Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lessons from Misurata today

Today the city of Misurata, on the coast in western Libya, was full of profitable lessons.

Human Rights Watch saw Gadaffi's forces launching at least three cluster bombs into the es-Shawahda neighborhood, and they recovered unexploded bomblets, MAT-120 120 mm ammunition made in Spain in 2007. Spain banned cluster bombs the following year. Apart from being indiscriminate in where they land, the bomblets often fail to explode until a little kid sees the bright yellow toy and kicks it or picks it up.

Qadaffi's forces had managed to close the port on Thursday, but a Greek ship arrived on Friday and was able to unload 400 tons of supplies and take away 1200 sick people, so the opposition had evidently managed to push Gaddafi back and reopen the port. It appears that the resort to cluster bombs was a desperate response to bad news, and there's no question that this play will bite Gaddafi's butt by strengthening people's commitment to getting rid of him. When we get in trouble and don't trust God, it's very easy to be provoked into doing something stupid that will dig us in deeper. Is Gaddafi the only one with this problem?

The Americans, the British, and the French, who at this point can't imagine walking away with Gaddafi in possession of the field, for sure will play this to justify further action, and it will doubtless work. Gaddafi's cluster bombs will go up into his own heart, just as Psalm 37 says. But as Human Rights Watch explains, for the Americans to be indignant about cluster bombs being used against civilians will cause many to laugh out loud. Human Rights Watch explains:

The widespread use of cluster munitions, especially by U.S. and U.K. ground forces, caused at least hundreds of civilian casualties. Cluster munitions, which are large weapons containing dozens or hundreds of submunitions, endanger civilians because of their broad dispersal, or "footprint," and the high number of submunitions that do not explode on impact. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) reported that it used 10,782 cluster munitions,[2] which could contain at least 1.8 million submunitions. The British used an additional seventy air-launched and 2,100 ground-launched cluster munitions, containing 113,190 submunitions. Although cluster munition strikes are particularly dangerous in populated areas, U.S. and U.K. ground forces repeatedly used these weapons in attacks on Iraqi positions in residential neighborhoods. Coalition air forces also caused civilian casualties by their use of cluster munitions, but to a much lesser degree.

So for the British and Americans to make something of Gaddafi's cluster bombs has a funny sound.

Although lying about it today, the United States and probably Britain have also been using depleted uranium munitions, which will be killing Libyan civilians and causing birth defects and cancer for a long time.

I will be glad to see Gaddafi go. It's pretty disgusting to see people who have a problem with Americans supporting a dictator because "he's our bastard" supporting Gaddafi now because he's their bastard. But I remember Jehu the son of Nimshi, who did away with Ahab's house as instructed, but came to grief because he wouldn't obey God himself. For the Americans to punish Gaddafi as he deserves when they are perfectly OK with committing all of Gaddafi's crimes themselves will assuredly lead to more trouble for the United States of America. I'm saying it now ahead of time: when that happens, there's no reason to suppose that it will be because there was something wrong with defending the Libyan people from Gaddafi. It will arise from the hypocrisy of punishing Gaddafi while doing all his crimes ourselves. The log-in-eye thing again. When we see someone like Gaddafi, let's learn from him not to be like him, before we do anything else.

Omar al-Mukhtar, the leader of Libyan resistance to the Italian colonialists, explained it best. Someone said they wanted to kill the Italian prisoners, and Omar Mukhtar told them, "Don’t do that” One of his fighters said, "But they kill us." And Omar Mukhtar said to him, "But they are not our teachers. Therefore we should not learn wrong from them." Instead, as Ezekiel explained, we should learn from them to act otherwise.


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