WHEN CONFRONTING EVIL, BIPARTISANSHIP IS NOT THE ANSWER.
Witness against himself Obama has made bipartisan thinking infamous, and rightly so. When confronted to the worst extremism, such as the Tea Party, he crosses the bridge, and offers himself as a target. This way Tea Partisans need not vote for Perry, they may as well vote for Obama. Hey, everybody will win! The audacity to win! As one of the “senior advisers” of Obama, 40 years old, had the impudence to point out.
Bipartisan thinking was not invented by Obama, even in Anglo-Saxon countries. Some notables of the American revolution switched sides. Bipartisanship was already practiced by Pontius Pilatus. Earlier Plato befriended the tyrant of Syracuse, while claiming to be a partisan of the “Republic“. (Thus Christian despots did not burn Plato’s books, recognizing in him a kindred spirit.)
Confronted to Hitler, many crossed the bridge to him, in the name of openness, bipartisanship, and thus enabled him (among the first to do so was G.W. Bush’s grandfather Prescott, one of Hitler’s closest collaborators, head of American-Silesian; thus it was not surprising that Bush covered his family’s tracks by exhibiting the opposite attitude, loudly proclaiming a vast gap between himself and evil! Very crafty.)
Facile, or bipartisan, or not partisan, thinking incites some people to still make the case for Auschwitz. That they do not understand this does not excuse them. After all, most of the Germans who enabled Auschwitz did not understand that they did so. Actually they did not even know what Auschwitz was, nor wanted to conceive of it. That would have been un-German.
People who keep on making the case for Auschwitz can persevere in this, because not enough contempt, condemnation, and, first of all, revelation, has been heaped over them, their deliberate obscurantism and confusionism, and their criminal attitude of tolerance for “infamy”. (To use Voltaire’s non bipartisan semantics.)
Roger Cohen wrote an editorial, “Score One For Interventionism” in the New York Times. As Roger puts it:” Libya will not end the debate on intervention. But it confirms that the West must be prepared at times to fight for its values.”
Yes. One should not even have to wait for such a confirmation anymore. May 8, 1945 should have been enough confirmation. Remember Auschwitz? The threat thereof incited the most famous intervention of the spirit of the enlightenment of the West: when France and Britain declared war to Hitler and his criminal supporters. It took five years and eight months, but, ultimately, Western democracy, and the enlightenment of the West, crushed the Nazi barbarity.
So I expressed in a comment to the NYT, my agreement with Mr. Cohen:
“Score TWO for interventionism, as France threw out the dictator in Ivory Coast a few months earlier. So let’s recapitulate; France won two wars in a year, and the USA lost two, in a decade. Something else: France and Britain started the intervention in Bosnia, but, at the time, were too insecure to push it to victory quickly. France also intervened way late in Rwanda. Of this, no more.
Civilization needs to be enforced. “
I was a bit taken aback: just one reader of the NYT approved what I said, whereas more than 80 clueless individuals approved what I view as a tissue of the usual irrelevance, lies and stupidities from a guy called Richard Brauer, based in South Africa. That was more than twice the number of approvals any other comment got, which means that such mass murderous friendly thinking is widely shared by many who read the NYT.
Brauer made his mass murdering criminal friendly thinking transparent. It rests on a confusion of notions, and inventions.
1) The first point Richard Brauer made was that “Bosnia is still a mess“. Thus, according to Brauer, keeping order is more important than preventing holocausts. The West should not have saved millions in Bosnia, because it is still a mess.
Presumably, if Hitler had killed another 200 million people in Europe, it would have been less of a mess, and, thus, according to Brauer, and his admirers, a greater success. Mass murdering fascists, such as the Nazis are always fond to celebrate the “New Order“. (I was myself bombed, once, by a French fascist organization called “Ordre Nouveau“.)
Only fascists worry about order, rather than worry about human lives. So, actually, Brauer is somebody who has embraced a central tenet of fascism. To great applaud of the pseudo left wing readership of the New York Times. OK, Stalin, a genuine fascist, was also pseudo left wing (and boasted to Churchill that he killed even more Soviets than Hitler did.) Hitler too: not only did he invent the expression: National Sozialist, but he craftily borrowed socialist and left wing themes all over, to improve his appeal, as he cynically explained himself!
It is as if Brauer wrote this from the perspective of an old South African white racist supremacist fascist. Richard, tell us ain’t so.
That Bosnia is, or is not, a mess was not the reason to intervene in Bosnia for those whom superior morality guides (by opposition to those that Hitler, Ghadafi, and the like, guide). Of course if the Serbian fanatics had been left to their own instruments, they would have killed all the Muslims, and all the Croats. Indeed, as Brauer implicitly points out, order in Bosnia would be much better by now.
Similarly if whites South Africans had done like the white North Americans, and killed all the Indians, I mean, the black, order would reign much better in South Africa, and Brauer would rest easy. Much better order, mein Fuerer, and purity of essence, besides.
Historically, under a UN mandate, French and British troops were interposed between the civilians in Sarajevo, and the rogue (“Bosnian”) Serb army. Heavy Serb guns reached encircled Sarajevo, impacting it with thousands of high explosive shells, from 30 kilometers away.
The French, allied to Serbia in 1914, were leery to counter-attack the descendants of their ex-allies. But they had to save the population Serb fanatics were determined to exterminate.
The French finally used counterforce strikes: once a flying Serbian shell was detected on radar, the computer found where it originated from, and French shells were directed there. This destroyed the Serb guns, and allowed to stop the destruction of Sarajevo. The depredations of the fanatics kept on going, though, in the rest of Bosnia, and the siege of Sarajevo was not lifted. Years later NATO had to intervene in full. (Now Serbia is 99% collaborating with civilization, and improving by the day, in its anxiety to integrate the European Union, which is the final solution to the Yugoslav problem, for all concerned.)
2) The second point that the fascism loving Brauer made was that “It’s way too early to judge the USA a success, even on idealistic Western terms. We’re pretty far from a stable and democratic country at this point.” OK, I replaced in Brauer’s original version, the word “Libya” by “USA”. It sounds just as pertinent. If the USA is neither stable nor democratic at this point, why to require it for Libya?
3) The third point Brauer made was that “the rest of the world sees it [the intervention in Libya] as a naked grab by Western governments on behalf of their energy companies.”
Brauer does not seem to have observed that most of the world is the West. At least, officially speaking. Indeed, the UN Charter reflects the basic credo of the West. All the Americas are in the West (except for Cuba, which is not too clear about where it wants to be). Most of Africa is in the West (OK, except Zimbawe, Sudan, and a few limbo states). Most of Eurasia is in the West, too, philosophically speaking (even Russia, officially speaking; the notable exception being China, which is a collaborator and accomplice of the West, or, at least, its plutocracy). Did I forget Australia and Antarctica?
This is exactly why France was able to persuade most powers to support, or the rest to tacitly approve her intervention in Libya. France acted in the name of the principles of the West, id est of the principles of the Rest. This is by now the standard French tactic. It works if and only if genuine.
For Brauer, and his ignorant, or malevolent admirers, if the “rest of the world” believes in a complete, counterfactual idiocy, we should consider that a problem. However real problems are not defined by counter-factual idiots.
As I said many times, Ghadafi was giving the West all the oil it needed. 80% of Libyan oil was going to France and Italy, which had, therefore no motivation to engage in war according to those who think that the war was about oil. Actually the oil flow from Libya has been stopped for more than 6 months now, so the oil men ought to have been on Ghadafi’s side, which they were, indeed.
The historical development of establishing a set of reason for revolution in the Arabo-Muslim world and in Libya in particular, was due to philosophers, not to oil traffickers, and other plutocrats.
This is something important to understand. In the 1930s, when France tried to do something against Hitler, American officials argued that France was being imperialistic, and that Germany should be left to be all it wanted to be, preserved from the terrible French imperialistic intervention. That argument was entertained as early as 1934.
There was just one fly in that ointment; the Ambassador of the USA in Berlin, the historian Dodd, agreed 100% with his imminent colleague, the French ambassador in Berlin, Francois-Poncet. What did Washington do? In 1939, it replaced Dodd by a pro-Nazi ambassador. The best way to encourage Hitler to be firm with France.
The fact remains that philosophers were singularly silent in the 1930s (many, most of a new generation, fought courageously, in the 1940s, against Nazism, and died that way; but by then the infuriated Nazi dragon had escaped the grotto).
In the 1930s, Anglo-Saxon plutocrats collaborated with Hitler and other fascists, because they augmented their profits that way. This collaboration was so enormous that it allowed Hitler to survive the initial shock against France and Britain (although the Nazis losses, by the time France fell, were already considerable, comprising more than 50,000 elite troops and officers; by the time Hitler had to attack the USSR, he had won in Greece, but his victorious paratroops had been wiped out; by the time American soldiers fought their first shots with the Nazis, the French had inflicted the decisive defeat to Rommel’s Afrika Korps, deep in the desert).
Plutocrats collaborated with Ghadafi intensely. Thus they had no interest to fight him. Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal gives an example, August 30 2011. Here we go:
“ TRIPOLI—On the ground floor of a six-story building here, agents working for Moammar Gadhafi sat in an open room, spying on emails and chat messages with the help of technology Libya acquired from the West….
Amesys, a unit of French technology firm Bull SA, [which] installed the monitoring center. A warning by the door bears the Amesys logo. The sign reads: “Help keep our classified business secret. Don’t discuss classified information out of the HQ.”…..The room, explored Monday by The Wall Street Journal, provides clear new evidence of foreign companies’ cooperation in the repression of Libyans under Col. Gadhafi’s almost 42-year rule. The surveillance files found here include emails written as recently as February, after the Libyan uprising had begun… VASTech SA Pty Ltd, a small South African firm, provided the regime with tools to tap and log all the international phone calls going in and out of the country, according to emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the matter. VASTech declined to discuss its business in Libya due to confidentiality agreements.”
Maybe Mr. Brauer is somehow related to VASTech, or to the oil companies which lost money due to the Libyan rebellion?
Conclusion? France intervened in Libya not because her plutocrats wanted it, but because (some of her) philosophers made an irresistible case for it. To French president Sarkozy. Contrarily to the 1930s, when the USA was systematically hostile to France’s higher thinking, Obama’s USA cooperated, and France was able to convince enough of the rest (to get the 9 votes at the UNSC she needed; she got 10).
By the way, genuine French philosophers are not in love with French plutocrats, although at least two individuals (BHL and the father of Bruni’s first child), belong to both categories. Usually there is strong, solid, professional and intimate enmity between both groups.
Mr. Brauer neglects the interventions of the Western powers sometimes assisted by African allies in the Sudan (where French troops died in Darfur), Sierra Leone, Liberia, Chad (where France fought Ghadafi for decades, recovering a part of Chad occupied by the guy with the bad hairdo), Rwanda, Ivory Coast and Libya (the two French led interventions of 2011). Among other things. Intervention also worked against racist South Africa (but failed to replace racist Rhodesia by the better regime, as Zimbawe is clearly a terrible place).
So what motivates the likes of the ignorantly aggressive Mr. Brauer? Does Mr. Brauer, and his supporters regret, deep down inside, that France intervened against the genocidal, racist, fascist Hitler, and his Neues Ordnung?
Or is Mr. Brauer happy to join a herd of the ignorant and facile, thus creating cheaply in him and his flock the illusion of strength and wisdom? In other words, naturally enough, Mr. Brauer whines when one attack fascism, because he indulges in the fascist reflex.
Thought crime ought to not send people in jail always, but it certainly should not go without condemnation, and evisceration, when it boils down to making a shrine to the concept of holocaust.
Thus those inclined to idiotic lies of the mass criminality inducing type have to be answered, even if we have to stoop very low to do so, and engage in a shouting match. Ignoring the stupid brutes all too long is what made Hitler, Stalin or Pol-Pot possible.
Right now the partisans and practitioners of torture in the USA are loudly claiming that torture is the best way to go forward. Never mind that it is a direct violation of the Third Geneva Convention, never mind that the U.S. Army, and the most elementary logic, are against it: Cheney and Yoo (the UC Berkeley professor of law who wrote the legal opinion giving the green light to Bush) preach torture, with more boldness than ever.
They have been encouraged to do so by the ambiguous attitude of the ever bipartisan president. Confronted to torture, Obama crossed the bridge, and said: we don’t do that, but we will not do anything about those who did that, and want more of it. Instead of dragging Bush, Cheney, Yoo, and a Federal judge I forgot the name of, to court, Obama said: let them be, let’s not rush to judgment. Actually, let’s not go to any sort of judgment. Obama let torture walk free, as he let the banksters walk free. And now he is surprised that society is captive, and people feel that it is his fault.
French general Paul Aussaresses admitted in his 2001 book, “Services spéciaux, Algérie 1955–1957“, to the use of torture during the Algerian war (he claimed under civilian orders from subalterns to F. Mitterrand). Subsequent to his gloating, for justifying the use of torture, the elderly Aussaresses was condemned in court, stripped of his army rank, stripped of the right to wear a uniform, and he was stripped of his Legion of Honor. All of this happened decades after Aussaresses apparently advised South American militaries about his methods of torture. In other words, torturers breed torturers. Worldwide.
Of course, convicted criminal Aussaresses went on major media of the USA to justify the use of torture against Al Qaeda. His defense of torture arguably incited the American proponents of torture. Thus thought crime propagates. Bipartisanship about torture, as bipartisan about anything else dubious, under the pretext of coolness, is encouraging torture, and all other sorts of evil.
France, whatever France means, lost the Algerian war (some very close family members of mine died). Although, technically, the French army had won. But it was the wrong sort of victory. That war was not a military campaign, but a campaign about right and wrong, and the usage of torture guaranteed wrong.
In 2011, France intervened, and won, twice: in Ivory Coast, and in Libya. Why? How? By being on the side of right, twice. If one wants to win, one better be right. To start with. That Obama forgot in Afghanistan, in his colossal naivety. But one would expect nothing else from someone whose moral sense is about being bipartisan, not attributing blame, and looking real cool, no matter what. Such a moral sense does not have “right” as a fundamental notion. “Right” is all about how it looks.
Obama encountered Hitler. What do you think happened? “Enough blame to go around,” confirmed the president. OK, pathetic, I agree.
Being bipartisan about holocausts is no option for the morally correct. Non assistance to people in danger is one of the worst crimes there is. Once one has justified the worst, or let it go free, and unmolested, how much worse can one do? Indulge in infamy, instead of just entertaining it?