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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bringing David Swanson's imagination back to reality

This is the reply I will post to David Swanson's Oppose Force to Save Starving Syrians assuming my account, which "is currently pending approval by the site administrator" is accepted and I am allowed the privilege of commenting. But since I have already researched the matter before I discovered the review requirements, I will post to my blog in any case. David Swanson says in this piece:
I find it hard to imagine people on the ground while NATO dropped thousands of bombs on Libya pointing to the sky and remarking "Check out the air cover!"
David, you don't have to imagine it, you can hear it here clearly:

TRIPOLI - CHEERING FOR NATO - 24/05/2011


This video was posted by the Free Generation Movement, a civilian activist group that operated in Tripoli throughout the revolution. You can read about the kind of thing they did during the revolution in my blog post dated 29 June 2011, titled Tripoli Burn Notice, which describes a campaign in which these courageous youth waged a non-violent struggle that put them in mortal danger, burning or defacing the massive billboards and signs of self-glorification that Mummar Qaddafi had placed all over Tripoli. In that blog, you will also find a video that shows the Tripoli morning traffic blaring their horns of support as FGM burned a huge Qaddiffi portrait by the highway.

The description accompanying the video of people cheering from the roof tops as they watched NATO planes coming in to bomb Tripoli, reads as follows:
Uploaded on May 23, 2011

IN TRIPOLI, AS NATO UNDERTAKES ITS MOST INTENSE BOMBING OF THE CAMPAIGN, LOCALS COME OUT TO SHOW THEIR APPRECIATION BY CHEERING AND WHISTLING. ROOFTOPS ARE FULL OF PEOPLE WATCHING IN APPRECIATION.

LATER, SECURITY ROAM THE STREETS SHOOTING IN THE AIR TO SILENCE AND INTIMIDATE....

THEY SHOULD KNOW BY NOW....TRIPOLI CAN NEVER BE SILENCED.
Libya 17th February reported the same thing, another Tripoli resident said "When NATO bombs at night, I hear my neighbors clap and cheer 'bravo,'" 

A.H. alqaidi said, 16 July 2011:
When NATO Bombards Tripoli, the people there cheer, because they have become certain that the bombs are not meant for them, but for the dictator's power centres. 
I know that sounds ridiculous to you because you think Tripoli was bombed like Vietnam or Iraq, but the people of Tripoli knew that they weren't being bombed, just Qaddafi's forces, and they hated Qaddafi. The fact is that in the whole NATO campaign, less than a hundred non-combatant civilians were killed. As I reported on 5 March 2012, a comprehensive study by the United Nations found that NATO killed just 60 civilians in its campaign over Libya. A Human Rights Watch investigation of civilian deaths in Libya dated 14 May 2012 could document only 72 unintended civilian deaths caused by NATO. A New York Times report that pre-dates either of those, written by C. J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt and dated 17 Dec 2011 put the number of unintended civilian casualties resulting from NATO's seven month air campaign at between 40 and 70. Added to that, care was taken so that infrastructure wasn't harmed, like taking out tanks hidden under a bridge without taking out the bridge, so that Libya suffered no electrical or utility outages as a result of NATO bombing and housing, manufacturing, and oil production weren't impacted by bomb destruction after the war.

So yes, the people of Libya demanded international protection from Qaddafi's slaughter, just as people in Syrian are demanding now. In the case of Libya, it saved them from the sort of carnage that continues to take its toll on Syrian civilians that have lived and died under three years of Assad's aerial assaults.

David Swanson, you had a preconceived idea about what was going on in Libya, based on your lack of knowledge of real events, your imagined "socialist" Mummar Qaddafi, and in your fantasy that all of this was part of some grand conspiracy; a 5-year plan first revealed to Wesley Clark in 2001. You predicted the civil war would last 20 years, it was over in less than a year. You claimed NATO used depleted uranium but none was ever found. You said "that Gaddafi has a great deal of support," but few Libyans mourned his passing. You said the CIA had sent Khalifa Hifter to Libya from Virginia to run the rebels but he never got higher than third in command and is retired now. You opposed "the West’s efforts to impose a puppet government on Libya by force," which is to say, you opposed the popular democratic revolution which is currently rebuilding the state institutions from scratch, and you just knew that any NATO air campaign could only lead to massive death and destruction for civilian.

All of this was wrong, but by far the biggest mistake to date, was that after the success of the revolution and the people had their first national vote and elected a government, after NATO flew home without ever having set a boot on the ground, after anyone could tour the country and look for bomb damage and the dead that went with them, and even when Qaddafi's mass graves were being discovered, you stuck to what you imagined things would be like in Libya and you looked for brand new reasons to trash the revolution like claiming that violence is off the scope even through the murder rate is 10% what it is in Venezuela.

In the case of Libya you predicted "The result of NATO joining the war was probably more killing, not less." An examination of the truth about what did happen and an comparison to what is happening in Syria, where the death toll is 140 thousand and counting since both revolutions started three years ago, shows that almost certainly is not the case. But now you oppose any foreign intervention in the Syria civil war, so you can't possibly own to an honest evaluation of recent Libyan history, instead you imagine things are just the way you have always imagined them.

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya




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