Wednesday, March 23, 2011

At War With Libya... Again

First lets be honest that what is happening in Libya is a civil war. Let's also be honest that our participation in it is also war and goes beyond a simple 'no fly zone.' (This is also unconstitutional without Congressional approval but a whole other blog post.) We are choosing a side and bombing targets and killing the people running them on the ground. We have bombed tanks, artillery units, military and air defense stations which to me, is well beyond just keeping Khadaffy's airplanes from flying in the air. At a time when our economy is still fragile, when overspending is and will continue to be a huge issue, and we are already still at war with two countries, do we really need a third war to go with that plate?

Libya 'No-Fly-zone' (2011)
Operation El Dorado Canyon (1986)
Egypt-Libya Campaign (1942)
Libya (1806)

Less than 30 years after our nation began, we were at war with Libya and from the list above have been off and on throughout the ensuing years. Yes the war in 1806 is probably what I would consider a 'just' war because we were rescuing our citizens kidnapped by pirates and the 1942 campaign could be considered a part of the overall scope of World War II. But like the current war, the one in 1986 is similar in that we don't have a dog in the fight. It was someone else's fight but because we felt Khadaffy had slighted us in the past, we ran with it to provide justification for our bombing the heck out of the country. Two years after our dalliance in Libya, our bombings were paid off by Khadaffy with the ordered hit and deaths of 189 US Citizens aboard Pan Am Flight 103. Unless Khadaffy is killed this time around, how do we think he will repay us for another romp in a Civil War that doesn't threaten our sovereignty in the slightest way?

Which brings me to the point of the end game. The reason I was so opposed to the Iraq war was that we had no end game and really we still don't. We have installed another corrupt regime that is friendly to us and our hoping that if and when we finally leave it will still remain friendly. With Libya, the Current Occupant has pledged that we will not use ground troops. We have proven twice with Iraq and once before with Libya that an air campaign does nothing but slow down the progression of what is happening. It still happens and the only way to stop that is boots on the ground and a loss of America's most precious treasure, blood. Now that we have chosen a side, that of the 'rebels', we have to see it through. If we don't kill Khadaffy as we say currently we aren't intending to do, the best case is a divided Libya which means a constant military presence, something we can't afford to do. If we kill Khadaffy, we will probably end up like Iraq with a huge vacuum and twenty people as corrupt and ruthless as the former dictator waiting to fill the void. Perhaps the 'rebels' will eek out a victory and Khadaffy scoots to where abouts unknown, we have now handed a victory to a group of people who didn't 'earn' it. Like anyone who is gifted something, you never really appreciate it until you've put in your sweat equity or in this case blood equity. We weren't given our independence as a nation, we earned it. Libya citizens need to earn their independence.

Finally and most importantly, we need to start only engaging foreign powers when our sovereignty is threatened. The reason is that we can't financially or with the blood or our soldiers, afford to keep paying the price of foreign wars. We simply can't afford to be the world's cop policing moral crimes. Where do we draw the line? Bahrain? Yemen? Syria? Saudi Arabia? Iran? The rest of the world needs to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps or eventually, our interaction on the losing side will cause them to pull us underwater by our bootstraps.


Vince said...

I would have preferred by far that the US were not involved in this one. And if they had to be involved, that that involvement was confined to support like the provision of a carrier deck. That the US are lobbing Cruise from whatever platform, which is eventually bound to hit the wrong people. Even having the English involved is a bit fraught. It would have been much better if this was left to the French Italians and the Spanish.
But what isn't needed by anyone especially the Libyans is another Srebrenica.

Eutychus2 said...

Ed...I agree with you and Vince. If our dog is not in the fight,and we feel we must get involved, let it be for humanitarian reasons regardless of side. thanks

Sage said...


Three Score and Ten or more said...

I wish I could disagree, but. . .

R. Sherman said...

That fact of the matter is, we've no consistent foreign policy in the country and haven't had one since 1989. We intervene, unless we don't. No one can articulate the "when" or the "why" of it. Kosovo and Libya are OK, but Iraq is not. If someone can tell me a principled difference, I'll drop over dead. I just wish people would be honest and say, the former two are OK, because we have peace loving, progressive presidents who hate the military doing them, instead of that damn cowboy Bush.

(And I thought Iraq was misguided, BTW.)


P.S. Off-topic: There's only one way into Indian Creek from the top now, as I learned later from a ranger at Ponca: The easement is off the road that leads to the Wild Horse Ranch. My old way in, from the draw to the east of Kilgore mountain has been shut down, due to locals boozing it up and leaving trash there. Plus, evidently, a couple took a .22 to some cattle, thereby ruining it for the rest of us.


Ed said...

R. Sherman - Nice to know and welcome back!

PhilippinesPhil said...

What? No variation on your old favorite "Bush lied people died" nonsense? And you say as far as the one war we did finally win is that all we have done is to "install just another corrupt regime?" How many thousands of Kurds and Shias has this new gov't murdered? If corruption is the Ed standard then we should look at our own, hell, any gov't; i haven't lived in any country that wasn't riven with it. Enough with Iraq.
Truthfully though, in hindsight, I wish we'd never gone in, going back to my war there in '91. We've been trying to save Muslims from themselves going back to Beirut and all we get accused of is "crusaderism."
As for Libya, he got talked into it by the Frogs and Limeys. He is THEIR lapdog now, much as the Brits used to accuse Blair as being GWBs'. Even more so, he was talked into it by the Clintons, who still feel bad that they sat on their hands during the Rwanda genocide. As for me, I don't care about ANY Libyan; they ALL hate us. 90% of all Muslims in the Middle East (and elsewhere) despise us. Look at the polls.
It just shows, just as I've always known, this amateur, this Obama, has no mind of his own when it comes to leading the country. He's such a dithering academic egghead that virtually all of his agonized protracted decisions stem from others. And that includes "his" Obamacare, of which not one iota came from him.
And while I'm ranting. One of my buds is a high ranking AF troop in the Pentagon. Even as we spend billions a day in three foreign conflicts he is being told to find ways to cut billions from training and daily operating costs. Clinton did the same thing to us when I was in, where he increased our operational tempo beyond human endurance while stripping away money we needed to keep the hanger roof from leaking at home. Obama is Clinton times a zillion.