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Tuesday, August 23, 2011 

It's coming right for us!


I know I shouldn't be surprised when the entire campaign in Libya
has been built around the lie of being purely about "protecting civilians", yet it was still fairly staggering when it was decided that Gaddafi's compound should be pounded one final time today from the air (note the non-denial denial and later reports from the BBC that the rebels drew back while the air strike(s) were carried out). Even if we take at face value the continued, increasingly hilarious explanations over the last few months for bombing various buildings not immediately obvious for their potential to be used to target civilians as they were "command and control centres" for Gaddafi's forces, then it can hardly be claimed that Bab al-Aziziya was still functioning as such today. It was instead under siege from the rebels, while the heaviest weaponry those had inside was reported to be Grad missiles, which were being fired at the attackers, not at civilian targets. Why then bomb it again unless the purpose was to "soften it up" further and avoid any embarrassing, lengthy stand-off which would temporarily at least deny the rebels their most symbolic, television friendly victory yet?

Whether or not the bombing did the trick or Gaddafi's remaining loyalists did a runner seems uncertain, as reports conflict on whether the cameras stayed away from the unwelcome sight of bodies or if there simply wasn't that many once they got inside. Either way, it's hardly a good sign that we couldn't even trust one of the final supposed acts to the rebels: still NATO had to come in and do much of the heavy lifting. Flying Rodent meanwhile sums up the last five months and where we might go from here in his inimitable style:

Recall - the UK, US and France supposedly went to the UN to seek permission to create a No-Fly Zone, yet miraculously emerged with wide-ranging powers to take any measures necessary to "protect civilians". You've just seen six months of solid, dedicated "protection", which in reality meant "Intervening on one side in a civil war".

For all the Responsibility-To-Protect rah-rah, we've just demonstrated to the world for the third time in a decade that we intentionally and brazenly lie to the entire planet about humanitarianism for months on end in pursuit of entirely political goals. Nato has spent six months explaining that it isn't seeking regime change in Libya while straining as hard as it could to do exactly the opposite.

...

Well. If you, like me, were flabbergasted that Britain stampeded to involve itself in another serious conflict, just years after presiding over one of the nastiest mass-murder sprees in recent history, then steel yourselves for sequels. It took decades of boo-hoo propaganda and flag-waving for the Yanks to get over the disaster of Vietnam - it's taken us about a tenth of the time and none of the self-reflection to dick off one of our most inglorious warfaring episodes to dive into what could be a whole series of new ones.

Seriously, y'all. If we were that belligerent, that eager to dive into this war after one of the most horrifying military fuck-ups in our history, imagine how can-do chaps we're going to be for the next decade. Excellent news for Libyans means interesting times ahead for British squaddies, I think. War is the new normal.

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