Sunday, March 27, 2011

Libya and Americas Kinetic War

Wow, things are sure confused when it comes to what we are doing, or not doing, in Libya. Politically speaking, the battle lines have never been so clearly foggy. We have Republicans supporting Obama for taking ‘deliberate and decisive action’ and at the same time, we have Democrats demanding his impeachment for war crimes. What happened? I feel like I just stepped out of “The Way Back Machine” and it is 10 years ago…. But then I look again and here comes the ‘other’ Republicans, true to their cause, saying that it is nice to save thousands of lives, but only when we can afford it…. And they are followed by the ‘Obama-walks-on-water-Democrats’ who think the real problem in the Middle East is the Republicans in Congress holding on to their guns and waving their Bibles…

God, I get tired of all this nonsense….

Then we have the usually clear and precise American Military give press briefings and refusing to call all this bombing and strafing of Kaddafi’s forces a “war” or a “conflict”. Instead they insist on using the term “Kinetic Military Action”. Yeah, right

Just for the sake of argument, I took a moment and looked up the word kinetic. I have news for you, shooting rockets at people, dropping bombs on tanks, and flying over firing machine guns is anything but kinetic. Hey, Pentagon, stop listening to the State Department and start preparing your own press briefings, ok?

Then we enter the world on the home front where people are trying to make some sense of all this and decide if we are doing the right thing or not. Bill O’Reilly thinks we did the right thing by acting to stop what would have been a major blood bath if Kaddafi had gotten into Benghazi. I agree. The quote he uses is from Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Again, I agree.

Unfortunately, reality has a nasty way of catching up with ideology and we are faced with what to do now that we have, at least temporarily, stopped the massacre. Now that we have had time to look at this thing “up close and personal”, what we see is not as clean and nice as we would have liked. No surprises there, as an amateur historian, I can tell you that war never is as clean and nice as people would like.

First there is the little matter of the No-Fly Zone (which includes taking out any of Kaddafi’s military that makes the mistake of sticking their heads up). Who is going to actually enforce it? Who is in command? How far can they go to “protect civilians”? How long is this going to have to be in place? Will the UN ever give permission to go after Kaddafi? Will the Arab League provide the assistance they called for and promised, or will they turn on us infidels?

I don’t know, boss, I just don’t know.

President Obama has made it clear that the United States will NOT be the lead dog on this sled, but that it would be a NATO operation. The problem is that some of our coalition allies don’t quite agree. Neither France nor Turkey want NATO to be in charge. That's good because, as it turns out, it is not. According to the Bloomberg news service:

The allies are considering a proposal, backed by France, to create a political steering committee that would oversee military operations using NATO's command structure. It would consist of the 12 nations that have committed to participating.

Oh, yeah. That will work, “War by Committee”. Why don't they just let the U.N. General Assembly run this thing?

Germany (also a NATO member) doesn't want NATO be in charge either. So much so that it:
(1) abstained from voting for the non-war resolution in the U.N. Security Council;

(2) has withdrawn its ships from the area to help with the no-fly zone business, and

(3) has refused to help police the arms embargo against Muammar Gaddafi.
It is nice to note that Chancellor Merkel oversees the strongest economy in the European Union largely due to German citizen's discipline.

Remember when the French didn't do what President Bush wanted? We stopped drinking French wine and renamed potatoes "Freedom" fries. I wonder --what should we do with police dogs and potato salad? Budweiser has already been sold to a Belgian firm, so they're off the hook.

With President Obama at the helm of the ship of state, it appears that none of our allies want their fingerprints on this thing. That "3 AM" ad from the primary campaign finally came true. Obama started a non-war and headed off to South America. Hillary really did have to answer the phone.

For now, I have no idea what we can or should do. I know our original intention to make Kaddafi pay for his sins and prevent the slaughter of tens of thousands of civilians was absolutely the right thing to do. That thought may not be much help when we wake up to find we have caught the tiger by the tail and we dare not let go….

Live Long and Prosper....

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