In Leviathan's Shadow

Article by Mark Hackard.

It is fitting that the initial phase of the U.S. attack on Libya was overshadowed in the media by college basketball finals, popularly and quite appropriately known as March Madness. Wars, akin to dated sitcom reruns, have no hope for ratings share considering the competition. And a company like Sony won’t pay to advertise its new Playstation game Kill Zone 3 during scripted and predictable news of another desert intervention. Perhaps the press should have just phoned in coverage of the action by playing clips from the films G.I. Jane and The American President, both depicting a conflict with Tripoli. The public would doubtless be comforted that Commander-in-Chief Michael Douglas has sent Demi Moore and her fellow-SEALs to teach the Libyans a lesson in democracy.

Our absurd fantasy state reflects the approach of a monstrous reality- a world empire, declaring itself the embodiment of universal good, moves to subjugate any points of opposition to its rule. From this chaos emerges a counterfeit order, and before us appears a premonition of Yeats’ rough beast, “with a gaze blank and pitiless as the sun”.

The NATO air campaign against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime is so far a variant of the Kosovo template, a range of measures used to destroy Serbian sovereignty in 1999. While a no-fly zone to protect civilians in rebel-held Benghazi is the ostensible objective of Operation Odyssey Dawn, the relevant players in Washington, London and Paris will only be satisfied when the Libyan state is led by someone more amenable to their interests. Speaking on behalf of global civilization, U.S. President and Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama made clear that “the writ of the international community must be enforced”. One U.S. Navy carrier strike group wields more destructive power than most nations’ air forces; to defy such overwhelming might, it is implied, Gaddafi must have taken leave of his senses.

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