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Alex Cockburn tells it

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday July 16, 2011 12:16 PM

What's that? -- Oh, sorry, wrong Cockburn.

The contemporary Alex is in fine form today on the subject of the Empire's most recent adventure -- I mean, of course, the one in Libya:

Any pretensions the International Criminal Court might have had to judicial impartiality has been undermined by the ICC’s role as NATO’s creature, rushing out indictments of Gaddafi and his closest associates whenever NATO’s propaganda agenda has demanded it.

...America’s pwogwessives exulted that at last they had on their hands a “just war” and could cheer on NATO’s bombardiers with a clear conscience and entertain fantasies about the revolutionary purity of the rebels.

...The dropping of thousands of bombs and missiles, with whatever supposed standards of “pin point accuracy”, never elicits the enthusiastic support of civilians on the receiving end, even if a certificate of humanitarian assistance and merciful intent is stamped on every projectile.

How I wish I could write like that.

I particularly like the swipe at those sanctimonious hypocrites at the ICC, slathering a smarmy coat of due process and courtroom decorum over what amounts to the old Imperial practice of bringing vanquished enemies back to Rome and parading them through the streets in a cage.

And of course there can never be enough ridicule heaped on the pro-intervention Left, with their torturedly nuanced "positions". On the one hand, on the other hand....

Speaking of positions, they now find themselves in a comical one I've seen many times at the boat basin: One leg on the dock, one leg on the boat, as the boat drifts away from the dock. As often as not, people in this 'position' just dither until they run out of options, which doesn't take long. Their legs get too far apart to jump successfully either way, and they end up hilariously in the drink.

Comments (13)


do u think perhaps those of the left
into intervention here in libya
"with their tortured nuanced views "
folks you rightly thump
are a different crowd from those Alex
calls exulting pwogwessives ???

their lap top driven
"clean take out" fantasies
have a far broader popular base no ??
not of the left
a base
ever ready to gobble this just intervention
up whole cloth
utterly without clipping and snipping
and other nuanced bits of fuss budget tailoring ala lu lu proyect ... no ???


a craving for a humane
knock out gas using
global " Dictatorship of the Air "
runs deep and answers
to many a side walk siviliers pipe dreams

" a happy pacific pliable
quietly cueing up type " planet earth

once we've plucked out the local war chiefs
it might prove easy work ...
people just wanna be free to choose !!!!


Yes, dwelling on politics of the likes of "air-power" fan Juan Cole and his fellow Cruise Missile liberals is a waste of time. But, the surprise was how easily supposedly shrewd analysts of power such as Gilbert Achcar and Paul Street could be duped into joining the humanitarian chorus. One suspects that many have underestimated power of the mainstream narrative of civil conflict in some parts of the world and the debilitating hold of the images it conjures in the Western imaginary:

In recent times, many Western experts and commentators have lost the capacity to analyze and interpret events in Africa and Asia by using conventional political concepts. Instead, conflicts tend to be interpreted through a new political model that was constructed during the post-Cold War upheavals in the Balkans and Rwanda.

This new view of conflicts in the South and the East is based on a disoriented Western imagination, which discusses political violence through dramatic and sensationalist metaphors, such as 'Holocausts', 'Genocides', 'Ethnic Cleansing' and 'Mass Rape Camps'. Consequently, when it comes to violence in Africa or Asia, genocide has become the default diagnosis of events. From the Congo to Darfur to Kenya, bloody conflicts are recast as harbingers of holocaust.


Dunno who Alex had in mind. But I know who I have in mind, and they're all tarred with the same brush, if you ask me.


in reading alex on libya and nato's dabbling in topple krieg
i don't end up sharing his oddly hyperbolic triumphalism

nothing about this side show strikes me as tide turning in any sense
let alone evidence nato has lost its mojo
its really quite surprising alex even considers this an embarrassment
to either NATO itself
or the ICC
nato's pet kangaroo court
with its beacon like
earth wide probing
for crimes against.....humanity

looks like bizz as usual
in fact just why might anyone assume
col Q isn't taking a dead cat bounce here

i recall brave cynical talk of partitionings
recognizing benghazi
suggest to me not an act of bluster
not the first step toward balkinizing
that oil patch
but rather
the fix is already in
the skids under col q already greased
who's in a rush here??

firing off a lot of old ordinance seems sound enough to me ???

a keen nose for press puff
and paper thin "official " hoaxing
made alex thrillingly funny
about the early farcical Wagnerianizing
over the to and fro
dune rat scrabble between inconsequential
points a and points z

and yet now as we pull back to incorporate this colorful pop gun interlude
into the larger multiplex
of imperially staged actions globally
it strikes me as exceedingly odd
how our supple parlor lasher Alex
can by implication
nominate himself
as a von molke
among us bumpkinish foot troopers
of the anti imperial maquis


"How I wish I could write like that."

really ??
in mid season form alex is a marvel
but this piece
unlike the earlier one on the battle
for what was it
sithi raboo ??....oh yes ...Misrata
this squib
struck me as naked rib cage cracking
skinless skull chattering
barrel filler

now THIS is vintage alex


"It looks as though eastern Libya will slide into the Mediterranean under the sheer weight of western journalists assembled in Benghazi and Misrata. A tsunami of breathless reports suggests that Misrata is enduring travails not far short of the siege of Leningrad in World War 2. The reports have been seized on by Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy to raise the ante on Mission Odyssey Dawn. In their joint newspaper column published both sides of the Atlantic they now say that to leave Gaddafi in power would be an "unconscionable betrayal" and speak of Misrata as enduring “a medieval siege.”



my homage to the almost great
anglo irish gadfly


and this is really off form

an opportunistic
false certification
" of nothing less then ...Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch"

"reputable organizations " mr C ???

if there lurks somewhere
an ideal organizational counter part
some one mock tribunal
from the sanctimoniously impotent
"pwog side" of the looking glass
that makes the perfect off set
to the International Criminal Court
i'd quickly nominate
of these thwackumite outfits
for that distinction


reputable ???? those block headed
soul less clip joints ???

is my sister Sally reputable ???

is your niece Alex ??????


a marmish word much traduced
much violated much passed
between rough handed olicking spirits
but never to
that much greater comic effect
then here by u
captain whimsy

or is it now
brevet field marshall ....whimsy ???


"a disorganized rabble of disparate factions"??

as opposed to what ???

the hardened steel edge of vanguard party
long sharpened by protracted armed struggle ??
for that matter where's even
a simple
POUM on the Sahara ???

ahh yes
now we must wheel the real heavy gun
into position eh ???

pinko snob appeal

why this is hardly a proper organization
now is it comrades

why the very idea
you might conduct even the anti state end
of a civil war with such a rag tag ...

forget what would lenin say
...hey what even would garibaldi say ??



nice comment
apropos imaginations over full with
".. dramatic and sensationalist metaphors"

the street sweep:

too quickly siezed at factoid:

"it is certainly the case that the Western intervention stopped a likely massacre in Benghazi, saving the lives of thousands and perhaps tens of thousands Gadaffi had essentially promised to destroy. "

lock step humanist conclusion :

"It is very, very difficult to imagine any other way those lives could have been preserved "

i must support
".. intervention by the imperial, fake-humanitarian, oil-addicted, parasitic, and racist West"

this reinforces your point eh ??


Op, you might find the history and points raised here (PDF) of interest as well:

...[T]he impact of the New Philosophers lay not in their ideas per se but in the extent to which they succeeded in replacing any opposition between Left and Right with an all-or-nothing cosmic struggle between hypostasized categories of Good and Evil. Central to this accomplishment was their mobilization of two figures: "the Gulag" and "the dissident."...[I]n the hands of the New Philosophers, the Gulag, in Peter Dews' apt description, begins its rapid degenerative slide from terrible historical reality to pseudo-concept to slogan. Unhinged from any specific, circumscribed historical manifestation, Auschwitz and the Gulag share a structural similarity, a mere homological relation. By having recourse to a homology — ahistorical from the outset — the camps in their writings become the manifestation of a crime infinite in proportion, an unthinkable and irreparable crime, the work of a pure, unlimited force of Evil exceeding any legal or political measure. Henceforth only ethics — and not politics — can think this unthinkable Evil, whose victims, eternal and silent in nature, tend to be portrayed as vaguely spiritualized in their suffering. Man, as Andre Glucksmann is fond of reminding us, is forever the son of Auschwitz and the Gulag. As forces for dissuading anyone who hesitated or was reluctant to back the imperatives of the new Human Rights order, what could be more powerful than Auschwitz and the Gulag?


Japan's women's soccer team winning the World Cup is bad for women's soccer because the Japanese players can't talk to American TV... ranguage difficurties...


I don't know, Sandwichman, the hair you see comes from different ends of the horse.

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