A month is a long time in some politics

March 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm (Rosie B, war)

Richard Seymour 21 Feb 2011

The Gadaffi regime is prepared to fight to the last drop of blood to crush the revolution. This isn’t new. He and his Free Officer allies have always hammered opposition with ruthless efficiency – the public execution has been a centrepiece of the regime’s repertoire since serious challenges first emerged in the 1980s. What is new is the level of escalation demanded of the dictatorship. When they couldn’t rely on the police and army to crush the protesters, they turned to mercenaries to butcher them in their hundreds. . . .

The surreal atmosphere in the presidential palace is communicated in dispatches from defecting officers. “I am the one who created Libya,” Gadaffi reportedly said, “and I will be the one to destroy it.” Last night, one of Gadaffi’s thuggish sons – an alumnus of the London School of Economics, as well as a close friend of Prince Andrew and Lord Mandelson – threatened civil war if people didn’t go home and stop protesting. They’ve cut off the internet and the landlines, and banned foreign journalists in order to be able to carry out massacres under the cover of secrecy. This is a catastrophic lashing out by a regime in mortal freefall. It is seeking, in effect, a blood tribute in compensation for its lost authority.

Even at this late hour, it would be foolish to underestimate Gadaffi’s ability to just hang on, to clench Libya in a rigor mortis grip. As crazed as he manifestly is, he has demonstrated considerable shrewdness in his time.

Richard Seymour rather deftly describes a tyrannical regime going dangerously crazy as it puts down its opponents.  But on 22 March he’s had second thoughts:-

The air strikes on Libya are, under the terms of the UN resolution, supposedly intended to protect civilians and result in a negotiated settlement between Colonel Gaddafi and the rebels. This has resulted in some controversy, as air strikes devastated Gaddafi’s compound – Bab El-Azizia, the presidential palace abutting military barracks in Tripoli. The defence secretary Liam Fox has insisted, against British army opposition, that Gaddafi would be a legitimate target of air strikes. Assassination, whatever else may be said about it, would leave Gaddafi unavailable for negotiations. But a “compound” – what could be wrong with bombing such a facility?

Well if this compound is as you described it above – the headquarters of a megalomaniac “crazed” dictator willing to butcher protesters in their hundreds – it would seem  productive to bomb it.

Richard S. then goes on to complain about the violent rhetoric used against Gadaffi.  What a difference a month (and a UN resolution and the chance of some effective action) makes!

Thanks to TimB in the comments.

Update:-

Richard Seymour on Gadaffi, and any other dictators/tyrants/despots

If the western powers supported him,
He was dangerous; wicked; mad;
If the western powers then thwarted him,
He wasn’t quite that bad.

20 Comments

  1. Morto Che Parla said,

    Gadaffi gone nowhere yet. Impressive for a “mad” person with “no support”. Maybe all the benefits he pays out ot his population form oil wealth have kept them in second thoughts about the little would-be-Mubaraks, sorry “rebels”.

  2. Jenny said,

    True, though I think he’s mainly talking about how the media’s promoting war and simplifying Qaddafi into a cartoonish villain when his mentality’s slightly more complex as Richard says in the next paragraph:

    I grant that Gaddafi is a dictator whose determination to hold on initially seemed to defy reality. Yet the reality is that he has shown every sign of being a canny operator, from his rapprochement with the EU and US to his outmaneuvering of the rebels. Besides, such language has connotations which overflow its formal significations, and does important ideological work in the context of war. It might help to look at an example of this at work.”
    He still hates Qaddafi , but holds out false hope for a diplomatic answer. Admittedly, as do I since the aggression is only drawing out the conspiracy people more and more:
    http://notinhisname.blogdrive.com/archive/853.html

    and keep in mind that Italy’s leader has a cozy relationship with Libya too.

  3. Oscar's commodity garage sale on 9th of April said,

    Unlike Seemore Dick, the real Lenin himself realised that at times he talked a load of fucking bollox – thus displaying something that Seymour the inveterate hack is thoroughly incable of.

    “When Vladimir Ilyitch once observed me glancing through a collection of his articles written in the year 1903, which had just been published, a sly smile crossed his face, and he remarked with a laugh: ‘It is very interesting to read what stupid fellows we were!”

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/draper/1953/defeat/intro.htm#n1

    btw – good Hal Draper article from where the quote is lifted from – worth a read like.

  4. Morto Che Parla said,

    Gadaffi pushing the “rebels” (US-armed feudalist coup-mongers) back

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/world-africa-12906562

  5. James Bloodworth said,

    Seymour represents an anti-imperialism which trumps any consideration for the lives of other human beings. As long as you never, ever give an ounce of support to Western foreign policy you can willingly sit by while comrades are massacred in far-away lands.

    The Hitch spotted this trend: “If there is now an international intervention, whether intelligent and humane, or brutal and stupid, against the Taliban, some people will take to the streets, or at least mount some “Candle in the Wind” or “Strawberry Fields” peace vigils.They did not take to the streets, or even go moist and musical, when the Administration supported the Taliban. But that was, surely, just as much an intervention? An intervention, moreover, that could not even pretend to be humane or democratic? I had the same concern about those who did not object when the United States safeguarded Milosevic, but did protest when it finally turned against him. Am I supposed not to notice that these two groups of “anti-interventionists” are in fact the same people?”

  6. charliethechulo said,

    Morto: “Gadaffi pushing the “rebels” (US-armed feudalist coup-mongers) back” getting a good vicarious tough-guy kick out of that, are you, Morto?

    • Morto Che Parla said,

      This is coming from someone who is celebrating the bombing of a foreign country and demonizing all opposition?

      I’m glad to see a secular, nationalist regime triumph over religious proponents of tribal war, backed by a West which wants to Balkanize the country. Yes.

  7. Jenny said,

  8. charliethechulo said,

    Good: why doesn’t the US hurry up and do it?
    Seer also: http://transmontanus.blogspot.com/

  9. sackcloth and ashes said,

    When I see Morto Che Parla’s comments, I find myself comparing people who are prepared to fight to shake of forty years of despotism and some snide little wanker who jeers at them from the safety of Blighty. And I can’t help but wonder if people like that are the lowest of the low.

  10. Morto Che Parla said,

    Actually I’m not in Britain.

    Though “lowest of the low” would refer to people who have supported everything from the Taliban in the 1970s to the complete destruction of Iraq, Serbia, and now Libya. Of course, always from the safety of “Blighty”.

    “Snide” is the only way to deal with such detestable people. If I was talking to an actual Libyan of course I would speak differently, but I know none of you have ever met a Libyan in your lives.

  11. jim denham said,

    ” But I know none of you have ever met a Libyan in your lives”: wrong again, Morto!

  12. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘Though “lowest of the low” would refer to people who have supported everything from the Taliban in the 1970s’

    The Taliban existed in the 1970s? Who knew?

    ‘to the complete destruction of Iraq,’

    Don’t mention Saddam Hussein at all…

    ‘Serbia,’

    Or Milosevic.

    ‘and now Libya’.

    or Qadafi.

    ‘Of course, always from the safety of “Blighty”’.

    If you don’t know anything about the people you’re interacting with online, I’d avoid stupid comments like that.

    ‘If I was talking to an actual Libyan of course I would speak differently, but I know none of you have ever met a Libyan in your lives’.

    Well, by your own admission, you certainly haven’t. And you clearly don’t let ignorance and stupidity get in the way of a good rant.

  13. Morto Che Parla said,

    “If you don’t know anything about the people you’re interacting with online, I’d avoid stupid comments like that.”

    It was *you* who previously made that inocrrect assertion about *me* but when I make that same assertion about you, you are horrified.

    You’re either an idiot or a hack.

  14. Morto Che Parla said,

    “The Taliban existed in the 1970s? Who knew?”

    Well at least you don’t deny having supported them.

    “Don’t mention Saddam Hussein at all…etc.”

    I think the destruction of a country’s infrastructure and people through sanctions and war by the “international community” is wrong, regardless of who governs the country.

  15. charliethechulo said,

    An “actual Libyan” debates a Tory MP on BBC Radio 4′s ‘Broadcasting House’ programme this morning:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00zzn27/Broadcasting_House_03_04_2011/
    (The Libya item is just over halfway through the programme)

    Morto would, presumably, agree with the anti-intervention Tory.

  16. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘“The Taliban existed in the 1970s? Who knew?”

    Well at least you don’t deny having supported them’.

    It’s called sarcasm, you cretin. Your comment just showed how little you know about Afghan history.

    ‘I think the destruction of a country’s infrastructure and people through sanctions and war by the “international community” is wrong, regardless of who governs the country’.

    So you basically excuse Saddam for his crimes against his own people, and had you had any say in the matter you would have given him carte blanche to kill more Kurds and Shiites, and to repeat his aggression against Iraq’s neighbours. You’re such a noble humanitarian.

    PS: My last comment was sarcastic, just in case it goes over your head.

  17. Morto Che Parla said,

    “Morto would, presumably, agree with the anti-intervention Tory.”

    I didn’t listen to your link, but if he is anti-intervention, then yes. Good for him, he’s a nobler man than any of you at SS.

  18. charliethechulo said,

    Now we know exactly where you stand, Morto: alongside the likes of Simon Jenkins and other right-wing Tory isolationists.

    I presume you’d have taken the same stance with regard to Spain in 1936-9?

  19. Morto Che Parla said,

    Actually I’m not a Tory as I think inequality is a big social and economic proble. And Simon Jenkins isn’t an isolationist AFAIK, though admittedly I have only ever read a couple of articles by him. But I believe him to be he’s a pragmattic liberal whose opposition to foreign intervention is only tactical.

    Regarding Spain in 1936-39, I don’t see the relevance here at all. The “rebels” in Libya are not democrats, much less socialist. If you’re asking me should Britain have bombed Spain and supported reactionary tribalist forces, I would say no.

    So nice try – but just because I am not so sectarian as to dismiss a person simply because he is a Conservative, neither does this mean I am a Conservative myself. Hard to understand for dogmattic pseudo-Trots I realize.

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