In the middle of a comment thread on liberal Conspiracy on the desirability of a no-fly zone over Libya, Sunny Hundal says:
I’m happy for people to make valid points, but if the only response is IRAQ IRAQ IRAQ!!! – then frankly one should join Stop the War coalition and hang out with Lyndsey German. That is about the extent of your political nous.
Sunny Hundal is one of the founders of Liberal Conspiracy as the name implies a soft left blog that over the past five years or so has become one of the more important UK political lefty blogs. Sunny has his heart in the right place, but also an eye firmly on a possible political career so sometimes tend to let conventional Westminster wisdom overrule his own intelligence which makes him sound much dumber than he really could be. As a prominent leftist, even a soft leftist, Sunny has also been a frequent target of rightwingers and Decentists, and as with many people who are subjected to such hate campaigns he has internalised some of their assumptions. Put the two tendencies together and you have an explenation for the above quote.
For those of us who can remember as far back to the runup to the Wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s quite clear that “Lyndsey German” (sic) and the Stop the War Coalition were right to oppose them, that all our fears about what these wars would be have been fully justified and that in fact far from the outcast fringe group Sunny paints them as, millions of ordinary people were smart enough to share their views and march with them in opposition.
So if Sunny and co want to argue that a no-fly zone in Libya is urgently needed and that this time, western military intervention will work, that calling for it is done for more substantial reasons than just wanting to show how morally upright and brave you are, that it’s needed in this particular occasion and not say in Ivory Coast for more substantial reasons than that Libya is on the telly, they need to do more than get hysterical. Some choice quotes:
Sunny: If the Libyans rebels want some support against Gaddafi, then I’m afraid the arguments against helping them fall apart.
We definitely need some way to stop Gaddafi massacring his people and its a shame some on the left want to just sit back while it all happens in front of our eyes.
Galen10: Doing nothing is only an option if you have no conscience.
Sunny again: Gaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam says the time has come for full-scale military action against #Libya rebels – Reuters
Clearly, the correct response is to sit by and vent outrage on blogs and twitter while people are killed in their hundreds.
Yeah, nice one guys.
The delightfully named Rubert Read: I hope y’all will remember this debate, if and when Benghazi is crushed and the Arab Spring is demoralised and essentially finished.
This sort of posturing and emotional appeal reminds me more of the prowar “debate” in the runup to Iraq than anything opponents to the no-fly zone proposal argued in that thread. It’s an attempt at emotional blackmail by people who will never ever have to suffer the consequences of their advocacy. Or more succinctly:
Ok. I hereby announce the formation of the Free Libyan Legion. Since we all care so much, we’re going to follow in the footsteps of Byron in Greece and Orwell in Spain and get ourselves over to Benghazi and actually fight for Libyan Freedom. In person.