As I have been considering this “war” in Libya, I have been countering any number of arguments against the Admin’s actions. I would list them as such:
1) The risk to our military. Seriously. Please. If one wants to make a moral argument against this action, this is not a place to start, or even visit. In Vietnam we lost 53k conscripts. That was a solid reason on a moral level to oppose that war. This “war” MAY get a dozen pilots killed, in the extreme. And that is not even remotely likely. These guys are the most volunteer of volunteers. They WANT to mix it up. Almost nobody in the military is better aware of what they are into than fighter pilots. Navy SEALS perhaps. So I’d suggest to anyone that feels the need to decry this action to skip past the fact that one or two pilots are likely to become casualties. To object at this level would be parallel to opposing sending firefighters to fight fires. That is what those guys WANT to do.
2) The cost. This is not costing a whole lot yet, little more than exercises, plus the cost of real munitions. Cruise missiles cost a fair bit, I grant, but see 1 above and consider how many more pilots would be dead or captured without the use of that technology. To complain of the cost is to assert that the benefits gained to the rebels, the possibility of driving Qaddafi from office, and the stabilization of world oil prices has no value. The cost of this is trivial compared to the potential benefits.
3) Collateral damage (deaths of civilians in the suppression of Libyan air defenses, etc.) It is a nonsense to say that one death is too many compared to the goal. Not to compare Qaddafi to Hitler, but in all wars civilians suffer. If one is not prepared to ask if the harm done is less than the good achieved is to not make a serious argument. Lots of Germans had to die, and lots of Japanese as well, and any serious discussion of WW2 would acknowledge that the greatest evil that the Allies could have committed would have been to lose. Qaddafi has expressly committed to slaughtering the residents of Benghazi. He has lost the legitimacy to “govern”, if he ever had it. Unfortunate as it is, there is no way to secure the Eastern end of the nation and to hedge in his military without putting civilians at risk. That is not an argument to not pursue this campaign.
4) Any of a series of weak parallels to the invasion of Iraq are suspect. I will let Juan Cole attend to my argument here. http://www.juancole.com/2011/03/top-ten-ways-that-libya-2011-is-not-iraq-2003.html
5) Any suggestion that this is illegal or unconstitutional is readily debatable. There is a UN resolution, and there is the 1973 War Powers Act. Again, any argument based on this challenge must consider the humanitarian implications of letting Qaddafi continue to rule.
6) “Why are we helping here and not at (insert name of miserable unfortunate region here). The fact that we cannot help everywhere does not mean that we should not help anywhere.
Those are just some of the not very compelling arguments against this action that I have dismissed. I skip the painfully stupid Obama hating troll drivel that is usually attached to comments about vacations in Brazil etc. I welcome the opportunity to consider other arguments, or challenges to my take on these arguments.
This is a pretty good article by Nicholas Kristof about the necessity of the Libya Intervention.
Nick is pretty much the most reliable spokesman for the relief of those at risk by their fellow man.
If Hollywood wrote this, it would be a story about how a dictator with 40 lipstick virgins had used our government to fund the MIC to supply him with weapons so he could suppress his own people. Then the US would go in and blow the bad guys forces to smithereens. In doing so, the US would be seen as heroes.
But this is real life. The rebels are not prepared to win a ground war. They have neither the firepower nor the military precision to pull off overthrowing the villain in the black turban.
Private military contractors/advisers will train the rebels for a boatload of cash. They will boost their profits by transporting materials inside the black market. Weapons, drugs, prostitutes, slaves… you name it. All will be trucked and flown to locations wherever a willing buyer can be found. The US taxpayer and the newly formed democracy (soon to be drained dry) will foot the bill to maintain infrastructure for this criminal enterprise.
Once mercenaries gain control of the terrain, the vultures sweep in. The IMF and the World Bank send their economic hitmen_. All building contracts will be controlled by IMF/World Bank at set up to fail, high interest loans. Profits will be shifted out of the country to secretive banks who launder the money for the entire operation. Loans default as planned. Land is seized. Resources are taken.
Another country democratized.
Hey JackRussel! Good to see you!
So could we get Michael Bay to direct? Lot’s of explosions after all.
My thoughts on Lybia:
Suitable for a movie script.
Is this where we, The United States of America, are heading?
Halls of Montezuma: Marine Anthem With Lyrics
“From the Halls of Montezuma
To the Shores of Tripoli;
We will fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land and sea…”
Two of the three have happened so far. I hope we don’t “do” the third.
Between a dictator who is killing them in the thousands, and neoliberal rapacity, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they’ll still choose the latter.
2) The cost.
Banner headlines on AOL HP NO-FLY ZONE COULD COST COALITION $1 BILLION
OK my first thought was that’s it, really. 4000X less costly than Iraq.
My second thought was wow that would fund NPR for like decades.
And as Howard dean pointed out, $53 billion go to Big Oil in subsidies, so let’s get a little friggin’ perspective.
I see we saw the same Juan Cole article. Kudos.
I should make a point of reading him more often.
I say that all the time whenever I get out of the habit of reading him.
KevenSeven–great rundown. Number one strikes a particularly strong chord with me. I just finished a p.r. project involving former fighter pilots (now trainers) from Navy, AF, etc. They are fascinating personalities. I had to interview about twelve of them for the project. As a life long quasi-anti-military person, I gained a HUGE respect for these people. And, it seemed to me that they are just as you described–committed to the mission–which is most frequently humanitarian.
The #5 argument pisses me off, as well. Geez. Have I become a hawk?
Thanks. I do it all for you, kid. All for you.
I’d just like to ask those who vehemently object to the UN intervention if they have talked to ANY person from Libya about this? I spend quite a lot of time with all of the people who are rising – from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, etc. – all of whom have different “asks” for the U.S. And each “ask” has been honored by this administration. Tunisians and Egyptians told me they were delighted that Obama kept the U.S. on the sidelines to prevent accusations that the movement was a U.S.-led coup against Mubarak. They did not want U.S. intervention or even the appearance of U.S. support. They were strong and knew it. We stayed OUT of it. Now the Libyans are asking – and they asked the UN more than the U.S. – for help. And we honored the request for United Nations intervention.
So I’d really suggest finding people from these different countries to talk to before assuming that nothing is new under the sun. This president has changed EVERYTHING about our way of interacting with Arab and Muslim nations. It’s awe-some.
Excellent points Choice lady. You always do bring good points to the discussion!
Likewise, Abby! I am lucky to have so many allies who represent these different nations. The nuances and differences among them all matter – they are fully aware of their collective and individual histories, and all respectful of their individual national differences. But each national group needs different things from us. I have them as the sounding boards for whether the U.S. is doing the correct things or not. So far, yes. For maybe the first time in world history, we are listening, not imposing. We are responding to their assessments of what’s on the ground in their homelands. I find that remarkable and incredibly hopeful. Whether the Libyans succeed (or anyone else) is very fragile now, but they deserve to have us have their backs while they try. It’s the very least we can do in compensation for several centuries of Western exploitation.
I think that we are injecting ourselves in the middle of a civil war. Anytime that we do that we run the risk of causing problems we do not have solutions to, and perhaps ultimately causing more problems that we solved in the first place.
I don’t think that the fact that we cannot see the future perfectly makes a very good reason to not do this.
funksands is not merely talking about the inability to see the future perfectly but is implicitly drawing upon the lessons of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.
We could draw lessons back to Thucydides and beyond, I dare say.
But I still say that the potential for this to go well are substantial. And the common Arab will appreciate it.
I think these acts of support for people rising are diametrically opposite of what Bush did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those were traditional wars of imperialism and/or supposed retaliation. In fact – and Muslims know this – Iraq with its lies of WMD was a theocratic goal of Bush’s. It’s Babylon, the fall of which represents a prediction in End Times prophesy (so sayeth the believers, not true Christians.)
The Mid East has been a whipping boy for European and American imperialism for centuries. The support coming from the US in many different forms today is the very first steps ever taken to HONOR the will of the people over their own outcomes. The very fact that we did NOT act in other countries was because, according to their own people, we were not desired. In Libya we ARE, and the UN resolution comes at the request of Libyans.
That, last line is all you need to know. They asked for help. We and our UN allies are finally – after CENTURIES – doing something Arabs and Muslims WANT us to do for them, for their self determination, at their request.
These are world historical differences. This is a critical moment in the move toward real respect for the autonomy and sovereignty of other people.
I think that ordinarily is accurate, but when we offer what has been requested by each national group seeking to relieve themselves of oppression, it changes the outcome. We are not telling them what to do or picking power mongers over the people. We ARE responding to what they have asked of us. That is a vastly different kind of intervention from any we have done before. Just ask Chile…
OK stop the oil argument as the only reason the US is part of this (now I’m sure it’s a different story for FR and the UK). We don’t even get our oil from Libya.
Crude Oil Imports (Top 15 Countries)
(Thousand Barrels per Day)
Country Dec-10 Nov-10 YTD 2010 Dec-09 YTD 2009
CANADA 2,064 1,975 1,972 2,104 1,943
MEXICO 1,223 1,229 1,140 1,063 1,092
SAUDI ARABIA 1,076 1,119 1,080 870 980
NIGERIA 1,024 806 986 1,020 776
VENEZUELA 825 884 912 772 951
IRAQ 336 340 414 325 449
ANGOLA 307 263 380 266 448
BRAZIL 271 188 254 181 295
ALGERIA 262 379 325 336 281
COLOMBIA 220 489 338 179 251
ECUADOR 192 188 195 86 181
RUSSIA 158 85 252 168 230
KUWAIT 125 170 195 160 180
UNITED KINGDOM 124 80 120 67 103
ARGENTINA 85 35 29 33 53
We just need to take over Canada and Mexico and be done with it.
KQ, it’s not the aquisition of oil that is the concern. Instability in an oil producing country causes the price of oil to go up, globally.
Some economists are saying higher gas prices will have a negative effect on our economic recovery.
Again, so what? How does that make it wrong to help the rebels?
Because the percentage of oil from Libya is miniscule, the rationale for higher oil prices is a total fabrication of the rapacious petroleum giants. Moreover, oil DROPPED last week with the earthquake and tsunami and subsequent events in Japan which is the largest consumer outside of China. Did we see that at the pumps? Noooooo.
So I’m betting on GREED, not facts, for higher oil prices. It has no bearing on our actions with respect to Libya.
We need to pay attention to the request from the Libyan people to lend assistance to their efforts. First time EVER that we have intervened on behalf of people and their attempts, even if futile, to rid themselves of a dictator we’ve propped up for decades. That’s a GOOD thing. It is a major game changer in world events.
choice, speculation toward oil prices at it’s worst.
I know KT. Like I said earlier of course oil is a big part of the calculation it always is in the Mideast. I’m just not a big fan of simplistic arguments one way or another so that’s why I ended with a snarky comment.
I’m not either KQ. But I was just posting one of the several rationales used to support this action in Libya.
I’m all for helping oppressed people, but at what cost. When it comes down to us having to lay off teachers, fireman and police, among many other civil jobs, it galls me to think of the cost of just one Tomahawk missile being fired.
I realize that the government says it’s broke, and not just by republicans. Obama himself has said as much.
Can we really afford to get into a 3rd war?
Can we not? And we don’t know. Everyone ballyhooing is happy to make only cuts that hurt the other guy which tells me they aren’t worried. If they were really worried, they would work together.
Can we not, what? I am just talking about what we are TOLD. Not what the truth is.
And that was also used as an argument to support the dictators to quell their uprisings from those on CNBC and the like.
I don’t give a fuck about oil prices and the economy when it comes to people across the world fighting tyranny. It’s a callous, self-obsessed argument that so we can pay less at the pump we should support regimes that torture their own citizens.
But, and this is a horrible reason (MIC), every time a Tomahawk is fired it is good for the Tucson economy (Raytheon).
Khirad – is there an Arabic scrip for “fuck”? Do Arabs swear? I honestly don’t know.
You bet your ass Arabs swear – with many regional varieties – and they have some of the coarsest expressions!
But the word you’re looking for is نيك, neek.
Killgore – oil price futures were going UP before this all happened, and after the earthquake in Japan, they FELL. So no, that’s not an issue. The market has no bearing on reality anymore – if it ever did. It’s utterly manipulated, and is distinct from “supply and demand”.
I posted another link before seeing yours.
LOL!!!! Now there’s a progressive plan! At least we’d get health insurance, too! They both have national health plans. A Two-fer!
Here’s the top importers of Libyan oil
Sorry I can’t stay to play boys (and girls) – this is hell week at work for me – but two other thoughts have crossed my mind.
1) Didn’t a minister very recently admit that Mo-Mo participated in the planning and execution of the Lockerbie Pan Am 103 bombing? Would this have played some role? I mean, Mo-Mo admitted his part some time ago, but who ever listens to him???? Maybe more cred from a member of his government, and maybe with Meghri’s (?? can’t remember the guy’s name) release, and non-death (despite assertions he was dying), it has a tinge of revenge to it.
2) Could there be a zen like strategy of working AGAINST a guy we recently “friended” and working WITH forces that contain many hostile to us (in fact, the same ones supported by al-Qaeda)? A jiu-jitsu type maneuver? It has been my experience from working with Muslims that most of them are unaware that the U.S. in fact fought WITH Muslims in the Balkans war. It takes them aback and by surprise. I’m just wondering if this isn’t some of the thought (or lack thereof, depending upon your POV) that also played in the decision to intervene.
Off to bed; again, sorry I can’t stay tonight. Enjoyed reading the POVs. Keep up the good work; there are many smart people here. (And one very sleepy one)
K7, All disagreements aside. Great post. I wish many of our politicians were as thorough with their arguments as many of the people here are.
You are very kind. I will need to adjust my attitude toward you.
K7, Think nothing of it. Disagreement is healthy and a cornerstone of any democracy. You’re approaching this in a very logical way and you make several very good points in my opinion.
Well, I appreciate it all the same.
You’re quite welcome, friend 🙂
I have one very valid reason for non involvement in yet another war. WE CANNOT AFFORD IT.
I’ll put my cynical hat on for a moment the Pentagon can fund this whole action against Libya with the loose change they find behind Karzai’s couch cushion.
Not to mention the $9-12B gone missing in Iraq, huh KQ? Shrink wrapped $100s, without any accounting whatsoever. Let’s see: that’s six weeks of Afghanistan……..
You are not holding Quark responsible for that, are you?
KT, We can afford it. Never let them tell you we’re broke. They’re lying.
So why must we lose our teachers, and firefighters and police, if we can afford yet another war?
This is what bothers me about both the republicans and the dems. Never enough to care for our own people, but always enough for more war. It sickens me. Even more so when they say the reasons for war are humanitarian. WTF?
What am I missing here?
KT, This question has no easy answer. I put most of the blame on the American people. We are the stewards of this democracy. Not the politicians or the corporations or the media. Us. There are 2 sides fighting for control of this country and we’re their soldiers.
Class warfare? What class warfare? We’re too busy fighting each other. The upper class just watches as we hand them everything. This is all just my opinion. I don’t know the answer.
It’s tough to see what our priorities are. Like K7 said earlier, “nothing to be proud of, but there you have it.” I still have hope though. It just has to get worse before it will get better.
Adonai, I agree, the problem does lay with us, the people. I have several theories, but do not wish to be mistaken for a conspiracy nut.
Suffice it to say that there are darker forces working against, we the people. Those who want to dumb down the population, those who want us to become mindless consumers, those who want to trick us into believing that their intentions are good for humanity.
Sometimes I do think it’s too far spread for it to be reversible. I really do, and that sucks.
It’s been getting worse for decades now, with any real victories for the American people (and the world) to show. Going back to the late 1940s.
“No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life and breeds ill will and suspicion….it is an evil government.”——-Hoffer
KT, I can find some common ground on that. I’m not much on conspiracy theories myself but I too feel like it is in the best interest of those who wish to accumulate and keep power to keep the general population dumb and afraid. Constantly at each other’s throats.
Someone said (I can’t remember who) that we are not broke. It’s just that the money is not in OUR hands. 400 people hold 50% (I believe) of this nation’s wealth.
Rachel had a really good segment on what Repub governors and legislatures are doing, which is actually INCREASING taxes on the poor and the elderly while giving huge tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy (estate tax cuts). It’s the old “trickle down” scam that Repubs have run since Reagan.
I agree with Hoffer. I think this move is precisely the opposite of “cheapening” life. It is a real assistance, desired BY the Libyan people, and it gives them breathing room to TRY to rid themselves of this dictator. Will it succeed? No one knows. But it is moving us forward in terms of closing the gap between them and us.
choice, I am just very wary of any new military campaigns in the Middle East, or anywhere else, for that matter.
Can anyone really blame me after more than 10 years in Afghanistan and nearly 9 years in Iraq? The immense drain to our treasury, not to mention all the deaths on both sides?
Can anybody really blame a person for being suspicious?
What you’re missing are the jaw-dropping tax cuts to large corporations that made the budget gaps huge and that the GOP governors and House wish to make huger. (I know that’s not a word. It just sounds good.)
Moving to help abet Arab people find their own way is critical to changing the entire balance of power that has existed since at LEAST 1898. Helping people fight FOR democracy is the least, the VERY least, we can do to and for people whom we in the West have exploited for centuries.
choice, I understand the wealth inequality that is taking place in America. I just have my doubts about how much our actions in Libya are going to win the hearts and minds of many in Arab countries.
Yes, our actions in Libya are a plus, to be seen by the Arab world, but our continued action and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan are not very popular at all within the Muslim community. Just my take on it.
I really can’t fathom this linking of the Republicans’ attack on public sector workers with a phony argument with preventing mass murder at the behest of the international community.
It reminds me of the arguments to cut foreign aid.
I do not accept that. This probably will not cost so very much.
It is not as if Qaddafi’s military is all that tough.
Kevin, if we were not already bogged down in two wars that have cost us well over a trillion dollars, I might agree with you.
It’s bad enough that we are neglecting our needs here at home, but to add to the massive waste of money we have already thrown away is just not acceptable to me.
I don’t think we can afford to miss the opportunity to make nice with the Arab street.
Exactly. The cost-benefit right there is worth it.
If that indeed is the result.
Did the U.S. Constitution authorize President Barack Obama to use force in Libya without Congress’ explicit consent? Was the United Nations Security Council vote authorization enough? Can Congress cut off the mission’s funding? Should it declare war? What does the Constitution say about all this?
This battle between the legislative and executive branches has been going on since George Washington’s administration. The Constitution gives Congress sole authority to declare war, but it makes the president commander in chief.
History shows that both institutions claim authority over war decisions, but presidents often have ordered U.S. troops into battle without congressional approval. At the same time, Congress often has then threatened to push back in various ways unless the president cuts lawmakers into decision-making going forward. That’s the dance under way today.
Obama did consult with congressional leaders on March 18, the day before ordering military action in Libya — not to ask their advice, but to inform them of his decision. On Monday, he explained the mission in a two-page letter to Capitol Hill, citing his authority as commander in chief.
White House aides note with gratitude that the Senate voted unanimously on March 1 for the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, which it subsequently did on March 17, and which the White House cites as authorization for the international military action.
I forgot to provide the link in my previous comment.
Read more: http://www.theolympian.com/2011/03/22/1589032/libya-assault-sets-up-battle-between.html#ixzz1HNbxnsi2
Good stuff. The US presidents have fought something like 200 wars of various sizes without getting Congress’s OK.
Congress has ceded its authority here.
I wonder how effective a no-fly zone will be, toward Gaddafi’s tyranny against his own people.
That is a separate question. Obviously we are talking much more than a no-fly zone.
We are talking destroying tanks, trucks, helicopters, artillery and rockets as needed.
Then that is war. You can’t call it just a simple intervention. We are either helping to set up a no-fly zone, or we are engaging in war. We can’t have it both ways.
I am making no effort to have it any particular number of ways. I am in favor of doing everything that we can short of sending troops in to topple Qaddafi. Was I being too discrete? Fuck it. Conduct a war on the ding-bat.
BTW, the UN resolution is much, much more than a no fly zone. You might want to read the damned thing.
I think your attitude toward this action is far too cavalier. It’s not you in the fight so why care, right?
How is the UN resolution more than setting up a no-fly zone? How much farther does it ask us to go?
First, possibly we could avoid getting personal on this? I am a human being and I do care, so back off.
I have been listing weak arguments for opposing this war. I have not said there are no good arguments. Just bring me one.
Read the UN resolution. It says the coalition has the power to take whatever steps short of invasion necessary to secure the security of the civilians. Check it out.
I am merely responding to your own words. I believe you said, “fuck it.” That sounds pretty cavalier to me.
And yes, you are correct about the resolution, but how is that no to be considered war?
Where did i say it is not war? What of it? Of course it is war. A blind chimp would recognize that it is war.
Fuck it. Qaddafi will murder tens of thousands if he is not stopped. I have yet to see a good reason to not pursue this war, although there may be one.
Kevin, Our government is not calling it war. They refer to it as merely establishing a no-fly zone. I suppose there are some in our government that are calling it war, but Our leaders at the top are not.
We simply cannot afford this. And there is potential for things to get way out of control. Aren’t two wars enough right now? And yes, we still have over 50,000 troops in Iraq, and they do participate in combat operations, when assisting Iraqi troops.
Qaddafi was about to murder tens of thousands. I don’t give a rat’s behind what the admin calls it. Why get all hung up on rhetoric?
We can easily afford this. I admit to hoping that if it comes to ground troops the French handle it.
So why can’t the British and French handle this without us? This isn’t a world war we are talking about here. It is one country, and a rather backward one at that. Their fighter jets are 20 years old at the least. Gaddafi doesn’t have a massive armor force.
I just don’t understand why two powerful nations couldn’t handle this without us. And I have trouble buying into the humanitarian aspect of all this.
Killgore – that IS the definition of establishing a no fly zone – making the armaments unusable whether it’s planes or rockets and the means to launch them. That is why Obama went to the UN. We DO have a standing, ratified agreement to work coherently in these sorts of actions. The UN agreement does NOT require Congressional approval. They already gave it decades ago.
But why us? Why do we, once again have to play the role of world police?
Why can’t Britain and France wrap this up? It’s only one nation we are talking about here.
I can think of a few reasons. Ben Ali, Mubarak, Khalifa, Abdullah, Saleh, Mohammed VI, Qaboos.
But yes, I’d like for them to wrap this up. Get Britain some more Tomahawks and let them do it.
And the Arab League countries need to step it up as well.
Khirad, you are far more knowledgeable than I am concerning the ME and other Arab nations.
I am just so sick of us spending money on rockets and bombs.
K7: I’ll begin by saying I’m not sure if the President made the right call or not on going into Libya. I will say, from my perspective, that the President has failed to make the case for war to the American people. A compelling US national interest has not been explained — at least to my satisfaction.
I object to the actions in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan for a number of reasons. One major reason is that the American people are not being asked to pay for any of these wars We are simply amassing more debt at a time when McConnell and Boehner keep declaring the country to be broke.
If any circumstance is important enough for this country to go to war or take military action, then I want to be taxed right-up front for the cost. In fact, I want all Americans to get an immediate bill for the wars. When they get their paychecks and see a larger withholding, I want them to be asking whether or not “it is worth it.”
Your comment about fighter pilots ‘loving to mix it up’ struck me as off. I’m not a fighter pilot, but was a ‘cannon cocker’ and a paratrooper in a prior life. I participated in several three-week exercises in which every single year 16 or 17 died — just playing with the toys. It’s a dangerous profession and you are correct that those in it understand its dangers. I do not think that most who join or remain in the service do so to ‘mix it up,’ but rather choose the military for the close-knit culture, camaraderie and the sense of a higher purpose.
I believe that too much of our nation’s resources are expended on Defense. The US spends $665B a year while Canada gets by with only $21B. So, when the nation is talking about cutting Medicare and Social Security for millions of its citizens, I think cost is a relevant issue — and a valid basis to object to military actions.
I think what bothered me the most about the approach you took with your post is that you were discounting (more than countering) people’s concerns or objections about the action in Libya. Perhaps their concerns are not fully fleshed-out. Perhaps their objections are even incorrect in some respects. But here’s the thing, as a guy who has been told (without prior warning) to be ready to move a platoon to the airport in 90 minutes for deployment to the Middle East, I like people being troubled. I like their questions and objections. These are a valid part of a system which you and other commenters noted, isn’t working very well.
Next to last comment. Maybe we should be in Libya. If so, I would be very interested to hear the rationale and basis — more so than counters to people’s concerns. So, go ahead, educate me.
Last comment. I feel strongly we should have never gone into Iraq the second time. I think we got there because people were not skeptical enough of the reasons being given for going to war. When people express concerns about Libya — which is literally just days old, they are working through it in real time. They may come around to your point of view eventually — or they may not. Either way, expressing one’s doubts, concerns and objections is a healthy part of the process.
OK, allow me one bonus comment: Presidents can spend soldiers’ lives, but only the American people, by paying attention, can make sure he spends them wisely.
Well, I never said that there were NO good reasons to oppose this action, now did I? I listed some that I think are pretty weak tea.
I also think the fact that the nation is running a deficit is not a valid reason not to do one particular thing or other. We should still build bridges and schools and look for cures to cancer.
So far 66% – 71% of those polled approve of the Libya intervention. It remains to be seen how those numbers change over the course of the next week. But those who are against this have plenty of company. The Professional Left has found practically everybody they can to put in front of the cameras. Kucinich has been in front of the camera so often he can’t remember what he’s said on previous shows. When confronted with facts he backs away says well he didn’t mean that he meant something else. And poor Congresswoman Holmes-Norton was so confused I was seeing double after she finished talking.
Obama never had to made the case to most Americans for two strange reasons.
First he was obviously not sold on joining entering Libya until last week.
Second he did not have to make the case because the UK, the French, Arab League and MSM already made the case they needed for limited military action.
I honestly think if you have to sell the American people on a war post WWII than it’s probably not a war you should start in the first place.
The mission is a humanitarian mission first and foremost. Even the UN security counsel members who did vote for action recognized the humanitarian crisis. In fact if you heard their arguments in the UN security meeting they all condemned Gaddafi and their reasons for not voting yes sounded pretty hollow.
If you look for justification on our interests alone because you are an isolationist and dismiss any global responsibility to subvert a humanitarian crisis you won’t find any reason for the US to participate in this multi-national effort.
We allowed people to be killed in Yemen – no oil there.
We allowed people to be killed in Bahrain – no oil there.
We allowed people to be killed in Lebanon – no oil there.
We allowed people to be killed in Sudan – no oil there.
We allowed people to be killed in Gaza – no oil there.
We allowed people to be killed in Tunisia – no oil there.
We allowed people to be killed in Egypt – no oil there.
We allowed people to be killed in Albania – no oil there.
Libyans are engaged in a civil war in order to change their government. Nobody knows what will come after Gaddafi – no-one knows who these rebels are. Last month the British and Americans sold arms to the dictator and this month they’re protecting the civilian population against the use of those arms. This whole situation stinks to high heaven.
Yemen has oil. And we may step in soon. So does Egypt. And we almost stepped in. So does Bahrain. So does Albania. I think almost all of them do. Did you mean they DO have oil?
Algeria has approx 9 billion barrels worth.
Bahrain has approx 1 billion barrels worth.
The others have much less. I apologise for my sloppy presentation – I should have taken more care. I still contend that the situation stinks though.
I agree Itchy. We simply pick and chose who we want to “help”.
Making us unique in human history, how?
I have the luxury of never having subscribed to the bullshit of “American Exceptionalism”, you see.
K7, where did I say it did? I don’t believe in “American Exceptionalism”either.
But what does that have to do with us being dicks?
Bahrain is actually one of the poorer Gulf countries in natural resources. The Al Khalifas, though I’m not sympathetic to them, are more modest than the other elites in those other countries. Our issue there is one thing and one thing only: Fifth Fleet.
And geography. All of Iran can be dominated from there.
Three poor reasons to oppose our actions in Libya:
That there is economic interests in there. (So what?)
And we don’t know who is going to succeed Qaddafi. I don’t know if I am going to die in my sleep, yet I will lie down tonight and go to sleep. If you want guarantees, buy a new car.
I’m not sure that we were indeed selling weapons to Qaddafi, but if we were, so much the better, especially if they are complex. Nobody knows how to defeat our weapons better than do we.
And what if we did sell him weapons? So what? Does that change the fact that Qaddafi is on the verge of massacring Libyans? How does the one fact change the other? What sort of logic are you employing here?
But thanks for adding to the list of poor reasons to object to this “war”.
Obviously you make a good case that oil is a factor.
Of course you omitted some countries as well because they did not fit your prima facie argument that oil was the ONLY factor.
In Afghanistan there was no oil and NATO intervened to get back at Al Qaeda and end Taliban rule.
In Kosovo and Bosnia there was no oil but the UN intervened because of the humanitarian crisis.
In Rwanda there was no oil there and the UN did not intervene.
So the obvious conclusion is oil is a factor but not the only factor.
We did not know much about the Bosnian and Kosovo rebels either.
KQ, what was going on in Bosnia was pure genocide. Ethnic cleansing. I don’t think that is the case in Libya. My main question is why must we always be involved?
I know that we are a member state in the UN, but why must we get involved when we are already entangled in two wars? One of them for over 10 years now? And the other for what, 8 years?
I totally agree with you KT. I have very mixed emotions about this. We are already in two conflicts that were suppose to be over quickly. We all know we should never have gone into Iraq. The Soviet Union went belly up because the couldn’t afford the cold war and the US can not afford, nor do we have the moral authority, to be the world’s police. I don’t trust our motives…oil.
Artist. I just wish the US government would come out and say the truth. It makes me sick when our government tries to have us believe that these wars are for humanitarian reasons only.
I am vehemently against these wars, and it just adds insult to injury to be lied to about our motivations.
Artist – oil is NOT the issue. We do NOT have any vested interests in Libya.
We were ASKED by people in Libya to help stand off the genocidal rampage of Qaddafi against his own people. We are doing that. The UN is doing that. It’s important to understand this is NOT a war of imperialism but humanitarian intervention.
It’s not not ethnic cleansing, but there was going to be some political cleansing.
I could also make a pretty weak case that it was Cyrenaican cleansing, though (Western and Eastern Libya have had separate identities since the Carthaginian, Greek and Roman times). But, it’s still not the same thing.
We get to the question of if we only step in to help if the mass slaughter is ethnic though.
Obviously Europe has a vested interest in Libya. But do we? Not according to this site. Of the 15 oil producing nations of which we have a vested interest, Libya is NOT on the list.
We need to separate the administrations. Libyan contributions to our oil are almost nil. And we are helping ALL the nations in civil turmoil – they just have not yet faced the onslaught that Libyans did at the hands of Qaddafi. This is a MAJOR turning point for US actions – the first time we intervened on behalf of PEOPLE. Libyans HERE in the US asked us to do this. Libyans THERE asked us to do this. We are doing it with the help of our allies, via the UN that is financing a huge part of it. Moving – at LAST – to help real people instead of fanatics is HUGE.
Turning point. Historical moment. Game changer – however one calls it, it represents a major difference from our past actions and past values. I am hopeful. Not optimistic but hopeful for the people of Libya. It is the very LEAST we can do to make up for all the centuries of European and then US imperialism.