Don't want to be a one-note fanatic, but I remain distressed by the intervention into Libya. Woke up early this morning; the TV news was full of video of cruise missiles and bombers heading towards Libya; some footage of bomb damage at Qaddafi's headquarters and of blasted Libyan military gear.
All this leads to the following reflections; perhaps a bit disjointed, and I apologize for that.
To begin, today's news reminds me, once again, that without a doubt the West has achieved an unprecedented mastery of the technical side of warfare. By the West, of course, I really mean the USA. The US military, with whom I have worked all over the world, remains the most amazing organization on the planet. That is why I get very upset over an abuse of that organization, and this intervention is just that.
Our terrific military is being called upon to execute a mission that doesn't make sense. Unlike Saddam, the Taliban, or Al Qaeda, crazy old Qaddafi posed no threat to the US homeland or to our interests abroad. One of the great achievements of the Bush administration was that it defanged Qaddafi-- dismantled his nuclear weapons program and turned him into a valuable source of information on Al Qaeda. That administration basically treated Qaddafi as though he were an aged sex offender, put him under house arrest and tagged him with an ankle monitor. Qaddafi, once the darling of the left, became just a cranky old man with an odd fashion sense selling his oil to whomever wanted it. Sort of an Arab Joan Rivers selling his wares on late night TV-- he did seem to wear a lot of that Joan Rivers jewelry, by the way. We didn't buy much oil from him--only about 0.3% of our consumption comes from Libya--but the Euros did. So we had an imperfect solution in an imperfect world.
Then, Qaddafi got himself a rebellion. OK. People in Libya are unhappy. OK. He is a crazy gangster and responded like a gangster. OK. And our interests are what? Are they so pressing as to justify Obama's incredible abuse of Presidential power? Not even an attempt to get Congress, much less the American people on board? How do we justify sending our people into harm's way, spending hundreds of millions of dollars, probably billions by the time this is "over," however, that's defined? What is the mission? No Fly Zone, or blast Qaddafi into the arms of 72 virgins? What result will make any difference to American national interests? What are our interests in this?
A slight digression, if you will. This Libya business has served as a reminder that we have a President who is a typical product of our "finest" universities. In other words, he is glib, narcissistic, feels entitled, and is intellectually lazy. Despite all the hype to the contrary, I very much doubt Obama reads or reflects much. We have a U.S. President, totally ignorant of America's history and of world realities, bored by the duties and responsibilities of the Presidency, but enamored of its perks--he launches a war as he goes off on an eminently postponable trip to Brazil. He needs a distraction from his failed domestic policies, so why not a little PR burnishing on the international scene? A war is good for that; war leaders look tough, and there are always those photos with returning service personnel.
Obama's intervention, however, is similar in one way to those carried out in Grenada, Panama, and Iraq. It shows, once again, the consequences of the sustained assault by the left on our ability to act quietly and cheaply to take out "offenders" such as Maurice Bishop, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, or, now, Qaddafi. We, in effect, have no ability to act covertly. We have no effective intelligence agency, certainly not that bureaucratic, lawyer-stuffed monstrosity of political correctness out at Langley, Virginia called the CIA. That whole thing needs to be dismantled and built anew. No, instead of being able to pay some disgruntled Colonel a couple of million bucks into an offshore account to take out some madman--that would be "selective targeting" and that is wrong--we have to launch massive military assaults that kill thousands and cost billions. Thank you liberals, thank you very much.
So, we will continue to kill Libyans in the name of protecting them, we will put our brave military at risk to benefit the EU, do violence to our laws and constitutional procedures, and spend lots and lots for no discernible US interest. Thank you liberals, thank you very much.
One of my concerns is what happens if Daffy Qaddafi survives and continues to rule Libya or, at least, a rump state in the west around Tripoli. I can easily see him deciding that "playing nice" in recent years got him nothing but bombs, so why not go back to being a full-time terror supporter, as he was in the 70s and 80s? He'll have plenty of billions to feed his desire for revenge.ReplyDelete
I'm not an expert by any means, but to me Obama is not only pursuing the same Ends as Bush (liberation of muslims), via the same Means (bombing the shit out of their military leaders), he's also implicitly making the same mistakes (thinking they'll thank us for it).ReplyDelete
Mind you, I'm not opposed to intervention, even in this case, but like Afghanistan & Iraq, (& Bosnia, & Korea, & Germany, & the Philippines, &, &, &) we're going to be in there, with troops, for the next few decades. Pretending otherwise (c.f. the man-child's insipid "days, not weeks") is the height of foolishness.
But, in essence, I agree with you. A little "smart diplomacy" should have been enough, if only there was some charismatic, bi-racial, multi-ethnic über-brain who could have interceded on all of humanity's behalf.
First, - and belatedly - welcome back to the blogosphere. You've been missed.ReplyDelete
Second, I agree we have no national interest in this brouhaha, so I'm thinking the only thing that makes sense is our beloved leader must believe the Euros will like/admire/respect him a tad bit more in the morning if he carries their Libyan water in this manner. And that's not gonna happen.
Nothing good will come of this, with the possible exception of giving some of our newer warriors a bit of field experience with live ammo. Haven't we done this sort of thing before and regretted it? Oh, I forgot. We are un-Bush now so history must go through another reset.
Welcome back, Diplomad. I wept when you left us. Hope you're back to stay.ReplyDelete
The problem is that Gadhafi did not "step"down from his rulership of Libya when Hillary and Barack told him to. I have Internet articles dating back over a month where Hillary and Barack kept saying that "Gadhafi has to go." The reason they intervened so quickly was because Gadhafi was on the verge of taking back his country from the rebels and his troops and tanks were on the outskirts of Benghazi. If they had not pre-empted him, he would have been able to quell the uprising and re-establish control over his country. The cries of a bloodbath were unfounded, as Gadhafi's army had met little resistance and the casualty rates were very low. Gadhafi had virtually absolute control over the vast oil fields of Libya as well as absolute freedom over to whom he sold it and in what quantities. Gadhafi also had amassed about $70 billion in personal wealth, which made him independent of their control. The coalition's "rights" to intervene in a sovereign nation were invented upon a rather flimsy pretext. But when three "kings" get together to make up whatever law suits them and assume the power to execute it upon another country, then they are the worst of all tyrants.ReplyDelete