Sunday, October 23, 2011

Austeritis, and Libya

-- noun; a visual ophthalmological disturbance due to a monomaniacal rhetorical obsession, affecting reason

Lawrence Auster writes on his blog:

From beginning to end, our intervention in Libya has been both criminal and treasonous, since it has helped al Qaeda-affiliated jihadists gain power in that country.

While on the face of it, this sounds like a reasonable observation, from all the commentary Auster has generated about the Libyan revolution-cum-coup, one gets the distinct impression that the "treasonous" part is an afterthought to Auster's main concern: the supposed "criminal" action by the U.S. and our NATO allies.

In a more recent notice, Auster writes:

I am distraught by the now taken for granted American attitude that we have the right to attack any country and kill its leader, not because he is threatening us or our allies, but because we decide we don’t like him—because he’s the “bad guy” in our “democratic” script. I am deeply disturbed by the absence of any voices of dissent. I look around the Web, I don’t find any. Diana West is the only person I know of who agrees with me on this.

Actually, Diana West does not agree with his preoccupation with the "criminal" aspect of the Libyan events (though, perhaps out of politeness to an ally of the larger cause, she sees fit to refrain from pointing this out). West consistently frames the issue properly in terms of a focus on the myopic, reckless, even suicidal, support we have shown for the anti-Kaddafi Muslim rebels who have deep associations with terrorism (including suicide-bombing our soldiers in Iraq) and al Qaeda. She never puts the criminal aspect on an equal footing in her concern -- let alone does she appear to elevate it above the treasonous aspect, as Auster has done time and time again.

For example, Diana West wrote the following (quoted by Auster who apparently didn’t get the full import of what she was saying):

Qaddafi was not killed in retaliation for his attacks on American servicemen in Berlin in 1986, or the downing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie in 1988. He was not killed for his central role in the USSR’s terror networks going back to the 1960s and 1970s. He was killed after coming over to our side in George Bush’s “war on terror,” in the final phase of a civil war in Libya in which his regime fought al Qaeda affiliates.

Horrific as it sounds, Qaddafi was killed because we and our NATO allies joined the other side—the al Qaeda affiliates.

While it is proper to chide the US and its NATO allies for this bizarre turnaround, and in so doing to rhetorically point out their colossal inconsistency in this regard, Auster seems to go strangely further -- implying that it never would have been right to attack and/or kill Kaddafi; even though it is eminently arguable that doing so would have been more reasonable and justified than our actions against Saddam Hussein and his regime. We had, and have, no direct evidence, as we do for Kaddafi, that Saddam directly directed terrorist attacks against the West -- though that does not mean, per my principle articulated below, that we should not have intervened violently in Saddam's regime.

In yet another notice, Auster wrote:

Eight year[s] ago the United States made peace with Kaddafi, and put paid to the history between our two countries, including the Lockerbie bombing. The best and the brightest hailed this peace as a wonderful vindication of Bush’s foreign policy. U.S. officials including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Sen. John McCain, and President Obama had friendly meetings with Kaddafi over the years, speaking of their desire to advance the two countries’ bilateral relations.

Kaddafi never violated his agreements with us and never became a threat to us or our allies. He spoke in the warmest terms of the United States and of Obama. Yet the instant that people whom we chose to call democrats rose up in rebellion against him, our ideology and what we perceived as our political self-interest required that we side against him. We attacked his country, bombed his military and his government, bombed his residence, drove him from power, and now we have killed him.

So what is Auster trying to argue? That he agrees with the change in attitude of the 90s and the first decade of this century, whereby we forgave Kaddafi and trusted him? That would be not only irrational, it would be strangely out of character for Auster, since he rarely supports the folly of our politicos on a whole vast range of other issues.

At any rate, rather than plumb the mystery of Auster’s Austeritis, I will adumbrate the proper position on this as the following:

We should never have trusted Kaddafi as an ally. We should only have used him against worse jihadist wolves in terms of a rational strategy of Realislamik -- or, if we had seen fit, we should have sent in a Delta force to assassinate him and others in his regime for the terror attacks he directed against us (the West). Doing the latter, of course, only makes sense if we wisely calibrate the aftermath and how that plays out for our benefit.

Pace Auster and his strange condition of Austeritis, we can formulate the following general principle which applies to Libya and any other Islamic regime:

At no time, when dealing with any Muslim leader or people, should the West wring its hands anxiously with concern about comitting “crimes” against them -- for they are, ipso facto, our deadly enemies, by hook (terror attacks) or by crook (stealth jihad), and their enmity against us transcends Western nations and laws, and their enmity against us is sufficiently deadly to warrant that we prosecute them (prosecute comes from the Latin “to hunt down”), as they say in legal police terms, “with extreme prejudice”.


Since I published this essay, I notice Auster has compounded his preoccupation, publishing more notices on his blog reiterating the same thing, such as this one, where his Austeritis is more explicit:

this heartland conservative [Palin supporter J.R. Dunn] is 100 percent in favor of America going around the world overthrowing tyrants who haven't done anything to us (and who, in the case of Kaddafi, made peace with us and had become friendly to us)."

This confirms that, apparently, and strangely, Auster actually believes Kaddafi became reformed enough to be a trustworthy ally. If so, Auster has really lost it. One may, I suppose, only hope that at least one sane fan of his writing gets through his cordonned-off email conduit to try to disabuse him of this egregious error of his.

* * *

Further Reading:


Tunisia and Realislamik


Nobody said...

Gadaffi was never a trustworthy ally, but in the world of Islam, he had gone from being one of the deadliest enemies to a completely neutral adversary. The West is simply making the same mistake of never learning from the past, when they assume that the Libyan rebels will be eternally grateful to NATO countries. How well has that worked out in Afghanistan & Iraq?

Hesperado said...

There are no two sides of the coin here, there is only one side of the coin:

1. Libyan rebels are our enemy.

1. Kaddafi was our enemy, while lying to us that he had changed.

Given 1 and 1, when anything happens or devolves, our calculations should only be "the worst evil" and nothing else -- certainly not anything that presumes that Kaddafi was sincere. That's preposterous.

And anyway, as I argued in my later essay, what Kaddafi did in the past already earned him assassination by a Delta team, and the only reason to refrain from doing that is for our benefit and nothing else. Period.