‘Noble’ War In Libya – Part 1

by Media Lens

March 23, 2011

One can hardly fail to be impressed by the corporate media’s faith in humanity. Or at least that part of humanity with its finger on the cruise missile button. Last week, the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn predicted that ‘Western nations will soon be engaged in a war in Libya with the noble aim of protecting civilians.’

At the opposite end of the alleged media spectrum, former Spectator editor and current London Mayor, Boris Johnson, agreed in the Telegraph:

‘The cause is noble and right, and we are surely bound by our common humanity to help the people of Benghazi.’

So is the aim of the latest war a noble one? How do Cockburn and Johnson know?

Perhaps they have considered evidence from the recent historical record. Economist Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the US Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, wrote in his memoir:

‘I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.’ (Leader, ‘Power, not oil, Mr Greenspan,’ Sunday Times, September 16, 2007)

If this seems heroic, Greenspan’s bewildered response to the resulting controversy suggests otherwise:

‘From a rational point of view, I cannot understand why we don’t name what is evident and indeed a wholly defensible pre-emptive position.’ (Quoted, Richard Adams, ‘Invasion of Iraq was driven by oil, says Greenspan,’ The Guardian, September 17, 2007)

Certainly it is ‘defensible’, if we accept that the world’s premier power should do as it pleases in pursuit of oil. Greenspan had made his ‘pre-emptive’ economic case for war to White House officials, who responded: ‘Well, unfortunately, we can’t talk about oil.’ (Quoted, Bob Woodward, ‘Greenspan: Ouster Of Hussein Crucial For Oil Security,’ Washington Post, September 17, 2007) Continue reading

‘Noble’ War In Libya – Part 2

by Media Lens

(see part one at https://revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/noble-war-in-libya-part-1/)

March 28, 2011

As a Sunday Times leader made clear on March 20, sometimes you just have to draw a line:

‘[T]here can be no accommodation with a man like Gadaffi or any of his family who aspire to succeed him.’ (Leading article, ‘Allies need a rapid victory to outwit Gadaffi,’ Sunday Times, March 20, 2011)

Seven years earlier, Alan Massie wrote in the same newspaper:

‘The sight of Tony Blair shaking hands with Colonel Gadaffi last week will have disgusted many… One may sympathise with these sentiments but, pushing emotion aside, Blair has shown courage. It would be lovely if international politics could be conducted so you were always dealing with decent people. It might be nice if governments were able consistently to pursue the “ethical foreign policy” of which Robin Cook used to speak so enthusiastically but the world isn’t like that.’ (Massie, ‘Keeping Gadaffi close is the safest option,’ Sunday Times, March 28, 2004)

Sometimes, then, there can be accommodation with a man like Gaddafi. It was important not to overstate the extent of his crimes:

‘Of course, Libya remains essentially a dictatorship, even if not as repellent a one as that of Saddam’s.’

And democracy was far more likely to take root in the Middle East ‘in an atmosphere of friendship than of hostility’. Thus Blair was ‘bringing Libya into the fold of the community of nations’. Continue reading