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Comment Ecuador's Response? (Score 2) 1065

If the U.K. violates diplomatic protocol, why should Ecuador honor it?

As wrong as it might be, Correa could order the British diplomatic staff to be, essentially, the hostages of Ecuador until he so sees fit as to let them leave. That would leave the U.K. in a very vulnerable position that the press and public would very negatively react towards. The headlines would scream, "U.K. Diplomacy Violation Results in Hostage Crisis" and putting British citizens at risk over a questioning for a "rape case" would probably not go over well with most people.

Of course, that carries risks and bad juju for Ecuador as well and I doubt they would do it, but it would certainly be one way to even the playing field and give the U.K. a very bad black eye where they would otherwise be indefatigable.

Comment Re:Interesting background on the coup (Score 2) 117

Maybe I could see +3 Interesting, but I can't believe this is what qualifies as +5 Insightful nowadays, by Slashdot nonetheless. By an infallible low UID at that! I could see on a conspiracy forum this theory getting heavy support, but having followed the Libyan conflict since its inception (to the point of knowing all the major battles day-after-day and going from next to zero knowledge on the country to knowing most of towns/cities of any significance in the country) I can tell you that that opinion is mendacious and ill-supported at best.

Consider the totality of the evidence and not what amounts to more than a conspiracy theory, because it's insulting to many intelligent people when they have to put up with this everywhere online including such touted intellectual bastions as Slashdot.

It's one thing to point out this fact, it's another to imply it's the reason there was a war and NATO support for one.

I could write ad nauseam on this, but I'll sum things up and if you want to go from there we can:

Consider the timing and events. An unprecedented wave of discontent and protests sweep the Arab world around this time. Tunisia has expelled its longtime strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt, of all places, just successfully forced out its dictator, Hosni Mubarak. Protests in Algeria and Morocco and huge discontent and uprisings in Bahrain and Yemen (Syria as well, but to a far less extent around this time). So what happens in Libya? Major protests and then an armed insurrection against one of Africa's longest-serving dictators.

Not only does Gaddafi not yield to the initially peaceful demands, he mocks the protesters and vows to hunt them down "alley by alley" and proceeds to employ brutal military force that up until this point hadn't been widely seen after Tunisia and Egypt's revolutions were largely peaceful. The international community is largely silent in terms of action despite this, but recognizes the significance and there are calls for no violence against protestors. Mass defections are reported, Libyan fighter jets land in Malta, military units abandon the government, citizens take up arms and demand change after Gaddafi's crackdown, multiple cities fall to the rebels and things look good, everyone wants the brutal dictator Gaddafi to step aside...then Gaddafi and his much-championed "reformer" son Saif incite further violence and Gaddafi uses the full might of his military and remaining loyalists to crush city after city.

Calls for the international community to intervene or face enormous massacres occur from Libyan protestors. The Arab League requests it. Human rights organizations want a no fly zone largely. When a U.N. vote comes up China and Russia abstain from a veto.

That's how much international and diverse support there was for intervention.

Anyone who followed this could tell the U.S.A. did not want to intervene until the last minute. Pray tell, if the Gaddafi gold conspiracy theory invasion plan is true, then why wait so long? Why not preach justice and democracy early on and overthrow the government, why wait until Gaddafi had his tanks literally at Benghazi's gates to crush him?

Furthermore, this was an intervention championed by France and the U.K., not the U.S.A. and all indications are that Obama was against it for the longest time, hence the delay, the back off after the initial assault (which we were best able to handle logistically), and wait for broad international support (including the Arab States and noncommittal from BRIC). Considering the unprecedented Arab revolutions nearby, that degree of support, the resiliency of the rebels and how close things seemed to be at the time to an overthrow, and the fact that Gaddafi was literally crazy and dangerous as well as the fact that this seemed like a just cause to gain traction with the Muslim world - as in we at least do more than lip service to supporting people going against a dictator some times as opposed to supporting dictators - then it makes simple sense why the intervention occurred without the ridiculous conspiracy theories that some person gets from following the conflict in a news article once a month.

Plus, we had a very cozy relationship (the West that is) with Gaddafi and family following reforms in the early 2000s that saw him shut down his nuclear program, allow lots of FDI into Libya and nice oil contracts, and which made him pay reparations for terrorist acts in the past. So it'd be ridiculous to sacrifice all that without some deeper meaning, which is what happened when all those factors came together as I mentioned above.

Gaddafi, contrary to some propaganda, was not a great boon for many Libyans. He was a dictator, brutal and crazy. Yes, Libya had a higher standard of living than other African nations, but it came at the cost of personal freedom for all and even economic freedom for many (Berbers and Cyrenicans were largely discriminated against by Gaddafi and left out of his economic machine). Dictatorships are remarkably efficient sometimes and when one guy can massacre thousands and steal billions without much thought, then him being able to create an economically well society isn't hard. Forced indoctrination in schools, support of terrorism and rebel insurrections abroad, executing anyone who disagreed with him and his personality cult, a culture of fear, exploitation of the country's resources, nepotism to the extent that his own tribe controlled most of the country's important elements (a big reason why he could control the country so well and allow him to keep power so long), and severe persecution of many other tribes/ethnicities/etc. are just a few of his endearing qualities. He was only truly beloved by those he distributed his largesse to (many in Niger benefited from it for example, but tell that to Chadians/Sudanians who suffered because of his arrogance and violence) and similar dictators to him. He empowered Africans as well and was an effective propagandist, so I guess he had those going for him (too well, since it reaches a lot of Westerners apparently, some on Slashdot).

I think I spoke enough on this. Doubt my comment will even see the light of day beneath the veil of obfuscation that conspiracy theorists have shrouded over this issue, but one can hope.

Comment Re:I have only one question (Score 1) 207

I see a lot of this type of thinking and while it is certainly genuine to question why we intervened in Libya and not in Syria, Bahrain, etc. it still must be put into perspective.

1.) Given the recent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt that overthrew their local dictators largely through peaceful protest, when Libya started cracking down extremely hard against their part in the Arab Spring, there was a massive outcry both internally and externally. Many Libyan units were seemingly defecting, protests were all over the country, officers had refused to attack citizens, and major figures defected. Despite this though, Gaddafi and his sons kept up the delusional rhetoric and spoke of massacres as they responded with pure military force. The Arab League, human rights organizations, and other countries were ratcheting up calls for a NFZ and finally at the last possible second (well after when it would have been most effective) that was implemented by the United Nations with BRIC and Germany abstaining but no vetoes by the Security Council. This stopped a very significant advance by Gaddafi on Benghazi after Ajdabiya had fell. The unique circumstances of the Arab Spring, the brutal crackdown in Libya, and a lot of support for protecting Libyans from the Gaddafi regime from all over the world led to the Western intervention in Libya by U.N. mandate. Does Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, etc. have all those conditions at play to even approach that level? Surely they have brutal regimes that have cracked down, but the mass defections are not present (some exceptions in Yemen) nor are the peaceful prior outcomes of Egypt and Tunisia (now that civil war in Libya has interrupted such positions won't likely be taken again).

2.) Be skeptical all you like, I firmly believe this was a humanitarian-driven intervention. The United States was dead-set against intervention til the last possible minute and even now has taken a back seat in the conflict. The West had wonderful relations with Libya after 2003 or so when Libya opened themselves to Western business and made nice political allies in Western Europe. Sacrificing all that stability and business for oil we already had access to makes no sense except to conspiracy theorists and extreme cynics. Intervention was driven by international unanimity for the most part with the usual regimes backing away from outright support (Russia and China for obvious reasons given their suppression of free speech as well as many Arab nations that didn't support it publicly due to Western interventionism PR and their own monarchical regimes). So the question is, is humanitarian intervention militarily a solution? Does it cause more harm than good? All debatable. We don't know what would have happened had Gaddafi crushed Cyraenica compared to the bloodshed now. Libya would have been more stable, but is a brutal regime of stability better than a possibility of a fresh start? Tough to say, especially with tribal-driven loyalties in Libya. I don't believe that all these rebels are Al Qaeda though as some may claim, many are former professionals, educated Libyans, and come from diverse backgrounds all to stand against the fascist and brutal regime of Gaddafi who massacred many en masse and now they have taken up arms against him and his rule. I feel it's a noble cause. Is it that simple though? No. Is it for the best? Who knows. Only time will tell.

We cannot intervene everywhere for humanitarian purposes for matter of expediency, pragmatism, temporal factors, global support, etc. But when there is so much call for help and support for it, then I feel internationally we should and have an obligation to whether it be in Ivory Coast (like we did), Rwanda, or Burma. I don't support the "white man's burden" argument, but I do support intervention when there is clear near unanimous support for intervention, a multi-national and cross-cultural military team, and a very clear threat to many lives and livelihoods like with genocides (in addition to internal support for that cause). And I think Libya is a very good example of what happened despite pussyfooting by some Arab nations who initially strongly supported intervention.

The facts are so much more complex than these simple quips some of you like to spout out. But quips that appeal to the emotional basis of some clearly delineated sociological mindset are what get people modded Insightful it seems, not a logical analysis of a very complex and multifaceted situation.

Comment Re:It makes sense (Score 4, Interesting) 298

Sorry I don't buy that entirely. It's true that outsourcing IT has become more and more popular, but it's hardly to the point where "many Fortune 500 companies only have 6 or 7 employees that even deal with I.T." That's a pretty big hyperbole.

I work at a Fortune 100 company helping maintain production code and working on transitioning development applications all the way to the production environment. We have no less than a thousand employees (with an employee total of over 30,000 people) who work directly or indirectly in I.T. in no less than a dozen different departments. I'm sure that number includes our outsourced colleagues in India (and we do have many consultants as well offshore employees, especially Indians), but we have many, many locally-based workers here in our main locations in the United States. Those include many who work in traditional Helpdesk roles, network engineering, environment moves, development silos, production support silos, business-IT liaisons, database management, host systems management & batch, incident management & escalation, etc. etc. who all help to develop and maintain a portfolio of hundreds of disparate and important applications critical to our infrastructural and business needs.

Maybe I'm not as jaded about outsourcing as the next person because of this experience. Maybe it's because I see the critical role it serves in helping companies/consumers lower costs and Indians/others get better lives. Maybe my company is the exception (though I doubt it, all companies of this size have diverse I.T. needs that make I.T. staffs of hundreds probably needed). Regardless, I think that combining outsourcing strategies while holding onto valuable I.T. employees here in the United States and the Western world is nonetheless what needs to be done in order to facilitate the proper mix of cost-savings and quality service/employee morale.

Comment Re:You're slipping. (Score 1) 257

I think Blizzard has it this year for WoW with their Clippy-clone Crabby. Follows you along their web page linking you to Rebecca Black and generally being a nuisance responding based on what you're doing on the site.

Very well done by Blizzard. Seems like they actually spent some time and creative energy on this endeavor and I was chuckling the entire time.

Comment Re:May Not Be Enough (Score 1) 501

Yes but if you read the resolution, it clearly states:

"Authorizes Member take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack...while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council;"

It's a misconception that this is just authorization for a no-fly zone. It is not. Similarly, it's coalition-led, largely by the French and secondarily the British who just recently managed to convince the United States to strongly back the measure in the Security Council.

Comment Re:Shutting down nuke plants is a bit foolish (Score 1) 369

Not sure where you get your news from, but at least from what I have seen on CNN, most of the "experts" interviewed on the subject matter seem to be pretty impartial so far. Of course CNN, like a lot of the news networks, has a lot of hysterical headlines and discussion topics, but at least the professed experts I have seen on there have by and large supported not getting hysterical and shutting down plants. Most seem pretty sensible on the subject. Just my observations having the network on in the background as I monitor the situation online as well.

Comment Re:So much for the safety of nuclear energy (Score 4, Informative) 752

Although I agree with your general assessment. In regard to dying from doing too much LSD, I think that is a quite low probability given its relatively high LD50 compared to what is usually taken. Information gleaned from an overview of the Wikipedia entry and its sources (along with Erowid) suggest no documented deaths linked to LSD usage alone.

Comment Re:Solar Power? (Score 1) 120

Not all robots are designed for exclusively indoor use. And a house can be built in such a way as to allow in plenty of sunlight. I'm not an engineer when it comes to solar technology though so I can't say for sure how useful that is as an energy source, especially for larger robotics.

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