Libya in retrospect: Or, Iraq redux

London Review of Books has published a long article by Hugh Roberts on the Libya intervention, in which he alleges that the Western powers always intended to remove Qaddafi from the get-go and engaged in a demonization campaign and a series of bad-faith gestures toward negotiation reminiscent of the lead-up to the Iraq War. It resonates with a lot of the questions and suspicions that I had in the days leading up to the intervention.

One thing that may produce some initial resistence is that it is probably as close to a pro-Qaddafi position as a reasonable person can take. He doesn’t discuss the motivations or legitimacy of the rebels at any length, for instance, and generally focuses on the ways the West has screwed Libya over. By the end, though, I think he comes to the conclusion that Qaddafi was a shitty ruler — yet his more sympathetic position allows him to discuss actual details of what’s unique about the Libyan polity, etc., beyond “Qaddafi is an evil dictator who oppresses everyone.”

Anyway: it’s long, but I wonder what people think.