2011-02-22

Tripoli

by Neil Godfrey

How irrelevant is all this shite about Paul and the gospels.

Gaddafi’s Western tutorial. (I quote the following a a pre-response to hypocritical outrage from certain quarters that I am surely to soon hear. Those whose outrage would have more meaning are those who have identified with humanity, not the NYT editorials or political powers.)

The audacity of Reaganite terrorism was as impressive as its scale. To select only one example, for which events in Germany provided a pretext, in April 1986 the US Air Force bombed Libya, killing dozens of civilians. To add a personal note, on the day of the bombing, at about 6:30 pm, I received a phone call from Tripoli from the Mideast correspondent of ABC TV, Charles Glass, an old friend. He advised me to watch the 7pm TV news. In 1986, all the TV channels ran their major news programs at 7pm. I did so, and exactly at 7, agitated news anchors switched to their facilities in Libya so that they could present, live, the US bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi, the first bombing in history enacted for prime time TV — no slight logistical feat: the bombers were denied the right to cross France and had to take a long detour over the Atlantic to arrive just in time for the evening news. After showing the exciting scenes of the cities in flames, the TV channels switched to Washington, for sober discussion of how the US was defending itself from Libyan terror, under the newly devised doctrine of “selfdefense against future attack.” Officials informed the country that they had certain knowledge that Libya had carried out a bombing of a disco in Berlin a few days earlier in which a US soldier had been killed. The certainty reduced to zero shortly after, as quietly conceded well after its purpose had been served. And it would have been hard to find even a raised eyebrow about the idea that the disco bombing would have justified the murderous assault on Libyan civilians.

The media were also polite enough not to notice the curious timing. Commentators were entranced by the solidity of the non-existent evidence and Washington’s dedication to law. In a typical reaction, the NYT editors explained that “even the most scrupulous citizen can only approve and applaud the American attacks on LibyaÉ the United States has prosecuted [Qaddafi] carefully, proportionately — and justly,” the evidence for Libyan responsibility for the disco bombing has been “now laid out clearly to the public,” and “then came the jury, the European governments to which the United States went out of its way to send emissaries to share evidence and urge concerted action against the Libyan leader.” Entirely irrelevant is that no credible evidence was laid out and that the “jury” was quite skeptical, particularly in Germany itself, where intensive investigation had found no evidence at all; or that the jury was calling on the executioner to refrain from any action.

From http://www.chomsky.info/talks/20100323.htm

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  • Bob Carlson
    2011-02-22 08:23:48 UTC - 08:23 | Permalink

    I suppose the real irony is that in the wake of the Feb. 5 celebration of Reagan’s 100th birthday, a Presidents’ Day Gallup Poll has Ronald Reagan as the greatest US President. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin was on MSNBC today to discuss it and pointed out that, after more time had passed, historians were likely to take a much different opinion and remain steadfast in their view that the greatest American Presidents were Lincoln, Washington, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Whatever the case, many American Republican politicians worship Reagan, and were likely to have supported the the bombing of Libya as well as George Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

  • maryhelena
    2011-02-22 17:31:34 UTC - 17:31 | Permalink

    Neil: “How irrelevant is all this shite about Paul and the gospels.”

    It’s not irrelevant at all. Apart from the fact that many of us are trying to understand early Christian history for what it was – the wider implications are enormous. No historical Jesus means that the underpinnings of Western, Christian, US, triumphalism, could well be in for some shock therapy. Christian triumphalism – with the US as it’s primary symbol – would reap the backlash from a ‘revelation’ that the gospel figure of JC was not historical.

    So, don’t despair – rocking the assumed Christian foundations leads to rocking the political platform of it’s fellow travellers as well. ;-)

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