Apr
16
2011

Gadhafi's Cluster Bombs–and Uncle Sam's

"Gadhafi Troops Fire Cluster Bombs Into Civilian Areas," declares a New York Times headline (4/15/11). The lead of the story makes clear that these weapons are considered in many countries to be illegal: Military forces loyal to Col. Moammar el-Gadhafi have been firing into residential neighborhoods in this embattled city with heavy weapons, including cluster bombs that have been banned by much of the world. The story, by C.J. Chivers, goes on to explain why these weapons have been banned: These so-called indiscriminate weapons, which strike large areas with a dense succession of high-explosive munitions, by their nature cannot be […]

Apr
08
2011

NYT Calls for Protecting Libyan Civilians by Escalating War–Like in Fallujah

Afraid of NATO killing civilians in Libya? The New York Times editorial page (4/8/11) sees the way forwardby ramping up the war: There is a much better option: the American A-10 and AC-130 aircraft used earlier in the Libya fighting and still on standby status…. But no other country has aircraft comparable to Americaâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s A-10, which is known as the Warthog, designed to attack tanks and other armored vehicles, or to the AC-130 ground-attack gunship, which is ideally suited for carefully sorting out targets in populated areas. AC-130s were used frequently in the Iraq War, particularly in the bloody fight […]

Apr
05
2011

Maddow Wonders Why Libyan Journalists Aren't Being Targeted

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow had a discussion last week (3/31/11) about the U.S. role in the Libya War with Col. Jack Jacobs, an MSNBC military consultant. Jacobs described the U.S. military's "ability to jam communications that take place between units or among units of Gadhafi's army," then referred to the U.S.'s ability to jam electronic transmissions that occur when Gadhafi's army, ground forces try to fire at allied planes. The instant that a radar system is turned on on the ground, we can detect it and in very short order, send a precision-guided munition that follows the radar beam all the […]

Apr
04
2011

LAT Finds Anonymous White House Truth-Teller

A brave, truth-telling whistleblower has emerged to tell the White House's side of the story in the Libya War. The inside scoop appears in a Los Angeles Times article by Christi Parsons (4/2/11) headlined, "For Obama, a Carefully Calculated Delay on Justifying Libya Airstrikes." Are you confused by the White House's decision-making on Libya? Fear not–everything has gone according to plan. Like, for instance, the delay in public explaining the decision to bomb: The timing was deeply controversial, but was designed to be a major part of the message itself, unfolding as the U.S. chalked up a measure of achievement […]

Apr
01
2011

Nameless Sources Are the Custom at WashPost

The Washington Post's Greg Jaffe (4/1/11): Some of the United States' partners have acknowledged that the initial descriptions of the intervention in Libya no longer apply. "What is happening in Libya is not a no-fly zone," a senior European diplomat told reporters, speaking on the customary condition of anonymity. "The no-fly zone was a diplomatic thing, to get the Arabs on board. What we have in Libya is more than that." Is"customary" anonymity something like,"Now I can tell you the truth?" (In case you're curious, the Washington Post's official policy on anonymous sourcing is that "granting anonymity to a source […]

Mar
30
2011

NewsHour Not Changing Just Yet

FAIR's alert on the NewsHour's limited debate on Libya hasn't sparked any immediate changes at the program. From last night's broadcast: JUDY WOODRUFF: For more on Libya and the president's speech, we get the views of two senators. Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed is on the Armed Services Committee. And Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson is on the Foreign Relations Committee. I spoke to them a short time ago. Senators, thank you very much for joining us, Sen. Reed and Sen. Isakson. Before I ask you about what President Obama said last night, Senator Isakson, just quickly, do you believe the […]

Mar
29
2011

Action Alert: On Libya, NewsHour Looks Like State TV

The bombing of Libya has sharply divided public opinion, but the PBS NewsHour has avoided a wide-ranging debate by overwhelmingly featuring the views of current and former government and military officials. If you'd like to see a more diverse group of voices arguing the pros and cons of intervention, see FAIR's Action Alert. Please leave copies of your messages to PBS, and comments on the alert, in the comments thread of this post.

Mar
29
2011

WashPost and the Wider War

One of the questions about U.S.-led war in Libya is the scope of the conflict. Some rebel forces seem to want more U.S. military action. The Washington Post reportstoday (3/29/11) that this is already happening. Under the headline"U.S. Deploys Low-Flying Attack Planes," Greg Jaffe explains: The U.S. military dramatically stepped up its assault on Libyan government ground forces over the weekend, launching its first missions with AC-130 flying gunships and A-10 attack aircraft designed to strike enemy ground troops and supply convoys. The use of the aircraft, during days of heavy fighting in which the momentum seemed to swing in […]

Mar
24
2011

Public TV and Libya: Govt. Officials, Current and Former

Last night (3/24/11) Jim Lehrer introduced a NewsHour discussion segment about the Libya War: Now, how it looks to two former U.S. senators, Democrat Gary Hart of Colorado and Republican Norm Coleman of Minnesota. Senator Hart is now a scholar in residence at the University of Colorado and chair of the Defense Department's Threat Reduction Advisory Council. Senator Coleman is CEO of the American Action Network, an issue advocacy organization that supports Republican candidates and policies. The same broadcastfeatured an interview with Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough. Monday's broadcast featured this segment: JIM LEHRER: Now some perspective on the […]

Mar
24
2011

Known Knowns: Libya, Kristof and Certainty

In his New York Times column today (3/24/11)–headlined "Hugs From Libyans"–Nicholas Kristof boils down the argument in favor of the war in Libya: Then, on Wednesday in Benghazi, the major city in eastern Libya whose streets would almost certainly be running with blood now if it weren't for the American-led military intervention, residents held a "thank you rally." They wanted to express gratitude to coalition forces for helping save their lives. Kristof goes on to write that "a humanitarian catastrophe has been averted for now," and that the air strikes could not wait: "A couple of days of dutiful consultation […]

Mar
23
2011

O'Reilly Factors Code Pink

One of the peculiar things about the Fox News Channel is that they actually do invite progressive guests onto some of the shows. Last night on the O'Reilly Factor (3/22/11), we saw Code Pink's Medea Benjamin talkingabout Libya. Of course, there's a political point O'Reilly is trying to make; in this case, he was contrasting Benjamin's anti-war position to the pro-war positions expressed by some Obama-friendly MSNBC hosts. O'Reilly's got a point there. (This is not something I'm used to saying.) But never fear–he's still perfectly capable of making his own completely absurd arguments. Like this: O'REILLY: They have succeeded […]

Mar
23
2011

War to Protect Civilians Threatened by Killing Them

USA Today (3/23/11): WASHINGTON–The top commander of the allied air war to protect civilians in besieged Libyan cities said the forces of Moammar Gadhafi must pull out or face attack, a task analysts say is complicated by the risk of bombing in populated areas. The "war to protect civilians" could be "complicated" by the killing of civilians.

Mar
22
2011

Bill O'Reilly: Saving the Libyans He Wanted to Starve

On September 17, 2001, Fox host Bill O'Reilly gave his list of countries the United States should attack, including Libya: Target three is Libya and Qaddafi. Again, he either quits and goes into exile or we bomb his oil facilities, all of them. And we mind the harbor in Tripoli. Nothing goes in, nothing goes out. We also destroy all the airports in Libya. Let them eat sand. A decade later, O'Reilly supportsthe airstrikes onLibya because Qaddafi is attacking civilians (3/21/11): O'REILLY: But Qaddafi's carpet bombing guys who are driving around in old Chevys with pistols, he's killing them. You […]