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viernes, marzo 18, 2011

War Du Jour, Part III

War, endless war. Evidently, Iraq and Afghanistan, even taken together, cannot sate the US's taste for armed combat and blood. No. Not a chance. Those are insufficient. Today we learned that the US was going to get involved in yet another war, a third one, this time in Libya, again complete with ill defined purpose, the possibility of massive and uncontrolled escalation, and no exit plans. Yes, I know. No ground troops are being committed. Yet. Right now. But this intervention is a lot more than just imposing a "no fly zone". Let's call it what it is: it's an open invitation for the US to get embroiled in yet a third, simultaneous, distant ground war.

How so? Let's suppose that air power can keep Libya's air force on the ground. But let's also suppose that Libyan armor attacks Benghazi. Or Libyan mercenaries and infantry attack some other civilian center in which there is resistance to the Gaddafi government and its tanks and infantry and mercenaries. It's clear that to defend the rebels (read: the less well armed Libyan people) there would have to be at the very least an air attack on the advancing forces. And the Libyan response to that would be an escalation of some kind, and the response to that, in turn, another escalation. Have we seen this particular sequence and its consequences before? Or more to the point, haven't we seen it far too often? And hasn't it killed enough US soldiers? And enough foreign soldiers? And enough civilians?

MSNBC reports:

NATO allies meeting in Brussels were drawing up plans to enforce a United Nations resolution authorizing military action to prevent the killing of Libyan civilians Friday as Western leaders delivered an ultimatum to Moammar Gadhafi.

Fighting continued Friday in Libya despite the government's declaration of a cease-fire to comply after the U.N. resolution passed a day earlier.

President Barack Obama and other Western leaders said military response would be swift if Gadhafi forces continue attacking protesters trying to end his 42-year rule.

I think we've heard that line about "swift" elsewhere, perhaps in the different context. At least so far we've been spared the silly prediction that the Libyan people would greet US troops in the streets of Tripoli with flowers. We'll have to wait until next week or next month for that. Right now there is already video of people in the streets with Libyan flags supposedly cheering the UN/US decision to intervene. Those videos are positively Chalabi-esque.

But it's the language about "military action to prevent the killing of Libyan citizens" that's the real problem. That very phrase opens the door wide to yet another quagmire. You remember quagmires. Vietnam. Iraq. Afghanistan. Now Libya. What does this phrase mean about the limits, if any, of US/UN intervention in Libya? As far as I can tell, not so very much.

And how does our present War President explain (video) why the US cannot sit this out in the peanut gallery and try to nurse it's own economy and Japan back to a modicum of health? Ah. Well. He doesn't. You have to watch the entire statement. Very nice rhetoric. Very broad. Very fierce (where has this fierceness been hiding for the past two years that it gets to show off now?). Yes, it's intolerable that Gaddafi's forces are killing civilians. Yes, Gaddafi has abused the populace for more than four decades. Yes, he's violated human rights. Yes, he's suppressed expression and the right to assembled. And worse. We've heard all that before about Mubarak, and Saddam Hussein, and [fill in the name of the dictator who is now out of favor in the US]. Yes, he's a bad, bad man. And, yes, he has oil, oil, oil. How coincidental.

You would expect a large outcry about this newest of US wars. But so far, I don't hear much. I'm amazed that committing the US's military to anything like this can happen so easily. Have we become that desensitized, that habituated to war for oil?

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Anonymous Atlanta Roofing said...

For a lot of different reasons voters saw what they wanted to see in Obama. In some very real respects he’s no different than Bush on foreign policy. That said ultimately the fault lies with the American people. Something is wrong with the system if no matter who you vote for, you get war. Wonder if Obama feels that he has to overcompensate to show that he’s not “Palin’ around with terrorists”. This action against Libya is truly hypocritical and disgusting, especially when you consider what the ruler of Yemen just did.

11:07 p.m.  

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