The US prepares for war with Libya

This is bad news:

As loyalist Libyan forces bomb the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, the United States is pushing the United Nations to authorize not only a no-fly zone but airstrikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery.

Reuters quotes U.S. officials as saying Washington has concluded that a no-fly zone is not enough to turn the tide against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.

Gadhafi is expressing increased confidence he will prevail. Libya’s armed forces offered to stop military operations Sunday to give rebels a chance to surrender, Al Arabiya TV reports.

At the United Nations, where a vote on the proposal could come as early as today, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said the Security Council is weighing “a range of action” for protecting civilians in the fighting.

I guess Iraq and Afghanistan are not enough. We need to go to war now with Libya as well. We never learn, do we?






220 replies
  1. 1
    catclub says:

    I thought we were broke.

    I guess instead we will just break things.

  2. 2
    fasteddie9318 says:

    We never learn, do we?

    No. SATSQ.

  3. 3
    BGinCHI says:

    Can’t we tax the rest of the free world for doing this and then put the money into education? Or trains?

  4. 4
    ruemara says:

    Ugh. Do we need to descend in front of the UN with a no new war in Libya protest?

  5. 5
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Can’t we tax the rest of the free world for doing this and then put the money into education? Or trains?

    Don’t be silly; we’ll need that money to make more shit that we can blow up.

  6. 6
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    Settle down.

    China and Russia will veto.

    This is action is simply for brain dead press consumption.

    Now, back to NCAA basketball.

  7. 7
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    It’s like Krugman is always saying – the number one thing that got us out of the Depression was the biggest public-works program in history AKA WWII.

  8. 8
    Comrade Mary says:

    Fuck. There’s a horrible human tragedy going on in Libya, but going in there is incredibly risky. A half-assed effort would be worse than nothing, and even now, this just may be too late.

    I swear, every fucking hawk is out there begging and sniping about this. Even some show on the CBC this morning had an announcer snark that Clinton was describing a human tragedy, but wouldn’t actually do anything to avert it.

    But how can you enforce a no fly zone, bomb Gaddafi’s forces AND minimize civilian casualties and deaths? Libyans may regret getting what they ask for.

  9. 9
    MattR says:

    @Mike (Hammer) Kay: Just because China and Russia will veto this measure in the UN Security Council does not mean that we should not be worried that our government seems increasingly willing to use US forces to intervene in Libya.

  10. 10
    Mike in NC says:

    We never learn, do we?

    Another war? Just what we need to give the economy a shot in the arm!

  11. 11
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @MattR: Except they’ve made pretty clear that they want some sort of international consensus on Libya, meaning either UN or NATO approval. And NATO is also looking unlikely last I checked.

  12. 12
    Joe Beese says:

    Obama must be tired of Bush’s sloppy seconds and want to start his very own war on a Muslim country.

  13. 13
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    @MattR:

    government seems increasingly willing to use US forces

    The key word is “seems”.

    To some people, it “seems” there is an increasingly willingness to install sharia law.

  14. 14
    ruemara says:

    Having read the article, I’m still conflicted. They’re pressing for the involvement of the Arab League as the actual boots on the ground. The Defense Department also does not support this and we’re being pushed by Britain & France (our partners in the real foolishness of Iraq). I’m not sure if this is a workable plan or what.

  15. 15
    Poopyman says:

    @Mike (Hammer) Kay: My thoughts too, kinda. If the US is bluffing in order to force a veto, it’s high stakes indeed. Obama is a poker player, but we’re not accustomed to see him raise the stakes like this.

  16. 16
    Poopyman says:

    Oh poo! Put in moderation for using the word pok@r

  17. 17
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    You guys want some fireworks, wait until Tuesday, when the President visits Oscar Romero’s grave in San Salvador.

    The wingers’ heads are gonna explode.

    Also too, Louisville is battling for their lives vs Morehead St.

  18. 18
    Fair Economist says:

    I think intervention will work. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan show that, although we can’t remake a society even with protracted occupation, we can remove a government quickly and with fewer civilian casualities than will happen if Gadhafi wins. In Libya the government *is* the problem and so what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq would fix it. We don’t need to stay afterwards.

  19. 19
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    They’re pushing for a UN resolution to create a no-fly zone and other measures to be headed by the Arab League. Seems the direction Obama is taking is to make those on the region take care of it.

  20. 20
    cleek says:

    Hillary on NPR this AM made it clear that she was pushing the UN for war.

    this is some bullshit.

  21. 21
    Superluminar says:

    Isn’t it too late at this stage to meaningfully do anything anyway? It looks like Quaddafi’s forces have the rebels pinned down to Benghazi and are about to begin an all out assault on that city. I’m guessing this resolution is mostly a PR move, and we can blame those shifty Chinese for blocking.

  22. 22
    El Cid says:

    If this happens, the civil war may not end. Small arms and IED’s and rockets are still quite effective; geographically main centers are separated, but cities still may keep in chaos.

    It doesn’t really matter, though.

    Once the administration and the foreign policy establishment decides to do it, there will be no stopping.

    All other major establishment institutions, such as the press, major pundits, and so on will do as they always do when the US actually ramps up for war, go entirely long, cheer the effort, and hope that it’s done well & successfully enough.

    I know that this is being justified as RTP; I’d like someone really familiar with the context to argue the effects on the ground — even the most basic. International effects are also significant, including the region. They generally hate Qaddafi, but I’m curious as to how legitimately a US-backed new government will be treated. Maybe the same.

  23. 23
    cleek says:

    maybe this time, we’ll really be greeted as liberators. and whiskey. and sexy!

  24. 24
    JPL says:

    A no-fly zone is useless without, at least, the threat of air strikes.
    BTW, I do not support a no-fly zone.

  25. 25
    WyldPirate says:

    and you are surprised by what, E.D.? That Obama is going for political expediency over common fucking sense?

    Obama has no principles other than doing a.)what is required to deflect Rethug criticism, b.) getting re-elected.

    He’ll say and do whatever is necessary to get re-elected and could give a shit about anything else. The only difference is the minor variations on the scale of unmitigated evil these assholes we elect are willing to plumb.

    Fuck. Them. All. There are brown people to kill, campaign donors and corporations to placate and elections to win. Get your war on Obama!

  26. 26
    Merkin says:

    @ruemara: France was a partner in Iraq?

  27. 27
    MattR says:

    @Mike (Hammer) Kay: I hope you have never complained about Jon Stewart’s false equivalency after making that comment.

  28. 28
    quaint irene says:

    I thought we were broke.

    Who are we going to send, the Girl Scouts?

  29. 29
    Merkin says:

    @WyldPirate:

    That Obama is going for political expediency over common fucking sense?

    Yeah common sense is letting a dictator slaughter his own citizens and turn a blind eye.

    I’m not saying we should go to war, but neither is what ED linked.

    Liberals really need to stop blowing every little shit out of proportion.

  30. 30
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): OK, I take some of that back, the TPM article gives more info.

  31. 31
    E.D. Kain says:

    Maybe we could just have the Saudis send in troops to keep the peace.

  32. 32
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @WyldPirate:

    Obama has no principles other than doing a.)what is required to deflect Rethug criticism, b.) getting re-elected.

    Ah, but wouldn’t b. automatically result in a. ?

  33. 33
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @WyldPirate: At least Joe Beese is succinct…

  34. 34

    I guess Iraq and Afghanistan are not enough. We need to go to war now with Libya as well.

    One thing I’ve learned from Iraq is that genuine democracy promotion means supporting local democratic movements, and that there is a huge difference between an overthrow imposed by foreign forces and and one carried out by the locals.

    I guess you didn’t learn that.

  35. 35
    Merkin says:

    Any action could include France, Britain, possibly the United States and one or more Arab states, the source said.

    Sounds like the French are the ones taking the lead here. If there’s an air assault let by another country, then I really have little opposition to it.

    IMO, the only reason to ever go to war (except in retaliation) is genocide, or an impending genocide. If we were bankrupted by two other ways, I’d be completely for it.

  36. 36
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @JPL:

    A no-fly zone is useless without, at least, the threat of air strikes.

    Can’t really impose a no-fly zone without air strikes against their air capacity.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    Merkin says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    Maybe we could just have the Saudis send in troops to keep the peace.

    I don’t know if this is snark or not, but that’s actually what makes sense.

  39. 39
    Dan says:

    We’ll build a coalition. What is Poland up to?

  40. 40
    Canadian Observer says:

    Yes, joe, because it worked so well when your country supported “local movements” in the 80s in Afghanistan right? The one that later became the Taliban and Al Qaeda?

    And don’t give me BS about the ISI and the Saudis, they were Yank puppets as well then.

  41. 41
    WyldPirate says:

    @Merkin:

    Yeah common sense is letting a dictator slaughter his own citizens and turn a blind eye.

    This is just a fucking stupid statement. The US has never had a problem with its allies slaughtering their own citizens and turning a blind eye.

    Think Saudi Arabia as example number 1.

  42. 42
    noodler says:

    @Mike (Hammer) Kay: Totally agree, shame that it has to come on tourney day.
    A point that is missing is that when we establish a NFZ, we need to go in heavy first and take out some (much) of their anti air defenses IOT ensure that coalition aircraft can own the air. Out of necessity a NFZ begins hot, otherwise the standoff for our jets will be well out towards Sicily and not of use to anyone. Time for “Line of Death Dogs” once again. Yumm, Tasty!

  43. 43
    JPL says:

    @fasteddie9318: But, but McCain said we could.

  44. 44

    Another thing I learned from Iraq – funny thing about me, my knowledge about Iraq goes back before 2002 – is that air strikes/support for the opposition/no fly zones and a land invasion followed by an occupation are two entirely different things that bring about different results and have different costs.

    See, silly me, I’ve been thinking all this time that George W. Bush actually did something significant and undesirable, that was different from what was going on before the invasion, in Iraq.

    I guess I was wrong, and the lesson of Operation Iraqi Freedom is that the suppression of a government’s capacity to smash the opposition is utterly indistinguishable from putting a few hundred thousand troops into a country, overthrowing its government, and trying to install a puppet regime.

  45. 45
    Martin says:

    @ruemara: Yeah, I’d rather we tell the Arab League that they have our full blessing to do this, and that we’ll provide logistics, intel, etc. They’ve got the military to do it – we sold it to them.

  46. 46
    gene108 says:

    Why don’t we just intercede in every civil war on the planet? Pick a side. Bomb the other side to oblivion. World peace is achieved.

  47. 47
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Merkin:

    I don’t know if this is snark or not, but that’s actually what makes sense.

    Sending the Saudis in to topple a despotic regime and act as caretakers until a democratic government can be installed makes sense? Are we both thinking of the same Saudis?

  48. 48
    Merkin says:

    @WyldPirate:

    The US has never had a problem with its allies slaughtering their own citizens and turning a blind eye.

    yes and liberals never had a problem pointing out how awful it is that the US never had a problem with its allies slaughtering their own citizens. Someone proposes we do something about it, and you’re whining that we shouldn’t get involved.

    No wonder people in power ignore you.

  49. 49
    Poopyman says:

    @Merkin: Hmmph. I may be geographically challenged[1], but are you supposing the Jordanians, Israelis and Egyptians are just going to let them cut through? Or are they going to use the mighty Saudi Navy to deliver all of those tanks and troops?

    [1]I’m not.

  50. 50
    MattR says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Another thing I learned from Iraq – funny thing about me, my knowledge about Iraq goes back before 2002 – is that air strikes/support for the opposition/no fly zones and a land invasion followed by an occupation are two entirely different things that bring about different results and have different costs.

    Do you think those two things are completely unrelated? Once you commit to a no fly zone you have started down a path that can eventually lead to a land invasion. If you want to avoid a land invasion, the best thing to do is not to get involved in any way.

  51. 51
    Joe Beese says:

    Didn’t Obama’s mother teach him the importance of cleaning his plate?

    He can’t start any new wars until he finishes the two* he’s already in the middle of.

    * The two offical ones, that is. Since Yemen is still off the books, we won’t count that one.

  52. 52
    Merkin says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Sending the Saudis in to topple a despotic regime and act as caretakers until a democratic government can be installed makes sense?

    Not the Saudis alone, but as part of a coalition, yes. They’ve done it before. We’ve had soldiers from dictatorships as peace keepers.

  53. 53
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @WyldPirate: Obama screwed up my order at McDonalds! Nyagh!

  54. 54
    Canadian Observer says:

    Jesus H. Christ, did joe just suggest US policy towards Iraq in the ’90s as a model? The one under which a million Iraqi children fucking DIED from the sanctions regime?

  55. 55
    Bulworth says:

    @catclub: Wars are free. Also, too, the oil will cause the war to pay for itself.

  56. 56
    Dave says:

    I don’t think you can compare air strikes in Libya to Iraq and Afghanistan. In this case, you’d be providing air support for an indigenous force on the ground that has, in fact, asked for help.

    Not saying we should do this. But equating this to Iraq is misguided.

  57. 57
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @JPL: Good point; I suppose it makes sense to take our air combat cues from a guy who lost four planes in the Navy and nearly lost a fifth.

  58. 58
    Bulworth says:

    @Mike (Hammer) Kay: Didn’t Romero hate Murica?

  59. 59
    celticdragonchick says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    One thing I’ve learned from Iraq is that genuine democracy promotion means supporting local democratic movements, and that there is a huge difference between an overthrow imposed by foreign forces and and one carried out by the locals.

    This.

  60. 60

    @Canadian Observer:

    Yes, joe, because it worked so well when your country supported “local movements” in the 80s in Afghanistan right? The one that later became the Taliban and Al Qaeda?

    Actually, the movements we supported mostly became the Northern Alliance.

    It’s interesting how the most ignorant elements of the far left consistently find the most violent, repressive faction in any country and, as long as they’re anti-American, decide that they represent the true expression of the local population.

    Vietnam is to these people what Munich is to the Neo-cons.

    And don’t give me BS about the ISI and the Saudis…

    Oh, look, the loony loonie spotted a gaping hole in his argument, and decided he had to try to discredit it pre-emptively instead of asking whether his argument is a bad one. Shocking.

  61. 61
    Merkin says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    One thing I’ve learned from Iraq is that genuine democracy promotion means supporting local democratic movements, and that there is a huge difference between an overthrow imposed by foreign forces and and one carried out by the locals.

    I think this is key, even if we did invade the country (which I don’t support because we have no money for it), it’s not as if we just randomly decided Gaddafi should be gone. It’s because a revolution seeking to overthrow him is failing. It’s a completely different scenario.

  62. 62
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Merkin:

    Not the Saudis alone, but as part of a coalition, yes. They’ve done it before. We’ve had soldiers from dictatorships as peace keepers.

    Who else is going to be in this coalition? Under whose umbrella would it fall? The GCC? No real big fans of democratic governance there. The UN? Would the Saudis be amenable to that?

  63. 63
    Canadian Observer says:

    So you’re saying the Saudis and Pakistanis WEREN’T allies of the US in the ’80s? And DIDN’T have contacts with the CIA?

    Bin laden is “Made in the USA” at the end of the day.

  64. 64
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    @noodler:

    Totally agree, shame that it has to come on tourney day.

    I can only conclude ED Kain is unAmerican. He probably goes to the silent reading library during the Super Bowl.

  65. 65
    gene108 says:

    @Canadian Observer:

    Yes, joe, because it worked so well when your country supported “local movements” in the 80s in Afghanistan right?

    It did work, from the prospective of helping to defeat the Soviet Union / hastening the end of the Cold War.

    The one that later became the Taliban and Al Qaeda?

    Al Qaeda and the Taliban are two separate entities. Osama started al Qaeda in response to what he felt was a great offense to Islam; the U.S. (infidels) putting troops in the Saudi Arabia, which must be the purest Islamic state on the planet because it is home to Mecca and Medina.

    Al Qaeda’s identity is in no way directly related to Afghanistan.

    The Taliban were Afghan refugees living in Pakistan. They have no business existing, other than to wield power in Afghanistan. The Taliban was propped up by Pakistan, so the Pakistanis could move the 2-3 million Afghan refugees out of their country and back to Afghanistan, as well as give Pakistan a foreign base to conduct terrorist and other types of training for incursions into India.

    And don’t give me BS about the ISI and the Saudis, they were Yank puppets as well then.

    See above. The Taliban was put into power with the backing and blessing of the ISI. They were educated, in their refugee camps, by Saudi funded schools that taught a very strict view of Islam.

    If anything the events, that unfolded in Afghanistan in the 1990’s, would argue the U.S. and international community should’ve taken a more active role in working in Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal. The lack of a functioning central government and a mutli-party civil war made Afghanistan a pliable state for the Taliban, who welcomed al-Qaeda and did nothing to actively develop the resources of the country.

  66. 66
    Merkin says:

    @Canadian Observer:

    So you’re saying the Saudis and Pakistanis WEREN’T allies of the US in the ‘80s? And DIDN’T have contacts with the CIA? Bin laden is “Made in the USA” at the end of the day.

    who is denying any of this?

  67. 67
    Superluminar says:

    Jesus H. Christ, did joe just suggest US policy towards Iraq in the ‘90s as a model? The one under which a million Iraqi children fucking DIED from the sanctions regime?

    No, he said nothing about sanctions, he just pointed to a successful example of a NFZ. I understood that by, like, reading the words he wrote.

  68. 68
    agrippa says:

    @WyldPirate:

    your 24:

    too many words

    rants should be short

  69. 69
    The Dangerman says:

    There are some reports that Gaddafi has used chemical weapons in the past 24 to 48 hours; if that has been verified, that could explain the change in tone/tactics.

  70. 70
    WyldPirate says:

    @Merkin:

    yes and liberals never had a problem pointing out how awful it is that the US never had a problem with its allies slaughtering their own citizens. Someone proposes we do something about it, and you’re whining that we shouldn’t get involved.

    Nice strawman, Merkin. Have fun building it?

    First, I’m not proposing we do anything about it. Never have. Never proposed that we do shit about Iraq, either. there is evil in the world. The US can’t stop all evil and slaughter everywhere nor should we go to war to do so unless that evil is so bad that it is an existential threat to the US. Secondly, we would be doing the same thing here in America if there was a popular uprising intent upon overthrowing the US government. Even though Quadifi (SP) is indeed a dictator, he has a significant amount of support from his tribal clan in the country.

    The only reason this shit is in the news–and that any Americans even give a fuck—is because it is affecting the price of oil and inconveniencing our asses here in Petro-junkie land. So do me a favor and can all the high-minded horseshit about slaughter of innocents.

  71. 71
    Carl Nyberg says:

    Looking into my crystal ball, I see a Republican administration saber-rattling for war against some country, maybe Iran.

    When the Democrats speak against this idea, the Republican flacks and corporate media (did I repeat myself?) will throw it in the face of Democrats that they supported attacking Libya (which didn’t go well) and therefore the Dem opposition to this new Republican war (which seems to be well planned) is really just partisan posturing.

  72. 72
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Does anyone actually know for certain what the goal of the rebels is other than the ouster of Gadhafi? Seems to me that jumping in without knowing whether or not we’re going to create a North African version of Afghanistan is piss poor policy.

  73. 73

    I can’t pretend to speak intelligently about Libya so I won’t but I do have a question: what is Libya’s strategic importance from an oil perspective and also in regards to keeping the Saudi Arabian royal family in power? Could the Saudis be urging us to intervene to protect their own interests?

  74. 74
    Judas Escargot (aka ninja fetus with a taste for bruschetta) says:

    @Dave:

    I don’t think you can compare air strikes in Libya to Iraq and Afghanistan. In this case, you’d be providing air support for an indigenous force on the ground that has, in fact, asked for help.

    I actually do support limited airstrikes on Libya if they are managed properly, and don’t lead to US boots on the ground. The rebels have explicitly asked for help in this case.

    And this is nothing like Iraq II (which I opposed). If anything, it’s more akin to the aftermath of Iraq I, when Bush41 encouraged rebellion against Saddam Hussein, but refused to give them any kind of backup when the slaughter began.

  75. 75
    fasteddie9318 says:

    There are obviously qualitative differences between Libya and Iraq, and the analogy falls apart except for the fact that we couldn’t and can’t afford what we’ve been doing in Iraq and we can’t afford this. Unless we really are going to start imposing a tax on the rest of the world, we can’t continue to be its SWAT team.

  76. 76

    @WyldPirate:

    The US has never had a problem with its allies slaughtering their own citizens and turning a blind eye.

    There’s a rather glaring exception to this rule of thumb: when the citizens of Egypt rose up against longtime U.S. ally Mubarak, Obama helped to ease him out the door and spoke out for the rights of the protesters.

    I sort of like that.

    Now, we see a situation in which both the government and the protesters have upped their actions from the rhetorical and political, to military, should the U.S. follow suit?

    There really isn’t anything that happened in Afghanistan or Iraq that provides relevant guidance here.

    (BTW, comparing the protesters/rebels in Libya to Osama bin Laden, purely through “enemy of my enemy” thinking, is morally reprehensible. Whether you think we should support them militarily or not, they are exactly the same popular opposition to a dictator as the people-power movements that toppled the dictatorships in Egypt and Tunisia, and are entitled at a minimum to not be smeared as terrorists in the service of some realpolitik argument).

  77. 77
    Canadian Observer says:

    I actually do support limited airstrikes on Libya if they are managed properly, and don’t lead to US boots on the ground.

    Do you think the innocents who will no doubt be slaughtered by these airstrikes give a rip what your stated intentions are? The mother sitting in a pile of rubble with a bloodied corpse of a little girl in her arms vowing revenge against the US? Or the teenage boy that saw his little brother killed because the “smart bomb” went off course?

    No, they’re going to feel like blowing up a few US landmarks if that happens, wouldn’t you if a foreign country killed your family in a place it had no business being in?

  78. 78
    Malron says:

    @cleek:

    maybe this time, we’ll really be greeted as liberators. and whiskey. and sexy!

    Believe it or not, there was some female foreign correspondent on Eliot Spitzer’s crappy CNN show last night saying just that. And jeez, the sabre-rattling on Spitzer’s show was just embarrassing. I wanted to reach through the screen and punch David Gergen in his fucking nose.

  79. 79
    Carl Nyberg says:

    I’m actually more sympathetic to taking action on Libya than I was to other missions:

    Iraq
    Afghanistan
    Yugoslavia
    Libya (Reagan)
    Grenada
    Panama

    I think Libya may be as solid as

    Haiti (Clinton)
    Haiti (Obama)
    Somalia
    Cambodia (Bush/Clinton)
    Rwanda (oops)

    But the dickheads who run the country haven’t gotten us out of Iraq or Afghanistan appropriately. So I’m skeptical they will do it right on Libya.

  80. 80
    Merkin says:

    @Carl Nyberg: You can make that case in almost any issue.

    that said, if millions of Iranians were about to be slaughtered (and again, we had the money), I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to going in there, regardless of if its Republicans or Democrats banging the drum

  81. 81
    The Dangerman says:

    @Canadian Observer:

    Do you think the innocents who will no doubt be slaughtered by these airstrikes give a rip what your stated intentions are? The mother sitting in a pile of rubble with a bloodied corpse of a little girl in her arms vowing revenge against the US?

    Dude, cratering a runway doesn’t kill little girls. Don’t go hyperbolic here…

  82. 82
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @gene108:

    Osama started al Qaeda in response to what he felt was a great offense to Islam; the U.S. (infidels) putting troops in the Saudi Arabia, which must be the purest Islamic state on the planet because it is home to Mecca and Medina.

    Al Qaeda’s identity is in no way directly related to Afghanistan.

    That’s not totally accurate. What became al-Qaeda grew out of the foreign Mujahideen fighters that went to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet occupation. There’s evidence that bin Laden was running a terrorist network (whether it was called al-Qaeda yet or not is unclear) at least as far back as 1988, which pre-dates his grievances with the US over troops in Saudi Arabia.

  83. 83

    @MattR:

    Once you commit to a no fly zone you have started down a path that can eventually lead to a land invasion.

    “Started down a path” and “can eventually lead” are weasel words. No, we were not doomed to invade and occupy Iraq when George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton started enforcing the no fly zone and protecting the Kurds. Were it not for a major push put on by a president with a specific, personal desire to stage an invasion, it wouldn’t have happened.

    If you want to avoid a land invasion, the best thing to do is not to get involved in any way.

    If avoiding a land invasion is the only consideration you think about, then yes, this is a very easy question.

  84. 84

    @Canadian Observer:

    Jesus H. Christ, did joe just suggest US policy towards Iraq in the ‘90s as a model?

    Nope.

    Lurn to reed guder.

  85. 85
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @The Dangerman:
    And if a US aircraft gets shot down, or just suffers a mechanical failure, and its pilot is captured by Gadhafi, what then?

  86. 86
    Martin says:

    @Canadian Observer:

    The mother sitting in a pile of rubble with a bloodied corpse of a little girl in her arms vowing revenge against the US? Or the teenage boy that saw his little brother killed because the “smart bomb” went off course?

    Are you talking about the mother and teenager suffering from Khadafi’s planes or ours?

  87. 87

    @Canadian Observer:

    So you’re saying the Saudis and Pakistanis WEREN’T allies of the US in the ‘80s? And DIDN’T have contacts with the CIA?

    Nope.

    You did a lot better on the math side of the SATs, didn’t you?

    Look, I’ll leave you and your imaginary friends to play together. Don’t let me interrupt.

  88. 88
    cyd says:

    @Merkin:

    Sounds like the French are the ones taking the lead here

    That’s how it started out in Vietnam. Just saying.

  89. 89
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Sorry, I shouldn’t have said “terrorist network” in 81. He was running a network of some nature; whether it involved financing, recruitment, terrorism, propaganda, it’s not clear. I’d edit the post itself but the goddamn edit feature isn’t working.

  90. 90
    stuckinred says:

    @Dennis SGMM: And when they hang the pilot off a bridge, cut his head and nuts off and burn him? Or better yet a female pilot?

    Cakewalk

  91. 91
    Martin says:

    @MattR:

    Once you commit to a no fly zone you have started down a path that can eventually lead to a land invasion.

    Once you raise an army you have started down a path that can eventually lead to a land invasion. So what? There are lots of things that nations do that can eventually lead to a land invasion, should we never do any of those things?

  92. 92
    Merkin says:

    @Canadian Observer:

    The mother sitting in a pile of rubble with a bloodied corpse of a little girl in her arms vowing revenge against the US? Or the teenage boy that saw his little brother killed because the “smart bomb” went off course?

    you think that mother is going to be any less pissed when Qaddafi’s soldiers rape and kill her daughter and we didn’t do anything because we didn’t want her to be pissed on the off chance one of our bombs may go off course and kill her?

  93. 93
    Svensker says:

    @Mike (Hammer) Kay:

    Speaking of basketball, can someone explain why it was bad for Obama to fill out the NCAA form thing? My wingnut relatives are all going apeshit over it.

  94. 94
    Merkin says:

    @cyd:

    That’s how it started out in Vietnam. Just saying.

    Yes, but in that case, the French were actually the colonial power Vietnam was trying to free itself from, and they ended up sideswiped by Algeria

  95. 95
    lacp says:

    Fuckin’ no-fly zones. How do they work?

    That’s one of the great things about this blog – the US of A has not actually taken one goddam action and a million commenters are getting their testicles reversed with outrage that the gummint will/won’t/might do….something. Outstanding!

  96. 96
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    @Svensker: because he’s a Democrat.

  97. 97

    @WyldPirate:

    The only reason this shit is in the news—and that any Americans even give a fuck—-is because it is affecting the price of oil and inconveniencing our asses here in Petro-junkie land. So do me a favor and can all the high-minded horseshit about slaughter of innocents.

    Holy non-sequiter, Batman!

    The effect of the Libyan situation on the price of oil is a reason we shouldn’t care about the slaughter of innocent people?

    And here I’ve been thinking that pursuing a values-based foreign policy without regards to oil was the left-liberal position. I guess not. Now, if pursuing a foreign policy in line with our values has a positive effect on oil prices, that’s a reason not to do it.

  98. 98
    Canadian Observer says:

    What makes you think the “rebels” are any better than Ghadaffi?

    Remember Nicaragua?

  99. 99
    Superluminar says:

    @Carl Nyburg

    What was your problem with in Yugoslavia (and do you mean Bosnia or Kosovo or both)?

    @ Martin 85
    Quite.

  100. 100
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Svensker: BECAUSE HE SHOULDN’T BE DOING NOTHING FUN OR RELAXING UNTIL HE FIXES ALL THEM PROBLEMS BUSH HE CAUSED AND PLUS HE’S BLACKETY BLACK ALSO TOO! LOOK AT PRESIDENT BUSH, HE WAS WHITER THAN SNOW TOOK MORE VACATION TIME THAN ANY OTHER PRESIDENT WAS ALWAYS FOCUSED ON A SHINY BALL UNCLE DICK KEPT IN HIS POCKET THE TASK AT HAND!

  101. 101
    stuckinred says:

    @Svensker: You don’t get it yet? It doesn’t make any difference what he does they will keep up the fire. Sort of like Jane.

  102. 102
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    Ah, SHIT!

    Morehead St has taken the lead with 6 minutes left to go.

    Fire Pitino. He need to spend more time with John Edwards fucking complete hippie strangers at the drop of a hat.

  103. 103
    Canadian Observer says:

    The US has killed FAR more innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan than Ghadaffi has in this civil war (which is an INTERNAL matter).

    Ask the 100,000 dead Iraqis (some say up to a million) since 2002 about “slaughtering innocents”.

  104. 104
    stuckinred says:

    @Svensker: You should have heard Boortz about it at noon. “These jungle bunnies with their tat’s that they probably can’t even read, that’s what the tournament is about.”

  105. 105
    demz taters says:

    It’s not Iran but it’ll do in a pinch.

  106. 106
    Merkin says:

    @Canadian Observer:

    The US has killed FAR more innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan than Ghadaffi has in this civil war (which is an INTERNAL matter).

    Oh well, when he reaches the threshold in which he kills more than us, let us know.

  107. 107
    stuckinred says:

    @Canadian Observer: “Some” ? fuck that bullshit.

  108. 108

    @Carl Nyberg:

    When the Democrats speak against this idea, the Republican flacks and corporate media (did I repeat myself?) will throw it in the face of Democrats that they supported attacking Libya (which didn’t go well) and therefore the Dem opposition to this new Republican war (which seems to be well planned) is really just partisan posturing.

    Sounds like a good reason to point out the difference between supporting a local movement that has broad popular support, can mount its own military operations, is calling for our assistance, and has formed its own government; and launching strikes against a country in which none of these conditions apply.

    If we increase our involvement on behalf of the Libyan rebels, we need to leave them in the driver’s seat, and limit ourselves to providing support.

  109. 109
    catclub says:

    @Merkin: Isn’t it actually most sensible to for the Egyptian Army to be the boots on the ground? They ARE next door.

  110. 110
    Merkin says:

    @Svensker:

    can someone explain why it was bad for Obama to fill out the NCAA form thing? My wingnut relatives are all going apeshit over it.

    because they have nothing else to go apeshit about.

  111. 111
    Superluminar says:

    What makes you think the “rebels” are any better than Ghadaffi?

    Seriously?
    I applaud your trolling, it is very well done.

  112. 112
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @catclub: They might have their hands full right about now.

  113. 113
    John W. says:

    All indications are this is mostly France and British led. I don’t want the US flying missions, but support in the Mediterranean I can deal with – we’d have to enforce the embargo there anyways.

  114. 114
    Bex says:

    @Fair Economist: But we will.

  115. 115
    Tony J says:

    Time to play Devil’s Advocate.

    Various groups in Libya, seemingly inspired by the successful protests in Tunisia and Egypt, took to the streets demanding an end to Ghaddafi’s dictatorship and democratic reforms. They achieved quite a bit of initial success, and about a fortnight ago it looked like Ghaddafi was on his last legs, reduced to rambling interviews with foreign reporters and long speeches to pro-government crowds from the battlements of Castle Grayskull.

    Since then he’s raised his game, brought in mercenaries to hold onto the most densely populated parts of Libya, and used his advantage in armour and air-power to retake territory. If nothing changes, he’s a few days away from crushing the rebellion in the eastern part of the country and securing his borders. At that point he’s in control of Libya again, and the ‘International Community’ will probably fall back on the failed expedients of sanctions and diplomatic isolation to show how much they disapprove of his regime. That won’t really hurt him, and it won’t stop him putting everyone he considers a traitor up against a wall and shooting them, but it will make the lives of your average Libyan as shitty as it made those of your average Iraqi through the 1990s.

    That’s what – will – happen if no one outside Libya does anything. The only other option on the table is for outside forces to intervene militarily in support of the last rebel enclaves and take away Ghaddafi’s advantage in the brute force he can bring to bear.

    Given that, why would it be automatically a bad thing for the United States to be that outside force?

    This isn’t Iraq. We aren’t seeing the White House lying through its teeth in order to justify a war of aggression against a state it has already wrecked through sanctions. It’s a country where the people rose up in defiance of a dictatorship and are getting shot to pieces for their troubles. Isn’t intervening in a situation like this on the right side for a change something Liberal Americans should support their Government doing? Wouldn’t it do something tangible to improve the image of America in the Middle East at a time when ‘allies’ like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are doing their best to prove that it really – is – just all about the oil in Washington?

    At this stage, what other option is there?

  116. 116
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    If Morehead St fucks up my brackets, then I will support primarying Obama with Alan Grayson.

  117. 117
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Canadian Observer:
    I asked the same thing in my #71. Do we have any idea of what Libya will be like if Gadhafi should be removed from power? If not then we should probably stay the fuck out of it.

    To be sure, Gadhafi is one of the leading assholes of the world but, then, so is Robert Mugabe and I didn’t see anyone clamoring for a US intervention against him when his thugs were killing members of the opposition.

  118. 118
    Judas Escargot (aka ninja fetus with a taste for bruschetta) says:

    @Canadian Observer:

    Do you think the innocents who will no doubt be slaughtered by these airstrikes give a rip what your stated intentions are?

    Thanks for the morality lesson, it was very special… but innocents are already being slaughtered: By the Libyan military.

    I see nothing moral in allowing that to continue, when it could be stopped with a few sorties.

  119. 119
    Alex S. says:

    These measures will not necessarily lead to a war against Libya, at least for as long as there is a civil war going on. It just means that the USA wants the international community to take sides in this civil war. Russia and China still have strong ties with Gadhafi so a U.N. resolution is rather unlikely. Then we’ll have a new situation but we aren’t there yet.
    Also, airstrikes are relatively cheap and involve minimal civilian ‘costs’ in this case. Libya’s main cities are all lined up at the coast with desert in between them. I presume that the airstrikes are primarily meant to stop the approach of Gadhafi’s troops towards Benghazi which means that they will target Gadhafi’s troops in the desert.

  120. 120
    stuckinred says:

    @Tony J: Join up dude.

  121. 121
    Canadian Observer says:

    I guess some people here think it’s the God given right of Americans to pick winners and losers in other people’s civil wars.

    American Exceptionalism at its “best”.

    Sickening. Go study Vietnam and Nicaragua sometime.

  122. 122
    WyldPirate says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    There’s a rather glaring exception to this rule of thumb: when the citizens of Egypt rose up against longtime U.S. ally Mubarak, Obama helped to ease him out the door and spoke out for the rights of the protesters.

    I sort of like that.

    There is a rather glaring exception between using words and diplomatic pressure to ease a despot “out the door” and establishing air supremacy and conducting 24/7 combat air patrols, don’t you think?

  123. 123

    @catclub:

    Isn’t it actually most sensible to for the Egyptian Army to be the boots on the ground? They ARE next door.

    That’s actually a good reason why they shouldn’t be the boots on the ground. Neighbors have old grudges, and a neighbor sending in troops can look an awful lot like an land grab.

    Anyway, the rebels have all the boots on the ground they need. They need air support, logistics, and material.

  124. 124
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I just changed my bracket. I thought Libya would have a tough game against the Rebels, but there is no way they advance over the US.

  125. 125
    stuckinred says:

    @Canadian Observer: Take that preachy bullshit back up north.

  126. 126
    Canadian Observer says:

    Seriously, why are we supposed to believe the “rebels” are better?

    Because the corporate western media says so?

  127. 127
    Suffern ACE says:

    Get the sense that this is going to happen rather quickly. If the protests and Bahrain are over, and the ones in Saudi-Arabia haven’t materialized, then Europeans can go back to supporting the rebellion in Lybia.

  128. 128
    The Dangerman says:

    @Canadian Observer:

    The US has killed FAR more innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan than Ghadaffi has in this civil war (which is an INTERNAL matter).

    The model for Libya isn’t Iraq or Afghanistan; it is a State that looks like it is headed for the Somalia model. Now, Somalia didn’t exactly work well for us, but having a failed state on the Mediterranean is probably a bad idea. How that can be prevented is above my pay grade.

    As for the person that asks what happens when someone on our side is shot down, well, what do you expect will happen? We’ll try to go get that person or he gets used as a hostage (or is KIA, I suppose). Again, is preventing a Somalia worth the risk? Also above my pay grade.

  129. 129

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Do we have any idea of what Libya will be like if Gadhafi should be removed from power? If not then we should probably stay the fuck out of it.

    This cuts both ways. If the rebels win with our support, we have a better chance of being able to influence them. You can apply this statement in both realist and principled terms.

  130. 130
    stuckinred says:

    Unreal shot by Morehead to take the lead by 1, 4 secs to go.

  131. 131
    Canadian Observer says:

    Just like all that support your government gave for Saddam Hussein in the ’80s led to all that influence over him right joe?

  132. 132
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    OH FUCK

    Freacking Morehead st just hit a 3-pt shot with 6 seconds left.

    what a fucking disaster.

  133. 133
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    There really isn’t anything that happened in Afghanistan or Iraq that provides relevant guidance here.

    The whole point of an analogy is to take a complex situation which is poorly understood and thus unpredictable and to make it simpler and easier to understand by finding salient points of comparison with something else which is simpler and better understood.

    In this case most everybody in this thread is taking one complex and poorly understood foreign policy situation and comparing it with another one of equal complexity. I call analogy fail here.

    Sometimes the best thing is just to dig deeper and try to understand the current situation better in all its particulars rather than casting about for dubious analogies.

  134. 134
    stuckinred says:

    Morehead wins!

  135. 135

    @Canadian Observer:

    I guess some people here think it’s the God given right of Americans to pick winners and losers in other people’s civil wars…American Exceptionalism at its “best”.

    Uh, yeah, LaFayette, it sure is exceptional to pick a side in a civil war.

  136. 136
    stuckinred says:

    @Mike (Hammer) Kay: Disaster HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, fuck the Ville

  137. 137
    Stillwater says:

    @Judas Escargot (aka ninja fetus with a taste for bruschetta): I see nothing moral in allowing that to continue, when it could be stopped with a few sorties.

    A few sorties? Did you get this info from Rumsfeld?

  138. 138

    @WyldPirate:

    There is a rather glaring exception between using words and diplomatic pressure to ease a despot “out the door” and establishing air supremacy and conducting 24/7 combat air patrols, don’t you think?

    I do. That’s why I wrote:

    Now, we see a situation in which both the government and the protesters have upped their actions from the rhetorical and political, to military, should the U.S. follow suit?

  139. 139
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    a 12 pt underdog just won. As ayatollah khomeini said about the Iran-Iraq ceasefire, “this is worst than drinking poison”.

  140. 140
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @joe from Lowell:
    Would that be in the same way that we were able to influence the Afghan jihadists?

  141. 141

    @Canadian Observer:

    Just like all that support your government gave for Saddam Hussein in the ‘80s led to all that influence over him right joe?

    Saddam Hussein never owed the United States a thing. We didn’t help him come to power, nor bail him out when he was about to be killed, his movement destroyed, and his enemies installed in power.

    You would better at politics if you recognized that the actual facts of a situation, and not merely the ideological import you put on it, are relevant in understanding it.

  142. 142
    stuckinred says:

    Dude that hit the winner was 0-5 from 3 and the coach told him to light it!

  143. 143

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Would that be in the same way that we were able to influence the Afghan jihadists?

    No, it’s the same way that we could have influenced the Afghan government after the Soviet withdrawal, if not for our widely reported, widely known decision to drop the whole situation, and leave the Pakistanis as the only ones in a position to influence which of the Afghan factions would come to power.

    Which they then proceeded to do, thus demonstrating my point.

  144. 144
    Legalize says:

    And “Boom” goes my brackets. The Morehead State Player totally stepped into the L’ville shooter in the act of shooting. That non-call was worse than Hitler and Obama combined!

  145. 145
    stuckinred says:

    @Legalize: Waaaaahhhhhh

  146. 146
    The Dangerman says:

    @Legalize:

    The Morehead State Player totally stepped into the L’ville shooter in the act of shooting.

    Good no call; contact was initiated by the offensive player.

  147. 147
    Judas Escargot (aka ninja fetus with a taste for bruschetta) says:

    @Stillwater:

    A few sorties? Did you get this info from Rumsfeld?

    Libya has only 13 military airbases.

    A US/NATO force could destroy those in an afternoon– our planes and drones, oddly enough, are extremely good at destroying things.

    Nation building? Not so much.

  148. 148
    stuckinred says:

    @The Dangerman: That’s what I’m talkin bout!

  149. 149
    WyldPirate says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Fair enough and good point.

    The answer to your rhetorical question from my point of view is “hell no”. We have no business becoming involved in Libya any more than we already are and particularly from a military standpoint. It is a clusterfuck waiting to happen.

  150. 150
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    Obama need to intervene in the Tourney with a no-upset zone.

  151. 151
    stuckinred says:

    Gutty finish for the Owls!

  152. 152
    jonas says:

    @Judas Escargot (aka ninja fetus with a taste for bruschetta): I see nothing moral in allowing that to continue, when it could be stopped with a few sorties.

    And Libya’s oil will pay for it and we’ll be greeted as liberators, right? What could possibly go wrong?

    Are we really this stupid?

  153. 153
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    These close calls and upsets wouldn’t be happening if alan grayson were president.

  154. 154
    Suffern ACE says:

    @stuckinred: Did he really call them “jungle bunnies?” Oh for crying out loud.

  155. 155
    El Cid says:

    Though I’d prefer the topic mainly stay on Libya and a possible US / NATO / “Coalition” intervention, for a prior point, Osama bin Laden’s key role early on in his work there involved bringing funds in from Saudi and other funders. Reportedly he used his contacts and engineering knowledge to aid in building the Arab volunteer training camps which the ISI and CIA supported. Later known as “terrorist training camps”. His involvement was known by both covert action agencies, but remember that at the time he wasn’t a world-famous leader of a powerful terrorist group, just another significant actor in an international radical Islamic war against Soviet (secular) occupation.

  156. 156
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @joe from Lowell:
    Thus demonstrating nothing of the kind. The US has the foreign policy attention span of a rabid skunk. If a week after a successful intervention in Libya one of our citizens is killed in, say, Yemen by jihadists then it will be Libya who?

  157. 157
    stuckinred says:

    @Suffern ACE: No, I embellished but it’s goddamn sure what he meant.

  158. 158
    El Cid says:

    @joe from Lowell: Though it is true that the US quit its involvement after it got what it wanted — driving the Soviets out and damaging them — I’m pretty skeptical of the notion that had the US remained, it really would have prevented much of the warlord battles which followed, or would have constructed a much stronger government than the generally Kabul-area national government there now.

    It’s possible that if that could have taken place, there would have been less civilian slaughter by the ex-mujahedeen and thus less of an opportunity for the Taliban to seize power and put an end at least to the disastrous inter-warlord fighting. Which wouldn’t be zero.

  159. 159
    Legalize says:

    @The Dangerman:
    Look where the defender’s feet were when he jumped, and then look where they were when he landed. Nothing short of assault and battery! Obama needs to invade Morehead, KY to keep us all safe from … whatever the hell their mascot is – I’m too outraged to look it up!!

  160. 160
    stuckinred says:

    @Legalize: Quit your fucking whining.

  161. 161
    stuckinred says:

    The Eagles and the Minnesota Mafia!

  162. 162
    stuckinred says:

    Now if Princeton can beat the Cats both those sleazy ass coaches can pound sand!

  163. 163
    MattR says:

    @Martin:

    Once you raise an army you have started down a path that can eventually lead to a land invasion. So what? There are lots of things that nations do that can eventually lead to a land invasion, should we never do any of those things?

    Yes. For exactly the reasons you mention we should never do any of those things, including raising an army, if there is no good reason.

    @joe from Lowell:

    No, we were not doomed to invade and occupy Iraq when George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton started enforcing the no fly zone and protecting the Kurds. Were it not for a major push put on by a president with a specific, personal desire to stage an invasion, it wouldn’t have happened.

    You have to reverse the question. Was GWB push to invade Iraq successful because Clinton and GHWB had already normalized the idea of Americans violating Iraqi sovereignty?

  164. 164
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    The US prepares for war with Morehead St.

  165. 165
    Mike (Hammer) Kay says:

    This is a crisis.

    A Clear and Present Danger.

    Obama better cancel his trip to South America and convene and emergency session of the United Nation’s security council if Kentucky loses.

  166. 166
    Tony J says:

    @stuckinred:

    Join up dude

    Is that, like, a basketball thing?

  167. 167
    El Cid says:

    @MattR: There was a continuing and highly significant argument that given Saddam’s refusal to submit to UN / US-UK terms, then the US-UK no-fly-zone (it was not UN) was not accomplishing its task. Nor were the famously death-dealing sanctions.

    Therefore since Saddam could not have been permitted to continue to defy sanctions, ‘something’ had to be done to remove him, and another intensive, nearly carpet bombing campaign was ruled out as effective.

    This view that current policy had failed to control Saddam, whose international outrages in Kuwait had identified him as directly threatening to other nations in the region, and thus his continued defiance could not be permitted, was accepted and advocated among many liberal hawks, hawks in general, and a variety of people who demanded that these particular UN (or not necessarily UN at all) rules be enforced.

    That did in fact leave invasion (and thus occupation) as the main solution.

  168. 168
    stuckinred says:

    @Tony J: NO Dawg, you so anxious to use force you should be at the tip of the spear.

  169. 169
    Shadow's Mom says:

    @Merkin: And that revolutionary movement has been asking for external support! I’d rather see US backing support for military aid to Libyan freedom fighters through UN than providing tacit support to Gaddafi.

    You can watch Security council vote here: http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/

    Suggest checking out Al Jazeera English live stream here as well: http://english.aljazeera.net/

    Along with @acarvin thread on twitter

  170. 170
    cs says:

    Can we stop comparing this possible intervention to Iraq / Afghanistan?

    Instead, think of the NATO airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs to stop the siege of Sarajevo, and the ’99 campaign against Serbia to protect Kosovo. The success is protecting the Kurds in the Iraqi no-fly zones should also be considered.

    I was initially against intervention and now I think I’m for it, provided it’s very limited. The conditions I would want to see are: airstrikes limited to army formations out in the field, no strikes in cities beyond air defense suppression, and a no-fly zone.

    Any ground fighting, taking of territory, and the hoped-for regime change would be done by the rebels on the ground. Not one American or European soldier should set their boots on Libyan soil.

    I think this would work. Libya is fighting a mostly conventional war on a flat open desert. Targeting their army units in the field should be relatively easy. Not striking cities does give Gaddaffi a place to shelter his forces from attack, but this also means those forces can’t be used offensively against the rebels.

    The rebels are begging for our help. I think a limited intervention for humanitarian purposes would be the right thing to do. It worked in Bosnia and Kosovo and didn’t lead to a long term guerrilla war. However, considering the ability of the US to fuck up even the smallest thing over the past ten years, I could be wrong.

  171. 171
    Svensker says:

    Why not let the Europeans do this? They’re right next door. Why the hell does the USA have to police the whole world? It’s a thankless task, gets us into all kinds of crap, and spends our citizens’ tax dollars half way around the globe for no good outcome.

    Let the other “democracies” take care of business if they think it’s a big enough deal. Or let Israel do it, they have a heck of lot of our money and lots of our war shit anyway. Time for them to use it on something besides shooting Pals.

  172. 172
    cleek says:

    it’s on, bitches !!!

    we are a stupid species

  173. 173
    Vibrant Pantload, fka Studly Pantload says:

    @EvolutionaryDesign:

    “Obama screwed up my order at McDonalds! Nyagh!”

    I want this on a coffee cup.

  174. 174

    @WyldPirate: Out of curiosity, is there any intervention or potential intervention anywhere in the world that the U.S. has conducted or has considered conducting in your lifetime that you don’t answer “Hell no!” to?

    You can’t base your opinion about whether any particular military action is a good idea on John McCain, because no matter what the situation is, John McCain supports military action. His support tells us nothing about the strength of the case for intervention.

    Other people work the same way in the opposite direction.

  175. 175
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @cleek:
    Oh fuck.

  176. 176
    soonergrunt says:

    @Svensker: This.

  177. 177
    soonergrunt says:

    Only slightly off-topic–what do ya’ll suppose m_c’s reaction will be to the fact that EDK just posted an article and she can’t comment in it?

  178. 178
    Tony J says:

    @stuckinred:

    NO Dawg, you so anxious to use force you should be at the tip of the spear.

    Oh, you read that and got “anxious to use force” out of it? Really skilled with the reading comprehension, eh? Mad Skillz, on display. Wooo!

    Whatever.

  179. 179
    stuckinred says:

    @soonergrunt: Fukin A

  180. 180
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @cleek: Is there any indication as to why China and Russia wouldn’t veto? The second article he links says a source on the inside says they’ll abstain, but what the fuck?

  181. 181

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Thus demonstrating nothing of the kind. The US has the foreign policy attention span of a rabid skunk.

    I must not have been clear. I was talking about the Pakistanis’ ability to influence the direction of the Afghan government after having supported the rebels as demonstrating my point that countries which support rebel movements and help bring them to power are able to exert influence with them.

    If a week after a successful intervention in Libya one of our citizens is killed in, say, Yemen by jihadists then it will be Libya who?

    If the intervention is successful and the rebels come to power, it won’t take support from the American public for us to use our influence with the new Libyan government. It will take a few foreign service, intelligence, and military officers eating shrimp cocktail totally not eating shrimp at some embassy parties. Just the ordinary functioning of our government operations.

  182. 182

    @El Cid: I’m not saying we could have gotten Thomas Jefferson elected in Kabul, but we could have kept a virulently anti-American, al Qaeda-loving government from coming to power.

  183. 183
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    The second article he links says a source on the inside says they’ll abstain, but what the fuck?

    No they won’t abstain. Read this. That’s pretty clear, donchathink? It’s even bolded.

  184. 184
    The Moar You Know says:

    At this stage, what other option is there?

    @Tony J: Christ almighty, this is the stupidest thing I’ve read on a thread that is overflowing with stupid.

    Try this: DO NOTHING.

    They’ll hash it all out themselves, as nations are wont to do.

  185. 185
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Svensker:
    Agreed. It’s not as if they don’t have an interest and it’s not as if we’re flush with money. Let the ex-colonial powers that created these messes in the first place clean them up if they care to.

  186. 186
    Social outcast says:

    There’s been very little written or said in the media about what the rebels in Libya want to do once they’ve won, but everyone seems pretty gung ho to start the bombing anyway. Whatever, America.

  187. 187

    @MattR:

    Was GWB push to invade Iraq successful because Clinton and GHWB had already normalized the idea of Americans violating Iraqi sovereignty?

    I don’t think that explains it.

    In 2002, George W. Bush could have pointed his finger at any Muslim country on the planet and we would have gone to war.

    Anyway, I’m not arguing that establishing a precedent for intervention in an area can’t help to make further intervention easier, just that the march isn’t inexorable.

  188. 188
    Alex S. says:

    Related Guardian article

    In my opinion, the administration is handling this the right way. Arab states will provide planes. France will provide infrastructure.
    China will only veto if they aren’t alone, Russia is the crucial vote.

  189. 189

    @El Cid:

    …and another intensive, nearly carpet bombing campaign was ruled out as effective.

    I dispute your narrative here. George W. Bush didn’t decide upon an invasion and occupation after concluding that other actions couldn’t enforce the sanctions. Indeed, he has successfully gotten the inspectors back into the country and put Saddam back in his box by early 2003.

    He went away anyway because he wanted an invasion right from the beginning.

    As the post-war inspectors verified, the 1998 bombings (Operation Desert Fox) got the Baathist government to dump the last of their chem/bio/atomic programs. We absolutely could have enforced the conditions of the ’92 cease fire without invading and occupying the country.

  190. 190
    HyperIon says:

    @joe from Lowell wrote:

    …can mount its own military operations

    If they were competent fighters (instead of mostly regular folks who are sick of their “leader”), Gadhafi’s forces wouldn’t be cleaning their clocks. The rebels captured a bunch of weapons but don’t seem to be able to turn themselves into a force which can mount its own military ops. Not surprising.

    Look, I’d like them to run Gadhafi out of the country but it’s sort of like in Iran: the powers-that-be still hold the reins. Maybe for Christmas we can ALL get some freedom and a pony. But IMO overt involvement in another Arab country should be off the table.

  191. 191

    @stuckinred:

    NO Dawg, you so anxious to use force you should be at the tip of the spear.

    And since you’re so eager to give people health care, you should become a nurse’s aid.

    And since you’re so concerned about poverty, you should work in a homeless shelter.

    And since you’re so supportive of unions, you should become an organizer. In Mississippi.

    The appropriate use of the “chickenhawk” argument is against those who claim that their support for military action comes from their possession of superior manly virtues. Otherwise, you just sound like one of those people howling about Al Gore having lights in his house.

  192. 192
    HyperIon says:

    @Social outcast wrote:

    There’s been very little written or said in the media about what the rebels in Libya want to do once they’ve won

    I doubt they know. They’re in the midst of a revolt. Survival and victory are what they are about now. We cannot know what will happen BEFORE we start making commitments to them. Another big risk.

  193. 193
    Turgidson says:

    @Svensker:

    The 20 minutes it took for him to do that, while serious shit’s going on in the world, show that he’s not serious about the job.

    (the record amount of GWB’s presidency that he spent on vacation, of course, has been conveniently forgotten by that crowd..or is excused because presidentin’s hard work but only non-Kenyan muslim Nazis are allowed to take breaks)

    edit: I see fasteddie covered this ground already, and in far more-hilarious fashion. Word.

  194. 194

    @cs:

    Any ground fighting, taking of territory, and the hoped-for regime change would be done by the rebels on the ground. Not one American or European soldier should set their boots on Libyan soil.

    It’s worth pointing out something in the Afghan War that is relevant to this situation: the day the Taliban were driven out of Kabul, there were fewer than 1000 Americans in the whole country. It was the Northern Alliance who drove them from power. We just provided support, particularly air support.

    Bush’s decision to send in more troops and stay for years was the result of two factors that had nothing to do with the effort to overthrow the Taliban: the need to go after al Qaeda, and Bush’s Risk-like conflation of having troops in lots of countries with advancing our security, power, and interests. Neither of those factors apply to the Libya question.

  195. 195

    @cleek:

    it’s on, bitches…we are a stupid species

    I’m going to continue to root for the indigenous Libyan protest movement/rebellion to be successful in its efforts to overthrow the dictator, just like I did in Egypt and Tunisia.

    How about you?

  196. 196
    HyperIon says:

    @joe from Lowell wrote:

    Uh, yeah, LaFayette, it sure is exceptional to pick a side in a civil war.

    Please do not pretend that France in 1776 loved us for our freedoms. Their interest was to poke the English in the eye.

  197. 197
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Why wouldn’t they abstain? It’s a win-win for them. They don’t give a fuck about anything that goes on in Libya, one way or the other. They look out for number one at all times.

  198. 198

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Is there any indication as to why China and Russia wouldn’t veto?

    Some possibilities:

    1) They realize Gadaffi is a crazy bastard, and want to see the back of him, too. Not because he’s oppressive, but because he’s irrational, unpredictable, and unreliable.

    2) They think NATO will go ahead if the UN doesn’t, and they don’t want to cut out.

  199. 199
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Alex S.: Well if those are the details, then that’s about as good as I could hope for. I still don’t feel convinced that whoever the hell’s going to lead the charge really has a good plan for making intervention actually work, but with this, it sounds like we’re acting more as the entity coordinating things rather than the ones sticking their dick in the pudding.

  200. 200
    cat48 says:

    On the 11th, at his news conference, he was very clear; Arab League & Africa Conf. had to be on board. Nato and/or UN SC.
    Gaddafi has a long line of heavy equipment, tanks, weapons, etc. and is clearly going in to perhaps, slaughter people, based on the report on msnbc.

    When asked at press conf. if or when he would use military, this was his answer:

    THE PRESIDENT: I continue to believe that not only the United States but the international community has an obligation to do what it can to prevent a repeat of something like what occurred in the Balkans in the ‘90s, what occurred in Rwanda. And so part of, for example, maintaining 24-hour surveillance of the situation there is for us to have some sort of alert system if you start seeing defenseless civilians who are being massacred by Qaddafi’s forces.
    __
    But obviously we’re going to have to look at what develops on the ground on a case-by-case basis. I don’t want to generalize right now and say that’s what’s happening and we’re prepared to step in. It’s going to require some judgment calls, and those are difficult ones. But we have sent a clear warning to the Qaddafi government that they will be held accountable, particularly when it comes to assaulting civilians. And some of the rhetoric that you’ve seen — for example, the idea that when Qaddafi said that they’d be going door to door hunting for people who are participating in protests — that implied a sort of lack of restraint and ruthlessness that I think raises our antenna.
    __
    But, as I said before, what I’ve got to do is make sure that we’re monitoring the situation and matching our actions with what we think will be helpful on the ground and also sustainable, and we’ve got to do so in consultation with the international community.

    Suppose, since all are on board, he doesn’t want a slaughter; but my first response is NO.

  201. 201

    @The Moar You Know:

    They’ll hash it all out themselves, as nations are wont to do.

    This is sort of like “The Invisible Hand will take care of the poor.”

    Yeah, the Libyans will “hash it out themselves” if there’s no intervention. Gaddaffi will slaughter the rebels and anyone else who hasn’t fled Bengazi, and consolidate his power.

    But, yeah, the “market” will “reach equilibrium.” It sure will.

  202. 202
    Deb T says:

    @Alex S.:
    I hope you are right. I have the greatest sympathy for the Libyan rebels, but really do not want another war. I’m not religious at all, but it is starting to sound Biblical (i.e. Apocalyptic).

  203. 203

    @HyperIon:

    If they were competent fighters (instead of mostly regular folks who are sick of their “leader”), Gadhafi’s forces wouldn’t be cleaning their clocks. The rebels captured a bunch of weapons but don’t seem to be able to turn themselves into a force which can mount its own military ops. Not surprising.

    Come on, they captured “some” weapons, but they are at nothing remotely like material parity. Take away air superiority, and Gadaffi won’t be “cleaning their clocks.”

  204. 204
    Deb T says:

    As much as I sympathize with the Libyan rebels, I wonder where all this concern was during recent uprisings/rebellions in Africa. I guess it’s just a lot messier there. The Nigerians have oil but don’t think we get much from them. No “no fly” zones over Dafour. Not that I’m saying we should get involved. It’s just that there’s no hue and cry like there is for Libya.

  205. 205

    @HyperIon:

    Please do not pretend that France in 1776 loved us for our freedoms. Their interest was to poke the English in the eye.

    OK, I won’t. In fact, I didn’t.

    So, let’s go with this: the French monarch sent his navy to bottle up Cornwallis and help us win the war for the most selfish, cynical, realpolitik reasons imaginable.

    How’d that work out?

  206. 206
    soonergrunt says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Let the ex-colonial powers that created these messes in the first place clean them up if they care to.

    This should’ve been our policy from the get-go.

    @cleek: This.

  207. 207

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Let the ex-colonial powers that created these messes in the first place clean them up if they care to.

    Inshallah, it will be done.

    If it does, we will owe Bill Clinton and Wesley Clark a great, big thank you.

  208. 208
    Uloborus says:

    This is such a weird conversation. I’ve seen, like, two people who seem to have read the articles and noticed that America is not proposing we take any military part here. The suggestion that MAYBE the US would possibly be involved comes from a random French official. The US is pushing the UN to pass a resolution allowing other Middle Eastern countries to step in, and maybe we’ll provide supplies or something.

    Argue about that, not about an American invasion that’s not being proposed.

  209. 209
    Judas Escargot (aka ninja fetus with a taste for bruschetta) says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    They’ll hash it all out themselves, as nations are wont to do.

    Should we let the Japanese fend for themselves, too? They’ll just “hash it out”.

    @HyperIon:

    But IMO overt involvement in another Arab country should be off the table.

    The Arab League are the ones asking the UN for a no-fly zone.

    I still think there’s a case to be made for a no-fly zone, and some limited airstrikes to ground the Libyan AF. And I’ve yet to hear a counterargument here that isn’t some permutation of “Iraq bad! Rumsfeld! Dead children! Warmonger!”

    Yes, Iraq was bad: I wasted so much breath arguing against so many people back in 2002-3, but the Bloodlust had seized the national mood. In hindsight, I learned that there really was no way to win that rhetorical battle… in some sick way, the country had some kind of psychological “need” for that war, at that time. A need that the Rove/Bush/Cheney folks were more than happy to satisfy.

    And here, nearly a decade later, I’m learning that reflexive pacifism can be just as ignorant and butt-headed as reflexive militarism.

    A nation that’s invaded more than a few places under the pretense of “fighting for democracy” should, you know, maybe actually back that up by helping out a people crying out for democracy once in awhile.

  210. 210
    Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy says:

    Jeez, is there any problem that a few JDAMs and Shrikes can’t solve?

  211. 211
    Lily says:

    If someone doesn’t step in soon and help, the citizens will receive the rath and death. Don’t you think that every rebel will be killed by Gadhafi’s regeme. The Libians want a new government, are asking for the world’s help as are the Arabian counties however all the UN ever does is talk, talk and talk. It may be a mute point now as the may have already bombed and taken over the oppositions outposts. How many weeks, casualties and injured have to happen before any country actually steps up. It is not like Iraq or Afganistan. The rebels are pleaing for us to help. Just get the F… out of the other countries that we invaded and give a helping hand to one that has actualy asked for help. It doesn’t matter what the new regime would look like to the rest of the world, it is the peoples’ choice. The rebels do not have the weapon power to even defend themselves and have a fair fight. that is all they have been asking us for “A no fly zone”. How hard is that to do! Bye the way, the U.S. always has a few trillion tucked away for their war games maybe this time it can actually be for saving the citizens of Libya.

  212. 212
    El Cid says:

    @soonergrunt:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Let the ex-colonial powers that created these messes in the first place clean them up if they care to.

    This should’ve been our policy from the get-go.

    Yeah. That tends to not be too popular with the locals.

    And anyway, the major colonial power in Libya’s case was Italy.

    Would you put Berlusconi in charge of cleaning up your room, much less Libya?

  213. 213
    cs says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    I had thought about the Kabul campaign from 2001 too. Didn’t mention it since I am fervently hoping this wouldn’t be a model for Libya, since Afghanistan isn’t a example to emulate.

  214. 214
    HyperIon says:

    @Lily produced a very emo comment with many “cleverly” misspelled words

    Wow.
    But reasoning FAIL.

    The answer cannot be to come to the aid of whoever requests it. As others have mentioned Ivory Coast has been asking for our help for a while now. But it ain’t gonna happen.

    Of course the Libyan rebels want help. Nothing hard to understand there. But our “help” will produce Libyan casualties. This is now their disaster. Sorry, we already have our own to deal with and might end up making their problems worse.

  215. 215
    Bill Murray says:

    @joe from Lowell: uh the King set off an independence movement that killed him, then came an empire, which was eventually lost and a large number of French young men died, so not so great for most.

  216. 216
    Nick says:

    @HyperIon:

    Please do not pretend that France in 1776 loved us for our freedoms. Their interest was to poke the English in the eye.

    who cares why they helped us, all that matters is they did.

  217. 217
    liberal says:

    @Fair Economist:

    We don’t need to stay afterwards.

    First, even if you don’t think we should stay afterwards, that doesn’t mean we won’t.

    Second, if we get heavily involved in a government overthrow, what makes you think (if we leave immediately) that everything will be peaches ‘n cream?

  218. 218
    AxelFoley says:

    @Joe Beese:

    Obama must be tired of Bush’s sloppy seconds and want to start his very own war on a Muslim country.

    Um, asshole, you know the President can’t declare war, right?

    You fuckin’ dishonest little bitch.

  219. 219
    soonergrunt says:

    @El Cid:

    Would you put Berlusconi in charge of cleaning up your room, much less Libya?

    Not my problem.

  220. 220
    sparky says:

    @AxelFoley: not bad as a joke, if that’s what you meant. if you were serious you might want to, you know, read the words on the screen first.

    @soonergrunt:

    Not my problem.

    apparently, both Italy and the USG disagree with your assessment. just as a reminder:

    In a landmark ruling, an Italian judge on Wednesday convicted a base chief for the Central Intelligence Agency and 22 other Americans, almost all C.I.A. operatives, of kidnapping a Muslim cleric from the streets of Milan in 2003.

    now, one could say that snip is irrelevant, but it’s not. the problem is that the USG has arrogated to itself the idea that it should be in charge of, well, pretty much everything as regards military matters. consequently, it is the USG’s problem if something goes awry.

    NYT 11/5/09

Comments are closed.