The brute force approach to popular uprisings is now being tried in earnest in Libya. In using artillery, aircraft and navy on peaceful protesters Colonel Gaddfi is attempt to break the protest movements with massive violence.
If he is successful, this type of violent response to popular uprising will almost certainly be used elsewhere with all the terrible consequences for humanity. If he fails and is hopefully executed for his war crimes, the reigning powers around the world will favor more peaceful methods of resolving contradictions.
Colonel Gaddafi is not the only head of state that counts human life cheap. What he has been doing this week using large caliber military weapons against unarmed civilians, US Presidents do as a matter of course, week in and week out. This week US air assaults on the Afghan village of Heelgal killed 64 civilians including many children according to Afghan President Karzai. It was hardly noticed because the spot light is on the innocent blood being spilled by Gaddafi this week and because, with an estimated 8 million civilians killed by the US military since the Korean War, US presidents using military power on civilians isn't exactly news.
When Secretary of State Clinton made the rounds on the TV talk shows Sunday morning talking about events in Libya and complaining that it is wrong to turn to violence to solve political problems, most of the world knew they were listening to a hypocrite. The United States has led the world in using massive violence to resolve political problems.
Nor am I implying that the other world leaders are any less squeamish in applying massive violence if it will resolve their political problems. What I am saying is that the abhorrence for Gaddafi's violence that has been displayed by most world leaders, including our own, is mostly for public consumption.
They know that we are facing a world economic crisis of historic proportions. It's root cause is a world economy that has been organized to benefit a select handful at the expense of the majority. This system has insurmountable internal contradiction that can not be solve unless the rich and powerful are dispossessed and the world economy is re-organized to benefit the world.
They are having none of that. They will fight that with their last dying breath. The other day an Indiana Official suggested that peaceful protesters in Wisconsin be shot. They are like Gaddafi on a world scale in that they would sooner bring disaster and suffering for all rather than give up their privilege.
In Tunisia the general of the army refused to use massive violence on the protesters and the revolution succeeded in ousting the dictator. In Egypt the junior officers refused to open fire with their tanks and the revolution succeeded in ousting the dictator. And while all the leaders of the US, UK and EU are now claiming to welcome and even champion these popular democratic movements, it is a sham. That's not why they have supported these dictators all these years.
If massive violence can contain the wave of mass rebellions that now has reached even the state house in Wisconsin, they won't mind the bloodshed. They just haven't had the opportunity yet. Gaddafi gives them that opportunity.
That is why they have so far been so anemic in their response to Gaddafi. They secretly want him to succeed. They are hoping he will succeed and they won't act until it is clear to all [as is quickly becoming the case] that he has failed. You can count on it. If he can put a lid on things, restore the status quo and with it, the oil flow, they may put him back on the pariah list but they will allow him to stand and continue to do business with him.
This is a test and fate or history has selected the Libyan people to take it. But all of us will be drastically affected by the outcome. The unarmed Libyan protesters that have braved machine gun, anti-aircraft and artillery fire to take many of Gaddafi's fortresses around the country are giving their all, their very lives in many cases, to show that even massive violence won't stop the people's movement forward.
If Gaddafi's violence fails Governor Scott will negotiate with the demonstrators in the Wisconsin state house, if it succeeds he will send in the police. If Gaddafi's violence succeeds, many more will die in Yemen and Bahrain and everywhere else that people resist tyranny. If he fails, the powers that be everywhere on the planet will be less likely to follow his lead and try and massive violence approach.
Those brave Libyans who fate chose to brave machine gun fire to win their freedom are braking that machine gun fire for all of us.