Friday, February 25, 2011

From The Libyan Front: Their Pleas For Help Ignored,The Rebels Fight On, Alone.

The latest from the Libyan Front: Unarmed demonstrators are being mowed down in the streets of Tripoli. The Gaddafi regime positioned gunmen on rooftops and at ground level to fire automatic weapons and even an anti-aircraft gun into crowds assembled for the first major anti-government march in the city in several days. Witnesses are reporting multiple deaths. "In the first wave of fire, seven people within 10 meters of me were killed. Many people were shot in the head," said one man who marching from Tripoli's eastern Tajoura district. Moammar Gaddafi, from the ramparts of the Red Castle exhorted his followers: "Retaliate against them, retaliate against them." Wearing a fur cap, he shook his fist in the air: "Prepare to defend Libya, to defend the oil, dignity and independence."Elsewhere, Gaddafi's tanks dispatched against local residents and rebel soldiers have retaken the Misrata Airport.

Leon Wieseltier: Even if we intervene, we will not have democratized Libya. Libya will have democratized Libya. And it is both our moral duty and our strategic responsibility to align ourselves with this emerging and emancipated Libya. The idea that assistance does not compromise the autonomy of the assisted is in fact one of the central beliefs of liberalism. We invoke it in our social policies all the time. We help people to help themselves. And that is all that is being asked of us by these liberalizing revolutions; no less, but no more. We disappointed Tehran. We disappointed Cairo. Now we are disappointing Tripoli. It is so foolish, and so sad, and so indecent.

Christopher Hitchens: The United States, with or without allies, has unchallengeable power in the air and on the adjacent waters. It can produce great air lifts and sea lifts of humanitarian and medical aid, which will soon be needed anyway along the Egyptian and Tunisian borders, and which would purchase undreamed-of goodwill. It has the chance to make up for its pointless, discredited tardiness with respect to events in Cairo and Tunis. It also has a president who has shown at least the capacity to deliver great speeches on grand themes. Instead, and in the crucial and formative days in which revolutions are decided, we have had to endure the futile squawkings of a cuckoo clock.


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