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The Libyan War ... Kinda Like 'The Truman Show' ... Only Bloodier & More Sordid

Jim Lehrer approves of the War in Libya apparently. I no longer approve of Jim Lehrer. He is one of the many co-producers of “Libya’s kinda Truman Show” a movie within the ever flashing movie of "America’s Willing Suspension of Disbelief." Obama, of course, sits in the director’s chair (or corporate puppet’s chair ... what have you).

I’m thinking maybe US corporate media is not the appropriate place to get reality-based info about the true nature of The Libyan War.

After 5 months of “humanitarian intervention,” of what James Cogan describes as “raining death and destruction on the people of Libya,” and doing their damndest to assassinate Gaddafi, France, UK and the US were getting a tad embarrassed. I mean, after all. They have the most savage weaponry of all time at their disposal. Countless lives of soldiers at their disposal. Stenographic media at their disposal. What is the holdup with that rag tag group of rebel puppets of theirs? (Corporate Media Message to US Citizenry: Please don’t look at the three massively armed amoral and opportunistic imperialist countries behind the curtain!) This is (right Mr. Lehrer?) really the will of the Libyan people to achieve democracy and quality of life, not about regime change or control of oil or money by mega corporations and banks from the US, France and UK!!!!

James Cogan:

The war has never been about protecting civilians. From the time the United Nations legitimised the war with Resolution 1973, the US, Britain and France, operating under the umbrella of the NATO alliance, made no secret that their real agenda is regime-change.

Sheer criminality has characterised the efforts of the major powers to achieve this end. Gaddafi has been the target of numerous assassination attempts, one of which murdered his son and three of his grandchildren. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Libyan soldiers have been slaughtered by air attacks aimed at decimating Gaddafi’s army. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been supplied, and special forces, mercenaries and intelligence operatives from NATO countries flown in, to assist the "rebels" in assembling military units. France has illegally air-dropped weapons to tribal groups in the west of the country.?

According to the Libyan government, the bombing of essential infrastructure in Tripoli and other areas held by pro-Gaddafi forces has killed at least 1,108 civilians and wounded over 4,500. Evidence is mounting that NATO has stepped-up deliberate attacks on civilian targets in order to terrorise the population into turning against the regime. This week, a flu inoculation clinic and a food storage depot were bombed in the town of Zlitan to the east of Tripoli. Journalists from CNN were shown the ruins of a mosque and a school. A local official told CNN: "It [NATO] is waging wide-scale war on the people. They are destroying everything."

The criminal war on Libya has now entered a sordid stage. An end is being sought to a five-month operation that has become a debacle and embarrassment for the US and its allies. This month, the major powers have all recognised the TNC as Libya’s "legitimate government," enabling them to essentially steal an estimated $130 billion in Libyan assets held in Western banks and financial institutions. The intent is clear. To get back the wealth, the Libyan elite around Gaddafi will have to enter into negotiations with the TNC and form a government on the terms dictated by the US, Britain and France. Whatever combination of elements from Gaddafi’s regime and the TNC eventuates, it will have nothing to do with democracy.

All before our apparently lying eyes as CNN and PBS and corporate media everywhere spins the applied US jingoistic propaganda!!!

Isn’t that special?

Pepe Escobar calls Libya Iraq 2. But who remembers Iraq 1 (really a two-parter)? That was a mere few seconds ago. This time, most Americans have simply lost interest. I mean, come on! We are suffering war news fatigue. STOP THE MADNESS. Well, at least stop talking about the madness. Just do it, whatever, and be done with it. PULLLLEEEEEZE. Humanitarian imperialism? Well, that sounds pretty friendly, right? You guys go for it. Do anything to those foreign bastards, you Barack or Congress or whomever. We don’t give a serious crap. NATO? That is a bunch of countries fighting for good stuff always, right? The UN endorsed the “kinetic military action” a/k/a R2P Humanitarian Intervention, after all.


"Siren" [latest NATO operation] featured a colorful casting of "NATO rebels", Islamist fanatics, gullible embedded journalists, TV-friendly mobs, and Cyrenaica youth manipulated by opportunist Gaddafi regime defectors eyeing fat checks by oil giants Total and BP.

So Escobar explains how NATO Apache gunships and jets decided to bomb the shit out of everyone and everything they could! On last Sunday alone there were possibly 1300 civilian deaths in Tripoli with 5,000 wounded. The Libyan Ministry of Health reported hospitals were overflowing.

Relentless NATO Bombing = R2P?????? That's also known as "The Responsibility to Protect." HAH!!!! "We had to bomb the shit out of the population in order to save them." Has a familiar ring to it. Hmmmmm. That echoes from REALLY ancient American history. Yawn.


NATO preceded "Siren" with massive bombing of Zawiya - the key oil-refining city 50 kilometers west of Tripoli. That cut off Tripoli's fuel supply lines.

According to NATO itself, at least half of Libya's armed forces were "degraded" - Pentagon/NATO speak for killed or seriously wounded. That means tens of thousands of dead people. That also explains the mysterious disappearance of the 65,000 soldiers in charge of defending Tripoli. And it largely explains why the Gaddafi regime, in power for 42 years, then crumbled in roughly 24 hours.

42 years of a regime? Hey, the clock is ticking. The New World Order as well as Election 2012 waits for no one, folks!

NATO's Siren call - after 20,000 sorties, and more than 7,500 strikes against ground targets - was only made possible by a crucial decision by the Barack Obama administration in early July, enabling, as reported by The Washington Post, "the sharing of more sensitive materials with NATO, including imagery and signals intercepts that could be provided to British and French special operations troops on the ground in addition to pilots in the air".

So, the Pentagon unleashed its full out power of satellites and drones!!!! This allowed NATO to finally exit from what Escobar calls “Operation Quagmire”. (What ... they held back from nuking them? Oh yeah. Needed those refineries, didn’t they?)


According to Escobar:

Ethnic and tribal trouble is bound to explode. Many of the Berbers from the Western mountains, who entered Tripoli from the south this past weekend, are hardcore Salafis. Same with the Muslim Brotherhood/Salafi nebula from Cyrenaica, which has been instructed by US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) boots on the ground. As much as these fundamentalists "used" the Europeans and the Americans to get close to power, they may become a nasty guerrilla force if they are marginalized by the new NATO masters.


A large Benghazi-based "revolution" sold to the West as a popular movement was always a myth. Only two months ago the armed "revolutionaries" barely numbered 1,000. NATO's solution was to build a mercenary army - including all sorts of unsavory types, from former Colombian death squad members to recruiters from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who pinched scores of unemployed Tunisians and tribals disgruntled with Tripoli. All these on top of the CIA mercenary squad - Salafis in Benghazi and Derna - and the House of Saud squad - the Muslim Brotherhood gang.

It's hard not to be reminded of the UCK drug gang in Kosovo - the war NATO "won" in the Balkans. Or of the Pakistanis and Saudis, with US backing, arming the "freedom fighters" of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

[I know, I know ... enough with that history repeating itself crap! Sorry!]

Then there's the dodgy, Benghazi-based, Transitional National Council (TNC)'s cast of characters.


The new Iraq?

Yet to believe that NATO would win the war and let the "rebels" control power is a joke. Reuters has already reported that a "bridging force" of around 1,000 soldiers from Qatar, the Emirates and Jordan will arrive in Tripoli to act as police. And the Pentagon is already spinning that the US military will be on the ground to "help to secure the weapons". A nice touch that already implies who's going to be really in charge; the "humanitarian" neo-colonialists plus their Arab minions.


So the big winners in the end are London, Washington, the House of Saud and the Qataris (they sent jets and "advisers", they are already handling the oil sales). With a special mention for the compound Pentagon/NATO - considering that Africom will finally set up its first African base in the Mediterranean, and NATO is one step closer to declaring the Mediterranean "a NATO lake".

[Just wait until BP does its magic to NATO Lake!]

[Africom ... duh?]

Islamism? Tribalism? These may be Libya's lesser ills compared to a new fantasyland open to neo-liberalism. There are few doubts the new Western masters won't try to revive a friendlier version of Iraq's nefarious, rapacious Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), turning Libya into a hardcore neo-liberal dream of 100% ownership of Libyan assets, total repatriation of profits, Western corporations with the same legal standing of local firms, foreign banks buying local banks and very low income and corporate taxes.

Meanwhile, the deep fracture between the center (Tripoli) and the periphery for the control of energy resources will fester. BP, Total, Exxon, all Western oil giants will be gratefully rewarded by the transitional council - to the detriment of Chinese, Russian and Indian companies. NATO troops on the ground will certainly help to keep the council on message.

Oil executives estimate it will take at least a year to get oil production back to pre-civil war levels of 1.6 million barrels per day, but say annual earnings from oil could reap Tripoli's new rulers some US$50 billion annually. Most estimates place oil reserves at 46.4 billion barrels, 3% of the world's reserves and worth some $3.9 trillion at today's oil price. Known gas reserves stand at some 5 trillion cubic feet.

Thus in the end R2P wins. Humanitarian imperialism wins. The Arab monarchies win. NATO as global Robocop wins. The Pentagon wins. But even that is not enough for the usual imperial suspects - already calling for the deployment of a "stabilization force". And all this while lost-the-plot progressives in assorted latitudes continue to hail the Holy Alliance of Western neocolonialism, ultra-reactionary Arab monarchies and hardcore Salafis.

You hearing any of this, all you “lost the plot” (once again) progressives? Jim Carrey managed to escape. Can you?

I also can't get that old Joni Mitchell favorite, "Big Yellow Taxi" out of my head. You know the one. "They droned paradise and put up a parking lot!" Uhhh ... well something like that.

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Brian.Nelson's picture
Submitted by Brian.Nelson on

I think you are absolutely correct. I feel there is so much that we are not being told the truth about with the war and how we are not at war. I mean, we are not stupid, I wish they would stop treating us like we are.

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Submitted by libbyliberal on

Brian, most of us our stupid, and dutifully eating our pablum (we have regressed before kool-aid) from the corporate media!

Thanks for commenting!

Jim Lehrer for God's sake! Pimped out by the corporates, exploiting his rep and him perpetrating and enabling more betrayal!

Submitted by JuliaWilliams on

My response to a cheerleading, authoritarian, "freedom-loving" soi-disant "left-libertarian" (!) after daring to question his support of the war (and all of those vilifications I mention were thrown at me-I'm very proud of not losing my temper :-)

Julia Williams: I generally don't consider myself arrogant, callous, a political "purist" (which, BTW,is a jibe frequently thrown at Greens), a fan of paralysis, passivity or irrelevance, but hey, I could be wrong. My take on Libya is that with the backstory of the KNOWN actors (and the lack of knowledge re: other insurgents), what their goals, their funding and their politics are, it's just too easy to cheer "freedom",especially since I have yet to see a coup backed by the US succeed in bringing what I consider a successful outcome. Partly this is because our political and military goals do not coincide with bringing true democracy, they are geared towards Imperialism, rent-seeking, kleptocratic activity- and the just handy existence of gold, gas, and oil in Libya, while Ghaddaffi was threatening to remove himself from the US$ dominated economy (and the fact his gold protected him from stealth IMF depredations, like the looting occurring here and in Europe), I find are compelling reasons to look with a jaundiced eye upon the NATO actions there. In addition, I find it a HUGE deal that our Imperialistic presidency can declare, and pursue a war, WITHOUT Congressional approval and oversight. Personally, I find THAT act treasonous, and more important for our future than the wealth and resources we are about to extract from Libya, since that will go to the elites, anyway, and is finite. The destruction of our social compact, however, can continue indefinitely, until we are all serfs, so using the argument of means vs ends in our prosecution of this illegal act, is not only germane,but pivotal.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

When you have that sicky feeling watching the media that the momentum of things is going too smoothly and quickly, there is too much of an "of course-ness" to it all, too much of this is the "right" mass media seal of approval bipartisan kinda thing, THERE IS SOMETHING REALLY ROTTEN IN AMERICA ABOUT IT, YOU CAN PUT MONEY ON IT IF YOU HAD ANY LEFT!!!

You mention the too-easiness of it all. No questions asked. Just reportage on the game, the war, the progress, the media annointed "enemies" a/k/a victims who are citizens of their own country who deserve not to be displaced, maimed, molested, or massively killed. Helping people achieve freedom? No helping people ultimately get economically or worse raped by the corporatists.

it's just too easy to cheer "freedom",especially since I have yet to see a coup backed by the US succeed in bringing what I consider a successful outcome.

They have gotten away with this jingoistic and Orwellian "shock and awe" our victims we are calling rescuees but con Americans to our good intentions crap (vomit pail, please) too many times!

Thanks for your comment. Brilliant and to the point of it all.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

is produced by WETA. If you are interested in taking over WETA, throwing out the present leadership and replacing it with non-kleptocrats contact me:

Submitted by libbyliberal on

Weta is the name given to about 70 insect species endemic to New Zealand. There are many similar species around the world, though most are in the southern hemisphere.

okay, okay, but maybe a metaphor for what is happening:

WETA is a non-commercial, public radio station in Washington, DC broadcasting a classical music radio format on 90.9 FM. Its studios are located in Arlington, Virginia.

Nothing like a little propaganda hidden among the classics, eh, especially with the patina of liberalism. Would be interested in hearing more, though so many causes, so little time as we all try to keep upper lip above water IRL!!!!!

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

my comment was directed toward Correntians in the DC area. If we cannot get it going, it is not going to happen.

Submitted by Hugh on

The NewsHour is Versailles journalism, an echo chamber where the Village says and hears what it wants to.

I have to say that Juan Cole has been a disappointment in this. He has a really dishonest self-congratulatory piece about the 10 biggest myths about the Libyan war. I wrote a long comment at Naked Capitalism in yesterday's links taking it apart. As I said there, kleptocracies don't do humanitarian anything. Cole discounted the role of oil, like the US and NATO would have gotten involved if Libya had no oil. He downplayed tribalism too as a destabilizing factor in a post-Gadhafi regime. And what really infuriated me is that he said not one word about the illegality of the war in light of Obama's violating the War Powers Act.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

all three branches corporate-captured along with the fourth estate. sure is lonely trying to be reality-based in America today.

getting battered at open salon by obama apologists. wow. those five stages of obama post-election grief keep looping back again and again. the lesser of two evils stance is still ferocious with many. learned helplessness!

Submitted by libbyliberal on

distill American news without getting sucked into the propaganda? I find myself going back to the NewsHour just to find out current political events but it is painful .. I wince .. while listening to the corporate skewing. And Lehrer has that Walter Cronkite kind of big trustworthy daddy appeal or used to.

I had a blind spot not being aware of Cole's blind spot. Check out wsws about Cole. They give it to him good now!!!!

Thanks for your comment, Hugh. Always appreciate your take!!!

Time to start posting your scandals list again! Have been over at open salon and get bashed there for not being "civil" about obama. some get the truth. others are so enmeshed still it is awesome.