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March 27, 2011

Our Many Devious Enemies

I don't know about you, but to me this indicates that the Libyans, Afghans and Vietnamese have all gone to some central training school to learn how to undermine us most effectively.


—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at March 27, 2011 04:37 PM

Yes, look at how funny Gaddafi looks and talks, and that automatically means there are no deaths because you cannot believe anything Gaddafi says, seems to be the logic of the news media. But dress up a monkey in a blue suit, a zippy haircut, a little face powder, and you have instant legitimacy and the news media fawns all over you.

Posted by: Rob Payne at March 27, 2011 04:58 PM

How could Gates come up with such a horrific thought? Oh wait...

According to testimony received under various plea agreements, it was alleged that the Marines abducted an Iraqi man, killed him a half hour later, placed an AK-47 and a shovel next to his body along the road, then falsified the formal report of the incident, asserting he was shot while digging a hole for a roadside bomb. In an interview on ABC television, Congressman John P. Murtha explained "some Marines pulled somebody out of a house, put them next to an IED, fired some AK-47 rounds so they'd have cartridges there. And then tried to cover that up."

Posted by: bobs at March 27, 2011 07:07 PM

HOW do we end up with such shameless individuals ( and without any feelings for other human beings ) in position of power in our govt?

Posted by: Rupa Shah at March 27, 2011 09:28 PM

On the other hand regarding some of the points that we are all supposed to agree upon.

I don’t agree that Gaddafi must go because Gaddafi isn’t my concern and it isn’t up to the U.S. to nation build.

Same for the rest of them (dictators).

It’s not at all clear to me that the French did the right thing, in fact there seems to be very little that is clear about this stupidest of wars. My impression is a certain French leader is looking to get re-elected.

That Obama sought the so-called international community, another name for thieves and murderers should be seen as commendable doesn’t hold water because NATO does what we want for the most part, just look to Afghanistan and their role there.

I’m glad somebody admits they don’t know who the rebels are or what they want but I don’t see why I have to support democracy anywhere. Just what would my support consist of, yelling hooray? If you think I would support any war for any reason you are mistaken.

Posted by: Rob Payne at March 27, 2011 09:31 PM

Rob: I give it a year max before the pro-war establishment types start talking about "those ungrateful Libyans."

Posted by: bobs at March 27, 2011 09:56 PM


I'm afraid that's a very likely thing to happen. It will be the Libyan's fault just like it's the Iraqi's fault, and the Afghan's fault. What I don't understand is how the world survived before Americans came along.

Posted by: Rob Payne at March 27, 2011 10:05 PM

Rob: It didn't.
At least, the "free" world didn't.

Posted by: Greg at March 27, 2011 11:09 PM

Have you seen today's post by Juan Cole? I'd be interested in seeing your response.

Posted by: godoggo at March 27, 2011 11:12 PM

Juan Cole was for the war in Iraq before he was against it. Then he worried we'd withdraw too quickly. So now he's found an imperial adventure he can fully support. White orientalist who can't write. Same old, same old.

Posted by: bobs at March 28, 2011 12:58 AM


I don't think your allegations about Juan Cole are true, but if you can point to evidence of his supposed early support for the war in Iraq, I'm interested. Not that Juan Cole is always right, but you shouldn't just defame him.


The statement below by Juan Cole reflects my own problem with his thought:

"Allowing the Neoconservatives to brand humanitarian intervention as always their sort of project does a grave disservice to international law and institutions, and gives them credit that they do not deserve, for things in which they do not actually believe."

Cole's attitude leads him to throw his support for the democracy movement in Iran (which invariably supports the US military messing around in Iran), and in Libya, and throughout the world for "humanitarian" reasons. I think it's naive beyond compare to think that will strengthen international law and institutions, or that it undercuts the dreaded Neoconservatives.

Sure, Qaddafi is bad. Sure, Libyans have a right to oppose dictatorship. But count me skeptical that our 'deciders' care about Iranians or Libyans, and count me just as skeptical of the military being a promising 'humanitarian' organization. The military is not about to let itself become the Red Cross, and supporting 'humanitarian' use of the military the way Juan Cole posits will just strengten our unbridled militarism and lead to more of the type of abuses Cole incorrectly links exclusively with the Neoconservatives. It's naive and weak thinking.

Posted by: N E at March 28, 2011 06:36 AM

For people who see things the way Cole does the war in Libya is about them, not Libya. It’s about how much better liberals are than conservatives. The noble liberal warrior defending truth, justice, and the American way. Having said that, I still find Juan Cole to be worth reading even if I don’t care for his political views and his obvious love affair with Obama.

Posted by: Rob Payne at March 28, 2011 08:32 AM

Cole supported the war in Iraq so long as all the imperialist powers were onboard. When it looked like UNSC support was out, Cole bolted. Even right before the war, Cole said he had "mixed views." (Mixed FUCKING views!)

June Cole: 2002 - The planned war against Iraq is not being done right so far. If the Security Council and the European Union get aboard with it, then I will be all for it.

There you have it. If only we can get the right imperialist powers to agree, then Cole is all for the war.

And that's the guy lecturing the left...

(I didn't defame Cole. Cole defamed himself.)

Posted by: bobs at March 28, 2011 12:34 PM

As for my "Orientalist" label of Juan Cole, that's what I call someone who ties his support for vaporizing the natives to the assent of... The European Union.

The funny thing about Cole is that he lacks any sense of self-awareness. That's how he can write Top Ten Lists for Blowing Shit Up!

Posted by: bobs at March 28, 2011 12:47 PM

Depleted uranium munitions. A cruise missle landing CANNOT be concidered good for ANY indigenous population, no matter what the reason. Even the babies will be inhaleing radioactive particulates.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 28, 2011 01:40 PM

HOW do we end up with such shameless individuals ( and without any feelings for other human beings ) in position of power in our govt?

They have to be this way Rupa or they would not be in the positions they are. You internalize the values and worldview of empire. You have to be counted on to do the "right" thing...If not, you will be replaced by someone else who will do the right thing...All authoritarian power structures work the same. Either you conform to it or you're out. The US rules the world by force and violence for the benefit of ruling class elites...the rest of the population-both home and abroad-are superfluous.-Tony

Posted by: tony at March 28, 2011 02:39 PM

@ Tony
These are Gates' famous words........
“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Mr. Gates told an assembly of Army cadets here.

By using "future" he is excluding himself from the equation and by using "land army", he is not contradicting himself in terms of action in Libya. Grant you, 'he internalises the values and worldview of empire' as you state. But what about his children and grandchildren ( and those of other shameless people in position of power )? Don't they count or matter? What do they think of such hypocritical statements and actions? What kind of values do they learn? What kind of future generation they ( Gates et al ) or rather we are going to have? And they are called "patriots"?
I just do not understand.
I guess, that is why I am not the Sec of Defense or a general or am not running for an office!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at March 28, 2011 05:47 PM

rupa Shah: I'd vote for YOU!

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 28, 2011 06:19 PM

Rupa Shah

I went and read Gates' speech because I couldn't believe he said that, and it didn't come across to me as whatsoever critical at all of war in general, any more than that old crank Macarthur was critical of war in general. Remember, Macarthur wanted to avoid a prlonged land war in Korea/China by making a huge radioactive buffer around it through Manchuria, and using nukes against commies (unlike the respectable anticommunist Japanese) was okay with him. Similarly, Gates just struck me as wanting to bomb the hell out of everyone in Central Asia with drones and other technology instead of deploying troops. That debate about how to best be militaristic, and with funding to what service branches (and now intel agencies and private contractors) is an old one within the MICFiC.

Posted by: N E at March 28, 2011 06:25 PM


I will agree that like many other people, Juan Cole began to sound a lot more radical over time, and in 2002 he may well have said he had "mixed views" about the upcoming war. What he meant by that, if he said it, I could only hazard a guess or go read his archives, but that's about as bold as most people got then. (Nonetheless, that time period was when the fuses in my own political head blew out).

Still, having "mixed views" really isn't the same as being a supporter, especially if that kind of hesitancy is the most almost anyone will listen to at the time. I assume you remember how crazed that environment was (and it sure transformed our political landscape for decades, maybe longer). Cole was not as bold or brave back then as he seemed to be later, in the midst of the horror, but I don't think he supported the war at the start. Still, you're right that he and many others should have been stronger and braver than they were. Even I should have, and a lot of people quit listening to me, because Paul Simon really was right.

Posted by: N E at March 28, 2011 06:47 PM

NE: I don't think your allegations about Juan Cole are true, but if you can point to evidence of his supposed early support for the war in Iraq, I'm interested.

This is rather hard to do, since Cole goes back and changes what he wrote without noting it. You would have to save the original to really get his first take on things. Because when he changes his mind, the posts change too.

Posted by: Susan at March 28, 2011 09:29 PM

Here is something we know about the newest leader of the Libyan rebels:

Libyan rebel leader spent much of past 20 years in suburban VA

WASHINGTON - The new leader of Libya's opposition military spent the past two decades in suburban Virginia but felt compelled — even in his late-60s — to return to the battlefield in his homeland, according to people who know him.

Khalifa Hifter was once a top military officer for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but after a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s, Hifter switched to the anti-Gadhafi opposition. In the early 1990s, he moved to suburban Virginia, where he established a life but maintained ties to anti-Gadhafi groups.

Late last week, Hifter was appointed to lead the rebel army, which has been in chaos for weeks. He is the third such leader in less than a month, and rebels interviewed in Libya openly voiced distrust for the most recent leader, Abdel Fatah Younes, who had been at Gadhafi's side until just a month ago.

At a news conference Thursday, the rebel's military spokesman said Younes will stay as Hifter's chief of staff, and added that the army — such as it is — would need "weeks" of training.

Read more:

I think he lived pretty close to the CIA headquarters.

Posted by: Susan at March 28, 2011 09:32 PM


"He made the decision he had to go inside Libya," alHasi said Saturday. "With his military experience, and with his strong relationship with officers on many levels of rank, he decided to go and see the possibility of participating in the military effort against Gadhafi."

He added that Hifter is very popular among members of the Libyan army, "and he is the most experienced person in the whole Libyan army." He acted out of a sense of "national responsibility," alHasi said.

"This responsibility no one can take care of but him," alHasi said. "I know very well that the Libyan army especially in the eastern part is in desperate need of his presence."

Omar Elkeddi, a Libyan expatriate journalist based in Holland, said in an interview that the opposition forces are getting more organized than they were at the beginning up the uprising. Hifter, he said, is "very professional, very distinguished," and commands great respect.

Since coming to the United States in the early 1990s, Hifter lived in suburban Virginia outside Washington, D.C. Badr said he was unsure exactly what Hifter did to support himself, and that Hifter primarily focused on helping his large family.

Read more:

I say let's check his accounts for deposits from CIA checks.

Posted by: Susan at March 28, 2011 09:33 PM

@Mike Meyer
Thank you. You are very trusting but I would not last a day in any position so thanks But, No thanks.

And here is another shameless individual who has moved on from his favourite "known and unknown" to "confusion". And for him to criticise the administration..........


And his statement, "If you go into something with confusion and ambiguity, and we have heard four or five different explanations of why we're there, that is the root of the problem" really takes the cake. I guess, he has already forgotten how many explanations were given for going into a day!!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at March 28, 2011 09:52 PM


It was actually bobs who said Juan Cole originally only conditionally opposed the war. I questioned that, and I still am unsure, but I did go back and read a post where Juan Cole said Powell had done a good job on some points in that dreadful UN speech, so Cole definitely was able to be more than a little stupid back in the day. I already knew that he had become more radical/enraged over time, but that was pretty common.

I was unaware Cole changes past posts. If true, that's not too commendable.

I think you're right to be cynical about all these opposition leaders. I didn't know about Hifter--thanks for the info--but I would have been much more surprised if that weren't so.

Posted by: N E at March 28, 2011 10:14 PM

Cole has hardly become radical or enraged - well, maybe a bit enraged at how the US fucked up in Iraq.

And here is some more information on Hifter:

A CIA commander for the Libyan rebels
28 March 2011

The Libyan National Council, the Benghazi-based group that speaks for the rebel forces fighting the Gaddafi regime, has appointed a long-time CIA collaborator to head its military operations. The selection of Khalifa Hifter, a former colonel in the Libyan army, was reported by McClatchy Newspapers Thursday and the new military chief was interviewed by a correspondent for ABC News on Sunday night.

Hifter’s arrival in Benghazi was first reported by Al Jazeera on March 14, followed by a flattering portrait in the virulently pro-war British tabloid the Daily Mail on March 19. The Daily Mail described Hifter as one of the “two military stars of the revolution” who “had recently returned from exile in America to lend the rebel ground forces some tactical coherence.” The newspaper did not refer to his CIA connections.

McClatchy Newspapers published a profile of Hifter on Sunday. Headlined “New Rebel Leader Spent Much of Past 20 years in Suburban Virginia,” the article notes that he was once a top commander for the Gaddafi regime, until “a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s.”

Hifter then went over to the anti-Gaddafi opposition, eventually emigrating to the United States, where he lived until two weeks ago when he returned to Libya to take command in Benghazi.

The McClatchy profile concluded, “Since coming to the United States in the early 1990s, Hifter lived in suburban Virginia outside Washington, DC.” It cited a friend who “said he was unsure exactly what Hifter did to support himself, and that Hifter primarily focused on helping his large family.”

To those who can read between the lines, this profile is a thinly disguised indication of Hifter’s role as a CIA operative. How else does a high-ranking former Libyan military commander enter the United States in the early 1990s, only a few years after the Lockerbie bombing, and then settle near the US capital, except with the permission and active assistance of US intelligence agencies? Hifter actually lived in Vienna, Virginia, about five miles from CIA headquarters in Langley, for two decades.

The agency was very familiar with Hifter’s military and political work. A Washington Post report of March 26, 1996 describes an armed rebellion against Gaddafi in Libya and uses a variant spelling of his name. The article cites witnesses to the rebellion who report that “its leader is Col. Khalifa Haftar, of a contra-style group based in the United States called the Libyan National Army.”

The comparison is to the “contra” terrorist forces financed and armed by the US government in the 1980s against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. The Iran-Contra scandal, which rocked the Reagan administration in 1986-87, involved the exposure of illegal US arms sales to Iran, with the proceeds used to finance the contras in defiance of a congressional ban. Congressional Democrats covered up the scandal and rejected calls to impeach Reagan for sponsoring the flagrantly illegal activities of a cabal of former intelligence operatives and White House aides.

A 2001 book, Manipulations africaines, published by Le Monde diplomatique, traces the CIA connection even further back, to 1987, reporting that Hifter, then a colonel in Gaddafi’s army, was captured fighting in Chad in a Libyan-backed rebellion against the US-backed government of Hissène Habré. He defected to the Libyan National Salvation Front (LNSF), the principal anti-Gaddafi group, which had the backing of the American CIA. He organized his own militia, which operated in Chad until Habré was overthrown by a French-supported rival, Idriss Déby, in 1990.

According to this book, “the Haftar force, created and financed by the CIA in Chad, vanished into thin air with the help of the CIA shortly after the government was overthrown by Idriss Déby.” The book also cites a Congressional Research Service report of December 19, 1996 that the US government was providing financial and military aid to the LNSF and that a number of LNSF members were relocated to the United States.

Posted by: Susan at March 28, 2011 10:53 PM

Here is "An Open Letter to Liberal Supporters of the Libya War"
by Robert Naiman


Posted by: Rupa Shah at March 28, 2011 11:08 PM


Back in 2006 or so, probably during the employment of the Salvadorean option, I remember Cole being enraged--and more radical than he had been in his suggestions that it was all about oil, which it obviously mostly is, with a few wrinkles.

I don't read Cole often now and don't know where his head is at or if he is reliable nowadays.

Posted by: N E at March 28, 2011 11:13 PM

Hello Rupa,

I am just going to post a few quick comments since i dont have time to say to much as usual!!

Grant you, 'he internalises the values and worldview of empire' as you state.

Yes....It cant be any other way...If he did not, he would not be where he is....As I said somewhere in some other thread on this blog, you dont become head of Goldmine Sachs by questioning the validity of capitalism...You may have misgivings about certain policies or think things need to be changed when the whole systems starts to blow up and so on, but the right of capital and corporations to rule over the economy is never questioned by those who sit atop the economy...

But what about his children and grandchildren ( and those of other shameless people in position of power )? Don't they count or matter?

I don't understand this question. Do his children or grandchildren matter concerning what? They are not going to go fight in any wars...and their material well being is probably well taken care of...

What do they think of such hypocritical statements and actions? What kind of values do they learn?

I dont know....Maybe they learn the same values that Gates has, or maybe not.

What kind of future generation they ( Gates et al ) or rather we are going to have?

The future is bleak to say the least if we stay on the same path we are...We are destroying the planet at an alarming rate, and how we have not blow the world up yet is itself a miracle...But short term profit,domination and control trump those concerns for those that own the world. Tony

Posted by: tony at March 29, 2011 04:13 PM