'But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth. – Matthew 6.3
268. Why can't my right hand give my left hand money? -- My right hand can put it into my left hand. My right hand can write a deed of gift and my left hand a receipt. -- But the further practical consequences would not be those of a gift. When the left hand has taken the money from the right, etc., we shall ask: "Well, and what of it?" And the same could be asked if a person had given himself a private definition of a word; I mean, if he has said the word to himself and at the same time has directed his attention to a sensation. – Wittgenstein
The philosopher treats a question like an illness. – Wittgenstein.
The disarmament of Libya is the latest episode in the preposterous policies generated by the bogus classification, “weapons of mass destruction.” The moniker applies, ironically, to weapons that have very rarely been implicated in mass destruction. The Uzi, the tank, the bomber – these very vendable items, of course, aren’t weapons of mass destruction. Rather, with its right hand, the West has stocked every country that could afford it with a supply of such things. That right hand has been busy, as even a cursory look at the arms sales totals could tell you. It is here, especially, that the 9/11 lie – the lie that 9/11 ‘changed everything’ – is stripped of its plausibility. While political factions in America throw charges of lying at each other, they both are comfortable with the structural lie, the one that kept Bush 1 and Clinton in the arms sales business, and that keeps Bush 2 there too. And the Swedes, Brits, French, Germans … let’s not leave out anybody. The Russians, of course, primus inter pares.
Ah, but then we have the sweep of the punitive left hand, disarming rock n roll tyrants like Khaddafi and putting all the editorial writers of the NYT to sleep with sweet dreams. Wittgenstein once advised that the philosopher’s method for solving his problems should be to go out and look. So let’s go out and look at this curious phenomena. What was behind the news from Libya?
There was hardly any reporting about the recent summit between EU countries and the Maghrebian Union – which ideally consists of Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Libya and Tunisia – that was held to discuss illegal immigration and the strengthening of economic ties between the EU and the MU in early December. L’humanite – the commie newspaper with the greatest slogan in the world – covered it and emphasized that here, as elsewhere, economic competition is foreshadowing political: the MU is considering a proposal by the United States for the creation of a free trade zone there:
“ For the EU, it’s a question of accelerating the European ties of the Maghreb by way of the Maghrebian Arab Union, which is currently out of order due to the conflict in Western Sahara. And it is doubtless not a coincidence that Colin Powell is undertaking a trip in these three countries on the eve of the opening of the 5+5 summit. America has proposed to the three countries of the Maghreb a project tied to a free trade zone that is being called Esenstat, with an inaugural injection of seven billion dollars, which is more than is being proposed by the EU in the framework of the euromediterranian partnership for the dozen countries of the South Mediterranean. Morroco, sweetened by the American offer, was on the point of making a step before France applied pressure to dissuade it. “
As we pointed out in our last post, Powell’s trip also had to do with securing a truce in Sudan – one that will allow the IMF to finance the building of an oil producing infrastructure.
In this framework, Libya giving up its laughable nuclear capacity is being taken as a sign of disarmament. We suspect that, long term, this is really a move to re-arm – to buy all the conventional weapons that Khaddafi longs for, and that the EU and the US longs to sell him. It has, after all, been a moneymaker in the past. Libya’s interest is not to regain some international stature – it is to keep up with its neighbors, to which it has been hostile in the past. In fact, recently Khaddafi has been stirring up coups in Mauretania. This, of course, without using the weapons of mass destruction – weapons of conventional destruction will do very nicely, thank you very much. So much for the tie between WMD and aggressive behavior.
As the news of the Libyan disarmament scheme came out, to the heartening of the short term memory loss Bushie crowd (the usual suspects: Christopher Hitchens, the Washington Post, etc. etc.), another news item, also reported by Humanite, was lost in the shuffle: on Christmas eve, the expected summit of the five Maghrabian nations was cancelled. Ostensibly, this was due to further disputes between Algeria and Morocco over Western Sahara. It was also due to Khaddafi’s recent coupmongering in Mauretania -- the kind of aggressive behavior that we are supposedly punishing. But also, the kind of behavior that requires conventional arms. To go to arms Kandyland, you have to promise Daddy not to, never to, no no no to develop nuclear weapons. And then, being a good little boy, you get your pick of tanks and fighters. It is a good deal, and just look at the mass destruction it causes! Why, it is better than those silly old Hiroshima era weapons anyway!
The current situation with regards to arms sales is that they are up, very up. This is due to the right hand. World Policy institute, which tracks the international arming, issued a report last year from which we take these grafs:
“Eager to reward and reinforce America’s allies in the war on terrorism, the U.S. has stepped up military assistance to allies old and new. The State Department and International Affairs budget request for FY 2003 is $25.4 billion, up $1.4 billion from last year. While the numbers pale in comparison to the Pentagon budget, security assistance has increased substantially. Furthermore, restrictions on military aid and arms transfers to regimes involved in human rights abuses, support for terrorism, or nuclear proliferation were lifted for a number of countries in exchange for their support in the administration’s war on terrorism.
Economic Support Fund (ESF) allocations are provided on a grant basis and are available for a variety of economic purposes, like infrastructure and development projects. Although not intended for military expenditure, these grants allow the recipient government to free up its own money for military programs. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants and loans must be used by the recipient nation to purchase U.S. defense-related items--a nice boost for U.S. defense contractors. International Military Education and Training grants are given to foreign governments to pay for professional education in military management and technical training on U.S. weapons systems.”
Of course, no reporter worth his place at the table was going to refer to such things when Bush was making his speech in praise of democracy this fall. The American left, of course, has adopted a rather silly rhetorical program of pointing out other dangerous, hostile regimes whose countries we haven’t invaded – such as North Korea. Actually, we have positively invaded, with our grants and our weaponry, many places, like Pakistan and Morocco, in the hopes of reinforcing the anti-democratic forces with which we are allied. The American left’s inexplicable whipping up of indignation over our sins of omission has pretty much abandoned the internal curbs on our numerous sins of commission. Such are the victories for the bad guys.
In another post, we want to continue with Libya’s arming – and in particular the nice coincidence of two news stories – one, the Khadaffi announcement, and two, the less noticed freeing of Edwin Wilson, the supposedly rouge CIA operator who did his best to arm Libya in the seventies and eighties, and was imprisoned for it, despite his claim that it was a CIA approved operation.