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miércoles, marzo 23, 2011

Cops Of The World

Simultaneous War III continues. Nobody knows its goal or how or when it ends. Or who's in charge of operations. Or what a success might look like. In fact, the many questions US airstrikes on Libya have raised seem to have struck many (including me) dumb. Why? Because I just don't get it. I don't understand the point of this latest military adventure. Or what it is supposed to accomplish. Or how.

There are lots of countries in which dictatorships with varying degrees of brutality toy with the lives of the citizens, suppressing dissent, imprisoning, killing, disappearing, repressing in one way or another. These countries are not democracies. How many are there in which tyrants of one stripe or another are in charge and acting like, well, tyrants? I don't know, but you can bet that Libya isn't the only one in Africa. And, of course, all of these countries, to one degree or another, have nascent opposition groups that are involved in various kinds of opposition to the tyrant, including demonstrations, rebellions, or outright armed insurrection. But the US isn't busy lobbing $1 million missiles at these countries in support of the rebels, or flying airstrikes to blow up their military defenses, or coordinating with the allies to advance the opposition, or even threatening them to straighten up and fly right. Or else. Libya is special, probably because of oil.

And who is this utterly disorganized opposition in Libya? Yes, they are opposed to Ghaddafi. But other than their opposition to the despot, what's their plan, assuming the tyrant is toppled? Are they talking democracy? Is there a reason why they are somehow worth the potential loss of US lives and the enormous cost of this operation when other insurrections don't merit attention? I just don't understand how deposing G (or is it K) and a victory by the rebels assures democracy or any other worthy goal. And I don't understand why it matters to the US. Unless, of course, it's about the oil.

As the great sage County Joe put it many years ago, "And it's 1, 2, 3 what are we fighin for? Don't ask me, I don't give a damn."

And now we have President Obama's lame effort to address some of these concerns. CNN reports:

"Our hope is that the first thing that happens once we clear this space is that the rebels start discussing how they're able to organize themselves, how they articulate their aspirations for the Libyan people," Obama said.

Is this an announcement that the rebels are still disorganized and have no plans for the future other than deposing G (or is it K)? Or does it mean that the US is now bombing in behalf of people who are leaderless and acting without any plans, forget about long term goals? And then there's this, which is very had to understand:

The president acknowledged the irony of being a Nobel Peace Prize winner who ordered the U.S. military into action on the eight anniversary of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, but said the goal in this case was humanitarian.

"I'm accustomed to this contradiction of being both a commander-in-chief but also somebody who aspires to peace," Obama said, adding the Libya mission was to protect the Libyan people from Gadhafi's military.

"We're not invading a country; we are not acting alone," he said. "We are acting under a mandate issued by the U.N. Security Council."

The American people will see no contradiction between someone who believes in peace and "who wants to make sure people aren't butchered because of a dictator who wants to cling to power," Obama added.

What? I see a contradiction. A huge one. Is this a case of making war to make peace? Is this destroying Libya to save it? And is the President saying that in other nations, those who are being "butchered because of a dictator who wants to cling to power" can make a claim on US military assistance which the Peacemaker President will dutifully grant?

What a steaming hot mess. The US continues to play out Phil Oakes's song, "Cops of the World."

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