya, from north, south, east and west.” Speaking in the Libyan capital city of Tripoli, in Green Square  late February, Gadhafi told a throng of loyalists that he would continue to arm his supporters to fight opposition forces, and that “all the weapon stores will be opened.”

A few short days later, Gadhafi revised his claims. “Terrorists,” he said, “backed by al Qaeda, have released prisoners from jails; released them, and added them to their terrorist forces.” Gadhafi called those whom al Qaeda released, “Criminals, not political prisoners”. Gadhafi added that “We had to destroy the weapons stores to prevent them from falling into the hands of the terrorists.”

Before that week had ended Gadhafi appeared to reverse several stands. He had been accused of encouraging pro-government forces to shoot into crowds of protesters. “There were no protests! No protests”, he said,” in Benghazi, or Derna, or in the town of al-Baida”. Then today, March 9, speaking to French television, Gadhafi said, “I’d have to be mad to shoot at peaceful demonstrators. I’d never have done that. I’d never have allowed anyone to be shot!”

Now the West and NATO are discussing and soon may be installing a “no-fly zone.”  This would be a major step for NATO, which is traditionally slow to intervene, preferring discussion and humanitarian efforts. For NATO to act to protect demonstrators against the long-standing Libyan government of Muammar Gadhafi would be a significant intervention.

We find a sovereign nation faced with an uprising, a citizens revolt, those citizens threatening to unseat the ruling regime, utilizing force to do so. The controlling government takes action to quell the revolt, and world forces, with considerable but not absolute support, may opt to aid the dissidents to overthrow the administration. This is judgmental. It presupposes a clearly defined right and wrong, and precludes the possibility that some decades down the road, history will find that the Gadhafi administration was justified. The United States and NATO cannot act on impulse, thought must precede radical action.

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke by telephone. They agreed to “press forward with NATO, with planning, on the full spectrum of possible responses, including surveillance, humanitarian assistance, enforcement of the arms embargo, and a no-fly zone.” In considering a no-fly zone over Libya the United States, speaking through Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, makes it clear that the decision to impose such a zone to prevent airplanes and more importantly helicopters from bombarding protesters from the air will be a matter for the United Nations to determine. It will not be by a United States lead initiative.

Gadhafi was quick to reply to the matter. “The Libyan people,” he says, “will take up arms if western powers seek to enforce a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace.”  Gadhafi admonishes that if the decision is made to enforce this proposed no-fly zone the Libyan people will see the truth; that what the west wants is to take control of Libya, and to steal their oil. Gadhafi says that the United Nations Security Council is “bypassing its own processes.” He accuses al Qaeda of the popular uprising in Libya. He says the international community should be aware of the consequences of any hasty actions. In Gadhafi’s words, “The world will change its attitude toward Libya because Libyan stability means the security of the Mediterranean Sea. It will be a huge disaster if al Qaeda takes over Libya. Al Qaeda would flood Europe with immigrants. We are the ones who prevent al Qaeda from taking over control. They would drag the whole region into chaos. Al Qaeda would take over North Africa.”

In a recent statement  Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates supports protection of the rebels in Libya, but he calls the imposition of a no-fly zone an “act of war”. He said such actions would be a part of a policy of attacking Libya to destroy Libyan air defenses. He goes on to say that our Constitution gives only Congress, not the president, the authority to declare war. Gates also points out that Gadhafi’s acts to defend his administration do not constitute a threat to the United States.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates supports protection of the rebels in Libya, but he calls the imposition of a no-fly zone an “act of war”. He said such actions would be a part of a policy of attacking Libya to destroy Libyan air defenses. He goes on to say that our Constitution gives only Congress, not the president, the authority to declare war. Gates also points out that Gadhafi’s acts to defend his administration do not constitute a threat to the United States.

    What a joke!! All of a sudden, the unconstitutional president with the unconstitutional laws is hiding behind the constitution because he is scared!

  • John Lake

    “cautious” might be a choice of words

  • LynnfromBC

    There are some big red flags John is pointing out here. It is a fact that we really do not know what was going on in Libya before the protests, there could have been brewing unrest prior, and therefore can not rush to judgement on positions.

  • Cannonshop

    We’ll get better results if we just stay out of it.

    This is true whether you’re a handwringer for “Third World Rights” or a rabid Imperialist Waaahmongah (I think that’s how the warhammer kids are spelling it).

    Why? because by intervening in a cross-tribal dispute (which this increasingly looks to be based on reports), we’ll just reunite them in nationalism-against us.

    If someone were to do that, well…it works better if you intervene after they’ve expended their high-speed ammo and broken all their shiny toys and worn themselves out.

  • As Gaddafi himself has pointed out, Libya has long acted as a buffer zone for migrants transiting north from sub-Saharan Africa. He claims (with how much justification, I don’t know) that but for Libya the numbers of these migrants reaching Europe would be much higher than it is.

    Add to that the hundreds of thousands of refugees from Libya itself, many of whom probably have no intention of stopping in Tunisia, and you do have a potential security threat to NATO member countries. That in itself might be used to justify some sort of military intervention.

  • I agree with Cannonshop, and with the point that Lynn makes. Stay the hell out of the Middle East because you have no clue as to what you are doing here. But Gates’ lame excuse from a régime with the middle name “illegal” is just disgusting.

  • Richard

    Act of war? What about the “Responsibility to Protect”? We seem to have forgotten about that since the Balkans. No UN resolution is needed to legally engage in military action against Lybia. It’s all a facade by the three stooges: Obama, Clinton and Gates.

  • John Lake

    Here’s an interesting development. The Middle East publication of the Wall Street Journal and other reports indicate that France is considering the recognition of “The Opposition” as the new legitimate government of Libya. Such recognition by the West, the U.S., NATO, would pave the way for a war to unseat Gadhafi, including not only a no-fly zone, but air-strikes and ground forces. Maybe France would like to see the world seize the Libyan bankroll and turn it over to undefined individuals.

  • LynnfromBC

    It is striking how everyone, even rock stars who legitimately get paid to entertain people, want to wipe themselves clean of involvement anything to do with Gaddafi. Working for someone and getting legitimately paid for product is not the same as accepting a bribe.

    Anyone disposing of Libyan assets would probably like it to appear legitimate that the Libyan money would go to a “perceived good cause.” But that is a contingency, to say the least.

    The issue, no matter how we look at it, is based on egotistical self-aggrandizement geared solely for the purpose of looking good to the last man standing. There is absolutely no altruistic value to what the international community is doing because it is based upon what other people will think of them if they make the wrong choice and support the wrong side. France has a history of talking out both ends, refusing to stand it’s ground and that has never served the country well. They are most likely worried about their geographic position to the front lines.

    As for the money, people who can be bought have no integrity. Gaddafi knows this and it serves him well. We have seen that if he can’t buy someone he will kill them. That’s what makes him dangerous. He is just waiting for someone to accept his and his country’s open invitation for foreign military action.

    RSVP declined.

  • John Lake

    Lynn (from British Columbia, I assume):
    You make the point that France desires to appear supportive of seekers of democracy and freedom. As a Canadian, you most likely have some particular insight.
    I can’t help but wonder who they think they are going to support. In fact, it doesn’t seem to make sense.

  • I can’t say that I particularly desire US military involvement in Libya. We’re spread far too thin as it is. But it seems like we invariably jump in with both feet when we shouldn’t, and sit back and cogitate, stroking our chins in thought, when we should. Unilateral military action in Libya by the US would probably be a mistake as it would feed the flames of muslim radicalism. But if the US, in league with UN or NATO forces or some damn body, hopefully with the blessing of the Arab League, doesn’t do something in the next few days, it appears that it will be a moot point. Khadafi will have won. At this point in time, sanctions of whatever kind are meaningless, even ludicrous.

    Then how would that work for us and the rest of the world? Virtually every country of note has condemned Khadafi and called for his removal from power. Should he win against the rebel forces successfully putting down the rebellion, then how does that play out? Do we lick his frilly boots and ask that he PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let us have some of his sweet oil? Do we ignore what will surely be his murderous vengeance against the rebels?

    I wish that just once, we’d get it right. This has the feel of what we did after the first Gulf War. We encouraged, hell we goaded the Kurds and others to rise up against Saddam, but then offered them no support. Up they rose. Saddam smashed them and murdered them. There is no reason to believe that Khadafi will react any differently.

    Is there not even a semblence of morality in how we play our cards? Or do we once again deal from the bottom of the deck, hedging our bets and figuring we’d rather shame ourselves for the sake of his fucking oil rather than take a chance on a new Libyan regime? The US and much of the west can be such goddamn hypocrites! Essentially the inaction of the US and the west says, “We don’t care how many Libyans are hideously tortured or slaughtered so long as it brings down the price at the pump.”


  • John Lake

    There is agreement that although the world considers NATO, and the Security Council to hold ultimate authority, in the end it’s the United States that makes decisions. To deny that is to deny the reality of the situation. Now comes France , years ago a strong ally with the U.S., still an ally, and France declares recognition of “The Transitional Council”. France says that council is the “legitimate representative of the Libyan people.” France is already sending an ambassador. Many Americans will be influenced to know that France has found a democracy-favoring group to support.
    China has risen substantially in authority in recent years. There may be discussion among some that China is near overcoming the U.S. as a prime world leader. The Soviet Union totters back and forth as an American-friendly power, but hasn’t gone the extra mile in recent years to corroborate that alliance. America may sense hostility from Russia; China may sense hostility from America. We continue to aggravate any Chinese friendship by the boisterous oratory of some, not to mention the sales of weapons to Taiwan.
    China has worked with us. They support sanctions against Libya owing to lack of democratic principle. Yet we continue to provoke China. A tough kid in a classroom was king of the roost. A kid who might be as tough joins the class. Our classroom kid continues to carry on as though nothing were wrong. No one wants to see a negative outcome.
    China and Russia are clearly opposed to military intervention in an independent country.
    Can we forget the little Bush and his big sign, “mission accomplished”? When newscasters mention 5000 lives lost in Iraq, they don’t mention hundreds of thousands of the lives of Iraqis protecting their homes and families. It sticks in my mind the day we took out Saddam’s Governmental money on a skid. Did I read the skid was later lost?
    It isn’t fair to leave a decision that may affect the world for decades in the hands of one man, our President, Barack Obama. Our government is not having its finest days. Republican leaders, candidates for the presidency, would like nothing better than to spend every penny we can scrape together to “bomb Iran”.
    This nonsense, this talk should end. Tough talk today could be expensive tomorrow.

  • LynnfromBC

    Yes, I am from British Columbia John, and thanks for asking. I am also a former member of our armed forces and remember all too well the French initiatives and the rest of the world’s lack of initiatives that led to the the genocide in Rwanda.

    As you might recall, France backed the government in power at that time, providing them with arms while the UN Security Council essentially emasculated peacekeeping forces on the ground,forbidding them to get involved. France is still deeply entrenched in International Criminal Court proceedings to this day. It would account for the about face of Sarkozy’s Libyan alliance. While it is just speculation on my part, shame is at play here. The same thing could easily happen here, but again, as you say, taking any side wouldn’t make sense. It’s political suicide if nothing else. Something foul is up with that. There are embarrassing circumstances popping up all over the place where people have money and some form of involvement with Gaddafi and it goes all the way to Britain’s royal family.

    In addition, the US and Canada have been involved in a project aimed at

  • LynnfromBC

    In addition, the US and Canada have been involved in a project aimed at preventing mass atrocities called Mobilizing the Will to Intervene. It has had some interesting results. Sometimes more deaths happen because of involvement when they would not have happened if there were no involvement. No one has a crystal ball.

  • LynnfromBC

    In essence, what Cannonship says will happen with cross tribal factions, is exactly what happened to France with Rwanda. The world has jumped too quickly in judgement of the legitimacy of leadership in Libya, and the reacting will have consequences if Gaddafi is found to have been acting upon a perceived act of terrorism. How do you tell as an outsider?

    He has been quietly sending out a number of envoys to several countries, some are on the Security Council leadership and others the Arab League. I sense damage control on his part, and France is taking offense.

  • Lynn’s and Cannonshop’s perceptive comments are the reason westerners should stay out of the Middle East. You haven’t a clue as to what is going on here. If what is going on in Libya is ultimately a tribal fight, and Khaddafi can mobilize forces to crush a breakaway tribe, then he is just an old evil man. He is no different from the Nigerians who crushed Biafra (remember the Igbo, anybody?) and a small genocide will follow.

    Most of us in Israel take the view, “let them kill each other off”. They are busy enough calling for us to die. We have no reason to really give a damn over them. If our government is stupid enough to get involved, and they might be, they will only increase the casualties we suffer when the Arabs start their war on us down the road.

    Bear in mind that our government represents us as much as your governments represent you – not at all, in other words.

  • Cannonshop

    “I against my brother,
    My brother and I against our Cousin,
    My brother and my cousin and I against the neighbours,
    all of us against outsiders/the World”.

    We’re all better off if we sit this one out and let the locals fight until they’ve gotten tired of burning, killing, and blowing each other up.

    Quaddafi may be acting on local intel, or he may be acting on senile dementia-there’s really no way to know for certain from the West what his motivations are, or the motives of his opponenents-remember, just because someone says they want democracy when they’re asking you for help overthrowing their government, doesn’t automatically mean they’re actually intent to go forward with it-the majority of violent revolutions on this scale result in some shade of brutal tyranny, historically. It just tends to hack out that way.

    But you’re more likely to influence a winner-especially if he wants something from you-than you are to influence him if you sided with the other side first.

    Besides, we already TRIED to kill Quaddafi, we ended up blowing up his kid in the front yard instead, and while that DID scare him badly enough to moderate his behaviour, it’s not a good precedent to follow through on if we can avoid doing so.

  • LynnfromBC

    All it would take, Ruvy, for the rest of the world to go home and mind their own business is acknowledgement that even some members of the security council open fire and kill peaceful protestors. No one is considering sanctioning the Saudis for going after protestors today with gunfire and fists. If that keeps happening and people start dying by the numbers in all the middle east and most Asian countries, then the world is going to have a problem. Why are they only going after one, when all these others are doing the same? If they are going to pick on one, they are going to have to take them all on, or let them be as you mention. Most only recognize parts of international law anyway.

  • LynnfromBC

    While we are sitting this one out,would anyone like some Nescafe?

  • sherri gibson
  • John Lake

    When I suggest that Gadhafi might be justified, I am alienating many readers. Here is a story from ABC Online that makes the point. Briefly stated, Mr. Gadhafi (ABC calls him) is utilizing forces available to him to recapture the oil port at Ras Lanuf. This is a counter offensive, to prevent opposition rebels from taking this strategic installation. I said earlier that history may judge Gadhafi as being correct and legitimate in putting down those who would overthrow him. Sometimes we need to defend someone with whom we don’t personally agree.

  • John Lake

    sherri gibson(#20) makes some effort to bring to BlogCritics’ readers the opinion found in ALJAZEERA English pertinent to the entire matter of Libya, and intervention. What the article says is that what is immediately striking about the bipartisan call in Washington for a no-fly zone and air strikes designed to help rebel forces in Libya is the absence of any concern with the relevance of international law or the authority of the United Nations. None in authority take the trouble to construct some kind of legal rationalization. The ‘realists’ in command, and echoed by the mainstream media, do not feel any need to provide even a legal fig leaf before embarking on aggressive warfare. It should be obvious that a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace is an act of war, as would be, of course, contemplated air strikes on fortifications of the Gaddafi forces. The core legal obligation of the UN Charter requires…

  • cindy

    Someone with whom we don’t personally agree, John? You’d makes BRILLIANT politician. You also make a nice example of what is wrong with your culture. You make me furious.

    You are the problem with people.

  • John Lake

    I’m still sitting at my desk worrying I may provoke the site by the long quote.
    Cindy, you may have heard the term, “devils advocate” usually used in relation to non-secular matters?
    I am trying to make the point that war is not necessarily a good idea with Libya, at this time. You may agree that many lives may be lost.
    An attorney in court may represent someone with whom he disagrees.
    One should apply reason to issues, not emotion.
    If I suggested that we use a few CIA operatives, completely outside any pretext of law, to alter the situation, then I would actually be doing something wrong. But many lives and much expense could be thus avoided.
    So, who’s to say…?

  • cindy

    Want to know what the answer should be?

    You should welcome death for yourself before you would support a toturous, murdering, oppressor for any reason. Because you do not you are complicit in perpetuating the culture of domination and oppression.

    (Roger, Listening to these people is for me is jarring. And tolerating them feels awful. This guy, John Lake for example, in this instance it is the same feeling I would have hearing a racial slur. I just bristle. They non-chalantly disregard and marginalize the lives of other people. That’s why I find it hard to develop patience or even civility sometimes with them.)

  • Janeumbrella

    It’s nice sherri gibson… everything become more complicated, we need a good political will from all stake holder..

  • John Lake

    Thank you Janeumbrella. Some can be objective, some can seek the truth.

  • cindy

    Who’s to say? Hope you don’t mind people playing devil’s advocate with the lives of you chilren. Let’s play the ‘who’s to say’ game with their lives.

    (Here is the MAIN problem with the world: men reinforcing the idea that we shoul be rational in such decisions of life and death and not emotional.

    Emotion is where empathy comes from. These rational men can set aside their emotions when other people’s lives are at stake. It’s only when they are personally in harms way that they wake up to the reality that they been following a pathological practice by reinforcing pov that discards empathy.)

  • cindy

    27 Objective is just another word for pathologically unempathetic in this case. That’s my truth.

  • troll

    …for those who feels the need to get out there and kill for this one the international brigade forms on the left

    (just say no boys and girls)

    …perhaps the rebels should inform the UN that either a no-fly zone is enforced or oil production facilities in the territory they hold will be torched

  • John Lake

    First of all, I mention that intervention in Libya will cost lives. Our attempts to bring democracy to Iraq cost 5000 American lives, and in excess of 100,000 Iraqi lives. As I have said in these pages, as soon as we pull out of Iraq, the people re-opt for the old ways.
    So if I make an analogy, don’t say I’m murdering children.
    You don’t agree with the way your neighbor runs his life, raises his children. The law, long established and well-studied, says you have no right to take action. But you feel to not do so would be un-empathetic and pathological. So, can you run in and alter the situation? Or try to? We are a sovereign nation. Libya is a sovereign nation. We remember the amber waves of grain, and the rocket’s red glare, but we forget the corruption. We can’t assume that we are perfect and faultless. We don’t have an unlimited right to force the world to agree with our principles. In any case, I have been writing of late that the idea of freedom and democracy, once only a possible course for humanity, is now viewed as a Creator given right. No small thing. But we can’t get caught up in irrational emotion and start removing governments with whom we may not agree.
    I did, you recall, mention that the CIA might be in a better position to aid the freedom fighters than the American military.

  • John Lake

    #27 “objective” means using logic, not emotion.

  • cindy


    Which is what I think I just described as the problem with the world. It’s A) the promotion and domination of the BELIEF that one should not consider personal feelings in matters of import and that reason and logic alone arrive at the best solution. And B) the marginalization of pov’s that challenge that BELIEF.

    I am merely explaing how we arrived at a social reality filled with violence, war, injustice, bullying. It is a failure of empathy. Look where it has gotten us.

  • cindy

    We should examine what brought us to this social reality and discard the erroneous “valuable” ideas and proclaimed “truths” we were indoctrinated with and which perpetuate the same culture.

  • cindy

    Here’s a good rule of thumb: if men value the idea more than women, you may have something that needs to be discarded before the world can change. You minimally have an idea that needs to be scrutinized.

  • John Lake

    (#35) I’m sure there’s something sexist in there. I’m still working on the unraveling.

  • This “rational” discussion among would-be politicos is sickening. It shows what’s wrong with the world. One would expect Ruvy among the usual suspects: “stay out of the Middle East” is a good advice but as the saying goes, an hour late and a dollar short. Besides, Ruvy’s got his own well-defined agenda, so he’s excused. But the usually resolute Cannon and now John Lake. It only show that no matter what’s one’s political stripes, republican, democrat or libertarian, they’ll all so deeply entrenched in American culture, ideology and point of view that not one of them can bring themselves to discussing the situation in any other terms. They all talk a good game, concerned as they all seem to be with humanitarian causes and being on the right or the wrong side of history, while all their deliberations are propelled by unabashed commitment to American interests and interests of the West. To all of which I say, fuck it.

    So yes, Cindy, I’m in total agreement with you. There is only one policy to adopt here: ignore them all.

    And BTW, I was unaware of this despicable example of Western mind at work until I noticed your comment. Let them talk their hearts out and given the underlying consensus, they’ll soon run out of steam.

  • “#27 “objective” means using logic, not emotion.” #32

    All thinking proceeds from emotion, including logic. What matters is what emotions one cultivates and is guided by.

  • #36

    It is not sexism to recognize that since time immemorial the world has been directed by what men have decided is valuable. And hat men have created the very things we take for granted as being the way things are supposed to, indeed HAVE TO, be.

  • The world truly is what we make it, and if we don’t stop defending what is as we have been taught to do…we will get nowhere…

    Tell me I am the only child who looked around and knew that there was something wrong with what adults were doing, were supporting, were claiming. Tell me I was the only teenager who KNEW, knew, knew reality was nowhere near as definite as adults took for granted.

  • In a comment directed at John Lake, Cindy (#25) writes: “You should welcome death for yourself before you would support a toturous [sic], murdering, oppressor for any reason.” In other words, “Death to John Lake!”

    Then she writes in an aside to Roger, who wasn’t even involved in this thread but whom Cindy (the ardent but still not independent feminist) always appeals to for support, “Listening to these people is for me is jarring. And tolerating them feels awful.”

    Bear in mind, “these people” are anyone Cindy in her self-righteousness disagrees with. They are jarring to hear and awful to tolerate. So indeed, “Death to John Lake!”

    Spoken for once like a true anarchist woman of action. There may be hope for you yet, if you can shake off the insipidity of Roger Nowosielski.

  • I did not say death to John lake, but you know that. So which are you, a liar or an imbecile? Either way, have a nice day.

  • zingzing

    cindy: “I am merely explaing how we arrived at a social reality filled with violence, war, injustice, bullying. It is a failure of empathy.”

    when did this occur? i think you’d be pretty hard-pressed to name a start date for your dystopia… the more you think about it, the further back it stretches, with times far, far worse than we see today. surely, the injustices of the past don’t escape you?

  • Cindy’s was an appropriate comment, bearing all the right marks of moral indignation in the face of John Lake’s and others nonchalant discussion concerning not American lives. And if Kurtz is objecting to it and calls it foul on personal attack grounds, especially in light of his own online persona of empty gesticulating and posturing, the odds are better than good that Cindy was indeed on the mark.

  • make that “non-American lives”

  • No, Cindy. Alan is neither an imbecile nor a liar, just an empty suit. Hard as he tries, he seems unable to overcome this moral defect.

    I can’t pinpoint the source, but it’s been remarked that all intelligent thinking is moral thinking. Well, Mr. Kurtz is a sorry example of thinking gone awry when the moral component is missing. I wish him luck.

  • zing,

    i’m not at all hard pressed to find a start date. it started with domination as a social practice. men have been indoctrinated in this practice. it comes in a variety of flavors, but generally at the risk of being labelled non-masculine if one refuses–which label in itself belies misogynistic biases

    things are not getting better. things are always shifting and moving in a number of directions and depending on where you find yourself. some things have gotten better for some. other things have gotten worse. and some things have gotten worse for many.

    try asking someone who has been fucked over by the people things have gotten better for.

  • Cannonshop

    In a way, I find it amusing that Cindy is calling for blood and fire-because that’s what you get when you enforce a no-fly-zone and intervene in a civil war this close to the start.

    Why? because Libya has surface based air-defenses, and those have to be suppressed before you can put combat air patrols up to stop Qaddafi’s planes from taking off-you don’t suppress ADA sites with sternly worded notes, unless those notes are attached to Anti-Radiation Missiles and 1000 pound bombs.

    Notably, those sites aren’t located in nice, uninhabited areas well away from civil populations, and bombs or ARMs have this tendency to create something called “Collateral Damage”-which shares consonants with “Civilian Deaths.”

    (not to mention “Civil Destruction”)

    As awful as it may look from the outside right now, I seem to recall certain people on this site had real issues with the Iraq action-and that was a dictator who used mustard gas and sarin on civilian populations, in front of the world, in 1990.

    I guess having a Democrat in the White House helps our leftist friends to ease their conscience and scream for blood.

  • Doug Hunter

    Moral indignation is a priviledge of the pampered existence, a failure to understand nature, evolution, and how we arrived at this point in the first place. Since the time Cro Magnons exterminated Neanderthals (and for eons before that) and countless times since our very existence has been set up by the slaughter and genocide committed by ‘superior’ civilizations. Without these horrors modern man could not have arisen. Now I understand that often people afflicted with pacifism hold in high regard primitive tribes and like to make believe they’re some sort of ideal (as played on well by movies such as Avatar) but there’s a reason humans only made it to age 30 on average and the world population was measured in mere millions for millenia… life was hell, war between tribes for resources and food stocks was just as vicious as modern means.

    The very foundation of life and existence is the weak being killed, dying off, shut out of resources, and supplanted by those more capable of survival. I know it’s not pretty, it’s not ideal, but it simply is… it works.

    Now as we’re firmly planted atop the food chain and resources are relatively plentiful, we have the priviledge of thumbing our noses at what got us here, we can have a world where we pretend that the rules of natural selection and darwinism are suspended… they aren’t. Although it’s no longer about who can survive, it’s shifted to who can actually breed the most and evidence is that the most ‘enlightened’ don’t exactly excel in this area. Perhaps with technology and mass communication and ensuring the populations are well mixed we can hold it together for awhile (relatively speaking, a thousand years is nothing in geologic time), but do not be fooled even with temporary success, even with draconian macro government intervention to try and prevent it change is inevitable and there will always be those that game the system the best because when the time is right, when resources wane, we will either relearn the evils of our past and a better equipped group of humans will emerge or we will become extinct.

  • zingzing

    cindy: “it started with domination as a social practice.”

    and when was that? the victorian era? rome? egypt’s middle kingdom?

    as for the rest of your statement, i can agree with this: “things are always shifting and moving in a number of directions and depending on where you find yourself,” but the statement that it was “a lack of empathy” that explains how we got to where we are would suggest some happier, more empathetic time period in the past. i’m not sure there has ever been such a time (at least since the rise of permanent civilizations), and that we have actually become more empathetic towards the rights of our fellow human beings. that said, there are still areas of the world where this is not true, but at least the are large swaths of the earth where it is true, and that’s a certain improvement over the past.

    “it comes in a variety of flavors, but generally at the risk of being labelled non-masculine if one refuses–which label in itself belies misogynistic biases.”

    even you (because of your feminism, not your intelligence or any such thing,) must realize that’s a vast simplification that ignores a ton of reasons why people would harm or take advantage of each other. unless you’re wrapping up money, power and religion into being called a “pussy” or some such thing.

  • @49

    Understandable human emotion, Hunter, and just the right kind of response in some situations. If you’re stranger to it, I feel sorry for you. If not, you’re philosophizing too much. Strange you should hear that coming from me.

  • and when was that? the victorian era? rome? egypt’s middle kingdom?

    that was when and where males determined they would rule, direct, and control others and control land…

    it isn’t the case everywhere and in all societies.

  • zing,

    the social pressure you felt as a youth to conform to ‘being a man’ in whatever shape that took, that was the pressure that assures conformance to the social reality that replicates patriarchy.

  • You don’t have to “support” Qaddafi [I am not the only one who thinks he’s an insane murderous thug] to oppose US or NATO or UN military action in Libya.

    Saddam was an insane murderous thug; the Taliban are insane, murderous thugs; and invading Iraq and Afghanistan almost ruined our own country without making theirs much [if any] better.

    There are unfortunately scores of insane murderous assholes in charge of countries, making millions very miserable indeed. What we should be doing about this is worth discussing. But most of us would oppose military intervention.

    If we did try to oppose Qaddafi, and in the process several hundred or several thousand Libyan civilians died, would that be worth it?

  • Doug Hunter


    You have the priviledge of being unrealistic as you’re sex has been shielded from the realities and struggles of life by the male protectors/breadwinners for quite some time. Absent that, you would have necessarily been just as vicious and wily or you would have been annihilated. Nothing sexist, I’m sure if roles were reversed and you were the stronger, more capable warriors then I would be sitting in moral judgement decrying how vicious the women that had traditionally been protecting and providing for me had been.

  • 48 I called for all that? Wow! And I did it all without even using words!!!

  • Cannon and Hunter are simply protesting too much. They’re doing their best to work up their own sense of “moral indignation” for being called out. Again, a natural response on the part of a hunted down, cornered human animal when the only option available to them is to strike back. I’m not even bringing Kurtz into the picture because he doesn’t count.

  • Doug Hunter (#56), beware the fallacy of composition. Cindy’s individual lack of insight does not necessarily flow from women generally being “shielded from the realities and struggles of life by male protectors.” Please bear in mind that as the only female commenting here, Cindy is hardly representative of womankind.

    Moreover, you sell Cindy short in suggesting that she is not “as vicious and wily” as men. From what I’ve seen of her in action here, she’d give most men a run for their money in that regard.

  • Doug Hunter


    I take that as the highest, if unintentional, of compliments.

  • I suppose you must mean that you’re living up to your evolutionary potential.

  • #56

    Doug spits out the narrative of patriarchy just as if it was rubber-stamped onto his brain; which it was.

    Good job, Doug. But, we’ve all memorized that version. I’m still waiting for the day when you develop your own thoughts.

  • Doug Hunter


    Good points. My ideas sometimes come out all garbled without proper editing. There’s a nugget in there somewhere though, roles have evolved for a reason and it’s not because women=good, men=bad. They evolved because they worked and were necessary. In modern times of ease and plenty those roles and structures and many more are no longer strictly necessary although eliminating them often still strains the system.

  • Doug’s explanation sounds nearly like that which claimed that slaves needed the protection and assistance of their masters and would have suffered without it or the one which is called the “white man’s burden”, which justified colonialism based on the bias that those who were not white were inferior.

    We’ve had guns and bombs and kitchen knives a long time now Doug, and before that we had rocks. It is not weakness that allowed men to dominate women, it is the fact that we bore the children that gave us a disadvantage. And it wasn’t protection of us a the fucking pampered privileged sex that men engaged in, it was that we were their property.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    C-shop –

    I guess having a Democrat in the White House helps our leftist friends to ease their conscience and scream for blood.

    Gee – that’s news to me! Especially since neither I nor any of the quite liberal pundits I listen to ‘scream for blood’! In fact, the ONLY ones I’ve heard wanting more ‘forceful’ action were from the Right. From the Left I’ve heard only agreements on the need for caution and restraint.

    Now I must wonder where, oh where did C-shop get the idea that we leftists were ‘screaming for blood’? Could he have heard it on Limbaugh? Hannity? The mind boggles….

  • I am still interested to see, after everyone sits on their hands and allows Khadafi to quell the rebellion, just how all the countries including the US are going to deal with him after virtually all have publicly proclaimed that he must go.

    “Hey, Mo baby. We was just kiddin’, just joshin’ ya. Surely you take a joke? Right? Sure ya can. Ha, ha. You know who loves you baby. You old rascal you! Could you maybe use some new fighter jets or some keeno anti-aircraft installations? How ’bout some yummy mustard gas? We got tons of that shit. We can fix you right up. Yessir! And hey, about your sweet assed honey lovin’ oil? We could really use a fix, my man. What, you want us to kiss your ass? Noooo problemo. Just bare it and we’ll pucker right up. Oh, and sorry to hear about all those thousands of your good citizens who’ve gone missing of late. Can’t imagine how that could have happened. Maybe it was one of them “raptures,” only muslim style. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Good old Mohammed just called some of his flock back home. Sure enough. We’ll be lookin for that oil now, Mo. Ya’ll take care o yourself now. Ya hear?”

    Yessiree bob! That Moammar is one good old boy, ya know? Yeehaw! Fill er up!


  • Because as John Lake stated earlier, they all want to be on the winning side of history. Sad but true.

  • LynnfromBC

    It is fair to say that feminism, especially radical feminism, and anti-regime protests each have at their roots the goal of overcoming an oppressive situation. Extreme radicalism, however, over extends the goal and often lands the conquerer neck deep in quicksand (ie. the time to stop moving was before coming upon the quicksand).

    Furthermore, when a feminist realizes that mysogyny is more typical of her own gender and anti-regime protestors all recognize that they resent the new and diverse competition, the recipe for further hostility has been born. We are all the same when backed into a corner. To survive we must lash out, and once again overpower.

    What’s very interesting about this topic is how Gaddafi almost can come off as a radical feminist if people can get past the idea of the famed female guard as an exploitive harem. Those women chose to be there, and he chose them.

    However, when the Libyan government wanted just as many women as men in their ranks, and a military academy was built just for women, the response was luke warm. The women of the country were just not into it, even though Gaddaffi is a firm believer that women are instinctually the better and more loyal protectors. That may also be an ethnically based truth for those he calls “his people.”

    It is also true that in many eastern cultures it is the man that is the sex object, the peacock, the preener, the one who wears his hair just right. Western women and eastern men often compete with each other for the spotlight.

    As for the issue of international law Bush ignored it when invading Iraq, Clinton adhered to it when Rwandans attacked each other. Without adherence to the law there is no law. The will to act in these circumstances depends of how badly the invader wants manifest his destiny. Bush wanted Saddam so bad he would stop at nothing to get him. Obama, on the other hand, doesn’t have the stomach for that kind of politics. That is probably a good thing for Americans right now.

  • LynnfromBC’s amazing remark (#68) that Gaddafi is a radical feminist leads me to correct my #59 that Cindy is the only female commenting. Aside from LynnfromBC, there have also been Sherri Gibson (#20) and Janeumbrella (#26). This is actually quite unusual for Blogcritics’ politics threads, which are normally a male preserve. More power to you, ladies!

  • LynnfromBC

    Add to that Alan that Gaddafi loves Bill, and absolutely despises Hillary. LMAO, I said almost!

  • Doug Hunter


    Very salient points there, the difference is I approach it as a dispassionate observer looking for facts and reason and pattern (something you probably have difficulty grasping, I’ve noted a couple cases of you and Roger arguing that there is no such thing) while you’re assigning value judgements and taking an emotional tack something I don’t see any value in. My understanding of reality encases everything you believe is ‘bad’ about men, I just don’t call it ‘bad’ I call it reality. You say women were dominated by men because of the extra physical challenge they faced bearing children made them vulnerable, I agree completely and it fits perfectly with my understanding. For example, my experience with nature would lead me to believe that a tribe of fighting men back in history would eventually get cross with a tribe of pacifist non-fighting men and slit their throats followed immediately by raping the women ensuring that the angry fighting man gene would survive. I think that’s a model that is partly accurate in explaining how things came about. You’re upset because I don’t make a good versus evil judgment in the matter, you think that I must be ‘justifying’ something when that’s not the case at all. I think that’s what had Roger pissed off earlier, not that my description of how life evolves (competing for resources and killing off inferior life) was incorrect as we understand it but that I said it without making judgement therefore he was left questioning my motives. Curiosity is motive enough for me.

  • cindy


    Let’s speak of feminisms. Your variety can include Gadafi as a practitioner, support the system of domination, and forbid real challenges to the sytstem in place. Make mine the over-the-top “too radical” kind, that actually engages in more than a superficial analysis of domination and patriarchy.

  • “My people,” a term of endearment no doubt!

    Amazing. Now we’re witnessing an honest to goodness competition in idolatry of a tyrant. Which makes one wonder whose behavior is more psychopathological, that of the secret admirer or the tyrant himself.

  • Are Roger and Cindy supporting the idea of going to war against Qadafi? I just reread the article and all the comments and I’m not quite sure what all the hubbub is actually about…

    John Lake is questioning the potential military involvement of the US/UN/NATO. Cindy nowhere states her opinion about this, but goes off on a tangent about violent male assholes ruining everything.

    You folks are talking past each other, not to each other.

  • Doug Hunter


    My opinion is that violence is justified for survival or when faced with enslavement, the latter is fairly subjective but could well apply to the Libyan opposition. That’s a good question for Roger or Cindy though, I wondered the same thing but failed to ask.

  • LynnfromBC

    Matriarchy can be just as dominating Cindy, dominance is not a sexually determined concept. It is about influence and respect for ones adversary. Historically it hasn’t only been men who start wars, ignore people’s basic needs, or subject people to oppressive conditions.

    Depending on whose perspective one takes, Cleopatra, Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto and Indira Gahndi, to name a few, were all considered to be just as oppressive and dominating as their male counterparts.

    The difference between men and women in this respect is that men do not take things personally and move on quite easily, women, unless they have learned otherwise, do take things personally and can have a much harder time moving on.

    Watch out for the quicksand.

  • It’s the nonchalant and cavalier manner in which John Lake & company pontificate from on high on non-American lives from the vantage point of a chauvinistic, obnoxious and decidedly pro-Western perspective, which I find objectionable, Handy. And thus far, none of the culprits have owned up to it. What I’m clamoring for is adopting a point of view that transcends America and America’s immediate interests, a point of view which embraces humanity at large.

    Aren’t Egypt and Wisconsin signs enough that people are getting tired of, and are finally standing up to, dictatorial regimes and rule by fiat? Yet, these people seem oblivious of the fact and keep on ignoring the import of current events as if it carry no greater significance than what they had for breakfast this morning.

  • as if it carried …

  • John Lake

    I’m not as expert on women vs men as might place me in a comfort zone. Certainly women can’t think, but men throw away the advantage, so that soon, universal wisdom becomes universal.
    I am somewhat nonchalant. So, taa!

    Alright, I wasn’t intending to pontificate but the girls brought it out of me!

    Lastly, I have repeatedly expressed concern for ‘non-American lives’)

  • LynnfromBC

    The no fly zone is off the table as of a couple of hours ago and Sarkozy is clearly expressing his discontent. For Sarcozy this is about not having another Rwanda and has nothing to do with American values.

  • Certainly women can’t think, but men throw away the advantage, so that soon, universal wisdom becomes universal.

    Quoted for truth! Or, at least, mystification.

  • John Lake

    Mystification is my middle name.

    As Lynn points out, Gadhafi loyalists are making great progress in the oil producing areas of Libya, as the rebels are withdrawing, reportedly in panic.

  • LynnfromBC

    If I can’t think, you can’t smell the smoke and blow my cover.

  • #79 & #81 speak for themselves. No comment required.

  • If no comment is required, why comment?

  • John did make a point of decrying the 100,000 Iraqi lives lost in that wasteful war. I grant you that he goes too easy on Qadafi, who has been a hateful nut job for a long, long time. John seems on the verge of taking Qadafi’s word for it when he said Al Qaeda caused this rebellion. [He also said hallucinogens were involved.] The man is loony tunes, horrendous. But another American war? No.

  • Lynn,

    I take a different perspective than you do. Were two women to torture a prisoner in the U.S. Army, I would find that a result of patriarchy.

    Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, et al–all examples of what obtains from the patriarchy. Women who use sex to get money? A result of patriarchy.

    Women and men are very capable of engaging in numerous behaviors. Women can murder people, wage wars, join the army (wink), etc. And no doubt the more the values of the patriarchy continue to be revered, the more women will adopt them as a source of what they consider to be personal power.

    Adopting the rules of the game designed by men and succeeding by them is not my idea of a workable feminism. I am interested, as a woman, in enabling women to ‘just say no’ to the patriarchy, rather than try to succeed according to it. I am more interested in a feminism which includes women affecting the society in such a way as to change its basic precepts–its basic social reality.

    I am wondering how you define ‘matriarchy’. Are you suggesting that an entire society changes into a ‘matriarchy’ under the leadership of a woman? Britain, under Thatcher, for example, is that what you mean by ‘matriarchy’? My sense of the way you use the word presumes female domination in place of male domination. My sense of your feminism is that it accepts the masculine indoctrinated version of social reality as the only story to be had and that includes the idea that domination is a given of social reality rather than something we have a choice about.

    See, I don’t believe in your construction.

  • Has anyone mentioned Col. Qaddafi’s 40 virgin female bodyguards with their snazzy camouflage? Rachel Maddow, no slouch in the anti-patriarchal department, used to use footage of them for an occasional humorous kick on her show, before recent events made it harder to laugh.

  • I wasn’t arguing for that, Handy, and you know it. The way to treat this situation is from the standpoint of another humanitarian disaster, not from the vantage point of calculating what’s good for American interests.

  • cindy


    I do not support US involvement. My comments originated inresponse to John’s playing devil’s advocate, as he puts it, in adopting a maybe Gadafi has a point scenario.

  • @85

    Well, I lied.

  • LynnfromBC


    I didn’t give my construction. It appears that you don’t need my definition of anything since you have already decided for yourself what you believe my construction is.

    I am not a feminist, nor do I let others dominate me. Note the word “let”.

    Sand is very itchy.

  • Your construction is evidenced in the values and beliefs you’ve expressed and especially in what you take for granted. You don’t have to tell me what it is. It is your explanation of the world. That is what I am referring to by the word ‘construction’. Yours appears to be very much unknowingly guided by the “reality men built”.

    I mean, unless you’ve been lying about everything you think, then the joke’s on me.

  • LynnfromBC

    That’s fair engagement on your thoughts Cindy and I appreciate the “reality that Cindy built”. Don’t let your perception of my construction dominate you. It’s your choice. Agree to disagree and move on. The other half of the human race has to live with us too, not just us with them.

  • Aye aye cap’n. Movin’ right along… I hear pole dancing is good exercise. Just sayin’


  • I wouldn’t worry about it, Cindy. Since Alan and John Lake have both summarily concluded that women can’t think and Lynn hadn’t objected since, as she so eloquently put it, “the other half of the human race has to live with us too,” one is justified therefore to interpret her comments in the spirit of appeasement.

    As long as she’s not being dominated of course, God forbid!

  • lol, Roger.

  • zingzing

    cindy: “that was when and where males determined they would rule, direct, and control others and control land…”

    so… there’s no particular date involved here. and no time line where an emerging lack of empathy created the world we live in. and it wasn’t a lack of empathy, it was the patriarchy (of which the lack of empathy is a symptom, right?).

    “i’m not at all hard pressed to find a start date.”

    seems to me you are.

    “the social pressure you felt as a youth to conform to ‘being a man’ in whatever shape that took, that was the pressure that assures conformance to the social reality that replicates patriarchy.”

    huh. well. certainly my parents never pushed anything on me other than the fact that “being a man” (or more accurately, an adult) meant accepting responsibility and self-sufficiency. in the wider society, i’ve never really gone in for the more “tough-guy, be-a-man” bullshit. but it’s hard to get into specifics, as you don’t quite spell out what you mean. because i’m a man, i should be willing to go to war for my country? nah. because i’m a man, i should subjugate women? ha. i don’t know what i’d do if that was possible for me.

    our social reality is certainly “filled with violence, war, injustice, bullying,” but we are relatively blessed to live in a time of relatively low violence and war, with people who stand up against injustice and bullying, because we’ve created systems and organizations that allow us to do so.

  • John Lake

    Its nice tho. Boys and Girls Together.
    Trip the light-fantastic on the sidewalks of New York!

  • LynnfromBC

    Boys and girls together, in the sandbox. It’s been interesting. Have a good weekend, everyone.

  • LynnfromBC

    Roger I took John’s comment as tongue in cheek. Nothing personal. Goodnight.

  • Cannonshop

    #37 Roger, it’s not about doing the “Humanitarian” thing-it’s about doing the thing that WORKS.

    We didn’t create Qaddafi-that should have been obvious when we failed to actually kill him in two separate attempts in the 1980’s. We CREATED Saddam Hussein, we therefore had a moral obligation to get rid of him.

    But beyond that, you have to ask if international involvement is going to help people, or just help them die more violently.

    I don’t think the missile and aerial bombing campaign necessary to make a no-fly zone work over Libya is going to help matters there-right now, neither side is willing to destroy infrastructure in large swathes, which dumbs down the killing to retail-scale horrors, instead of wholesale scale horrors, and the conflict has not yet spilled over into neighbouring countries-thus even on an international law front, it’s not our business, nor (by precedents running from Sudan all the way back) is it the U.N.’s business. After all, nobody was seriously discussing no-fly-zones or peacekeepers when Qaddafi was firmly in control and sponsoring terrorists. (hell, the French, who’re all hot to get these things, didn’t want to let F-111’s overfly France in response to Lockerbie.)

    Contrast that for a moment with Iraq, which spent ten years under seige after the Kuwait conflict, a situation that only allowed a U.N. Secretary General profit by a corrupt “Oil for Money” scheme.

    We didn’t create the problem, we can’t realistically do anything to solve the problem, we should not involve ourselves in a problem we neither created, nor have the ability to address.

    The best that can be hoped for, is that the civil conflict ends before the death toll reaches into the five-digit range.

    There will be plenty of time to help them, when they’re finished butchering each other. WE do not need to assist them in the killing.

  • I’ll throw your quotes back at you (not my style, but your comment justifies it).

    “But beyond that, you have to ask if international involvement is going to help people, or just help them die more violently.”

    I never suggested “international involvement,” especially by the West; still ambivalent about it

  • cont’d

    … because it would Western grip on the region. I don’t view the situation as civil war (and those opposing Qaddafi as rebels) but as a liberation movement akin to what we’ve seen in Egypt and Tunisia. If anything, I’m in favor of forming an Arab-African League to depose of the region’s tyrants. What I mainly objected to is John Lake’s spin giving credence to Qaddafi’s rule (there should be none) and his analysis from the standpoint of American interests. Fuck American interests. In fact, I see the situation in Libyan on analogy with with happened in South Africa. Whatever pressures by the international community were applied then to put an end to apartheid, they should be no less effective now.

    “We CREATED Saddam Hussein, we therefore had a moral obligation to get rid of him.”

    Rectifying for our mistakes, huh, but stand idly by when the evil is not of our doing? We didn’t “create” Hitler or Milosevic either.

    “There will be plenty of time to help them, when they’re finished butchering each other.”

    Your’re saying that because they’re Muslim and black besides. You wouldn’t make a comment like that with reference to the Europeans or the Americans. Precisely the double standard I’m talking about, the nonchalant treatment by John Lake and company.

    Anyway, if the world.international community is impotent in the face of tyranny and brutality even at the hands of such inconsequential petty states as Libya simply because of their “sovereign” status,” we’re indeed in bad shape and haven’t made any strides. It’s about time to start thinking about degrading that status (not just in case of Libya but across the board) and come up with alternative arrangements.

  • because it would maintain Western grip …

  • John Lake

    As far as my giving credence to Gadhafi’s rule, the facts are clear, he is in power. Gadhafi took over Libya in 1969, called it the Libyan Arab Republic, and has been able to enforce order as he sees it since. He brings the oil to market, he oversees the media, and he rules the people. Let’s be pragmatic. Monarchs have come and gone since the beginning of time, Gadhafi is the ruling authority, and it’s not a matter for debate. Beyond that, he will in all likelihood maintain control through this attempted overthrow, and in truth, he has many loyal supporters.

  • troll

    of course Khaddaffi’s rule has credence – a large number of well armed Libyans (and foreign mercs I hear) say so and are willing to kill Libyans to keep him in power

  • troll

    (jinx you owe me a coke)

  • John Lake

    roger is constantly going to make these substantive changes in the world. When I say that Gadhafi is in control in Libya, and somewhat responsible, nowosielski responds “don’t you see, he’s a barbaric madman!” I reply, “we have no authority to overthrow barbaric madmen in the world. We have our area. We have some influence, but we agree that others have their rights.” I often make the point that we are not perfect. We are libertine and corrupt. We can’t sit in judgment on ourselves from inside the frame. But roger say’s “but don’t you see? The man is barbaric, a madman!” Its similar to the issue of the death penalty. We don’t have authority to use it, because we are often wrong. We can’t be sure on anything, and from a social standpoint, we are not God.
    I used to write for younger readers. I used to say, “Suppose aliens came, visitors from space!” “Suppose these aliens said, ‘we don’t agree with the way you do business, and we are going to punish you!’ The aliens throw open our jails, and punish our leaders. They maintain they have that right.” Its not so different roger. We have to follow our established laws. The barbarians will fall of their own volition, over time.

  • troll

    …or not

  • Thanks for clarifying it, John. The cat is out of the bag at last. It took hundred comments or so to flush it out of you.

  • zing,

    on the start date thing, i’ll say “uncle”.

    in the wider society, i’ve never really gone in for the more “tough-guy, be-a-man” bullshit. but it’s hard to get into specifics, as you don’t quite spell out what you mean.

    i mean the variously subtle and not so subtle social pressures on behavior to conform to cultural norms that inform us how we should be, how we should act, what we should like, how we should respond–based on gender–socially and sexually. these things are all culturally determined.

    said another way: it’s the range of socially acceptable behaviors that dictate what makes one ‘okay’ and ‘socially acceptable’–the socially enforced norms. you are not immune to them–despite that your choice within the range of norms in some ways differs from other choices.

    perhaps you’ll get a better idea by my saying that the boys at school probably won’t respond well to you if you decide to be princess boy.

  • Well, it’s all to the good, John. The barrage was worth the effort so that you’d eventually articulate your belief system, good for you and everyone else concerned.

    I would examine, however, some of the implications. You say we have laws, we never really know whether we’re right (the capital punishment example), we’re not God, others have their rights and we got to respect that, in essence, we don’t really know.

    All fine point as far as they go, but consider. Some laws are less just than others; the notion of rights is always a limited one and subject to qualifications (I would exclude thus “dictatorial rights” whereby might makes right); uncertainty is part of the human condition, but even here there are gradations.

    To summarize perhaps, it’s your responsibility as an individual to develop discriminating judgment, especially with respect to moral issues, imperfect as it may be (and make sense out of chaos), even though you’re not God. It’s your responsibility as an individual to regard certain laws as unjust or certain rights as illegitimate rather than fall back on the “official” version which is being spoon-fed to you like Gerber food. It’s your responsibility as an individual to decide which things you can more more certain of and which less so.

    And what’s all that business with “the barbarians will fall of their own volition, over time”> Considering your belief-conceptual system, it doesn’t wash. It doesn’t warrant that kind of faith in the workings of history – not without the benefit of the human agency, to say the least. Granted, the efficacy of the human agency has been exaggerated at times because of the impersonal forces whose dynamic often reduces the element of human intervention to that of mere gesture. Even so, without the element of human intervention, your seeming faith in history eventually righting itself out is blind.

    Just food for thought.

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    I wonder what the trans-gender community would say about the relationship between genetics, societal pressure, and gender identity.

    Is it really societal pressure that drives someone who has grown into an adult body that does not match the gender she believes she is to seek out a sex change?

  • John Lake

    roger nowosielski provides new and real insight into his philosophy, and certainly the philosophy of anarchism.

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    Moving on to comments that address the situation in Libya specifically, I’m a little surprised to see Milosevic’s name come as an example of a tyrant the US was in the right to oppose militarily. (The link isn’t to an outlet of paranoia, don’t worry, and the title is sarcastic.)

    There’s a point where a government gets too big for its motives to be trusted when it requires the rest of to join forces with it in a fight against ANY evil.

    Yes, Milosevic was a tyrant, but five to seven thousand innocent Serbian civilians died as a direct result of President Bill Clinton’s decision to bomb the region to liberate them from him. I’m holding out hope that his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her opposition to Gaddafi, will be exhibiting more restraint than her husband did regarding Milosevic.

    We heard the “If you don’t support toppling Milosevic you’re an insensitive jerk who cares only about America” war propaganda during the Clinton years. I heard the same thing (switch Milosevic with Saddam Hussein) during the Bush years.

    Neoconservatives will be as delighted with Obama if he involves our county militarily in Libya as they have been delighted with him at various points during his candidacy and presidency. One could wish he would disappoint them, but…there’s a precedent that’s been set for Democratic and Republican presidents alike, and it stretches back for decades.

  • John Lake

    Even I, level headed observer that I am find Milosevic and his “ethnic cleansing” repulsive and intolerable. Which demonstrates that we all have our thresholds.

  • Milosevic’s name wasn’t mentioned, Irene, in the sense your portray. It was mentioned to serve a countexample to John’s argument – to wit, that we do in fact intervene in the affairs of other nations for reasons good or poor.

    It was popular in the Clinton era to take the side of the Muslims as the oppressed minority (it was before 9/11, mind you!), and there was sufficient evidence that ethnic cleansing was going on. Be that as it may, I was opposed to the US action against Yugoslavia, and I found it disturbing that the Left was silent.

    So yes, I do agree with you that Milosevic got a bum deal. As to Hillary, she’s just playing the cards that have been dealt her. It’s been popular in light of the recent events in Egypt and Tunisia to take the side of the homegrown democratic movements against the tyrants. The State department is just following through, the idea being to make America look better.

  • I must add, of course, that my views on the US intervention in the internal affairs of Yugoslavia, expressed above, reflected my thinking at the time. I’m not certain what they would be today, considering the intellectual development I’ve undergone since.

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    I have a revulsion towards 5000 to 7000 Serbian civilians being killed in the name of the US imperialism. I wouldn’t presume to say what that says about my threshold relative to yours, John. Views about wars and which tyrants should be toppled have more to do with political affiliations or philosophical bents than they do moral character.

  • @113

    Good point. It’s mostly a matter of personal identity, the individual’s determination to “come clean” and assert their identity against all odds, even against societal pressure, that is the instrument of change in cases like that.

    Which is precisely my point of contention with Cindy. IMO, her views on indoctrination and social pressure are overdetermined. She doesn’t leave enough room for individual self-determination (free will) to be able to respond to the contrary.

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    Say Hi to Cindy for me, would you Roger, next time you talk? Cindy’s nurturing qualities, whether they’re inherited or learned, are certainly admirable. “For better or worse, she’s living out that promise to her spouse. And we’ve seen Clavos (a male) living it out too.

  • Is It Easter Yet?

    John, you probably WEREN’T presuming to compare my threshold with yours, and I’m sorry for jumping to conclusions. You were probably just comparing your threshold of tolerance of Gaddafi to your threshold of intolerance for Milosevic.

    Well good afternoon, people.

  • Sure will, Irene. And fare thee well meanwhile. God bless.

  • John Lake

    Odd. Political differences are one thing, ethnic cleansing another. The key may be to send in some undercover agents, CIA, whatever, and arrest the tyrant. We take over, and await the popular consensus.

  • Is it really societal pressure that drives someone who has grown into an adult body that does not match the gender she believes she is to seek out a sex change?

    Maybe, maybe not. But I will say that nothing I said suggests it is and it does not follow from my intended point. Just in case I did not make my position clear (which never surprises me). 😉

    Hiya there Irene. 🙂 Wishing it was Easter.

  • John Lake

    I believe that’s “were”..

  • Roger,

    I do leave enough room for free will and/or chance. I just don’t discuss that much. It’s the part that I think most people seem to take for granted. Thus, you might say that the idea that we are completely and freely self-determined is what I am trying to challenge.

    In reality, there is plenty of room for personal free will in my analysis.

  • Oh, and there is also plenty of room for genetics, Irene.

  • zingzing

    cindy: “perhaps you’ll get a better idea by my saying that the boys at school probably won’t respond well to you if you decide to be princess boy.”

    kid’s got a right to be what he wants to be. but, you know, kids are cruel. but children don’t really know any better. when you see the adults responding to princess boy in a negative way (without realizing he’s just a kid, he’ll grow out of it–or he won’t, and it’s none of their business anyway,) that you can see who’s the neanderthal. negative adult reactions to this kid have names: cruelty, homophobia (that’s where this shit is rooted, isn’t it?), being a giant asshole, etc.

    you don’t see society getting up and applauding these ignorant pricks, you see them turning their head away and gagging at the disgusting nature of these people. in some articles about the kid, you’ll note that the supposed “macho” teachers at the school dressed up as ballerinas in a show of support. you’ll note that his parents and teachers fully support him. you’ll note, although it might be a little exploitative, he got on television and got some daytime audience love.

    no, princess boy doesn’t fit into the gender role he “should” at this point in life. but if you’re holding him up as an example of humanity’s willingness to tear apart a child just because he doesn’t share humanity’s deathgrip on gender roles, well… it kinda looks like the opposite to me. 100 years ago, hell, 50 years ago, a kid like this would never have been paraded around like this, for better or worse, and chances are, he’d have been thrown in a non-metaphorical closet or beaten until he could only see b&w.

  • zing,

    missed the point again. okay. let me try it this way.

    say all boys were princess boys, then the boys at school would ostracize you for, say, wearing pants.

    children, (whether you hold them to be cruel or not) do not simply dream up in unison arbitrary things to be cruel about. so, why are they cruel about a particular idea and not another?

    good deal about the male support. i love it! it is not the norm, however.

    children are cruel, you say, and i agree. but how did they get cruel. that they are cruel (in this culture) makes my point, as well as anything else. they have learned to be cruel. how do i know this? all children in all cultures are not cruel.

    before you object by saying their parents and teachers did not sit them down and teach them that cruelty is good, note that such lessons are not overt–usually–but are implied in and expressed through the values of a capitalistic culture. capitalism being justified based on the premise that humans are ‘naturally’ exhibit hostility and competitiveness as their most salient traits.

    if you wish to explore these ideas in detail i can provide you with numerous references where those who examine such ideas have much more thorough descriptions and explanations that i do off the top of my head. so, i am saying that there is evidence for these ideas, you may wish to first try taking them seriously before dismissing them. and relying on my explanations is not likely to qualify as taking them seriously.

  • Bill

    John is correct 100% This is all double standards with no intervention with Saudi who are murdering protesters only Libya. None of our business. They will all unite against us anyway. BEST TO KEEP OUT of other peoples internal wars/affairs