Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A question of lies

Has anyone but me noticed the very odd form of code that politicians speak, when talking about Libya?

There's "the Libyan army", which as far as anyone can tell consists mostly of mercenaries from Mali. There's the "rebel leadership", who seem to lack even the most basic qualification to lead anything, viz. a sense of their own aims.

(Hint, fellas: read this.)

There was Col Gadhaffi's "ceasefire" on 18 March, which was clearly a signal for "Finish them off quickly!"

When NATO, or whatever they're styling themselves currently, first started bombing, they said it was "to protect Libyan civilians from their own regime. Not, we must stress at length, not to force Colonel Gadhaffi out." So - after all the rejoicing at persuading the good colonel to give up on his weapons and terrorist training programmes, NATO was going to all this trouble to antagonise him, only to leave him in power to live out his days as "the man who beat NATO"? Yeah, right, and I've got this beautiful bridge to sell you...

A few days later, President Obama wanted to "hand over operational leadership from American to international authorities". And so, after days of trivial wrangling, the American operations commander signed over command to a NATO commander, who continued using the same (mostly American) planes and missiles to fly the same missions.

A couple of days ago, it was the African Union's turn to say what they clearly didn't mean. When they triumphantly announced that the regime had accepted their "ceasefire" proposal, it didn't take much of a visionary to foresee that the rebels would refuse it. And thus that this "proposal" had more to do with the need for the AU to be seen to be doing something - taking the initiative, not letting NATO have everything their own way - than stopping the fighting.

Today's headline is "Former (defected) Libyan foreign minister says Libya could become 'next Somalia'". In other words, he's also afraid of the possibility that NATO will fail to finish the job, and so he wants to stiffen their resolve.

In short, everyone and his dog is talking about Libya in these curiously coded terms. It's not hard to see what they really mean. My question is: who are they lying to, and why?

It's one thing for tinpot African dictators who control their own media to talk like this. But in the USA and Europe, surely the Free Press is supposed to keep some kind of a check on what is really going on. And yet, as far as I can see, nobody is being called on this bullshit.

Do we all take it for granted, that politicians won't say what they mean? Are we so numbed by the 24 hour news cycle that we don't even notice? Or are we just comfortable with the pretense, so we don't want to discuss reality? Seems to me that none of these options reflects well on "democracy"...

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