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15 July 2011


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Margaret Steinfels

Answer the question for yourselves!

1. Secretary Clinton was too busy.

2. President Obama feared Sarkozy would change his mind.

3. Somebody had to get their money out of Libyan oil.

4. They were waiting for Turkey.


Margret, you are the American not me, can one be uphold against the American constitution?

I do not want to backbite, spread false rumors as far as Michael Brenner is concerned, but am somehow struggling with the impression he would add:

Obama is too much looking left and right before doing what has to be done.

Medicine Man

I'm inclined to say pure timidity is responsible. The powers that be didn't want to commit until they got good indication that the rebels would be able to win — except that this doesn't really fit either; however hesitant Obama was, he did cross the "being involved" threshold some time ago.

Sadly, I think The Twisted Genius' speculation that some of the money men and their allies in government were slowing the process up to buy time for some quiet embezzlement. Every war has spectators waiting in the wings to vacuum up any valuables knocked loose during the fray. I don't expect the civil war in Libya is any different.

The beaver

With only 3 weeks to go before the start of the Ramadan, there is fear that the rebels will stop fighting and Qathafi will continue.

So the US has to turn the table on the King of Africa, making him the 'rebel'.

One thing I can't quite put my finger on , the FM of France - Juppé has been saying for the past 4 days that Qathafi wants to negotiate.


#3 has been happening for quite awhile.France is NOT dropping arms for nothing!!

Patrick Lang


Margaret is a professor of religion at Fordham University and someone whom I am sure you would like. I do. pl


Pat, I liked her comment. It reminded me of Michael Brenner's in fact, hilarious. My favorite is no 3.

But as a foreign nitwit, I wonder could Clinton decide on such issues herself?

What would be the routine?


Charlie Wilson

Do we really really have to give the money back? What has become of us? Surely the last days of Western Civ.


waiting for the rebels to understand they needed to agree to the right deals with the right people and then to actually do so. That is all.

Margaret Steinfels

"Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made it clear that it took the US so long to take this step because Washington had been vetting the TNC leadership for signs it was actually committed to democratic elections and was free of radical Muslim tendencies. The TNC has already hosted conferences with representatives from all of Libya’s provinces, and has made it clear that it will move to parliamentary elections once dictator Muammar Qaddafi is gone."

That's what she says anyway.
Here: http://www.juancole.com/2011/07/32-nations-recognize-free-libya.html


Sadly our own congress, while having no radical Muslim tendancies, clearly has some radical ones - though defending tax cuts for the wealthy while proclaiming we have a crisis is hardly Christian.

R Whitman

At the risk of sounding heretical, is this really meaningful to the US.

Libya is an insignificant country with a few million people, a bunch of foreign workers who keep the oilfields running and about 1.5M bbd of high grade crude oil which goes to European refineries.

The US only concern should be to keep the oil flowing so shortages do not bid up world oil prices. Which group of thugs gets to keep the money is immaterial.

Norbert M Salamon

Methinks that this is yet another diversion from the most important issues for the USA:

1., Deficit and public debt [including all sources]

2., Peak oil, wherein EIA admitted that there would be oil supply shortfall by the end of this year [as long as the USA economy does not implode, which, unfortunately, is possible].

3., insolvent finanacial system [more postpone and pretend.

Look forward to other diversionary tactics both by the Administrtation and by Congress memebers.

Patrick Lang

R Whitman

Hey, we need to win once in a while. pl

Bill H.

From: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/07/15/a_just_war_and_an_unfinished_one

"But the American diplomat I spoke to noted that political recognition is not the same as legal recognition; the TNC may not qualify as a recognizable government according to State Department criteria [bold mine-DL]. What’s more, even legal recognition might not, by itself, permit the assets to be unfrozen. 'We’re really grappling with it right now,' he says."


Ive been in Benghazi for 3 weeks now and I see a lot of kids with guns having fun playing rebels. The Qataris run a 2 - 4 week training programme for any Libyan to join and seems to be churning out a fair amount of "trained" fighters. The rumours also indicate the Qataris are supplying a lot of weapons and explosive. I met two excited Irish born/Libyan parentage lads who were halfway through their training course. You have to wonder how many others have gone through a similar course who hold dual nationality.

The issue here (as far as I can see) is the proliferation of neighborhood militias, the lack of professionalism, and the worrying signs of in-fighting between different factions. This gives me a sense that post Gaddaffi Libya may herald a prolonged period of instability rather than the "victory" badly needed by the British, French and the US.

The Twisted Genius

R Whitman,

It's not worth that much to us from a balance sheet perspective, but it would be good for our souls. If we invested a company of Green Berets back in February/March, we might have a happy ending by now with less bloodshed and destruction.


"US Recognizes Libyan Rebels"
After Luxembourg.
"Leading from behind" by the community organizer-in-chief.
The beat goes on..

Charlie Wilson

R Whitman:

So we park our ships off their shore and pound them daily, kill innumerable people since we can't/wont tell them apart, steal their money (yes, steal, not freeze), yet they are the thugs?

Ken Hoop

R Whitman

"The US only concern should be to keep the oil flowing so shortages do not bid up world oil prices. Which group of thugs gets to keep the money is immaterial."

Posted by: R Whitman | 16 July 2011 at 08:52 AM

Is it beyond the pale "isolationist" to assert the best way to keep oil flowing at fair market prices to the U.S. is for the U.S. to get out of the Mideast and cut off foreign aid, especially but not exclusively to Israel?

R Whitman

Ken Hoop

I do not consider myself an isolationist, its just that I do not consider Libya worth any US attention beyond their oil.

The US will be around the ME for quite some time. The US is the cop on the beat there. Prhaps we should tax every bbl of oil we protect.

As for foreign aid, most of it consists of military goods manufactured in the US by Americans. Stop the foreign aid, save money, fire the workers, pay unemployment and food stamps.

Will Reks

@Norbert M Salamon

I think the unemployment crisis should probably be on that list. At the top, even.

The short-term debt crisis is boiled down to lower revenue from taxes due to the millions of jobs lost since mid 2008.

Long-term debt is a huge problem but not yet at anywhere near crisis point. It is only at the top of your list due to the media and our corporatist elite taking advantage of the debt ceiling vote to enact their budget priorities.

Norbert M Salamon

Will Reks:

Your note is correct,

unfortunately, with the current deficit[s] debts[national, State, County, muni] and the Fed's unending monetarization, does not have room for meaningful job creation finance.
Were some [or most] of the high cost [think F-35] military programs transformed to infrastructure [think plows from tanks] it might be possible to get more workers employed from the tranfiguration.

Unfortunately the supply of manufactured items [ex- green tech machinery] is in oversupply with respect to the USA consumer [and also world wide sans developping countries -BRI
C] - who is above his neck in debt.
Construction will not revive for years [residential/commersial/industrial] and the Governments already has surplus office space.

Deficit reduction is necessary, but the consequence is dire - we in Canada had a run of this for 10 years. Now it is the turn of most OECD countries MOST UNFORTUNATELY.


Rebel seizure of this refinery combined with a naval blockade may be the decisive event as refined fuel to Tripoli should now be shut off. I could be wrong so it is worth confirming, but if so then for Gaddafi it is now only about when not if.


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