The narcissism of the iPad imperialists who want to invade Libya

Brendan O’Neill

February 25, 2011

In a modern political sphere that has its fair share of narcissists and ignoramuses, no one is quite as narcissistic or as ignorant as the liberal interventionist. From the comfort of his Home Counties home, possibly to the sound of birds tweeting on the windowsill, the liberal interventionist will write furious, spittle-stained articles about the need to invade faraway countries in order to topple their dictators. As casually and thoughtlessly as the rest of us write shopping lists, he will pen a 10-point plan for the bombing of Yugoslavia or Afghanistan or Iraq and not give a second thought to the potentially disastrous consequences.

Now, having learned nothing from the horrors that they cheer-led like excitable teenage girls over the past 15 years, these bohemian bombers, these latte-sipping lieutenants, these iPad imperialists are back. This time they’re demanding the invasion of Libya. In the Guardian Ian Birrell brushes aside the eight-year nightmare of Iraq in one sentence – we shouldn’t be “scarred by the foolishness of the Iraq invasion”, he says – as he calls on the international community to spearhead a “rapid intervention” to save the people of Libya. It’s like an “apocalyptic Hollywood film” and there are even “rumours of systematic male rape”, he says, proving once again that there is no situation so bad that it cannot be made to sound even worse by hacks seeking to emotionally blackmail NATO into dropping a couple of tonnes of bombs.

Over at Slate, a headline sums up the outlook of Libya-concerned liberals: “It’s time to intervene.” Apparently world leaders can send a message to the broader Arab world by getting a grip on the Libyan crisis now. “Before the region descends into protracted civil conflict, the international community has the opportunity, in Libya, to set an important precedent and save thousands of lives in the process.” Meanwhile, a gaggle of human rights groups is calling on the UN and the EU to intervene to “protect Libyan civilians from government killings”. The White Man’s Burden is alive and well, it seems, though it has been thoroughly de-Kiplingised and turned into a super-liberal, PC endeavour.

The ignorance of liberal interventionists is captured in the fact that they seem to have wilfully forgotten the disastrous interventions of the past 15 years, all of which, from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan to Iraq, exacerbated local tensions and led to more, not less, bloodshed. It takes a special kind of arrogance to be able to demand yet another international military venture when the terrible consequences of your last one are still plain to see. And their narcissism is contained in the fact that the real reason they are making these demands for war is to make themselves feel good, to demonstrate that they care with a capital C. They know nothing of the countries that they want to see invaded, and care little about the potential of such invasions to destabilise things further. No, all that matters is that in saying “Forget Iraq, let’s now attack Gaddafi!”, they can publicly demonstrate their own moral indefatigability.

Yes, what is happening in Libya is of great cause for concern. But it is also exciting. A people is liberating itself, city by city, and in the process is creating the foundations for a new kind of society and even a potential democracy. To invade now in order to satisfy Western politicians’ and hacks’ lust for a bit of purpose in their humdrum lives would be to turn this fledgling democracy into a moral protectorate of the West – and store up more war for the future.

  1. #1 by B.A.Frémaux-Soormally on 02/26/2011 - 9:34

    “…invade Libya…”

    INVADE, INVADE, INVADE….the new religion of the West!


  2. #2 by massimo on 02/26/2011 - 9:34

    Where Are those people to save the Palestinian people from Israel ?
    Ahhhhh …Do I hear someone says OIL !!!

  3. #3 by Frank on 02/27/2011 - 9:34

    May be it is exciting but I grieve for the dead and maimed.

  4. #4 by DR.NUR on 02/27/2011 - 9:34

    Mubarak Toppled by CIA Because He Opposed US Plans for War with Iran; US Eyes Seizure of Suez Canal; Was this the Threat that Forced Mubarak to Quit?

    Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
    February 18, 2011

    Washington DC, Feb. 18, 2011 — There never was an “Egyptian revolution,” but rather a behind-the-scenes military putsch by a junta of CIA puppet generals who evidently could not succeed in their goal of ousting Hosni Mubarak without the help of a heavy-duty ultimatum from Washington in the night between Thursday, February 10 and Friday, February 11, 2011. There is growing evidence that the threat in question involved the seizure or blocking of the Suez Canal, the Egyptian waterway which carries over 8% of all seaborne world trade, which the imperialists tried to grab back in 1956, and from which they would today like to exclude China, Iran, and Russia.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011
    SAS enters Libya (Mail on Sunday).

    Libya, once one of the poorest countries in the world, now has the highest Human Development Index score in Africa. (Wikipedia.)

    It is well ahead of certain countries in Europe, thanks to Gaddafi.

    On 26 February 2011, at the UK’s Independent, Peter Popham had an article entitled “Tribalism is key to the Libya’s future”. (Thanks to Blackwatch for the link)

    Popham makes the following points:

    1. Gaddafi came to power as a force for modernisation.

    2. He “turned the desert green … and raised the literacy rate from 17% to 80%.

    3. He called for an end to tribalism.

    Tribalisms influence has weakened, “as more modern ties of schooling and urban neighbourhoods gained in importance.”

    According to former British ambassador Sir Richard Dalton: “Tribal origins have no existence in Libyan institutions or in public affairs.”

    Tripoli by gordontour

    BUT, Gaddafi opposed the New World Order, and so his country has to be wrecked.

    On 27th February 2011 we read that the UK’s notorious SAS are in Libya.

    “The Special Forces soldiers landed in two C130 Hercules military transport aircraft on a landing strip … south of the eastern port of Benghazi…

    “A senior source confirmed that an advance party of SAS men had been in Libya for several days…

    “The SAS party had sneaked into Libya in plain clothes on commercial flights…

    The UK’s HMS Cumberland “is due to return to Benghazi”.

    Another Royal Navy ship, the destroyer HMS York, “has also been deployed on standby”.

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