“No-Fly Zone” is one of those Orwellian coinages; it conjures a protective shield from high-above. But why not ask the Iraqis about this manna from the heavens? Before the US invaded Iraq, it had been bombing the place illegally—and immorally—over the unilaterally established No-Fly Zone. Not such a comfort if you’re on the ground. I’ll give the Obama Administration this: at least one of its officials has called a spade a spade. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a holdover from the Bush era, has explained what a “No-Fly Zone” over Libya actually entails (See CBS):
“A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses.” He added that it couldn’t be done by a single aircraft carrier off the coast. “It’s a big operation in a big country,” Gates said. … In other words, there is no need to establish a no-fly zone, at least for now, and no desire within the military to do it period. The U.S. military has long experience with no-fly zones — more than a decade over Iraq — and knows what it takes, not just jets but tankers and early warning aircraft.
The neoconservatives were champing at the bit to take the battle for Libya away from the Libyan people and put it where it belongs: the US military. Steven Hayes of the Weekly Standard made a weak case on FoxNews. Essentially, the US needed to quickly and self-righteously compensate for its lackluster reaction (here’s mine) to the Egyptian revolt.
Fumed McMussolini: “We are spending $500 billion not counting Iraq and Afghanistan on our nation’s defense. Don’t tell me we can’t do a no-fly zone over Tripoli. (FoxNews) Impeccable reasoning, as always, from the senator. To wit, even if the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan were essential to the defense of the realm—and they are certainly not-–why does it follow that Libya is too?
Sen. John McCain should know a thing or two. In all, he lost five jets during his time. (As Steve Sailer once quipped, “To lose one plane over Vietnam may be regarded as a heroic tragedy; to lose five planes here and there looks like carelessness.”)
There’s one more pesky detail. CBS again: “Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the same subcommittee that the Pentagon has no confirmation that Libyan strongman Muammar al Qaddafi is using his air force to kill civilians.”
Fibbing our way into occupying a country: Remind me why that sounds familiar.
Sorry, but I don’t give a rip about the Libyans or the Iraqis or the Phillistines or anybody else because I know they would all line up to urinate on American graves if they got the chance. All I care about is; Do we need the oil? If so we should do what it takes to get it and to heck with public opinion. The only caveat is we don’t have the national leadership with smarts enough to do battle in a Muslim country. As far as I’m concerned we don’t have the leadership, politically or militarily to do battle anywhere. I hope a bus load of eskimos don’t get mad at us. Obama would be bowing down to the king of the eskimos while Hillary Clinton would want a consensus from the Security Council before we do anything.
RATIONALE – There is nothing the odious Khaddafi has done in the last 10 years that has endangered the lives or liberties of anyone living in the United States of America.
PRACTICALITY – Even assuming that it made sense for the USA to “do something”, it would make more sense just to give supplies (anti-armor and anti-air missiles, RPG’s, guns, night vision equipment) to the rebels than to do an occupation. Of course, TODAY’s FREEDOM FIGHTERS ARE TOMORROW’S TERRORISTS (see Mujahedeen/Taliban Pushtuns 1980-2011).
CONSTITUTIONALITY – Obama, Bush, Romney, etc. do not have the power to initiate offensive military actions – only CONGRESS has the authority. While this country is apathetic about the rule of law, starting a War (Truman style) without Congress is, arguably, usurpation and is impeachable.
PRECEDENT – An unsuccessful occupation will be another expensive pile of quicksand like Afghanistan and Iraq. If successful, it will spawn new misadventures in Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, and numerous other countries.
I highly recommend an excellent essay by Major General Smedley Butler of the Marines written nearly 80 years ago which was reprinted today in Lew Rockwell:
The West needs to give up this history-long obsession of remaking the world in its image. It cannot be done. We just need to learn to accept our distinctiveness and tend to our own garden.
I offer my full support in any mass movement opposed to intervention in Libya. But I have a feeling we won’t be able to count on the once vast legions of the Left that marched against Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Call it a hunch.
Oh, f***. Now he really will have a war to call his own.
“Do we need the oil? If so we should do what it takes to get it and to heck with public opinion.”
We need the oil but they need to sell it. They (most oil exporters) don’t have economies of their own with which to utilize their resources so they have no choice but to sell it on the global market. Self interested parties, even loathsome regimes like those in the Middle East, can be our trade partners.