To be honest, I have no idea what I think should be done. I find the liberal resistance to any action of any sort that dominates The Guardian rather distasteful, but don't know what sort of action I would advocate in response. Simon Jenkins on Wednesday was one example of irritatingness:
Libya strategists are said to be torturing themselves over timing. Barack Obama says he "needs" Gaddafi to go, and David Cameron's position is much the same. Why this need is so pressing when, just months ago, Gaddafi was a dear ally and patron of western scholarship is a mystery. But in Cameron's statement on no-fly zones last week, Britain appeared to assert its right in international law to remove Gaddafi, as it did the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.Our rulers were obviously wrong, cynical and corrupt to think or claim to think that Gaddafi was a good thing a few months ago. But it should also be obvious what has changed and why the issue is now pressing: his slaughter of at least hundreds and probably thousands of "his" citizens.
In this ambition he was supported by the leftwing international lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, who claimed to have found a right for "states to render assistance to innocent civilians battling for their lives" wherever that might be. This right apparently "emerges or crystallises" not from any democratic decision but from "state practice, conventions, writings of jurists and dictates of collective conscience"... It is the Bush-Cheney theory of zero national sovereignty, and could be used to justify every aggressive war by Washington or Moscow over the last 50 years.I have written before that national sovereignty is one of the most reactionary ideas there is. "What is a nation? How can a nation have a “self”? How is that “self” supposed to determine itself? Why should that self-determination take the shape of a state? Why should we respect the systems of rule that history has randomly bestowed on other nations? Why should we go to war, for example, out of respect for some Kuwaiti hereditary monarch’s right to use his kingdom as a personal bank account? Equally, why should we “stop” a war out of respect for some national socialist or clerical-fascist’s right to use his country as a personal fiefdom?" In other words, the "Bush-Cheney theory of zero national sovereignty" is correct. Why should we respect Gaddafi's right to rule "his" country?
Carl Packman has a very good series of posts arguing that a no fly zone is the way forward, starting with this endorsement from Karl Marx, continuing here, here, here. Michael Walzer and Norman Geras have been chewing it over too: here's Walzer, Geras, Walzer. See also Nick Cohen, Shiraz Socialist and Marko Hoare.
Our Israel obsession and theirs
I still haven't finished my post on that. In the meantime, read Flesh's excellent one. Like her, I am increasingly depressed at the situation in Israel, the right-wing drift among its politicians and among its defenders abroad, the continued hatred on both sides, the continued murderous violence from Islamic Jihad, the Netanyahu government's absolute lack of commitment to peace.
For sane voices, I recommend Khaled Abu Toameh and Lisa Goldman.
Letter from a Muslim
PJ Media is probably not most of my readers' cup of tea, but there is a lot in it of interest. These three letters "from a concerned Muslim", by Salim Mansur, are fascinating for example. From the other end of the political spectrum in some ways, but not in others, here's Yassamine Mather on "Islamic feminism" in the Weekly Worker.
I notice George Orwell has been around my way again lately. Here he is, on the 3 March 1941:
Last night with G.  to see the shelter in the crypt under Greenwich church. The usual wooden and sacking bunks, dirty (no doubt also lousy when it gets warmer), ill-lighted and smelly, but not on this particular night very crowded. The crypt is simply a system of narrow passages running between vaults on which are the names of the families buried in them, the most recent being about 1800. . . . G. and the others insisted that I had not seen it at its worst, because on nights when it is crowded (about 250 people) the stench is said to be almost insupportable. I stuck to it, however, though none of the others would agree with me, that it is far worse for children to be playing among vaults full of corpses than that they should have to put up with a certain amount of living human smell.
 Gwen O’Shaughnessy, Eileen’s sister-in-law. Peter Davison
I haven't done a music post in ages. Here are a couple of snippets. Mudd Up has some great sounds from the Sahel: rebel desert music from Northwestern Mali. Music, History plays some classic klezmer from the vaults, and some music composed by Charlie Chaplin.