Why Libya 2011 is not Iraq 2003

(CNN) — A critique of the U.S. involvement in the military intervention in Libya that will no doubt be common in coming days is that the Obama administration is making a large error by embarking on a war with a third Muslim country, as if reversing Moammar Gadhafi’s momentum against the rebels will be a rerun of the debacle of the war against Saddam Hussein.

A further element of this view is that — whatever the outcome of the Libyan intervention — the United States’ standing in the Islamic world will once again be severely damaged by an attack on a Muslim nation.

There are, of course, some real similarities between Hussein and Gadhafi — both ruthless and erratic dictators of oil-rich regimes who fought bloody wars with their neighbors, brutalized their own populations, sought weapons of mass destruction, and sired some equally unattractive sons and heirs.

But the military intervention that President Obama authorized against Libya on Saturday — eight years to the day after President George W. Bush announced the commencement of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” — is a quite different operation than the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Beyond the obvious difference that Obama has not authorized the use of U.S. ground forces in Libya, there are several other differences to consider:

First, the Obama administration was handed a gift by the Arab League, which in its more than six-decade history has garnered a well-earned reputation as a feckless talking shop, but unusually took a stand one week ago by endorsing a no-fly zone over Libya.

That endorsement put the Arab League way out in front of the Obama administration, which was then dithering about whether to do anything of substance to help the rebels fighting Gadhafi.

The unexpected action by the Arab League gave the administration the impetus and diplomatic cover to then go to the United Nations Security Council to secure a broad resolution endorsing not only a no-fly zone, but also allowing member states to “take all necessary measures” to protect civilians in Libya.

This U.N. resolution is reminiscent of the one that President George H.W. Bush secured in November 1990, which gave Iraq six weeks to withdraw from Kuwait following Hussein’s invasion of that country. The U.N. resolution in 1990 similarly empowered states to use “all necessary means” to force Iraq out of Kuwait if Hussein ignored the deadline.

The similarities do not end there. The coalition that massed to drive Hussein out of Kuwait involved significant forces from major Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. So too the Libyan no-fly zone will be enforced by Qatar, along with western powers such as France and the U.K.

This is all quite in contrast to George W. Bush’s ineffectual attempts to gather international support for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. There was no U.N. resolution explicitly authorizing the use of military force against Hussein, and no Muslim countries participated in the American invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Indeed, before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Turkish parliament voted against allowing American troops passage across Turkey to invade northern Iraq, which put a wrench in U.S. military planning.

Underlining the fact that the Iraq War was widely viewed as illegitimate by Muslim countries, the same year that Turkey voted against allowing American soldiers to use its soil to attack Iraq, Turkish soldiers were also leading the International Security Assistance Force helping to keep the peace in post-Taliban Afghanistan, a military operation that was also authorized by the United Nations and was not seen as illegitimate by much of the Muslim world.

The Bush administration’s largely unilateral decision to go to war in Iraq (the U.K. and a few other nations provided troops) undermined America’s standing in Islamic countries. A poll taken a few months after the 2003 invasion found that Indonesians, Jordanians, Turks, and Moroccans all expressed more “confidence” that Osama bin Laden would “do the right thing” than that Bush would.

According to a poll four years later, America’s favorability rating stood at 9% in Turkey (down from 52% before September 11, 2001) and 29% in Indonesia (down from 75% before September 11).

Finally, another key difference between the Iraq war and the Libyan operation is that the casus belli for Iraq was based on highly classified intelligence accessible to few people — later proved to be wrong — that Saddam Hussein continued to maintain a weapons of mass destruction program. By contrast, the Libyan intervention was caused by the real time evidence provided by the world’s leading media organizations — including, of course, Al Jazeera — that Gadhafi is massacring his own people.

The high level of anti-Americanism in the Muslim world that was generated by the Iraq War is unlikely to be replicated by U.S. military action against Libya, because Gadhafi is widely reviled in the Arab world. His antics on the world stage have earned him the enmity of even his fellow autocrats — who will not be welcoming him if he chooses to “retire” to Saudi Arabia as other murderous dictators of his ilk have in the past (think Idi Amin).

And the fact that both the Arab League and the United Nations have endorsed a military action against Gadhafi strongly suggests that the Libyan intervention will not generate a renewed wave of anti-Americanism in the Muslim world.

Instead, it underlines a striking feature of the protests that have roiled the Middle East in the past several weeks: Strikingly absent from those protests has been the ritualized burning of American flags, something that hitherto was largely pro forma in that part of the world. That’s because Arabs have finally been able to express publicly that their biggest enemy is not the United States, but their own rulers.

Source: cnn.com

Larry King retires show on CNN

Larry King has finally pulled the plug on his self-titled iconic show on CNN Thursday.

After 25 years, Larry King’s record-breaking run as CNN’s prime-time, talk-show host ends Thursday night with a grand finale staffers are calling “Larrypalooza.”

Led by friend and protégé Ryan Seacrest, a star-studded collection of guests will pay tribute. King will say his goodbyes. And then the set, with its horseshoe-shaped desk and familiar backdrop of multicolored dots, will fade to black.

“It’s sad,” King said, “but there’s a time to go. You know when it’s time.”

When CNN offered him a one-year contract extension rather than the customary three to five years, King knew. “The writing was on the wall. I said, ‘I think I’ll get off the road here.’ “He agreed not to jump to CNN’s competitors if he could do four specials a year.

“I have no complaints against CNN,” he said. “It’s been a hell of a marriage. This is not a divorce.”

He’s been married eight times, divorced seven.

The other numbers in King’s life are also impressive and, well, numerous: fifty-three years in broadcasting, 50,000 interviews, 6,120 shows in CNN’s archives, a quintuple bypass, 10 Cable ACE Awards, an Emmy, a Peabody and an entry in the Guinness World Records.

iReporter puts King on the hot seat

King is an old-fashioned romantic who didn’t just sleep with his girlfriends. He married them, proposing to one love interest on their first date. He has been married twice to a former Playboy bunny named Adele.

In his book, “Larry King: My Remarkable Journey,” he agreed it wasn’t “healthy” to be married more than two or three times.

When marriage No. 8, to Shawn Southwick King, hit a rough patch this year, divorce papers were filed but quickly withdrawn. She is the only spouse to “make it to two digits” with him, King has said. He isn’t fudging when he says he wants to spend more time with his family.

But, as he’d probably be the first to tell you, the 77-year-old King is most at home behind a microphone.

He sat down in his office with CNN.com on Tuesday before interviewing Wynonna and Naomi Judd. He prowled and paced as he talked and autographed photos, copies of his book and the occasional pair of suspenders. The view out the window: the Hollywood sign.

He showed off a congratulatory letter from former Vice President Dick Cheney, a fellow member of “the zipper club,” as King calls himself and other survivors of open-heart surgery.

The chat was going well enough when, ever the showman, King decided to jazz things up. He picked up the phone and dialed Wendy Walker, his executive producer of 17 years. She had urged him to do the interview.

“Wendy!” King growled into her voice mail. “What are you doing to me? Who is this woman? She’s a mess. She’s a wreck, drunk and falling down all over the place, slurs in her speech. The woman doesn’t know where she is.”

He hung up. Spotting a horrified expression, he teased, “Kid, your problem is, you don’t have a sense of humor. Wendy’s the same way.”

Read excerpt from Wendy Walker’s book on her years with Larry King

A writer with a pad and pen brings no spark or spontaneity into Larry King’s world. The point was driven home when a reporter from Los Angeles radio station KNX walked in and set up his mike.

It was as if someone flipped a switch in King’s brain. He was “on,” telling the stories, doing the voice.

These days, King said, he sees many other cable hosts going over the top. As he leaves his show, King is troubled by all the shock and awe, noise and “look-at-me” personality.

“On many of these shows, the guest is a prop for the host, and that’s not my kind of broadcasting,” he said. “I hope it’s cyclical. I hope it comes back to information rather than yelling, and the guests are given a chance to finish a thought.”

Since King announced his exit from the nightly show, celebrities have lined up for the last interviews: showbiz biggies such as Al Pacino and Barbra Streisand; political luminaries such as Bill Clinton, Colin Powell and Joe Biden; and heads of state, notably Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who told him, “Long live the King. When will there be another man who is as popular in the whole world as you happen to be?”

Watch iReporter put King on the hot seat

“It’s been like last call around here for weeks,” observed supervising producer Greg Christensen. “I see more famous people here in a week than most people see in a lifetime.”

Seacrest said he’s honored to be hosting Thursday’s Larrypalooza, which he called “a historic television event.”

He added, “Through his show, he has taught me so much about people and our world. I am proud to be friends with the man who has set the gold standard in the broadcast business.”

Naomi Judd also considers King a friend. She and her daughter, Wynonna, were Tuesday night’s live guests. But the show’s energy was weird.

Naomi Judd’s conversation bogged down with the jargon of pop psychology. She told a caller, “I was in my UCC — my upper cerebral cortex,” which prompted King to remark: “I went to my upper cerebral cortex the other day and it wasn’t there.”

Judd said after the show, “I know the Larry King the world knows and I also know the real Larry King.” Dropping her voice to a whisper, she confided, “The truth about Larry is, he’s very insecure. He can be very abrupt and yet during the breaks he’s the biggest softie.”

It will be impossible to silence King’s famous voice, of course, even if he is not yet certain where it will take him next.

A restaurant, perhaps? A stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers? Anything’s possible. For now, he’s only looking ahead to Monday, when he has agreed to appear as a guest on “The Tonight Show.” After that, it’s off to Utah to spend the holidays with his wife and their two boys, ages 10 and 11.

“I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next. I don’t think he’s going away,” said Ross Perot, an industrialist and former presidential candidate who debated NAFTA with Al Gore on one of King’s most highly rated shows.

Perot said he always enjoyed appearing on “Larry King Live.” “He did not interrupt you,” Perot said. “You could have a really good conversation that millions of people could listen to and draw their own conclusions, as opposed to him telling you what to think.”

Over the years, critics have accused King of tossing softball questions. He said he doesn’t see it that way.

“I’m a minimalist, and the greatest minimalist question of all is, ‘Why?’ ” King said. “I never bought that softball rap.”

The late actor Robert Mitchum was his worst interview, he said. “I’m asking, ‘Who, what, where, when and why?’ and he’s saying, ‘Yep, nope, maybe, yep and nope.’ ”

Frank Sinatra, Bill Clinton and Mario Cuomo gave the best interviews, in King’s opinion, because they “had passion, the ability to explain what they do, a sense of humor and a little bit of anger.”

O.J. Simpson’s murder trial was a great story, King said, because it tapped into the zeitgeist of its time. “When the head of the Soviet Union lands on the tarmac and whispers to Clinton, ‘Did he do it?’ you’ve got a story,” he said. “O.J. was the most famous person to be charged with murder since Aaron Burr.”

He was not as enthusiastic about the Scott Peterson murder case, although Walker, his executive producer was and the story was great for the ratings. And he is dismissive of the Natalee Holloway case, which he calls “the Aruba story.”

The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for King. “It’s episodic. It’s like watching your mother-in-law go over a cliff in your new Cadillac,” he said, echoing the comic tradition of the borscht belt.

He’s nervous about the final show because he won’t be in control: “I don’t like surprises, and I don’t like being the center of attention.”

But he’s warming up to the idea that it will be great fun to do whatever he wants without getting permission from network executives.

And, although he’s had a quintuple bypass, he’s not worried about getting health insurance. King said he’s covered by the Screen Actors Guild because of his 22 movie appearances, 21 of them playing himself.

As for the future, King said he’s open to anything because at 77 his life continues to surprise him.

He was born Larry Zeiger in Brooklyn in November 1933. His father died when he was a boy, and he and a brother grew up poor, “on relief” as they called welfare in those days.

The city of New York bought King his first pair of eyeglasses. They were wire frames, and at the time wearing them told the world he was poor. To this day, King won’t wear wire-frame glasses.

He was a die-hard Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and he loved to sit in the cheap seats, keep score and announce the game.

He decided he wanted to go into radio, and somebody told him to head to Miami, where there were plenty of opportunities. He started at WAHR on May 1, 1957.

His boss told him the name Larry Zeiger was “too ethnic.” He found inspiration in the pages of The Miami Herald, lying on his boss’ desk. It was open to a full-page ad for King’s Wholesale Liquors.

A name was born.

The comic legend Jackie Gleason, best known for his role as bus driver Ralph Kramden on “The Honeymooners,” was an early mentor. Gleason called in a favor one day, and Sinatra appeared on King’s radio show. He was off and running.

He went national on the radio, and then CNN founder Ted Turner came calling. King’s starting CNN salary was $200,000. The only thing he’d say about his current paycheck is “CNN is treating me well.”

The Los Angeles Times reported several years ago that King bought his house in Beverly Hills for $12 million. That was before the housing slump, but King said he isn’t going anywhere.

“I love that house,” he said. Besides, he told his sons, “Who else would take us in?”

“I still can’t believe this whole thing happened to me,” King said of his longevity and his success. “I’m still a little kid in Brooklyn broadcasting the Dodger game to myself.”

He is pragmatic about his career: “It ain’t brain surgery.”

King usually is driven to the office, arriving around 4 p.m. for a quick briefing and a trip to the makeup chair. He’s on the set by 6 — 9 p.m. on the East Coast.

He’s out the door as soon as the camera’s red light shuts off.

After Thursday night’s show, there’s no telling when he will return.

“Six o’clock tonight will go on to 7 o’clock, with or without me,” he said. “Some news will break, and I won’t be there to cover it. I’m going to miss it.”

But there are the four specials. He might not be right back, but as Larry King would say, “Don’t go away.”

Source: CNN

Five members of the New Patriotic Party have begun a campaign to have Parliament approve the request for ten per cent oil revenue by chiefs in the Western Region.

The MPs have filed for an amendment to the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill currently before Parliament and have proposed the establishment of a Western Regional Development Fund into which ten per cent of the country’s oil revenue will be put for the exclusive development of the Western Region.

Member of Parliament for Bimbilla, Dominic Nitiwul who is championing this amendment insists “they don’t trust any government; particularly the sitting government” to make good its promise to develop the Western Region with funds from the oil.

He said with the development fund in place, the government will be obliged to develop the region.

“We are proposing this as a nationalistic thing to let everybody know it is not just a group of people from one part of this country that is deciding to [uphold this.]

He told Joy FM’ Sammy Darko they will exhaust all parliamentary procedures necessary to have the proposal by the Western Region chiefs amendment adopted.

“…We are going to ensure that this thing is carried and there are several tactics we are going to use or weapons at our disposal; including challenging a voice vote and ensuring that we do a head count of this particular call because we are really serious with this call,” he swore.

He said the ten per cent will just be one of the sources for the development of the region.

He is sure that Parliament will accept the proposal they are making based on the cogent arguments they intend to raise on the floor of Parliament.

But MP for Sege and a member of the joint Committee on Finance and Energy, Alfred Abayatei said the views by Mr Nitiwul are not sustainable.

He said the amendments put forward the five MPs are contradictory.

Mr. Abayatei argued that he as well members of the majority are in favour of the development of the Western Region but the ten per cent proposal is not the way to go.

He also stated emphatically that the Joint Committee unanimously objected the proposal by the Western Region chiefs, contrary to the claims by Mr Nitiwul.

Wyclef Jean files election papers for Haiti presidency

Hip hop star Wyclef Jean has formally registered to stand for president of his native Haiti as it rebuilds after the devastating January earthquake.

Dozens of supporters greeted him as he arrived with his wife and daughter at an electoral council office in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The deadline to file candidacy papers for the 28 November poll is Saturday.

Mr Jean, who lives in New York, has said the quake motivated him to stand for the presidency.

If he wins, he will preside over the spending of billions of dollars in international aid for reconstruction.

Other declared candidates include former diplomat Garaudy Laguerre and Raymond Joseph, who is Haiti’s current ambassador to the US and Mr Jean’s uncle.

The sitting President, Rene Preval, is barred by the constitution from seeking a new term.

Mr Jean is hugely popular in Haiti where half of the population is under 21.

He told Time magazine in an interview that his secret weapon in the election campaign would be that Haiti’s “enormous youth population doesn’t believe in politicians any more”.

“If not for the earthquake, I probably would have waited another 10 years before doing this,” Mr Jean added.

Mr Jean is Haiti’s ambassador-at-large, and has played a prominent role in securing aid since the earthquake, which left 1.5 million people homeless.

Source: BBC

Are we rendering the good service to our Mother Ghana?

“I promise on my honour to be faithful and loyal to Ghana my motherland. I pledge myself to the service of Ghana with all my strength and with all my heart. I promise to hold in high esteem our heritage, won for us through the blood and toil of our fathers; and I pledge myself in all things to uphold and defend the good name of Ghana. So help me God.” This is what we pledge for this dear nation of our. (I pledge myself to the service of Ghana with all my strength and with all my heart), but are we really rendering that service to Ghana?

On monday June 21st 2010, i woke up early in the morning to prepare for work. To my surprise, my light was off. I quickly rush to where the ECG meter is to check whether there is a fault with it, because my neighbour was having light so it wasn’t a general power outage.

The only thing I saw on the screen of the meter is (– – – –). I didn’t understand, so I slot in my prepaid card and still there wasn’t any change. I immediately put on my shirt and rushed to Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) offices to report the issue.

I got to there at 8:00 GMT and to my surprise the security guard  told me i have to wait under a tree  just beside the gate because the office will start work at 8:30 GMT. Hmmm I thought this is a service providing company. Nevertheless  i waited till the said time.

At 8:45 GMT, the security guard came to tell me to go to a particular room where they handle prepaid meter issues. I went in knowing  i was the first person but to see a room full of customers with different kind of issues. There was only one staff around taking the issues down, not even resolving them because the person responsible for that wasn’t around as i was told.

It got to my turn after waiting almost another 45 mins. I went to the guy and described my problem to him and he said I should bring my prepaid card and the small credit record sheet, I quickly gave it to him. He them told me to show him my current meter reading, for God sake no one has educated me on that not even the ECG officials educated us the customers to present our current meter reading when reporting a problem.

I rush to the house and write the reading for him. Don’t forget i have to also report to work at 8:00 GMT and here i am wasting precious productive time. After filling a form, he told me to go and come because the woman responsible for resolving issues is not in and this is around 9:45 GMT. I waited for another 20 mins and told him to call her and find out whether she is on her way. To my surprise  he told me the woman said she won’t come so i have to come the next day. I got very angry, wasted my time and resources and still have to sleep in the dark.

I have a few questions to ask the ECG.

1. Is the ECG company saying there is only one person responsible for resolving prepaid  issues?

2. Can we as a develop country continue with this kind of services and hoping to become a middle-income country?

I want to draw the  authorities attention to this so that they can keep eye on our public service providers in this country because we are paying huge sum of money just to enjoy this poor services.

We have  to change the way we work in this country if we really want to reach that middle-income status.

This is the only country we have and let us do what we say in our national pledge (I pledge myself to the service of Ghana with all my strength and with all my heart) so that our dear mother Ghana can smile.

Long live Mother Ghana!!!!!