The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Arab Spring’ Update: Hostages Killed in Algeria; French Fight Islamists in Mali

Posted on | January 19, 2013 | 14 Comments

“The International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs had entrusted him with the making of a report, for its future guidance. And he had written it, too. I’ve seen it. I’ve read it. It was eloquent, vibrating with eloquence, but too high-strung, I think. Seventeen pages of close writing he had found time for! . . . But it was a beautiful piece of writing. . . . It was very simple, and at the end of that moving appeal to every altruistic sentiment it blazed at you, luminous and terrifying, like a flash of lightning in a serene sky: ‘Exterminate all the brutes!’”
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

If you have been troubled recently by the thought that Mr. Kurtz may have been onto something, certainly you aren’t alone. We haven’t been doing too well in the Suppression of Savage Customs lately:

In a bloody finale, Algerian special forces stormed a natural gas complex in the Sahara desert on Saturday to end a standoff with Islamist extremists that left at least 23 hostages dead and killed all 32 militants involved, the Algerian government said. . . .
The siege at Ain Amenas transfixed the world after radical Islamists linked to al-Qaida stormed the complex, which contained hundreds of plant workers from all over the world, then held them hostage surrounded by the Algerian military and its attack helicopters for four tense days that were punctuated with gun battles and dramatic tales of escape. . . .

The Obama administration remains clueless:

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said much remains “sketchy” about what  happened at the remote Ain Amenas gas field.
“We know that lives have been lost,” he said.
Asked how many Americans were in danger and what happened to them, Panetta  said he knew Americans were still being held hostage earlier Saturday. On what  happened to them, he said, “we need to get better information.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports on events in neighboring Mali:

With French officials saying confidently on Saturday that an advance by Islamist militants on Bamako, Mali’s capital, had been halted, France’s foreign minister told African leaders that “our African friends need to take the lead” in a multilateral military intervention in Mali. . . .
The French defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said Saturday that France now had 2,000 troops in Mali, with more in the region, and that France was likely to add to its forces there. . . .
Residents have told local news agencies that the Islamists have left Diabaly, which they seized as an important way station on the road to the administrative capital, Ségou, north of Bamako.
French airstrikes have halted the Islamist advance toward Mopti and nearby Sévaré, French officials said, while they confirmed that the village of Konna, north of Mopti, was now back in the hands of Mali’s government. The French have also sent troops along with Malian forces to secure a bridge over the Niger River at Markala, north of Ségou.

Mitt Romney was mocked for mentioning Mali in his final debate with President Obama. Professor Stephen Clark observed this week that the connection between “the Islamist takeover of northern Mali with the NATO-led overthrow of the Gaddafi” in Libya was overlooked by the media:

Mali is a knock-on consequence of a failed north-African policy. Just such consequences were the fear expressed by some with US interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those failed to materialize. Now that they have materialized as a consequence of Obama’s policies the grand-high poobahs and their courtiers are as silent as church mice.

William Wallis in the Financial Times described the uprising in Mali as a “boomerang” of U.S. anti-terror policy, and this inspires bitter Kurtz-like reflections from Ed Morrissey:

The boomerang in this case came from our extremely ill-advised and reckless intervention in Libya, which turned that nation into a failed state and sent tentacles of radicalism throughout the Sahel. And what did we gain from the Libyan adventure and the revolution we blessed in Egypt by tossing a 30-year ally to the wolves? In the latter, we now have leadership that feels entirely comfortable using eliminationist rhetoric against Israel; in the former, we have a burned-out consulate, four dead Americans, and a central government whose writ won’t run in half the country. Our policies in the last two years in this region have emboldened our enemies and disillusioned our allies, and in this case we didn’t get anything at all in trade for the unintended consequences we have reaped.

Don’t worry, Ed: The President’s a Nobel Peace Prize winner! And I’m sure the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs is eagerly awaiting your final report.

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Comments

  • http://twitter.com/wjjhoge WJJ Hoge

    Now is the winter of our discontent made even colder by this glorious son of a …

  • robertstacymccain

    And all the clouds that lowered upon our house in the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

  • badanov

    The good news is that we have four more years of this.
    Plus contraceptives are free, so we got that going for us…

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  • bruce

    “we need to get better information.”

    And please tell me why the US taxpayer is funding the CIA?

  • Patrick Carroll

    No sooner had we toppled the regime in Libya than the local Islamic nutters were destroying WWII war graves.

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  • Steve Skubinna

    Isn’t this the cue for Obama to give a speech and deplore the violence on both sides?

    Oh right, and blame Bush?

  • http://wizbangblog.com/ Adjoran

    Ed Morrissey said:

    The boomerang in this case came from our extremely ill-advised and reckless intervention in Libya, which turned that nation into a failed state and sent tentacles of radicalism throughout the Sahel.

    Nonsense. Our intervention may have been ill-advised, but Libya was already a failed state, as evidenced by the full-scale civil war which was ongoing well before NATO intervened and in fact the reason for it. The alternative to forcing an early end to it was disruption to European oil supplies which would have had global impact on pricing and supply.

    The notion that it was either our intervention OR the civil war itself were the source of “tentacles of radicalism” is plainly stupid and false. There has been a radical islamic presence in Mali and the rest of the region for decades.

    Good for Algeria for not negotiating butkis with those barbarians. And while our failure to avenge our diplomatic personnel killed at Benghazi probably emboldened radicals throughout the region and the world, we have neither the right nor the obligation to avenge private citizens working voluntarily in dangerous places.

  • jsn2

    Life imitates fiction. Obama is “Chance”, the main character in the book “Being There” by Jerzy Kosinski. Chance is an idiot who becomes politically powerful through his appearance, dignified bearing and moronic utterances thought to be enlightening.

    We have an overconfident dumbass running this country defining how we should live. Is there a republican who articulate conservative positions in a way that will neutralize the media and bring the public back to reality?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shawny-Lee/100001989148504 Shawny Lee

    Well, that’s some horseshit in cows tracks. When you choose to intervene in a civil war which requires arming and training of those radical extremists, you know, the same bubbas who were blowing up our young soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, then it says they could not have won that war without that intervention….oh, and that you might be on the wrong damn side of the argument. What the hell is your excuse for our intervention in Egypt? Those people are literally screwed now, not to mention Israel. The Islamic factions have been at war for a thousand years but Mubarak and Khadafy understood the problems and managed to maintain some control over the extremists. Now all bets are off and the consequences, as should have been expected, are brutal. As regards Benghazi, perhaps there is no obligation to avenge, but there had by God better be an obligation to defend.

  • Lightwave

    “White House condemns Algerian massacre” is this morning’s headline. In reality, it should be “Incompetent president refuses to send in US troops, allows dozens of hostages killed”.

    No word on this being Bush 43’s fault. I’m sure we’ll have that story before sunset.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shawny-Lee/100001989148504 Shawny Lee

    Or may if he’d just stop financing and arming the terrorists, no one would need to send in troops. Panetta says he’s sending in drones to take out the leader…..but that leader is said to have directly supervised this attack in Algeria which was months in the planning……so maybe it just wasn’t a good time to get that done or our Intelligence…..isn’t really all that intelligent. Wonder if there’s drone surveillance video of the hostages on their knees in the desert surrendering and being shot. Maybe Panetta can borrow that from Al Jazeera or the Brits.

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