Peace Movement Bound For the Floor
In 1996, at the very tail end of the grunge era, Illinois rockers Local H released a song entitled “Bound For the Floor”. It’s hard to think of a better musical metaphor for the far-left’s response to the crisis in Libya.
“And you just don’t get it/
Keep it copacetic/
And you learn to accept it/
You’re so pathetic.”
With talk of a humanitarian intervention in Libya, the self-appointed spokesmen of the hard Left have very rarely shown their inability to learn anything as they are now.
Perusing some of the reactions from Rabble.ca, Canada’s far left has decided – quelle suprise! –they oppose a NATO military intervention in Libya. Their solution? Soldarity.
That’s precisely the theme of a StopWar.ca statement published on Rabble.ca by Derrick O’Keefe and written by the Canadian Peace Alliance.
“The Government of Canada has announced that it will send HMCS Charlottetown to Libya to join the US aircraft carrier fleet led by the USS Enterprise,” the CPA writes. “This is part of a much larger NATO led buildup in the area. The Canadian Peace Alliance is opposed to any military intervention in Libya or in the region as a whole.”
“If the western governments were genuine in their desire to help the people of Libya -- or Egypt or Tunisia for that matter -- they would not have supported the dictators and their regimes,” he continues. “That support for the dictators is a chief reason why the situation is so violent for the people rising up.
Interestingly enough, the CPA would find a lot of support from conservatives right now over whether or not supporting dictators like Hosni Mubarak was the wrong thing to do. The outstanding ovation given to Ron Paul at the 2011 CPAC conference stands as stark evidence that many conservatives agree that propping up dictators is unconditionally wrong.
But no bit of rhetoric could be emptier than accusing Western governments of emboldening Gadhafi’s response.
What groups like the CPA evidently haven’t clued into is that the west has been far from an enthusiastic supporter of Gadhafi. Moreover, it hasn’t mattered whether or not whether western governments welcomed Libya within the civilized global community (something they shouldn’t have done) or excluded Libya. Gadhafi is Gadhafi, and Gadhafi has been a dictator and a tyrant either way.
It isn’t that there’s no room whatsoever to lay a few fingers of blame: Gadhafi managed to get his hands on French-made Mirage fighter jets somehow, and it very clearly wasn’t over the dead body of the French government. (It’s also worth noting that France was not a member of NATO’s unified command when the jets were sold.) Gadhafi also managed to purchase arms sales from British weapons manufacturers, again with no one in Whitehall bothering to exercise some prerogative and kibosh the deal.
But the unacceptable compliance in European governments in allowing arms to be sold to Gadhafi’s regime doesn’t justify O’Keefe’s rhetoric.
“Western intervention only serves to install compliant and corrupt dictatorial regimes,” he insists. “The people of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have done more to bring peace and democracy to their countries than years of U.S.-led military occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The west needs to learn the lessons from those failed invasions and not compound the crisis in Libya.”
That’s an awfully big assumption to make, and it’s far too early to make such assumption. Left-wing observers in 1979 may have imagined that the Iranian democrats who started the Iranian revolution would triumph.
As anyone even remotely familiar with the Middle East today knows, it didn’t turn out that way.
Not that historical fact provides the CPA with any kind of deterrent from peddling their insipid rhetoric.
“The best way to help the people of Libya is to show our solidarity with their struggle,” the CPA concludes. “There are demonstrations planned all over Canada this weekend.”
This may come as a surprise to Derrick O’Keefe and the CPA: but Muammar al-Gadhafi doesn’t pay attention to Canadian protest rallies. I know: crazy, right? But somehow he just doesn’t care about what I hope will be thousands of Canadians – conservative and progressive alike -- coming out to show their support for Libyans fighting for freedom in their own country.
At times like this, solidarity can be a pretty great thing. But solidarity won’t stop a Libyan Mirage fighter jet from strafing a peaceful protest rally. But a Canadian CF-18 shooting it out of the sky sure as hell will.
So it’s really this simple: either the so-called “peace movement” needs to be prepared to accept some kind of foreign intervention in Libya – whether it ends with a no-fly zone, or merely begins there – or they will have to accept what Muammar al-Gadhafi has been doing to his people.
If Derrick O’Keefe and his anti-war cohorts don’t understand this, then they really just don’t get it. And they probably never will.
Patrick Ross is a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist