Kuperman does Libya

You must have seen this article by Alan Kuperman doing the rounds over the past 24 hours. Nevermind the fact that Kuperman is a ‘bomb-Iran’ neocon hardliner, many are referencing it to dismiss the enormity of the situation in Libya. Kuperman begins with some strong declarative statements which he says are based on Human Rights Watch findings.

EVIDENCE IS now in that President Barack Obama grossly exaggerated the humanitarian threat to justify military action in Libya. The president claimed that intervention was necessary to prevent a “bloodbath’’ in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city and last rebel stronghold.

But Human Rights Watch has released data on Misurata, the next-biggest city in Libya and scene of protracted fighting, revealing that Moammar Khadafy is not deliberately massacring civilians but rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his government.

Misurata’s population is roughly 400,000. In nearly two months of war, only 257 people — including combatants — have died there. Of the 949 wounded, only 22 — less than 3 percent — are women. If Khadafy were indiscriminately targeting civilians, women would comprise about half the casualties.

Revealing figures — which seem to leave absolutely no room for doubt. Except Kuperman’s analysis bears little relation to the report he is referencing. First he performs some deductive reasoning based on the estimates of one interviewee and tries to pass it off as the conclusions of HRW. He then inverts the actual conclusions of HRW to claim that ‘Moammar Khadafy [sic] is not deliberately massacring civilians.’ He then proceeds with an impressive kamikaze act declaring in no uncertain terms that Qaddafi is ‘narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his government.’

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