A world turned upside down with war thrown in for dessert

Posted on March 20th, 2011 in War by Robert Miller

Turn left at the next light and save yourself from falling off the edge of the world! As if planet earth and its human inhabitants were not already reeling from economic disasters, flooding, starvation and revolution, Japan suffered the most horrendous catastrophe imaginable, even though the effects of the devastating Tsumani, which resulted in thousands of lives lost, have been buried in the news and completely overshadowed by the destruction of the nuclear power plant at Fukushima and the fear that serious radiation problems could yet devastate a wide area of Japan and entomb it as uninhabitable. This is potentially another Chernobyl-type explosion of radiation and human exposure. While the Fukushima reactors are vast improvements over the Chernobyl design, the disaster at Chernobyl was created by the huge explosion that sent a radio-active cloud into the upper atmosphere, where it got distributed broadly to nearby countries. I can recall that one of the issues that helped to bring down the regime in Poland, was the fact that the Polish government knew two days before they alerted their citizens, that harmful radio-active dust was falling on the country. If there had been a more appropriate warning, those exposed could have protected themselves with frequent showers and remaining indoors. The best site I have seen for comparing the before and after Tsunami coastal images, including the reactor at Fukushima is that hosted by ABC.
But events don’t stop with Japan, because the Arab world remains on fire and the United States has now effectively declared war on the Qaddafi regime, with France and Great Britain serving as the initiators of a new United Nations resolution to protect the citizens of Libya against the murderous onslaught of Muammar Qaddafi’s revenge; Oddly, Qaddafi does not trust his own army, who are underpaid, many of whom live on subsistence wages. Instead, he relies more on tribal mercenaries who get paid handsomely for their effort. Writer Nichol Pelham writes in The New York Review of Books (April 7, 2011) that a captured Qaddafi mercenary told his captors that he would receive $100,000 to fight the rebels. Apparently, the rebels are killing the black mercenaries, since reporters find detention centers near rebel strongholds to be filled with Libyans, but very few black fighters. Last night the first wave of French jets and cruise missiles from British and American ships were launched and aimed at “strategic targets,” hoping that Qaddafi will cave in before other military resources are required. Obama maintains that American troops will not be on the ground in Libya.  No one seems to acknowledge the real reason we have declared war on Qaddafi is because Libya is a net exporter of oil.  One hopes that there is a humanitarian thread in our motivations for going in, but Libya is the closest oil producing country to Europe and significant declines or at least the threat of declines in Libyan oil production have been partially responsible for the high price of oil, which, a few weeks ago reached $113 a barrel.  Libyan oil fields are capable of about 1.5-2 million barrels per day: it is one of the ten richest oil producing countries in the world;  several reports indicate that the Saudis have increased their oil production in compensation for lost production, but it isn’t clear how much oil production in Libya has been impacted by the war. Whether Qaddafi knows it or not, he is finished. His best hope is a negotiated capitulation that will allow him to leave the country and enjoy the financial stashes he has no doubt placed throughout the Western world. That outcome will not be satisfactory to the rebels who want him to hang and one can make a case that someday Muammar Qaddafi should stand in a courtroom at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands for crimes against his own people. He has been a brutal dictator since he assumed leadership of Libya in 1969, at which time he nationalized the Libyan oil companies and thus opened the door to his huge personal wealth.


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