Nothing To See Here

I love the smell of cordite in the morning:

American and European forces began a broad campaign of strikes against the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on Saturday, unleashing warplanes and missiles in the first round of the largest international military intervention in the Arab world since the invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon said.

Pentagon and NATO officials detailed a mission designed to impose a United Nations-sanctioned no-fly zone and keep Mr. Qaddafi from using airpower against beleaguered rebel forces in the east. While the overall effort was portrayed as mostly being led by France and Britain, the Pentagon said that American forces dominated an effort to knock out Libya’s air-defense systems.

In a briefing Saturday afternoon, Vice Adm. William Gortney told reporters that about 110 Tomahawk missiles, fired from American warships and submarines and one British submarine struck 20 air-defense targets around Tripoli, the capital, and the western city of Misurata. He said the strikes were against longer-range air defense missiles as well as early warning radar sites and main command-and-control communication centers.

President Obama, speaking during a visit to Brazil, reiterated promises that no American ground forces would be used. “I am deeply aware of the risks of any military action, no matter what limits we place on it,” he said. “I want the American people to know that the use of force is not our first choice, and it’s not a choice that I make lightly. But we can’t stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy.”

Remember though, this is just an Arab League action and there is no way the US will become one of the lead actors in this war. No way. When I said that the UN resolution would lead to heavy American involvement, I was assured by commenters who told me that suggesting otherwise means I am impervious to facts and reason and an unflinching idiot like David Horowitz.

Apparently, we are now in the Arab League.






389 replies
  1. 1
    stuckinred says:

    No, we are in league with the Arab League.

  2. 2
    Alex S. says:

    @stuckinred:

    and in the United Nations

  3. 3
    stuckinred says:

    @Alex S.: And the League of. . .

  4. 4
    MikeJ says:

    France have done more than the US have. Launching some missiles isn’t the same as having the Marine Expeditionary force hit the beach.

  5. 5
    Citizen Alan says:

    The issue is not that you said anything factually wrong. The issue is that you suggested that some policy of President Obama might lead to predictably bad results. That violates the dogma of the cult and must be shouted down. If President Obama does it, not only can it not be illegal, it can’t even be a bad idea, not even when it is pretty much the same bad idea that Bush had eight years ago that future members of the Cult of Obama condemned at the time. Back then, of course, they were the ones being shouted down by the Cult of Bush for their wrong-think. Plus ca change.

  6. 6
    Folderol & Ephemera says:

    Yes we can start another war.

  7. 7
    Mark S. says:

    Of all the insults I’ve seen leveled at Cole, comparing him to David Horowitz had to be the dumbest. Come and claim your prize, joe from Lowell.

  8. 8
    Yutsano says:

    @MikeJ:

    Launching some missiles isn’t the same as having the Marine Expeditionary force hit the beach.

    And that had better not fucking happen. Taking potshots off the coast is okay but still sticky, but when one American boot hits the ground we’re ungestuppt.

  9. 9
    soonergrunt says:

    I’m so glad that we’re only taking a back seat here, and that Europe can do this all on their own. I wonder if they’re going to reimburse the US taxpayer for the $60,000,000 worth of missiles we fired.
    following reposted from the Open Thread from last night:

    Well, I do think that the US intends to not invade. As an aside, I don’t know what force we’d actually invade with anyway. A Marine Expeditionary Unit doesn’t have the staying power, and the Army is worn out.
    MSNBC talking head I’ve never heard of said a few minutes ago that (paraphrasing) the French are resigned to Quadaffi staying in power and just want to protect the nascent movement in eastern Libya that they’ve already recognized.
    Now, having said all of the above, please remember that these things almost never end the way they were envisioned by their beginners in the first place. Mission creep is a mother-fucker.
    If I had to bet, I’d go with Ghadaffi going all out now to wipe out the rebel forces in and around Benghazi now. He has absolutely nothing to lose by doing so, and if he succeeds quickly, he takes away the West’s perceived reason for intervention.

  10. 10
    Alex S. says:

    @stuckinred:

    falling empires?

  11. 11
    Wesindc says:

    SMS exchange with a friend
    He: “I’m sure Palin and/or Newt is tweeting furiously about now”
    Me: “No they are too busy masturbating to tweet”

    I thought the US was broke as in no money yet we can spend 600K X 110 on cruise missiles? There goes the EPA budget.

  12. 12
    John Cole says:

    @MikeJ: Yeah, I’m seeing you didn’t bother to click on that link I provided describing the FITD technique.

  13. 13
    Springchicken says:

    Don’t worry, it’s just a police action. Remember?

  14. 14
    soonergrunt says:

    @Alex S.: And what, exactly, has that gotten us?

  15. 15
    JWL says:

    It’s not that complicated.

    As we killed his daughter 20 years ago, we can (and will) kill The Colonel, too.

    Unless he abdicates.

    The fly in the ointment? Who accepts his sword at the surrender ceremony?

  16. 16
    MikeJ says:

    @John Cole: Read it last night. Not impressed.

  17. 17
    Wesindc says:

    Wow Politico was just sitting on their front page graphic. Neocon wet dream http://www.politico.com/news/s.....51589.html

  18. 18
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    There is, of course, a difference between supporting a UN sanctioned action at the requested of Arab League and invading the fuck out of a country because one wants to feel big. Did people have a problem with US action in Kosovo? I do not have a major issue with the current level of US involvement here; I will have a problem with it if we put in ground troops.

  19. 19
    jl says:

    @Wesindc: Whew, thems are sure some balls o’ fire there. That’ll fire up the Sunday talk show hacks for sure.

  20. 20
    Mike in NC says:

    Apparently, we are now in the Arab League.

    Has President McCain released a statement yet, or must we sit on pins and needles until he shows up on ‘Meet the Press’ tomorrow?

  21. 21
    MikeJ says:

    @Citizen Alan: What a lazy, stupid, non argument. Nobody can ever agree with anything Obama ever does or they’re a cultist.

    Please go back to fapping over a Sarah Palin poster.

  22. 22
    Alex S. says:

    @soonergrunt:

    A handle to sway smaller allies. I don’t know if that’s what Truman intended, though.

  23. 23
    Canadian Observer says:

    Just say NO to the latest iteration of Neocon Disaster Capitalism and the Shock Doctrine.

  24. 24
    Donut says:

    Biggest fear for me is that we are creating a North African version of Saddam. I’m afraid Qadaffi will be able to cling to power barring a full-scale ground assault. Then of course the next prez or two behind Obama will be “forced” to take him out for good.

    And the propaganda that keeps fueling the War on Terra’ (TM) will be brought bear on this conflict sooner than later.

    And next no one in the Beltway will admit it’s all about natural resources.

    Only serious people think this will not end badly. You people supporting this need to understand now what a bad choice it is. Rethink your position on this. You don’t need to look too far back in the past to see what’s going on and how this will go.

    The Pentagon war pig is hungry and it never ever gets full and here is a fresh trough of slop.

    Is it okay to say that I’m deeply disappointed in Obama for this? And do I have to give the standard disclaimer that I’m not a Firebagger?

  25. 25
    Martin says:

    I think the problem I have with the attitude taken toward this is that it appears to be nothing more than emotions toward our misadventures in Iraq applied to this. From the outset was the suggestion that we were going to invade and be stuck in Libya for a decade, when nobody was suggesting anything of the sort – and everyone was explicitly saying that wasn’t going to happen.

    Now, call them liars and point to examples where *they* have lied in the past, that’s fine, but the argument seems to be that because the Arab League and the UN approved this, and Obama said we’d support a limited role, that it’s all bullshit because Bush lied to the UN and claimed we’d be greeted as liberators. Oh, and because North Korea is mean to their people and we’ve not yet nuked them out of ‘humanitarian concern’ than we have no standing to have an opinion here and should ignore any humanitarian crisis that’s below the North Korea/Rwanda threshold or else we’re hypocrites and only trying to boost oil profits.

  26. 26
    JPL says:

    The President decided to let the Arab Nations and the French take care of a tyrant. If we had a real manly man, he would go it alone.

    This is good news for Sarah Palin. She would have gone it alone.
    Edit: all you have to do is ask Todd and he’d tell you she goes it alone all the time.

  27. 27
    BombIranForChrist says:

    I admit to being a little confused about this military action.

    I can’t help thinking that if it wasn’t for Iraq and Afghanistan (!), I would probably be OK with this military action, and maybe even support it.

    But it’s also impossible for me to ignore:

    1. Afghanistan is a disaster.
    2. Iraq is a disaster
    3. The US is rather skilled at turning small interventions into decades long wars that end up fucking up our politics for 2-3 generations.
    4. The realization that we’re still basically in the colonial age. When people who happen to live on top of The White Man’s Oil by Divine Right start to get agitated, the White Man must step in and kill them until they calm down again.

    *sigh*

    I’d feel a lot better if I was as certain about my views as the GOP seems to be. Maybe a lobotomy would be good after all.

  28. 28
    jl says:

    The expense of it will spur more calls by Very Serious People to get serious about slashing Social Security, and the urgent need to explore a partial US govt default on that part of its debt without scaring the bond markets. That is the only sure thing I see out of this adventure so far.

  29. 29
    JWL says:

    “I’m afraid Qadaffi will be able to cling to power barring a full-scale ground assault. Then of course the next prez or two behind Obama will be “forced” to take him out for good”.

    The Colonel is pouring over real estate brochures as we speak.

  30. 30
    JPL says:

    @Mike in NC: Sorry to disappoint you but President McCain will be on CNN. He does have to spread the wealth.

  31. 31

    Well, I hope what I’m thinking is wrong. Good luck people who fire Tomahawk missiles.

  32. 32
    soonergrunt says:

    @Martin: I happen to agree with everything you’ve said here.
    I just don’t think Libya is any of our business.

  33. 33
    Donut says:

    Okay, was typing (am typing) on an iPhone so slow going, but I already see a lot of predictable reactions…

    Get it through your heads folks: unless Qadaffi is taken all the way out, and quick, this will be a problem that the next several presidents will be deeply enmeshed in.

    You’re kidding yourselves if you think otherwise.

  34. 34
    Maude says:

    @Martin:
    Obama announced an hour ago that the US is involved in a limited way. It was written better than that. but you know what I mean
    I want to see this play out. It isn’t like Iraq at all.

  35. 35
    4tehlulz says:

    @Martin: I don’t think so. I was hearing the same thing in the ’90s with the Balkans, except replace “minerals” for oil.

  36. 36
    Suck It Up! says:

    The most honest, mature, professional and straight to the point analysis of the whole situation by a pundit or blogger:

    I was going to write one more post today about Libya, but I gave up. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, I don’t know how things are going to turn out, and I don’t really know if we’re doing the right thing.

    —Kevin Drum

  37. 37
    jl says:

    @soonergrunt: A protracted smoldering civil war that roils that oil markets is considered our business. That is probably the thinking behind all the careful maneuvering to see if a sustainable coalition of the proper mix of countries would support this shindig.

    And, in terms of pure amoral economics, as long as a the US, and to a somewhat lesser extent Europe, remain ME oil junkies, it is our business.

    The US has dug itself so deep in shit in the ME, that stuff like this will get done like it or not. A long sustained political effort to displace our government of corporate money will be required to stop it.

  38. 38
    Folderol & Ephemera says:

    Does anyone else find it strange that this is what brought Samantha Power and Hillary Clinton into agreement, at last?

  39. 39
    sparky says:

    1. thank you.

    2. the dearth of comments on this thread speaks for itself. err, should speak for itself.

  40. 40
    DFer says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I just don’t think Libya is any of our business.

    maybe so, but I’ve heard a lot of progressives complain we haven’t done anything for Rwanda or Darfur, and they’re right, we can’t get on our high horse about genocide if we let a dictator commit on and said “it’s none of our business” We can’t be naive enough to think we can end genocide by holding hands and singing.

    This is really coming across as “We want our leadership to do something about these horrible things, until they actually do”

  41. 41
    jenn says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    This. Not that I’m not torn by it. Both the “stay the fuck out” and the “they’re going to wipe out a significant portion of their citizens, help” positions have merit, and I am flip-flopping. This is yet another day when I am grateful to not be the CIC. (I stopped my “if I were president” daydreaming in college, when I became president of some stupid club, and proceeded to stress out. I realized then my stress threshold was such that one day in the Oval Office would probably cause me to implode.)

    Based on Al Jazeera, it sounds as though this initial bombing was carried out by us since, well, no one else is really capable of it, but the follow-through is supposed to be carried out by other coalition members. French jets have been taking out some targets, I understand. And yes, if coalition members don’t step up, I’m going to be really freaking pissed.

    From Al Jazeera:

    10:36pm
    __
    Vice Admiral William Gortney, the Director of the US Joint Staff, just completed his briefing. He said that US is “the leading edge” of coalition military operations on Libya, which are aimed at preventing further attacks on civilian and opposition targets and also at degrading the Libyan ability to violate a no-fly zone, both as authorised under UN Resolution 1973.
    __
    He said that the US had struck more than 20 air defence system targets, mostly on Libya’s west coast, including communications and SA-5 (surface-to-air) missile sites, as well as the C-2 architecture that goes with those long range missile sites.
    __
    About 110-112 Tomahawk missiles were used during the operation, which was critical to creating conditions to be able to set up a no-fly zone.
    __
    He said that US military aircraft were not currently in Libyan air space in this phase of operations, and that the US was using its “unique capabilities to shape the battlespace” before handing over command of operations to other coalition leaders.
    __
    Currently, officers with coalition partners are aboard the USS Mount Whitney, from where military operations are being commanded.
    __
    He also said that further action will depend on a bomb damage assessment, adding that this could not be done using US Reaper or Predator drones, as they were not being deployed. He anticipated that this would take 6-12 hours.

  42. 42
    sukabi says:

    @Wesindc: NeoCon Wet Dream, naw, that’s what they all imagine their dicks look like…when in reality they look like this.

  43. 43
    Canadian Observer says:

    No war for Exxon Mobil.

    No to Neocon Disaster Capitalism!

    End the Torture Regime!

  44. 44
    Martin says:

    @Donut:

    Biggest fear for me is that we are creating a North African version of Saddam.

    He’s been a North African version of Saddam for 40 years. He was developing a nuclear program. He was behind the Pan Am 103 bombing. The guy is every bit as bad as Saddam was, just with a smaller country and a smaller military. There’s never been a real opportunity to remove him from power, so I’m not surprised that countries are jumping at the opportunity. It may well backfire, but I don’t think in 40 years that they’ve had an opportunity as likely to succeed as this one.

  45. 45
    Canadian Observer says:

    The Libyan leader has opened all armories to the people of Libya to defend themselves with military arms.

    The Empire should think twice about going up against that, the modern-day Vietcong.

  46. 46
    Corner Stone says:

    @Donut:

    Is it okay to say that I’m deeply disappointed in Obama for this? And do I have to give the standard disclaimer that I’m not a Firebagger?

    It won’t help you in the slightest.

  47. 47
    sukabi says:

    ha! moderation hell! trying it again…

    > Wesindc: NeoC0n Wet DreAm, naw, that’s what they all imagine their d!cks look like…when in reality they look like this.

  48. 48
    WaterGirl says:

    @Yutsano: When I google your last word and every link that comes up on the first page is one balloon juice thread or another, you’d think that word would be in the lexicon. But it wasn’t, so would one of you kind BJers please fill me in? Thanks

  49. 49
    New Yorker says:

    If Obama wants to fire HARM missiles at radar installations along the coast, fine. I don’t care. I also don’t give a damn one way or another what Britain, France, Italy, Egypt, or whoever else does.

    But I’m going to wait to freak out until the first Marines hit the beach. Remember, it is possible to carry out military operations in a limited way. We did it in the 90s in the Balkans and in Northern and Southern Iraq. Not everything is the Iraq invasion all over again.

  50. 50
    Canadian Observer says:

    Latin American leaders like Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega are also speaking out against the latest aggression by the Empire.

    Support the real liberators of the people! Down with The Empire!

  51. 51
    soonergrunt says:

    @DFer: Go complain to France and Britain and Spain about Darfur and Rwanda. They knew as much as anyone else about what was going on there, and they did nothing, while staring at us across the Atlantic.
    The US cannot and should not get involved every single damn time some European gets his knickers in a twist about something happening in their former fucking colonies.
    Much of the world is the way it is today because of them. Why the hell don’t they deal with it themselves?

  52. 52
    WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I agree with you. But the money thing makes me crazy. It’s just like at the University. There’s no money, we have to cut this, and this, and you, and you. Oh, but there is money for this thing that the mucky mucks want. There’s always money for what they want, even when there is no money.

    So somehow we have the money for this, but not for education, social security, the environment, etc. I know it’s not the biggest issue here, but it adds insult to injury.

  53. 53
    DFer says:

    @soonergrunt: Europeans aren’t going to do anything unless we help them. For one because they don’t want to spend the money, and because we have a more modern, more organized and better funded military.

    But now you’re saying “someone should do something about that genocide, just not us” it still looks hypocritical.

  54. 54
    DFer says:

    @soonergrunt: Europeans aren’t going to do anything unless we help them. For one because they don’t want to spend the money, and because we have a more modern, more organized and better funded military.

    ETA: on the money issue, because spending more money on military matters means cutting back on their social programs. We don’t have them anyway

    But now you’re saying “someone should do something about that genocide, just not us” it still looks hypocritical.

  55. 55
    Martin says:

    @soonergrunt: Well, it is our business in to the degree that we are active members of the UN and are a veto member of the UN security council. I’m sympathetic to the argument that we shouldn’t get involved in conflicts that don’t directly affect us. At the same time, that security council veto and permanent seat (which we wouldn’t give up for the world) carries a certain responsibility – when the UN decides to act, we should be involved at least to a limited extent. I’d much rather see pressure put on Russia and China to step up to a similar degree.

    But I would argue that what’s happening in Libya is the UNs business. And that puts at least a bit of responsibility on us. At the very least, it puts the burden on us to argue why we shouldn’t be involved, and all of the arguments I can think of are internal political squabbles about our budget and the stupid decisions that we’ve made in the past. If Iraq had never happened, and we’d competently handled Afghanistan, I have no doubt that attitudes toward getting involved in Libya would be completely different.

  56. 56
    Yutsano says:

    @WaterGirl: Yiddish doesn’t always transliterate well, and there really are no standards for it (witness the hundreds of spellings for Hanukkah that exist out there) but it just means fucked. It looks more polite that way, or as whenever I use any Yiddish term is a very heavy emphasis.

  57. 57
    WaterGirl says:

    @Suck It Up!: Thanks for sharing that. It pretty much sums up how I feel, better than I have been saying it. I guess there’s a reason he has a blog and I do not.

  58. 58
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @WaterGirl: FWIW I think we have money for education, etc. I also think that winding down Ira and Afghanistan as soon as it can be done would allow for both decreased Pentagon budgets overall and the ability to take part in actions that are justified.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    MikeJ says:

    @WaterGirl: I would guess cod german for “fucked up”.

  61. 61
    stuckinred says:

    @New Yorker: don’t encourage it

  62. 62
    burnspbesq says:

    @Canadian Observer:

    Just say NO to the latest iteration of Neocon Disaster Capitalism and the Shock Doctrine.

    Clean up Alberta, and then you can lecture the rest of the world about what it does to get oil.

  63. 63
    soonergrunt says:

    @DFer: In your first paragraph, you hit on the truth. You kind of went off the rails in the second, because I’ve never said that anyone should do anything about Libya.
    I said:

    The US cannot and should not get involved every single damn time some European gets his knickers in a twist about something happening in their former fucking colonies.

    Since it’s the Europeans who have their collective knickers in a twist, let them deal with it. As a corollary, if they don’t wish to actually have a military force capable of doing things around the world, they must not want to do things around the world, and our having such a force does not and should not obligate us to do so, especially for their purposes. Just because they see themselves as entitled to use the US military as their offensive force, with the added benefit that they don’t actually pay for it, doesn’t mean that we have to support such beliefs.
    Since the Libyans will sell their oil on the world market no matter who is in charge there, why should I give a shit? Honestly. They will sell the oil because that’s what they do. What else is in Libya that is the worth of a turd?

  64. 64
    Mnemosyne says:

    So can anyone explain to me why this is more like the invasion of Iraq than it is like the UN airstrikes in the Balkans in 1990s? I mean, something other than the fact that it’s happening in the same geographical area?

  65. 65
    WaterGirl says:

    @Folderol & Ephemera: I had been thinking about Samantha Power (and genocide and Rwanda) and wondering about her influence in this situation.

    As to the political personal side of things between Samantha Power and Clinton… I think Clinton said worse things about Obama than Power ever did about Clinton, and I was really sorry to see her leave the campaign. My hope is that Samantha Power and Clinton put the monster episode behind them long ago.

  66. 66
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Why the hell don’t they deal with it themselves?

    Because we have “unique capabilities,” haven’t you heard? We’re the “indispensable nation.”

    Tis a mighty scam the Europeans have cooked up in this post Cold War world. And then they get to have their cake and eat it too when they bitch about US overreach. Smart cookies.

  67. 67
    Yutsano says:

    @soonergrunt:

    What else is in Libya that is the worth of a turd?

    Carthaginian ruins, if they worked at preserving and restoring them. Libya has a claim to long-standing civilization that almost rivals Egypt’s.

  68. 68
    stuckinred says:

    @Mnemosyne: Because we didn’t have blogs to bitch on day and night during the Balkans.

  69. 69
    Martin says:

    @DFer: I suspect the Europeans would have done this without us. They’re not helpless. France sent in fighters before we took out anti-aircraft defenses. They weren’t waiting for us.

    But if France and the UK said they’d act without our involvement, would we really sit by and not use our satellites and AWACs and carriers (that happen to already be there at the ready) to help them? I have a hard time seeing us sit idly by while they put pilots at risk with SAM sites that we could take out remotely.

    The calculus on this stuff changes constantly. We simply don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. Since everyone seems eager to toss out imperialistic hypotheticals – what if US involvement here was negotiated in exchange for increased involvement (of whatever means) by France and the UK in Afghanistan? How would people feel about that?

  70. 70
    4tehlulz says:

    @stuckinred: We had USENET and chat, though.

  71. 71
    stuckinred says:

    @Martin: No they didn’t, they sent in recon aircraft to identify targets.

  72. 72
    soonergrunt says:

    @Bob Loblaw: I think I predicted that very thing a couple of days ago.
    Oh, look. I did.

  73. 73
    stuckinred says:

    @4tehlulz: YOU might have! :)

  74. 74
    The Political Nihilist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    Well, god bless that we have at least one politician who recognizes the REAL problem with this:

    GA GOP Rep. Bobby Franklin Says America Is Like Qadaffi Because Abortion Is Legal

    He also considers Americans to be the most delusional in the world, and doesn’t take it seriously when Americans call Mubarak or Qaddafi delusional. I might be tempted to agree with him on how delusional Americans might be, if I didn’t know better about why he might think that about Americans.

  75. 75
    The Dangerman says:

    Time to get the Cleek Pie thingy; thanks Canadian Observer!

  76. 76
    soonergrunt says:

    @Mnemosyne: It’s closer to the Balkans than it is to Iraq.
    Tripoli to Sarajevo–712 nautical miles
    Tripoli to Baghdad–1562 nautical miles

  77. 77
    jl says:

    OK, I have decided how I come down on this Libya issue: permanent cynical Debbie Downer.

    I don’t see how even a quick end to this will be happy.

    If the US does not completely hand this off to other members of the coalition, then we will all become experts on the tribal factions of Libya. If the US does completely hand it off, no one will notice much for who knows how long.

    Even a quick end, and Gadaffi gone, then there is the problem of what comes after. From what I have read, the tribe leading the revolt is same as that of old King Idris, whom Gadaffi deposed in the coup decades ago.

    Will the coalition essentially anoint that tribe as leader, and if so, what will that mean?

    Libya is important to international oil markets, so I would suspect some new stable regime run by some one who minds his manners would be preferred. I imagine Saudi Arabia has some ideas on the kind of government that would be useful.

  78. 78
    feebog says:

    @Martin 54:

    While I hate the fact that we have to get involved with this shit storm, I also have to agree with your comments. This guy is a ruthless psyco and will think nothing of taking out half his population if it means clinging to power.

    If we are going to be a player in the international community then we have the responsibility to act. This is Bush 43 with a wild hair up his ass invading Iraq. This is acting in concert with other NATO countries to stop the mass murder of thousands.

  79. 79
    soonergrunt says:

    @The Dangerman: I pied that useless fuck last week. I’m sure it’s going on and on about the empire (one of the dumbest damn memes that liberals adhere to, btbtp). I wonder if it knows about the group of Canadian CF-18s that are supposed to take part in this.

  80. 80
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    I see international action following a UN resolution as vastly different from the unilateral actions that led to the Iraq invasion and occupation. My question is slightly different though. What are the Arab League nations contributing concretely to this effort besides getting the ball rolling in the UN? Many of them are probably salivating at the idea of getting rid of Gaddhafi, but they need to be highly visible so that if things go awry they don’t hide behind some “the big bad west did this alone” rhetoric.

  81. 81
    WaterGirl says:

    @feebog: i think you mean this is not Bush 43?

  82. 82
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So can anyone explain to me why this is more like the invasion of Iraq than it is like the UN airstrikes in the Balkans in 1990s?

    It isn’t, and people are stupid for saying otherwise.

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):

    My question is slightly different though. What are the Arab League nations contributing concretely to this effort besides getting the ball rolling in the UN?

    Honestly? Their flags. The Arab colors. Public relations imprimaturs.

    Slap a nice Qatari or Jordanian flag in front of the cameras while the US, UK, and France do all the real work.

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Looking at a map, Libya is much more North Africa than Middle East — they’re sandwiched between Algeria and Egypt and just north of Chad and Niger.

  84. 84
    New Yorker says:

    I think I should also add that I think the northern no-fly zone in Iraq was one of the most successful military operations this country has ever done, as it got Kurdistan away from the genocidal reach of Saddam Hussein and allowed it to develop into the more-or-less normal (de facto independent) country that it is today.

    So in short, I’m with Kevin Drum as quoted above on this. I have no idea whether this is a good thing or not yet.

  85. 85
    Cermet says:

    But you are all missing the key point – this isn’t about starting a war for the US to get oil, or overthrowing a bad guy or even helping Arabs get free; this is all the great plan by Obama to lead the US into a new World government controlled by that super evil villain the UN…see, its working and the neocons are really on Obama’s side because they are imposing double secret probation … oops, wrong movie.

    See, the tea-tards were right – go wolverines!

  86. 86
    MikeJ says:

    @stuckinred:

    No they didn’t, they sent in recon aircraft to identify targets.

    Their recon aircraft knocked out four tanks.

  87. 87
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    Oh and one interesting thing that caught my attention watching the BBC yesterday – a reporter was interviewing pro-Gaddhafi supporters in Tripoli and this woman was yelling about how much she hated the French and British following the UN resolution but didn’t mention the US even once. The reporter said that Gaddhafi’s internal spin to his supporters is that the rebels are an al-Qaeda backed group of young criminals and so they don’t understand why the rest of the world would back these “criminals.” No mention of his ceasefire call was made in the Libyan media – he’s sending one message to the international community and another to his people through state-controlled media.

  88. 88
    soonergrunt says:

    @Mnemosyne: And they’re more Mediterranean than African. Something like 90% of the population lies within 20km of the Med.

  89. 89
    Martin says:

    @soonergrunt:

    What else is in Libya that is the worth of a turd?

    People.

    Sorry, but I’m unwilling to discount the worth of those people as the GOP would. There’s no question the people of Libya have suffered under Gaddafi. If there is a genuine democratic movement there (and they may or may not be) and they are capable of regime change provided someone can deal with the military hardware in their way, that’s something I don’t think we should instinctively turn away from.

  90. 90
    Citizen Alan says:

    @MikeJ:

    @Citizen Alan: What a lazy, stupid, non argument. Nobody can ever agree with anything Obama ever does or they’re a cultist.
    ___
    Please go back to fapping over a Sarah Palin poster.

    Ironically, most of the High Inquisitors for the Cult that I was talking about haven’t bothered to get into this thread so far. The Obama Cultist is not someone who merely agrees with Obama. It is someone who is utterly incapable of disagreeing with Obama in any way, even when he pursues policies so close to those of Bush that the Cultist has to split the thinnest of hairs to distinguish them. The cultist also vociferously attacks anyone who dares disagree with Obama on any point, to the point of, say, comparing John Cole with David Horowitz.

    If you don’t fit that description, don’t assume I was talking about you. Mind you, the “fapping over a Sarah Palin poster” comment is the sort of puerile idiocy I associate with the Obama cultist, because of course, anyone who disagrees with an Obama policy must be a Palin supporter and/or a sexual deviant.

  91. 91
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oil.

    The run-up to Iraq was the internet left’s Spitfire Summer.

    Lonely combat. The few, the proud, the brave — at least those with broadband access — versus the Nazis Bush. They’re going to go to their graves seeing everything through its prism, so long as there’s an England internet.

  92. 92
    Wesindc says:

    I’m sure Newt is looking for a new wife right about now. All that American pride is probably building up!

  93. 93

    haven’t read all the comments yet but is it safe to say we are all arabs now?

  94. 94
    jl says:

    There are brave people among these BJ commenters.

    Yevgraf (fka Michael) – March 19, 2011 | 6:42 pm
    said

    Cruising the right wing webs, the consensus seems to be that this proves just how much Obama hates America. If he loved it, he would have acted unilaterally weeks ago…

    …a sizeable minority… are saying that this proves how incompetent Obama is because the rebels are worse than Khadafy.


    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....nt-2484863

    I thank that brave commenter for preparing me for when I next wee the wingnut contingent in my family.

  95. 95
    Donut says:

    @Martin @ 43:

    I point you to Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn analogy. Up until today the US did not “own” any responsibility for Qadaffi.

    I do not think it’s particularly relevant that the US is doing his under UN authority. Iraq was, too. We have just broken the proverbial vase, Mart. We own it now and going forward. .

  96. 96
    Svensker says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Somewhat east, southeast and west of here. Also, north.

  97. 97
    The Dangerman says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I pied that useless fuck last week.

    I spy with my little eye … a newly installed pie filter.

    I may have to go in and change the replacement to something appropriate later on (I’m thinking the Lumberjack song; seems vaguely apropos).

    Thanks Cleek!

  98. 98
    Anne Laurie says:

    @soonergrunt:

    The US cannot and should not get involved every single damn time some European gets his knickers in a twist about something happening in their former fucking colonies.

    The Adams Doctrine [‘America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy’] FTW!

    Gotta admit that one of the finer European geopolitical 18th-century achievements was setting up a ‘white’ colony that would provide plausible-deniability cover in all those not-white colonies for the next two hundred years and counting.

    There’s a Catholic concept called the near occasion of sin: For the sake of their immortal souls, recovering alcoholics shouldn’t hang out in bars, type two diabetics should stay away from all-you-can-eat buffets, and American presidents should stay away from ‘peacekeeping’ operations.

  99. 99
    Suck It Up! says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):

    a reporter was interviewing pro-Gaddhafi supporters in Tripoli and this woman was yelling about how much she hated the French and British following the UN resolution but didn’t mention the US even once.

    From comments I’ve read elsewhere, this is because the French and the British have been the ones pushing for this from the very start. They say this is how it is being reported non-US news outlets. In the US, most of the news is focused on Obama’s involvement.

  100. 100
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    “Apparently, we are now in the Arab League.”

    Great! That explains why I haven’t got my pony yet.

    It’s a camel!

  101. 101
    o kanis says:

    There’s a media victim born every minute.

  102. 102
    JAHILL10 says:

    UN, Schmuen. Who needs nuance? EVERY use of U.S. military force is the invasion of Iraq all over again which will necessarily lead us down the slippery slope to Vietnam. Simple, easy to remember.
    /snark

  103. 103
    Goldcap says:

    It would be great to take a Humanitarian stance when something like this happens, but it does give one pause when you look at what we did for the Kurds (nothing) after Desert Storm, and how long it took us to get involved in Kosovo, and how we did nothing in Ruwanda, and how we funded the Contras, how the CIA backed Jonas Savimbi (and purportedly at one point Amin), and how we enabled Pol-Pot by bombing the shit out of Camboida, etc etc fucking etc…

    Is “bombing the shit” out of a murdering dictator gonna help Libya? Is it gonna help us? Membe. Membe nots. They did ask for help… But we seem to be a country of ignorant, self-righteous assholes, who couldn’t govern their ass from an oil well in Libya, so you kinda do a double take.

    I guess I’m likin Kevin Drum’s quote more and more.

  104. 104
    salacious crumb says:

    The Arab League goaded us and the ex-colonial powers into attacking another Muslim country and thats how the Arab League is gonna play this once the shit hits the fan. Yeah Gaddhafi is a bad guy but we have no business being there. We have no idea who the rebels are, what their plan for Libya is and what their leadership structure is like? (will we be putting another dictator in place who will guarantee our oil supplies from oil rich Libya?) And lets not kid ourselves the aim of this invasion is to take Gaddhafi out. If instability ensues, Al Qaeda is gonna be at the doorstep of Europe and this is exactly what AlQaeda wants. And the Muslim world is gonna look at this as another attack on a Muslim nation

  105. 105
  106. 106
    trollhattan says:

    Christ on a cracker, can’t I just wallow in earthquake/tsunami/runaway nuke news for another week? I can’t keep track of maintenance on three vehicles, much less keep track of three wars. Good thing we’re well stocked with beer and wine–I feel a mission coming on.

  107. 107
    SGEW says:

    I guess all I can say is that I have a bad feeling about this . . .

  108. 108
    jl says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):

    Probably too late for Gadaffi. Too many Very Serious Countries have decided this is the chance to get rid of him. I do not see how the hyper cautious, ‘finger in the wind’ Obama administration would be so vocal about the fact that the Gadaffi regime needs to end otherwise.

    As I said, to be brutally cynical about it, I’ve read that the Libyan armed and domestic security forces are so weak, mediocre and divided, and the society still so tribal, that even if the Bengazhi fell, the prospect would be long term smoldering civil war.

    So the marginal cost of making a sustained effort to get rid of Gadaffi is lower.

    And…. Yahoo news says right now that Libyan forces are attacking Benghazi.

  109. 109
    Davis X. Machina says:

    It’s an international relations version of the trolley problem.

    Which as we know has one right answer.

  110. 110
    stuckinred says:

    @jl: They’ve been saying that for 2 fucking days.

  111. 111
    jl says:

    @stuckinred: OK, you apparently also have the stomach to read them. I don’t.

  112. 112
    stuckinred says:

    @jl: I dunno, all kinds of outlets were saying he’d pushed in there.

  113. 113
    soonergrunt says:

    @Anne Laurie: The best thing we could would be to cancel the F-35, and cut the aerial tanker force in half.
    That would end a great deal of this adventurism by American presidents, and it would finally put the nail in the coffin of European adventurism-by-proxy.
    We could cut an armored division in the Army down to a light infantry/airborne hybrid division and not skip a beat there, either. Cut a carrier battle group out of the Navy, or simply don’t replace the oil-fired carriers that we just retired.

  114. 114
    Mnemosyne says:

    @salacious crumb:

    And the Muslim world is gonna look at this as another attack on a Muslim nation.

    I dunno. Libya is sandwiched between two countries that recently overthrew their dictators, Tunisia and Egypt. Saudi Arabia is currently sending troops to Bahrain to help them impose martial law and suppressing protests in their own country. Yemen is dealing with its massive protests by killing protesters. And, yes, the US is currently helping that selfsame government, which is why sole intervention is a civil war is a very bad idea.

    It is very much in the interests of most of the leaders of the Arab League that Gaddafi win, frankly, but it’s not in the interests of most people in those North African and Middle Eastern countries.

    Given the lip service that the West has given to “democracy” while propping up the very leaders who were just overthrown, I’m doubting that that Egyptians and Tunisians will see it as unwarranted interference in their affairs if the West comes in to slap Gaddafi down.

  115. 115
    jl says:

    @stuckinred: I have a weak stomach and avoid all sorts of places that say stuff like that.

    Though, I guess it is true that the corporate bobblehead talkies have been saying that too, but my attention span is so short when I listen to them that my mind wanders off and I don’t pay much attention to their code talk.

  116. 116
    salacious crumb says:

    @Mnemosyne: And so given that Bahrain and Yemen have been mowing down their people, why isnt it that we are taking them? Saudi Arabia has hinted at bloodbath against anyone attempting to protest. Why the double standard?

  117. 117
    Ruckus says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Because in the end it is all about money/oil. We have put up with 40 yrs of rule of this ass. We killed one of his kids and almost him and it made no real difference inside his country although it seemed to have made him a slightly better neighbor. But we are staring down peak oil anywhere from now till a couple of decades and that’s scary to a country without the resources(us).
    You want a large military? It uses a huge, huge amount of oil. You think your SUV gets crappy mileage, try a ship. Destroyer I was on during Vietnam would take on 20,000+ gallons every 2-3 days. There were over 600 ships in the navy at the time.
    I’m sorry people this is about oil. Yes we are willing to pay for it but we want it, no 2 ways about it. We are not willing as a nation to conserve so we need a pretty large supply of oil. If it were about the crappy government of an asshole there are plenty of those around. Some have our stamp of approval on them, some do not. But we are going after the ones with the oil and doing nothing about the others.

  118. 118
    jl says:

    @salacious crumb: Black Gold, texas tea.

  119. 119
    Stefan says:

    “But we can’t stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy.”

    Excellent. So when are we invading the Ivory Coast, Yemen, Bahrain, and North Korea?

    Or is it the case that when (a) when there’s no oil for us to protect, (b) there’s a chance we’d endanger access to oil, or (c) it’s altogether too dangerous, we actually can stand idly by?

  120. 120
    Mnemosyne says:

    @salacious crumb: @salacious crumb:

    Because, at least on paper, Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia are all allies of ours (which, again, is why we stupidly let ourselves get dragged into Yemen’s civil war). We’ve been wanting to get rid of Gaddafi for 40 years — don’t you remember Reagan bombing Tripoli to try and kill him? It was only after 9/11 that Gaddafi saw which way the wind was blowing and decided to bow to our wishes.

  121. 121
    Jc says:

    Question – why in the world are there no Arab league forces helping? At least have one jet from each arab league country, fly in formation.

    Is that so hard?

  122. 122
  123. 123
    salacious crumb says:

    @Mnemosyne: But I still dont understand why we have the need to go and attack another country just after our experience in Iraq. Yeah Gaddhafi is an evil man, but there were other ways of isolating him. Yeah he would kill a bunch of his own people, but you know what if things go into a shithole, we could at least tell the Arab world this was one mess the western world didnt create.

  124. 124
    JAHILL10 says:

    @Mnemosyne: Thanks for pointing that out. We are dealing with a very transformative period in the Arab world right now (see first poll in Egypt this weekend post revolution) and the Arab leaders are by no means united in their reactions to it. The leaders/dictators/kings of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Syria are all scared shitless that they will be the next despots to tumble. But I am guessing that both Tunisia and Egypt would like to go through their constitutional experiments with real democracy without a nutcase madman on their borders killing his own people in droves trying to stop that very thing from happening in Libya.

  125. 125
    stuckinred says:

    @Jc: Why so jumpy, this shit is not going to be over today?

  126. 126
    soonergrunt says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It was only after 9/11 that Gaddafi saw which way the wind was blowing and decided to bow to our wishes give up his nuclear weapons program which was costing him a bunch of money and going absolutely nowhere and by so doing allowed him to openly deal with the west instead of the under-the-table stuff he’d been doing for years.

    Italian under-table dealings with Ghadaffi go back long before Berlusconi. Libya has CH-47 Chinook helicopters that they bought from Italy in the 1980s and the Italians let the Achille Lauro hijackers go to Libya after they took them at gunpoint from US military personnel at the NATO base at Salerno.

  127. 127
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ruckus:

    Because in the end it is all about money/oil.

    Not only that, but there’s a wave of anti-government protests sweeping the area where all of the oil is and, if we’re not careful, we’ll end up with a bunch of hostile governments who would be more than willing to cut us off. See the Iranian Revolution to get an idea of how we could end up if we look like we’re propping up our favorite dictators.

    Pretending that oil has nothing to do with this would be stupid, but it’s not like we’re the only country on earth that uses oil. Britain and France are leading this charge because they don’t want to lose access to the oil. China and Russia sat it out because they don’t want to piss off someplace like Saudi Arabia and lose access to their oil.

  128. 128
    Stillwater says:

    @salacious crumb: Why the double standard?

    Oh, you’ll never get a straight answer to this question. See, everyone admits that the US and the west generally have used force – military and otherwise – to prop up all sorts of dictators in varied places, including the very countries currently ousting their leaders. So the use of force in this instance, according to its advocates, is sui generis: neither history nor contemporary counterexamples are applicable. It’s the dawning of a new paradigm.

  129. 129
    soonergrunt says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Not only that, but there’s a wave of anti-government protests sweeping the area where all of the oil is and, if we’re not careful, we’ll end up with a bunch of hostile governments who would be more than willing to cut us off. See the Iranian Revolution to get an idea of how we could end up if we look like we’re propping up our favorite dictators.

    And right you are. And frankly, I can’t see all the cheerleading for the fall of despotic Arab regimes to continue when people in England and France and the US and everywhere else flip a light switch and nothing happens or they can’t get gas for their cars.

  130. 130
    stuckinred says:

    And so we all agree it’s only about oil, we are really mad and we are really scared?

  131. 131
    soonergrunt says:

    @salacious crumb:

    Why the double standard?

    Because the calculus of western nations’ national security demands it.
    SATSQ.

  132. 132
    Allan says:

    Um, people talking about the cost of missles: those were already paid for, unless the US has worked out some sort of “pay-upon-use” deal with its contractors and I didn’t hear about it.

    Debate whether they should have been used, not what they cost. Thanks.

  133. 133
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Stillwater:

    Its the dawning of a new paradigm.

    Everything changed after 1/20.

  134. 134
    soonergrunt says:

    @Allan: And now we have to pay for more.
    And if you think it will end with missiles, you must have missed the last fifty years.
    Oh, and they should not have been used, especially to support primarily European prerogatives.

  135. 135
    stuckinred says:

    Can’t we figure out some way to bitch about Israel too?

  136. 136
    Mnemosyne says:

    @salacious crumb:

    But I still dont understand why we have the need to go and attack another country just after our experience in Iraq.

    The British and French decided they wanted to go in and attack. We’re their allies in multiple ways so, frankly, we’re kinda stuck. Particularly since Great Britain has been pretty much our only steady ally in Afghanistan and Iraq and currently has troops in both countries. What were we going to say — “Hey, thanks for helping out with our wars and getting your guys killed, but we’re going to sit this one out.”

    Yeah Gaddhafi is an evil man, but there were other ways of isolating him.

    We’ve been trying to do that for weeks. The main problem seems to be that quite a bit of Libya’s army defected to the rebels, so Gaddafi hired mercenaries to try and stay in power. If he hadn’t done that, this whole thing would have been over with by now and Gaddafi would probably be in Switzerland counting his money because he’s lost the support of much of the country.

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like hiring outsiders to kill your citizens when they’re no longer willing to fight for you themselves is a pretty extreme thing to do. Even if he “wins,” I have no idea how he thinks he’s going to be able to suppress those rebels forever. What’s his plan, to keep a mercenary army around him forever?

  137. 137
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Stillwater:

    See, everyone admits that the US and the west generally have used force – military and otherwise – to prop up all sorts of dictators in varied places, including the very countries currently ousting their leaders. So the use of force in this instance, according to its advocates, is sui generis: neither history nor contemporary counterexamples are applicable. It’s the dawning of a new paradigm.

    So the West switching its support from one side to the other is, in your view, same as it ever was, nothing to see here?

  138. 138
    stuckinred says:

    I was talking with a professor from Ethopia yesterday and he said, “an ak and $200 a day” buys a lot of support in Africa.

  139. 139
    soonergrunt says:

    @stuckinred: I doubt he’s paying that much. $200/week maybe.

  140. 140
    stuckinred says:

    What time is the moonrise?

  141. 141
    stuckinred says:

    @soonergrunt: That’s what I meant, thanks.

  142. 142
    Martin says:

    @salacious crumb: Well, Iraq didn’t have a broad populist uprising that was capable of regime change. The Kurds were just too weak relative to the larger population that was willing to tolerate Saddam. Libya (at least from what we can tell from here) may have that.

    That’s really where the decision to take these actions should *start* from. If that exists, then we look to see how much danger the broader population is in (considerable, in the case of Libya), how effective we can be to change the equation on the ground (in the case of a very sparse region like Libya, we can be very effective), and how much political collateral damage this would cause (minimal – nobody is particularly loyal to Gaddafi, and if other arab nations are involved, there won’t be a sectarian accusation outside of those in the US that desire to make one).

    Now, that’s still not a defense of this action – just a juxtaposition between this and Iraq, and why Iraq, in spite of whatever good intentions might have been there (I don’t think there were many) was bound to blow up no matter what.

    As for the defense that Iraq was also UN sanctioned, that’s only because the US lied to the UN about the intel. Without that, the UN never would have gone along. We’re going to have to own that fiasco entirely.

  143. 143
    soonergrunt says:

    @stuckinred: Depends on where you are.
    http://www.almanac.com/moon
    In OKC it’s at 8:02 PM.
    @stuckinred: I’m here to serve, Brother.

  144. 144
    Mnemosyne says:

    BTW, I agree with soonergrunt here — it’s stupid for us to get involved when we already have way too much shit going on in the Middle East. It’s pretty much a no-win situation for us.

    But claiming that this is exactly like Bush’s invasion of Iraq is just fucking idiocy.

  145. 145
    Allan says:

    @soonergrunt: Yeah, we get that this is your opinion. Thanks for repeating it. Again.

  146. 146
    stuckinred says:

    @soonergrunt: Ooo, 20 minutes, up on the roof for me!

  147. 147
    Ruckus says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Oh I agree that we are not alone in wanting the oil. It’s just that other countries are willing to look at the bigger picture as well and work on the conservation side.(does that ever seem like an evil word to type. course it’s conservation not conservatism. same root, currently a completely different meaning)
    A problem with getting involved as you pointed out is that one never knows how this will end up. Will it be Iraq/Afgan? Will it work out well? Or go horribly wrong?(see first question) What are the long term effects? What are the long term costs?(money and human)
    Lately doing something/everything seems to be/is the wrong thing. Will history repeat itself? With the military we have I question the answers and motives. Not the folks on the bottom half just doing their jobs but the top half advising and making decisions. And it may just be they have an impossible task given them by the politicians. But the history of empires has shown us that militaries and politicians build empires, they fall when one of both of them don’t play well together.

  148. 148
    soonergrunt says:

    @Allan: You’re quite welcome. I’m here to serve.

  149. 149
    salacious crumb says:

    @Ruckus: and lets not forget that Bob Gates, of all people, a dyed in the wool conservative, advised the President against going for this war. Thanks to him, at least until this point, he managed to keep the Republicans and war mongering Democrats from going to war and was able to stand up to the Generals to cut back their bloated budgets. I am disappointed that Obama chose Hillary’s advice over his, as far as this Libya war goes. The bunny is out of the hat..now that UK and France have managed to drag us into this war we own it, and only Iran will be laughing.

  150. 150
    salacious crumb says:

    as well as China

  151. 151
    Martin says:

    @Ruckus: We’ll never see any of that oil. I doubt that opening up Libyan oil to the global market (again) would have any meaningful effect on oil prices.

    Honestly if we were that motivated by oil directly, we’d be in Nigeria and Angola – #5 and #6 importers to the US, following Canada, Mexico, SA, Venezuela. We wouldn’t be fucking around with Libya. These oil arguments are crazy. Half of the people argue that we want to spike oil prices to boost Exxon profits, even though high oil prices drag the economy, and the other half argue that we want to open up supply which would collapse oil prices. Which is it?

  152. 152
    4tehlulz says:

    @Martin: Obviously, it’s to boost oil prices in the short term, and when the Libyan oil goes back on the market, make money on short sales.

    OBVIOUSLY

  153. 153
    Nied says:

    The hell? French and British aircraft are flying over Libya as we speak, French aircraft fired the first shot, Canadian fighters are en-route, but some Destroyers launching cruise missiles at SAM sites from a safe distance away is the US taking the lead? As far as I can tell we aren’t even planning on sending any of our planes in or over Libya. To hear you tell it the 82nd airborne is parachuting in to Benghazi while the Marines prepare to re-enact D-day at Tripoli.

  154. 154
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ruckus:

    It’s just that other countries are willing to look at the bigger picture as well and work on the conservation side.

    Do other countries have opposition parties that are as batshit crazy as the Republicans are right now? I mean, Jean-Marie Le Pen is almost looking reasonable next to our guys.

    Unfortunately, I think Americans have gotten addicted to the quick fix and don’t have the patience to wait for an investment to pay off in many aspects of our society, and our attitude towards conservation reflects the same thinking. If someone tells us the problem can’t be solved NOWNOWNOW, we turn to the guys who claim it can, even though they have absolutely no intention of even trying.

  155. 155
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Martin:

    Didn’t you know? It’s because Obama is ginning up a fake oil crisis to force people to conserve even though it’s not really necessary.

    I wish I were joking.

  156. 156
    AAA Bonds says:

    Thanks, John. Really.

  157. 157
    Stillwater says:

    @Mnemosyne: Weren’t you one of the people arguing – strenuously – that the US was only going to play a support role, here, help the Arab League, who would take the lead, etc.? Now you’re story is that we’re in this because Britian was set on it, and well, we can’t really abandon an ally, even if we were to disagree with them…

    The story hasn’t changed already has it, after only two days?

  158. 158
    Uriel says:

    @soonergrunt:

    What else is in Libya that is the worth of a turd?

    Other human beings?

  159. 159
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Martin:

    Half of the people argue that we want to spike oil prices to boost Exxon profits, even though high oil prices drag the economy, and the other half argue that we want to open up supply which would collapse oil prices. Which is it?

    Yes.

  160. 160
    AAA Bonds says:

    Here’s some questions: would y’all accept a partitioned Libya as a ‘victory’?

    Do you think most Americans would accept a partitioned Libya as a ‘victory’?

    Do you think a partitioned Libya would keep us in Libya for a long time? How long?

  161. 161
    Allan says:

    @Nied: You and your facts.

    Meanwhile, in a typically mis-timed and pointless publicity stunt, Jane Hamsher and Daniel Ellsberg went to picket the White House so Ellsberg could get arrested protesting the “torture” of Bradley Manning, while the President is in Brazil and the world is watching Libya.

  162. 162
    Martin says:

    @Mnemosyne: I would point out that this can’t entirely be blamed on Republicans. Even with Republican governors, California has continued down a path of conservation. Cap and trade was signed by a Republican governor. Higher mileage and emissions standards – Republican governor. And we’ve gotten the energy industry out here largely on board with it – they profit when we conserve, so why wouldn’t they?

    I’d put CA Republicans historically ahead of Democrats in most of the east and south on conservation issues.

  163. 163
    salacious crumb says:

    @Uriel: and oh, I suppose Israel occupation and mass starvation of Palestinians dont count. Oh wait, Palestinians aint human.

  164. 164
    stuckinred says:

    @salacious crumb: God, what took so long to bitch about israel?

  165. 165
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I’m proud to stand with a left that, on the basis of the last couple days, would have mildly opposed US entry into the League of Nations — only mildly, because it was toothless — opposed ratification of the UN Charter — more strenuously, because the UN is only mostly toothless — and have endorsed Bob Taft over Eisenhower and Truman at any given point in the 1950’s, because of his iron determination to use US forces only in defense of the national territory.

    Which gives one pause.

  166. 166
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Stillwater:

    Weren’t you one of the people arguing – strenuously – that the US was only going to play a support role, here, help the Arab League, who would take the lead, etc.? Now you’re story is that we’re in this because Britian was set on it, and well, we can’t really abandon an ally, even if we were to disagree with them…
    __
    The story hasn’t changed already has it, after only two days?

    I’m not really sure how it’s “changing the story” to say that we’re following the lead of the British, who are our allies, and that we pretty much have to go along with what they want because they’ve been following our lead in Afghanistan and Iraq for the past decade and now we owe them.

    But, hey, you’re never going to believe this isn’t Iraq Invasion 2: Electric Boogaloo, so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    ETA: I said that the Arab League needed to take the lead. I was pretty sure they wouldn’t actually do it.

  167. 167
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Stillwater:

    The story hasn’t changed already has it, after only two days?

    Four out of five Nicks support our efforts in Libya.

  168. 168
    Uriel says:

    @salacious crumb: Not sure where I’ve ever said something vaguely like that. Care to enlighten me?

  169. 169
    PIGL says:

    Let’s look at the bright side. Mr. Obama is now officialy a “war time presnit” which makes him officially and permanently immune from criticism from the Republicans. Not that this will have any noticable effect on his substantive policies, but it’ll keep the racket down a notch or two. Right?

  170. 170
    AAA Bonds says:

    @Nied:

    I’m curious why I’m supposed to get on the choo-choo train with two right-wing European leaders and the League of Arab Despots. Is it because Europe is Cool? Because we can always depend on those despotic governments being there next month? I’m lost.

    I’m also curious where the story comes from that we’re following the world’s lead on this rather than conducting weeks of sleepless horse-trading to get the right players to do the things we want. One of these stories has been reported in the news and the other one exists in fantasy. Can you tell which one? (Not that Gaddafi has a lot of friends.)

    Some liberals have to be told repeatedly: the Security Council approving of something we do is usually better for us than the Security Council not approving of something we do, but it doesn’t mean that we should do it, or that the actions of individual United Nations members reflect collective action by the United Nations (whatever that would look like in a world where it was possible). Ditto for regional dinner clubs like the Arab League.

    Would that we had a worldwide governing body capable of action on that level, with the authority and power to carry it out. But wishing doesn’t make it so. We substitute the power of individual nation-states at our own peril.

  171. 171
    stuckinred says:

    “Would that we. . .”

    Jesus H Christ on a kiddie car. . .

  172. 172
    pattonbt says:

    My two cents….totally non-plussed about our involvement. I tend towards extreme non-interventionist (only in either direct serious threats to our homeland or closest allies or in cases on serious global destabilization – i.e. WW1/WW2 level conflicts).

    I wish we had the balls to stay the fuck out of these things and let others handle it in whatever fashion they wanted. There is no need for our involvement whatsoever. We have no interests here, except of course our general societal war lust and desire to bomb brown people (or whomever the “other” is of the day).

    Disappointed. Severely. But I am with almost any offensive action. This, in my mind, was a test and we have failed miserably. Same as it ever was.

    I get all the arguments people are making for our involvement (peoples suffering, etc.), but the US does not need to be involved. Other powers are more than capable.

  173. 173
    AAA Bonds says:

    @stuckinred:

    You are a really bad troll.

  174. 174
    salacious crumb says:

    @Uriel: My point is I am thrilled that we are willing to take ire of Muslims again (despite our benevolent intentions) to save humans in Libya. Perhaps we could go to war with Israel considering the treatment of Palestinians

  175. 175
    stuckinred says:

    @AAA Bonds: Would that you wouldn’t have said that.

    And another thing douchebag, where the fuck did you come from all the sudden?

  176. 176
    salacious crumb says:

    @stuckinred: Sorry you cant stand the criticism of Israel.

  177. 177
    salacious crumb says:

    @stuckinred: let me guess, you are gonna call me an anti-Semite now?

  178. 178
    stuckinred says:

    @salacious crumb: It’s ok with me I was just surprised it took so long.

  179. 179
    AAA Bonds says:

    @stuckinred:

    Pretty boring. You’re like someone who raises his hand at a board meeting and then makes fart noises with his armpit.

  180. 180
    Mnemosyne says:

    @AAA Bonds:

    I’m also curious where the story comes from that we’re following the world’s lead on this rather than conducting weeks of sleepless horse-trading to get the right players to do the things we want. One of these stories has been reported in the news and the other one exists in fantasy. Can you tell which one? (Not that Gaddafi has a lot of friends.)

    Al-Jazeera is reporting that we’re following the world’s lead on this, so it looks like the fantasy story is the one where the US has been secretly manipulating the whole thing.

  181. 181
    salacious crumb says:

    @stuckinred: hey maybe you can use the power of language and persuasive argument to make your point instead of resorting of kindergarten style name calling….waah we hurt stuckinred’s feeling so he is gonna call us douchebag..very creative pal

  182. 182
    stuckinred says:

    @salacious crumb: US? Was I talking to you?

  183. 183
    Uriel says:

    @AAA Bonds: Actually, It’d be pretty funny if someone straight out legit did that…

    (edited just to see if I could on this thing)

  184. 184
    stuckinred says:

    @AAA Bonds: Yea and your prose has everyone on the edge of their seats.

  185. 185
    liberal says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    The Adams Doctrine [‘America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy’] FTW!

    Heh. I quoted it, too, after a soonergrunt post a couple days ago.

  186. 186
    AAA Bonds says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m reading this story and I’m not understanding where you’re coming up with this new information. Could you blockquote out what you mean?

    Also, I agree with you that the idea that the U.S. has been “secretly manipulating the whole thing” is wrong. Since that’s not what I think or said, though, I’m not too concerned about it.

  187. 187
    AAA Bonds says:

    @stuckinred:

    Oh, I’m pretty quality. I’ve got no illusions about that, sweetie.

  188. 188
    Mnemosyne says:

    @pattonbt:

    I tend towards extreme non-interventionist (only in either direct serious threats to our homeland or closest allies or in cases on serious global destabilization – i.e. WW1/WW2 level conflicts).

    This kind of stance, I can respect. You’re against interventionism in general, so therefore you don’t like that the West is intervening in Libya. Fair enough. I am also very sympathetic to the argument that we’re already spread too thin and can’t take on yet another responsibility. That one is pretty convincing to me.

    The people annoying me are the ones insisting that this is identical to the US invasion of Iraq because shut up, that’s why. I still haven’t gotten them to give me one sensible explanation other than “it’s exactly the same because the US is involved.”

  189. 189
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Nonono, you gotta aim higher.

    “It was the Japanese who attacked us, not the Germans, so why are we going to war with them? Let the French liberate themselves, we have no business there!”

  190. 190
    Tim Connor says:

    @salacious crumb: Good points. The poor citizens of Bahrain were surprised, for sure:

    Time quickly proved him wrong. The violence started the next day, and it was not only Iran that blamed Washington. “Where are the Americans, where are the Americans, why are they allowing this, they are killing us with heavy guns, where are the Americans?” shrieked Hussein Muhammad, 37, a bookstore owner and political activist, in a breathless phone call Wednesday from Manama….When the tear gas cleared, the streets of Manama were littered with canisters that said, on their side, that they had been made in the United States.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03.....=1&hp

    I think the simple answer is that we are in favor of democracy and the rule of law except when it would be inconvenient to the ruling elite in the US. This applies to the “Homeland”, as well as our dealings with other countries.

  191. 191
    AAA Bonds says:

    The real pain of these debates is having to duck out to conduct them with other people at a bar. As no one’s actually offered me any arguments other than “this guy I know said it’s okay”, and the site’s owner has said all that needs to be said on the subject, I feel it’s probably a better use of my time.

  192. 192
    salacious crumb says:

    @stuckinred: no you werent talking to me but since you seem to be proud of the the fact that you are long standing member of this blog, i would have expected your argument style a tad better than name calling

  193. 193
    stuckinred says:

    @salacious crumb: I calls em like I see em.

  194. 194
    Ruckus says:

    @Martin:
    I don’t think it’s about oil prices. Not in the way of controlling them. I think it’s about oil availability. Can we get what we want and can we maintain that for the foreseeable future?
    Certainly there are political factors at work here. But with us they work in the realm of oil. My next door neighbor growing up was an 85 yr old retired Standard Oil executive who spoke 5 languages and traveled around the world securing oil access. He did this for most of the first half of the last century. From his stories I would say the only thing that has changed is some of the players and the amounts of the oil. Standard Oil knew 50-75 yrs ago that the US would in the not too distant future, not be an exporter of oil. And that has come to pass. They may be #5 and #6 now but they are somewhat stable. Now.
    Why do you think oil is not the issue?
    We have all of a sudden gotten the freedom/democracy bug for everyone else? Our better angels are singing louder? Sorry I don’t buy it. World trade and world finance depend on oil. Oil for the freighters and planes that carry all the goods. Oil for all the plastics that the crap we buy is made from. Oil for all the cars, tanks and planes. Oil for the medicines. Oil for the fertilizers to grow the food. We cry about the rich/poor ratios here but the truly wealthy take a global view. They don’t just want everything of ours, they want everything.
    And in our modern world oil is everything.
    It touches everything. It is what makes our world possible.

  195. 195
    Allan says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well, it’s the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, so astrologically it’s the exact same thing, or something.

  196. 196
    stuckinred says:

    @AAA Bonds: wink wink

  197. 197
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Allan:

    Um, people talking about the cost of missles: those were already paid for, unless the US has worked out some sort of “pay-upon-use” deal with its contractors and I didn’t hear about it.
    __
    Debate whether they should have been used, not what they cost. Thanks.

    And those paid-in-advance missles will “have to” be replaced with more expensive missles, thereby giving the Permanent War enthusiasts future excuses to rob Social Security and pretend “we can’t afford” health care, education, or public infrastructure here in America.

    Some of us can hold more than one thought at the same time, y’know. Getting into another “police action” in Libya is a bad idea from an ethical viewpoint, and we can’t afford it, either.

  198. 198
    Mnemosyne says:

    @AAA Bonds:

    French warplanes have hit four tanks used by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi on the outskirts of the opposition stronghold of Benghazi, on a day when opposition fighters in the city reported coming under constant artillery and mortar fire.

    Though I may have been thinking more of the AP story:

    It has the backing of the Arab League, which has balked at other interventions in the Arab world and is known more for lengthy deliberations than action.
    __
    And it was initiated by the French, who famously opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
    __
    It was French President Nicolas Sarkozy who announced that 22 participants in an emergency summit in Paris on Saturday had agreed to launch armed action against Gadhafi’s military. And a French fighter jet reported the first strike Saturday afternoon, against a Libyan military vehicle in or near Benghazi, the heart of the uprising against the longtime leader, before over a hundred cruise missiles fired from U.S and British ships slammed into this north African nation.

    But I guess you still think that we made the French and the Arab League do our bidding when we couldn’t get them to go along with us in Iraq. Did we manage to get those pictures of them having sex with horses that we didn’t have in 2003?

    Also, I agree with you that the idea that the U.S. has been “secretly manipulating the whole thing” is wrong. Since that’s not what I think or said, though, I’m not too concerned about it.

    Really? Then what did you mean by this:

    I’m also curious where the story comes from that we’re following the world’s lead on this rather than conducting weeks of sleepless horse-trading to get the right players to do the things we want.

    That sounds an awful like you claiming that the US manipulated the players to get the result they wanted — that’s what “horse-trading” means, you know. Do you have a completely different definition of “horse-trading” that you’d like to share with us?

  199. 199
    pattonbt says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Oh, I agree – comparing this to Iraq and others is reaching. All conflicts are different; they start for different reasons, have different logistics (sorry for such a cold word there), have different players, have different outcomes, etc. I see few parallels to other engagements (except maybe the Balkans) but I do believe that more often than not these things do not end up being a net plus.

    I just do not believe that in a utilitarian balancing way, our involvement in these adventures gives us a positive benefit. Maybe that makes me a cold bastard, so be it. But there are others out there more than capable to handle this. I want my peace dividend!

    Again, for me, this was a test to see if we had actually changed (we being the US). While we may have not been at the forefront chomping at the bit to go (which was good) and could have easily stayed on the sidelines, we didn’t, we couldn’t help ourselves.

    Again, I get some peoples reasons for believing it is worthy, I just do not think those outweigh the costs to us (and I don’t mean costs as in money).

  200. 200
    eemom says:

    This is an interesting subject and there are valid arguments on both sides, each of which has been well represented by the various commenters on the present thread.

    It is unfortunate that name-calling has occasionally been resorted to, but certainly understandable in light of the stressful nature of the matter at hand.

    I am optimistic that we can continue to work together towards a more civilized and respectful discourse.

  201. 201
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    But claiming that this is exactly like Bush’s invasion of Iraq is just fucking idiocy.

    Who was it said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes?”

  202. 202
    Ruckus says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    He was talking about actual horses?

  203. 203
    stuckinred says:

    @eemom: yea, you would NEVER do that! :)

  204. 204
    stuckinred says:

    @Anne Laurie: Groucho?

  205. 205
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    So maybe you can explain it — what makes this action exactly like the invasion of Iraq? I’m just not getting it.

    @Ruckus:

    Heh. I didn’t catch that while I was writing it. I was just trying to stay away from the overused “sex with goats” accusation.

  206. 206
    Uriel says:

    @eemom:

    I am optimistic that we can continue to work together towards a more civilized and respectful discourse.

    Heh- you’re so crazy!

  207. 207
    Allan says:

    @Anne Laurie: That was a very large number of words, which I believe can be reduced to “It sucks that we’re a military-industrial complex”, with which I agree, but you propose no way to change that in the immediate future, and building more missiles means jobs for Americans, which we kind of need right now; and “I’d rather stand by and watch Gadafi slaughter his own people”, which is repulsive.

  208. 208
    Mnemosyne says:

    Here’s something interesting: it looks like the NY Times changed the story after John posted it. This is the new second paragraph of his link:

    The mission to impose a United Nations-sanctioned no-fly zone and keep Colonel Qaddafi from using air power against beleaguered rebel forces was portrayed by Pentagon and NATO officials as under French and British leadership. But the Pentagon said that American forces were mounting an initial campaign to knock out Libya’s air-defense systems, firing volley after volley of Tomahawk missiles from nearby ships against missile, radar and communications centers around Tripoli, the capital, and the western cities of Misurata and Surt.

    ETA: Time for dinner — play nice while I’m gone, kids!

  209. 209
    stuckinred says:

    @Allan: Now that was good!

  210. 210
    Ruckus says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    I asked the other day what if history doesn’t repeat itself? There are things changing in our world the were not counted in the mix in the not too distant past. Peak oil for one. Freer travel and communications. Better health care.(not everywhere for sure) These are all things that have or should have affect on policy. What if all the short term thinking in the financial markets is because they don’t see the markets growing for much longer. Why do long term if you see long term as bad/non existent? Wouldn’t you then feel short term would be the only solution? I am of course talking short term in the relative sense of 10-30 yrs.
    So history may repeat it self because people keep responding the same way to different stimulus. But the reaction may be different because the rules are changing.

  211. 211
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    Other headlines from around the world:

    British press raps Obama over Libya no-fly zone delay

    Sarkozy is being a lot more aggressive about the imposition of a no-fly zone than any other leader, and France was the first country to formally recognize the Libyan opposition. The rest of the world sees that. People in the US apparently don’t. I’m still waiting to see if/how the Arab League members step up (especially since Egypt could put soldiers into Libya in a heartbeat if necessary; they’re right next door). That will determine many things.

  212. 212
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Allan: Pissy little hall monitor, aren’t you?

    Shouldn’t you be spending your valuable internet resources monitoring Code Pink for cruelly triggering misogynistic stereotyping, or something?

  213. 213
    Ruckus says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Whenever it’s an animal not of one’s species I suspect issues.

  214. 214
    Ruckus says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    We could only hope.

  215. 215
    Allan says:

    @Anne Laurie: Non-responsive. Sad, really, that a front-pager has so little to contribute to the conversation.

  216. 216
    stuckinred says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people): Other headlines from around here. Who gives a fuck what the limey press says. We had lilbrit whatever on here yesterday scolding the US and saying there were big demonstrations against the NFZ in UK.

  217. 217
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So maybe you can explain it—what makes this action exactly like the invasion of Iraq?

    It’s not the “action”, it’s the “explanations” (rationalizations) being used to support it. Not that I’m sanguine about “us” taking on a third war that we can’t afford, but the “four legs good, two legs better” chorus has changed its sheet music a little too fast not to make me suspicious.

  218. 218
    cs says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Completely agree with you on this point.

    And, while I support this intervention, I can see all the ways it could go wrong and I don’t mind seeing objections to it. I still remember the protests and complaints from the left over Kosovo. Those arguments could be revisited.

    But Obama seems to want to fight wars the Clinton way. Intervene briefly over some humanitarian reason or allegations of terrorism / WMD (Iraq ’98) and then get the hell out. Yes, Somalia was a huge mess but that was an inherited mess from Bush, and there was the semi-quagmire of the Iraqi no-fly zone but that was also inherited.

    So, if there isn’t any serious progress by the Libyan rebels in the next few weeks, I think Obama will tell the coalition to pull the plug, declare victory, and quit. I could be wrong but he’s given every indication that he wants this to be short.

  219. 219
    soonergrunt says:

    @Uriel: So of course you’ll be wanting to go here.
    Because if that’s the standard, then surely you don’t have a problem at all with Afghanistan, because the Afghans are human beings too.

  220. 220
    lee says:

    How odd Joe from Lowell has yet to make an appearance in this thread.

    I wonder if we will ever hear from him again?

  221. 221
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Ruckus: Heh, I of all people should know better than to feed the trolls.

    But the one of our three rescue lapdogs who considers himself Household Hall Monitor just tore another one of my skirts in his displacement-activity eagerness to explain to the bigger, meaner dog that she shouldn’t be doing that! ! eleventy-one ! ! — and when I yelled at him, he piddled the rug because I’m sooooo mean. Blame it on the supermoon…

  222. 222
    soonergrunt says:

    @eemom: Who are you, and what have you done with eemom?

    ;)

  223. 223
    Allan says:

    @Anne Laurie: Still waiting for you to explain why it’s ethically wrong for the US to be part of an international coalition taking action to stop Gadafi from slaughtering his own people.

    People are dying, and will continue to die, in Libya, whether or not we, or any other nation become involved. The question is, which side would the rest of the world, including the US, like to see prevail, and what are we willing to do about it?

    Did you read the Ambinder and Corn pieces to which I linked above? Do you actually know more about what’s going on there than Michael Moore?

  224. 224
    cat48 says:

    Not to worry people; the president was duly denounced the entire day by anchors; military analysts; advocates for action who had been on TV literally begging him to “save the Rebels”, just last week; otherwise it would be be his Rwanda; etc.

    Absolutely, no one except, Hishem Helmam, Arab, understood why he built a coalition including the Arab League; France, England; & others. “He should have done this with American troops 3 wks ago b/c America does not need anyone helping them. It took him too long to build the coalition and he’s feckless & so is the Arab League! NO ONE HAS OUR CAPABILITY & EQUIPMENT! This was 2 hrs. in; he’s been duly ratfucked by XClintons who were begging for action last week & today, they just don’t understand why he did this. Stunning to watch at first, but then I realized he had hurt America’s FeeFees with his Multilateralism to save the brown Rebel Muslims.

    By Monday, we’ll be talking about important things again like how Huge the Deficit and Debt are right now and how we must cut Entitlements!

  225. 225
    stuckinred says:

    After the rule rant the other day we better get a definition of troll.

  226. 226
    Stillwater says:

    @Allan: Sad, really, that a front-pager has so little to contribute to the conversation.

    Why don’t you write a passionate email to Cole about it?

  227. 227
    Allan says:

    @stuckinred: It’s funny, because the only time I discussed site rules was on the two threads about site rules.

    It was esteemed front-pager Anne Laurie, who when challenged to provide evidence supporting her “intuition”, resorted to ad hominem attacks against me and derailed the thread by bringing those arguments into this discussion, and has again dismissed me with an ad hominem rather than answering my questions or addressing my points.

    Therefore: Troll = Anne Laurie

  228. 228
    Stillwater says:

    @Allan: Still waiting for you to explain why it’s ethically wrong for the US to be part of an international coalition taking action to stop Gadafi from slaughtering his own people.

    Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

  229. 229
    Allan says:

    @Stillwater: More derailing. The topic is the situation in Libya. I guess you have nothing to contribute on that topic either.

  230. 230
    Alex S. says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    There is no reason for suspicion. It had to happen fast because of Gadhafi’s attack on Benghazi. And indeed, Obama probably didn’t want this action, but his foreign policy advisors and the international community convinced him to do it, not as main protagonist, but as ‘final decision-maker’.

  231. 231
    Donut says:

    Those of you saying that those of us drawing the Iraq analogy are off base are missing the fukkin point.

    Obviously the circumstances are very different. Obviously these scenarios are not identical.

    But the end result? It more or less will be the same.

    Have you given thought to whom replaces Qaddafi? What role will the regional players have, going forward? Do you really think everything will turn out just great, if only the mad-man is ousted? If only the Western powers can choose a friendly figure head?

    I mean, WTF, people? You have to think this through 10, 20, 50, 100 moves down the road…

    This doesn’t end with someone awesome in power, whom the Western powers will love, and whom is a true democratic (small d) representative of the Libyan people, and their aspirations.

    You are fukkin kidding yourselves if you think this ends with the West finding a “partner” that wants to do business and everything is just so great.

    I’m a little tipsy on cheap wine, but you get the point?

    Look no further than Nouri al-Maliki for what we get out of this. Someone whose interests are nowhere near similar to those of the US, but who plays us for cash abd military security for years to come.

    If you dont see how this could end up as Iraq 2.0 a few
    Moves down the road, I’m sorry to say, you are a fool.

    Fuck it.

  232. 232
    Mark S. says:

    @lee:

    I don’t know. He gets so fucking angry on these kinds of threads, I’m worried he might’ve had an MI.

  233. 233
    Allan says:

    @Stillwater: I see you recognize that Anne Laurie is incapable of defending her own positions, and must intervene on her behalf.

  234. 234
    Allan says:

    @Alex S.: Yes, and I’ll link again to Ambinder, who lays it all out pretty clearly.

  235. 235
    soonergrunt says:

    @Nied: small nit–the Marines don’t need to reenact D-day at Tripoli. They can reenact Tripoli at Tripoli.
    But while we’re on that subject, today it’s missiles. Tomorrow it’s aerial tankers and ISR assets. Soon enough it will be long-range combat Search and Rescue. Then it will be F-18G electronic warfare planes escorting the French and British strike packages. Then it will be USAF Wild Weasel units or US Navy Iron Hand missions flying SEAD. These are all some of those famous “unique capabilities” that we keep hearing so much about.

  236. 236
    Mark S. says:

    @Allan:

    building more missiles means jobs for Americans, which we kind of need right now

    Geez, I lean in favor of this intervention, but that is dumb.

  237. 237
    Stillwater says:

    @Allan: @Allan: Alright, I’ll play. I’m game. Just let me get my thinking pants on here … There we go.

    Now, what was the question Allan?

  238. 238
    stuckinred says:

    @soonergrunt: I have been assured that the SAS is on the ground and will be waxing this tinhorn motherfucker most rickey-tic.

  239. 239
    Allan says:

    @Mark S.: Not my finest moment, but the fact remains that the M-I complex employs a significant number of Americans, and the US will continue to spend large amounts on military spending for the forseeable future, and any sudden reorientation away from this paradigm will result in significant occupational dislocation that our country can’t bear right now.

  240. 240
    Uriel says:

    @soonergrunt: So I can only voice a the opinion that other human beings who are being gunned down in the streets are something more than, in your words, ‘the worth of a turd’ if I’m a member of the service?

    Otherwise, I should just stfu and set the bearings of my moral compass by the possible obsticles to the flow of oil and other commodities?

    OK, I guess.

  241. 241
    soonergrunt says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people): Who gives two shits what the British press think about our President or, for that matter, anything?

  242. 242
    Allan says:

    @Stillwater: Really? Even after you copied and pasted it at #228, you still didn’t acutally read it? I hope those are some high-powered pants.

  243. 243
    soonergrunt says:

    @Uriel: no. But I would like some evidence that your supposed concern for people isn’t situational as it is for so many people.
    And while we’re on that subject, if it is that important to you, then why the hell are you whining on a blog about it and not out doing something?
    We fight every day for real human beings in Afghanistan every single day and most people around here couldn’t give a fuck about them. Are you, or are you not, any different?

  244. 244
    Folderol & Ephemera says:

    Thinking more about Samantha Power and her involvement in this, I keep coming back to Rwanda and the Congo — more specifically, will this intervention increase or decrease the chances for a future intervention that successfully prevents an actual genocide or mega-death event. (N.B. by all appearances, the current Libyan civil war does not rise to this level of event.)

    It seems like a gamble. If the Libyan intervention is a “success” (i.e., if the participants agree that it was, on balance, better to have intervened than not) I would think that there would be a greater willingness from the international community to do it again. If it’s a “failure” (viz., politicians in Europe and North America suffer negative domestic approval ratings because of the intervention), I would imagine that there would be very little chance of another nominally humanitarian military intervention anytime soon.

    Less chance of intervention means less chance of a monstrous clusterfuck (e.g., Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc.). However, less chance of intervention means less chance of preventing another Rwanda or Congo or other truly unacceptable humanitarian disaster.

    Risky.

  245. 245
    soonergrunt says:

    @stuckinred: I knew SAS was on the ground the minute MSNBC reported that the rebels were coordinating their activities with the Allied force. That kind of thing takes expensive radios that you don’t just hand out to anybody.
    Also, there was the story about the SAS who went into eastern Libya with the British diplomat last week and were detained by what passes for a government in the rebel zone. I heard about them on NPR, and the British government admitted that they were there. One assumes that somebody unlocked the jail cell.

  246. 246
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The people annoying me are the ones insisting that this is identical to the US invasion of Iraq because shut up, that’s why. I still haven’t gotten them to give me one sensible explanation other than “it’s exactly the same because the US is involved.”

    The explanation is this. “I was skeptical of the war in Iraq, and I was right to be. Ergo, whenever I am skeptical of any other war, I am also right.”

    The former explanation was “I was skeptical of the war in Vietnam, and I was right to be. QED.”

    It’s the same thing that was said about Panama, Iraq I, Kosovo, Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. When you’re politically on the left, you–we–recoil from war. Accordingly, there should be a high bar for when US forces go to war. Has this one reached that high bar? I dunno.

    I just think it’s _not easy_ to come to the conclusion either way. No military force means people get slaughtered while we sit by. That’s the price. We stay out of what has the risk of a messy endgame, and thousands of people die. Some people feel OK with that, some people don’t. Some people don’t want to risk American lives and resources either way, and some people do. I don’t think we need to try to one-up each other with how cynical and empire-loathing we all are.

    Look, it is _not clear_ that The Right Thing To Do is to let whatever happens in Libya happen without the US. You may believe that on balance it’s the better choice. That’s fine. But this smirking condescension has to fucking stop.

  247. 247
    Stillwater says:

    @Allan: Oooops. Ha! You’re right! I put on my dumbass pants by mistake! But before I take them off I just want to say that I think we ought to offload all the Tomahawk Missiles we can on areas to the north, east, south and west of Tripoli because replacing them will create US jobs.

    Brb.

  248. 248
    stuckinred says:

    @soonergrunt: c-4?

  249. 249
    Allan says:

    @Stillwater: I look forward to meeting the Stillwater who isn’t a dumbass. Don’t know if I can promise to wait that long, however…

  250. 250
    Uriel says:

    Whining? I made one comment implying that the lives of other humans should have a place along side the price of a gallon of unleaded when calculating the moral calculus of a situation. You’re the one trying to make personal, and going on and on about needing proof of the strength of other people convictions and what not.

  251. 251
    soonergrunt says:

    @stuckinred: what c-4?

  252. 252
    soonergrunt says:

    @Uriel: Sorry, but the other human beings can fight for themselves. Nothing good comes of getting involved there.
    Nothing.
    We won’t be remembered for helping them. We will get shit for whatever happens that is less than optimal.
    Freedom for Libyans, if you could even guarantee that, isn’t worth the lives of any of my friends or my Soldiers.
    So I’ll settle for the gasoline, thanks much. It won’t cost the lives of human beings that I actually know and care about.

  253. 253
    Stillwater says:

    @Allan: OK, got the better, battery powered smart pants on now. Let’s see how they work. Say something intelligent Allan.

    And I apologize for insulting you by repeating your argument for missile strikes as an example of dumbassery.

  254. 254
    soonergrunt says:

    @stuckinred: Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance is another of those ‘unique capabilities,’ tis true.

  255. 255
    Allan says:

    @Stillwater: I see. You’re just trolling. Thanks for clearing that up. If you had simply said that you were going to continue to be a derailing dumbass, I wouldn’t have wasted these past few minutes. I won’t make that mistake again.

    Perhaps you should emulate Anne Laurie and flee for the exits when you’re caught out trolling and derailing and failing to contribute anything of substance to the conversation. For one thing, it shows that she’s a smarter troll than you are.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have paying work to perform for a client. Good evening.

  256. 256
    Bob Loblaw says:

    Cole, whatever “change in policy” you enacted that made Allan think himself a valued member of the community, please, for the good of us all, go back on it.

    I’m not sure how much more self-righteous 9 year old hall monitoring is healthy for the poor dear.

  257. 257
    General Stuck says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    That’s fine. But this smirking condescension has to fucking stop.

    It won’t. Reactionaries can be counted on to react is predictable ways. Changing that is like holding your breath and exhaling in hopes of moving the jet stream one way or another.

    IMO, introduction of any US ground combat troops makes it a likely huge mistake. I just hope Obama has the moxy to resist such calls that will surely come from certain quarters.

    And now we can all eagerly await the next round of secret diplo cables to be released by Mr. Assange. Wonder if he has yet to take the credit in Libya for the big truth to power gig?

  258. 258
    Donut says:

    @FlipYrWhig

    Lots of people die whether the Western powers get involved or not. What’s your point? Again, game this out one, two, five, 10, 20 years. This action ties the US up in Libya for years to come.

    Again, lots of people die regardless. You think this deal going down right now is the beginning of the end of the killing??? Really?????

  259. 259
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @General Stuck:

    So Mnemosyne is a smirkingly condescending reactionary now?

    This non-war is really turning blog-siblings against each other. I don’t know if Balloon Juice is up for it.

  260. 260
    cat48 says:

    @Allan:

    Thanks, for this. Ambinder always does an excellent job. I can honestly say that this took my breath away. It’s stunning to see it in print:

    America was so afraid of committing its military to protect Muslims and Arabs that it would allow virtually anything to happen.

  261. 261
    liberal says:

    @Allan:

    Still waiting for you to explain why it’s ethically wrong for the US to be part of an international coalition taking action to stop Gadafi from slaughtering his own people.

    The question isn’t whether it’s “ethically wrong.” The question is whether it’s wise.

  262. 262
    soonergrunt says:

    Well, it’s official. I see that the State Department has formally advised Americans to stay out of Libya and to leave as soon as possible if they are there.
    It was issued on the 25th of February and re-issued today.

    Thank God for that, because there might be somebody who thinks Libya would be a great spring break destination.

  263. 263
    Allan says:

    @liberal: I was addressing Anne Laurie, who wrote:

    Getting into another “police action” in Libya is a bad idea from an ethical viewpoint

    but didn’t explain herself.

    You’re asking a different question. I think it’s ethically the right thing to do, and I also think that the way in which this administration has gone about it is very wise.

    And none of us can predict the outcome, no matter how emphatically anyone types their opinion, nor will we be able to retroactively guess how things would have turned out if the world had responded differently.

    But thanks for asking. I believe it is.

  264. 264
    Uriel says:

    @soonergrunt:

    It won’t cost the lives of human beings that I actually know and care about.

    And by your own logic, I should simply dismiss this concern- I mean, I don’t know your friends or solders, do I? Screw ’em!

    But the fact of the matter is I don’t dismiss them either- since they also happen to be human beings, and such. Which is why I haven’t been arguing that we should commence marching on Trippol come dawn, and the cost in lives be damned- because it’s a complicated situation in which people will die regardless of the path taken. That doesn’t mean that some course of action or inaction won’t eventually have to be undertaken- but it does mean that we shouldn’t nearly shrug the eventual costs in human suffering off as meaningless just to make us feel more comfortable with the course we choose.

    And if someone referred to the lives of your friends and soldiers as worth less than a turd, I would have the exact same issues.

  265. 265
    Allan says:

    @Bob Loblaw: My only off-topic contributions to this thread have been responses to bullying, such as yours.

  266. 266
    General Stuck says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    Having reading comp problems again loblaw.

    Mnemosyne is the very essence of non reactionary on this topic on this thread. Nice try though.

  267. 267
    eemom says:

    goddammit. I tried to interject Zen on this thread and nobody so much as took a deep breath. Y’all suck.

  268. 268
    soonergrunt says:

    @Uriel: Please believe me that I don’t believe that human beings are worthless.
    But it comes to this. There is nothing in Libya that is worth risking the lives of my friends or my Soldiers and there damn sure isn’t anything there that is worth them killing other people.
    Because that’s what Soldiers do in a war. They’re either killing other human beings or they are directly supporting those who do.
    It seems that I misunderstood your original thrust, and for that and my subsequent behavior, I am sorry. Truly.
    I have a HUGE problem with some of these people here who think that one cause is better than another, when both causes invariably involve killing other people. They forget, or never understood, that going to war turns your children into killers, and we don’t come home the same. Some important part is missing, and we are less than we were. I don’t know any other way to put it. The decision to do that absolutely must involve both a genuine national security imperative, AND be morally defensible.
    Afghanistan meets both of those requirements. It did in the beginning, and to my mind it still does.
    Iraq failed that test. There was little that directly implicated US national security, and it wasn’t remotely morally defensible.
    And for me, Libya fails that test. It is definitely morally defensible. Hell, what could possibly be more morally defensible than protecting those who cannot protect themselves from being slaughtered? But it still fails because Nothing there is a threat to the US national security. We will be no stronger for doing it, and no weaker had we done nothing.

  269. 269

    Maybe when we’ve made the Middle East safe for democracy, we’ll have the staging areas we need for the final push on Madison, Wisconsin.

    As long as the possibility exists that representative democracy could be re-established here, the gamble is worth it.

    [Yes, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek, in case you were wondering.]

  270. 270
    soonergrunt says:

    @eemom: Now you’re trying to interject zen?!
    SERIOUSLY–Who ARE you, and WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH EEMOM?!

  271. 271
    General Stuck says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I think she scored some good weed. Better than mine,

    Ohmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!

    Zen baby!

  272. 272
    Ron says:

    I’m not thrilled with military action, but even suggesting that this is “illegal” seems bizarre to me. While I’d rather have no military involvement, going through the UN and getting the outside world to agree that it’s a Good Idea(tm) is far superior to getting the “Coalition” to go along with a unilateral invasion of another country.

  273. 273
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @General Stuck:

    I see now. I confess to paying the barest amount of attention possible to what’s being said here on this topic from people who never heard of Benghazi until a month ago.

    Because really, what could you have to say but tired jeremiads about Iraq, oil companies, imperialism and blog metatext? Oh and Julian Assange. Him too.

    Because of how relevant he is. Obviously.

  274. 274

    Uh, John?

    You didn’t write “that the UN resolution would lead to heavy American involvement.”

    You wrote “before youknow it, we’ll have troops on the ground.”

    Way to move those goalposts, Horowitz. This is exactly what I was talking about.

    Did you think nobody would notice that you did that?

  275. 275
    Corner Stone says:

    @lee: May you be eternally damned by the FSM’s noodly appendages.

  276. 276
    WaterGirl says:

    @stuckinred:

    I have been assured that the SAS is on the ground and will be waxing this tinhorn motherfucker most rickey-tic.

    I feel like a kid trying to read a story by sounding out the words and figuring out what they mean by context.

    I’m going with: British special forces are on the ground and will be killing Gaddafi very soon. Am I even close?

    Edit: Where is Mrs. Cleaver when you need her?

  277. 277

    @lee:

    How odd Joe from Lowell has yet to make an appearance in this thread…I wonder if we will ever hear from him again?

    I had a son born last week, you juvenile little dimwit. Excuse me if I have a bit more of a life than you, and don’t obsessively check blogs at quite the rate you’ve decided to set for me.

    As you might have noticed, I’m still not terribly impressed by John’s belief that the American role in this operation is “heavy,” and it most plainly, demonstrably has not validated his claim that we’re putting troops into the country.

    Jeebus, what a thing to write. Do you keep a bed pan next to your computer so you don’t have to leave Warcraft?

  278. 278
    Canadian Observer says:

    According to Libyan Television, several mosques, hospitals, and oil refineries have been destroyed by US “Tomahawk*” missiles, with scores of innocent civilians slaughtered.

    *Isn’t it ironic that the weapons being used to stop an alleged “genocide” are named after weapons used by people who the Americans ethnically cleansed in a genocide?

  279. 279
    General Stuck says:

    Oh goody, let’s pile on Joe From Lowell some more. This blog sucks. Back to retirement mode for moi.

  280. 280
    Uriel says:

    @soonergrunt: Apologies are probably due on my end as well-especially for harping on the gas thing. I’ll admit I also misunderstood your original intent. I completely concede to the points you’ve (very eloquently) made here regarding the effects that wars have on those we ask to fight them. It’s far too easy loose yourself in the cheap intoxication of moral certitude when discussing these sorts of things in the abstract, and to forget that these high aspirations look a lot different to those on the ground actually having to drag themselves through hell just because you want to prove to the world you’re on the side of angels. That they were able to get so many Americans to eagerly participate in this sort of callous disregard over their Iraq adventure will always be one of the Bush admins greatest sins, IMHO.

    As far as Lybia, all I can say is- I have no idea what the “right” thing to do is, or even by what rubric you even begin to measure “right” in a situation like this, since it seems so easy to see vast wrong in pretty much all the alternatives. Guess it’s a good thing I’m not the one making those calls. :)

  281. 281
    Uriel says:

    @soonergrunt: Apologies are probably due on my end as well-especially for harping on the gas thing. I’ll admit I also misunderstood your original intent. I completely concede to the points you’ve (very eloquently) made here regarding the effects that wars have on those we ask to fight them. It’s far too easy loose yourself in the cheap intoxication of moral certitude when discussing these sorts of things in the abstract, and to forget that these high aspirations look a lot different to those on the ground actually having to drag themselves through hell just because you want to prove to the world you’re on the side of angels. That they were able to get so many Americans to eagerly participate in this sort of callous disregard over their Iraq adventure will always be one of the Bush admins greatest sins, IMHO.

    As far as Lybia, all I can say is- I have no idea what the “right” thing to do is, or even by what rubric you even begin to measure “right” in a situation like this, since it seems so easy to see vast wrong in pretty much all the alternatives. Guess it’s a good thing I’m not the one making those calls. :)

  282. 282

    @soonergrunt:

    They forget, or never understood, that going to war turns your children into killers, and we don’t come home the same. Some important part is missing, and we are less than we were.

    This is a much stronger point against the use of ground troops than against the use of naval and air power.

    The fight is still between Libyans.

  283. 283
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Canadian Observer:

    According to Libyan Television

    As noble and trustworthy a source of information as has ever existed.

    And speaking of credibility issues…

    @General Stuck:

    This blog sucks. Back to retirement mode for moi.

    So see you Monday then?

  284. 284
    John Cole says:

    @Bob Loblaw: I have no idea why Allan has decided the post about the comments section yesterday gave him license to be a pain in the ass to everyone.

  285. 285

    Tell you what, John: it’s still Saturday, so here’s your first, daily “How’re those American troops on the ground in Libya coming, John?”

    See you tomorrow.

  286. 286

    I know, this can be just like when you kept writing increasingly bitter posts about how totally right you were to say DADT repeal wouldn’t pass the Senate.

    I don’t know why you think it’s a good idea to do this again, but whatever.

  287. 287
    Canadian Observer says:

    @Bob Loblaw

    I don’t see it as any more untrustworthy than the western corporate media who told us there were WMDs in Iraq, that Julian Assange is a ‘terrorist’, that Bradley Manning is not undergoing torture, or that paints Hugo Chavez as a ‘dictator’, and that claims China is “aggressive”.

  288. 288
    John Cole says:

    As you might have noticed, I’m still not terribly impressed by John’s belief that the American role in this operation is “heavy,” and it most plainly, demonstrably has not validated his claim that we’re putting troops into the country.

    How cute. Did everyone watch the goalposts move? The other day, I was David Horowitz because I refused to acknowledge this was just an Arab League action and in no way meant the United States would be involved. That is what uloborous asserted, and Joe remarked about.

    Now that we are bombing away (well beyond just a simple Arab League action, I might add), he’s not impressed because we don’t have any boots on the ground.

    And I’m the dumb one!

  289. 289
    General Stuck says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    So see you Monday then?

    You will see me when you do, or don’t.

  290. 290
    Allan says:

    @John Cole: I have been very nice, contributed helpful links that some of your readers appreciated, and I have only responded in kind when I have been bullied and trolled.

    I’m sorry that your hate hard-on for me blocks you from recognizing that I am not the problem here, it’s a small minority of derailing bullies and trolls that distract from thoughtful conversation about the serious issues that you raise, even when you’re totally misinformed as you are on this one.

    Notice how Soonergrunt and Uriel managed to work through their initial hostility to come to a better appreciation of each others’ positions? Such things are possible, and give me hope for mankind.

    And thanks again for the stand you took.

  291. 291
    soonergrunt says:

    @Uriel:

    As far as Lybia, all I can say is- I have no idea what the “right” thing to do is, or even by what rubric you even begin to measure “right” in a situation like this, since it seems so easy to see vast wrong in pretty much all the alternatives. Guess it’s a good thing I’m not the one making those calls. :)

    Hell, if the world were an easy place, life wouldn’t be an adventure, and we wouldn’t have to work so damned hard at it.
    And I’m glad that I don’t make the big calls, either.

  292. 292
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Allan:

    Allan is DougJ, right? Is that the joke now? Because I refuse to believe this is a real person.

    This blog has taken a very weird turn. Without Stuck to serve as its moral compass, I’m not sure what’ll become of it. Maybe joe from Lowell will take it over. Or David Horowitz.

  293. 293
    WaterGirl says:

    @Allan: Allan, I initially defended you yesterday when folks started picking on you for having written to John. I don’t know how to say this nicely, but you have been like a bulldog on the blog since then, and not in a good way. It really seems to me that last night and today you have been taunting other commenters and behaving like a bully.

  294. 294
    Allan says:

    @WaterGirl: Thanks for sharing. What I have been doing is asking people to back up their claims and defend their positions, and if they’ve run away like Anne Laurie, it’s because they know they’ve been caught empty-brained. Again, look above and see how she used ad hominems instead of making her case, and explain to me how I’m the bully for refusing to be bullied any longer.

  295. 295
    WaterGirl says:

    @Bob Loblaw: I am so confused… I thought you and Joe from Lowell were the same person because it seems you always comment at the same time and it seems to hijack the threads. Am I wrong?

  296. 296
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @WaterGirl:

    We’re all Tunch. None of this is really happening. It’s all in your head. Or John Malkovich’s. I’m not sure anymore.

  297. 297
    soonergrunt says:

    @WaterGirl: Yes, he meant exactly what you thought he meant.

    Where is Mrs. Cleaver when you need her?

    I see what you did there.

  298. 298
    TaosJohn says:

    Jesus, a chance to be the good guys comes along, and everyone’s so fucked up from being fucked over by all the horrible million-murdering bullshit wars of the last few decades, nobody recognizes it!

  299. 299
    WaterGirl says:

    @Allan: I didn’t see Annie Laurie running away because she was caught empty-brained; I saw it as her thinking that the exchange was going nowhere fast, so she dropped her end of the rope and just walked away.

    You’re probably a good guy, and who knows how I would have responded if a bunch of people had attacked me on the blog, but in the last couple of days you haven’t put your best foot forward, at least not in my estimation. Maybe a little distance and perspective would help the situation.

    Just my two cents, worth exactly what you have paid for it.

  300. 300

    How about this: After nine fucking years of worrying about my son in the Army and multiple combat deployments, etc. he’s OUT and I don’t have skin in the game any more.

    So, fuck Qaddafi.

    And I look forward to that happy day, some 18 years hence, when Joe from Lowell gets to helplessly feel what I’ve felt.

  301. 301
    Allan says:

    @Bob Loblaw: Denying another person’s humanity is the essence of a privileged person’s perspective. Classic bullying example, thanks for sharing.

  302. 302
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @John Cole:

    The main problem seems to be that Uloborous is deeply and facilely incorrect. He started this.

    You and joe seemed to have gotten lost down a tunnel of counterfactuals and David Horowitzes from which there is no return.

    The moral of the story is that the Arab League will fight to secure Libyan independence down to the last Frenchmen. Or American. Or Canadian. None of whom are actually in the country yet. And might never be. Because that would imply that our super awesome humanitarian brigade has an actual longterm plan here. And that’s clearly not the case.

  303. 303
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Hart Williams:

    And I look forward to that happy day, some 18 years hence, when Joe from Lowell gets to helplessly feel what I’ve felt.

    Ow.

  304. 304
    WaterGirl says:

    @soonergrunt: Hey, I figured it out!

    I think Airplane is the best bad movie ever made. My personal favorite was the magazine called “Whacking Material” (or something close to that) in the newsstand in one of the scenes.

    I have some premium cable channels for free for a few months, and I was happy when Airplane showed up last week, so it can sit forever on my Tivo box, and I can watch it whenever the spirit moves me.

  305. 305

    @John Cole:

    Did everyone watch the goalposts move? The other day, I was David Horowitz because I refused to acknowledge this was just an Arab League action and in no way meant the United States would be involved. That is what uloborous asserted, and Joe remarked about.

    Bull.

    The goalpost moving is yours. I objected to your characterization – once again, to quote your words:

    before you know it, we’ll have troops on the ground.

    Goal-post moving? What, did you think repeating my term back to me as a deflection would muddy the water?

    Now that we are bombing away (well beyond just a simple Arab League action, I might add), he’s not impressed because we don’t have any boots on the ground.

    Your words, John. I move the goalposts all the way to what you wrote in your own words.

  306. 306
  307. 307
    Allan says:

    @WaterGirl: Again, I appreciate your feedback, I sincerely do. However, all you are doing is making me the one who is in the wrong, no matter how nicely you do it.

    You see how I can’t win, how I’m always in the wrong?

    If I leave the blog because I can’t abide the derailing and the bullying, though I’m not the only one who has, I’m wrong. I’m a delicate flower who can’t handle the tough crowd.

    If I complain to John, though I’m not the only one who does, then I am wrong. I’m running to daddy to save me from the big meanies.

    If I come back to the blog, and acknowledge that I was one of the people who complained to John, I am wrong. I’m inviting people to pick on me by being open about my experience.

    If I communicate with other commenters on this blog in as tough and hard-nosed a fashion as others do, I am wrong. I shouldn’t talk that way to others, it’s not nice.

  308. 308
    soonergrunt says:

    @WaterGirl: Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?

  309. 309
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    It’s all in your head. Or John Malkovich’s. I’m not sure anymore.

    More like Identity with John Cusack.

  310. 310

    If you can’t handle someone on the internet making smartass remarks or don’t have the ability to ignore them or deal with them, I have no idea how you function in society…But that’s your problem, and not mine, and I’m not going to let you make it mine.

    – John Cole, yesterday.

    So much for Mr. Thickskin.

  311. 311
    Corner Stone says:

    @WaterGirl: I like your evenkeeledness and all, but if you call Airplane! a “bad” movie ever again we may end up having words.

  312. 312
    Corner Stone says:

    @soonergrunt: Chump don’t want no help, Chump don’t get the help.

  313. 313
    Allan says:

    @joe from Lowell: Thank you. I had meant to copy and paste that in reply to some of my critics this evening, but got distracted.

    ETA: though in John’s case, I believe his inability to function in society was already well-documented in his own frequent posts.

  314. 314
    soonergrunt says:

    Dr. Rumack: Captain, how soon can you land?
    Captain Oveur: I can’t tell.
    Dr. Rumack: You can tell me. I’m a doctor.
    Captain Oveur: No. I mean I’m just not sure.
    Dr. Rumack: Well, can’t you take a guess?
    Captain Oveur: Well, not for another two hours.
    Dr. Rumack: You can’t take a guess for another two hours?

  315. 315

    @Corner Stone: LISTEN KID! I’ve been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA.

  316. 316
    WaterGirl says:

    @Allan: I see what you’re saying, and you’ve done a good job of explaining where you’re at.

    I thought it took a lot of guts to say you were one of the folks who had written John and I thought the attacks on you were pretty brutal.

    I don’t know if it’s a good way to handle things or not, but I take myself out of the situation, whatever it is, when I feel like nothing i do is right. So if felt the way you have described, I would probably walk away from the blog for a couple of days or maybe a week. Not even read the blog, just gain some perspective.

    I would try not to spend a lot of time actively thinking about it, but I would let things rattle around in my brain a bit as I got some perspective. My perspective always changes when I have a little time away, and then I can come back to whatever it is I have taken a break from, and I am always in a better place than when I left.

    Screw what anybody else thinks; this can’t have been a fun couple of days for you here. Take a break, get some perspective, and come back in a few days to the best blog on the internet. It’ll be a lot more fun when you get back.

  317. 317
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Allan:

    If I communicate with other commenters on this blog in as tough and hard-nosed a fashion as others do, I am wrong. I shouldn’t talk that way to others, it’s not nice.

    Oh dear lord, the wilting flower thinks it’s too hot to handle.

    Nobody thinks you’re being “not nice.” They think you’re a tool. And not in an entertaining way. Tedium is blog poison.

  318. 318
    soonergrunt says:

    Boy with Coffee: Excuse me, I happened to be passing, and I thought you might like some coffee.
    Little Girl: Oh, that’s very nice of you, thank you. Oh, won’t you sit down?
    Boy with Coffee: Cream?
    Little Girl: No, thank you, I take it black, like my men.

  319. 319
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Alright everyone, listen to me. On my cue, help me hide the blog!

  320. 320
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Donut:

    Lots of people die whether the Western powers get involved or not. What’s your point? Again, game this out one, two, five, 10, 20 years. This action ties the US up in Libya for years to come.
    __
    Again, lots of people die regardless. You think this deal going down right now is the beginning of the end of the killing??? Really?????

    I said two things, you heard one. I said that if no one intervenes, a lot of people die, and if someone intervenes, it becomes a messy situation that can spiral out of control. Both options are bad for different reasons. That wouldn’t seem like a difficult point to comprehend.

  321. 321
    soonergrunt says:

    Randy: Can I get you something?
    Second Jive Dude: ‘S’mofo butter layin’ me to da’ BONE! Jackin’ me up… tight me!
    Randy: I’m sorry, I don’t understand.
    First Jive Dude: Cutty say ‘e can’t HANG!
    Jive Lady: Oh stewardess! I speak jive.
    Randy: Oh, good.
    Jive Lady: He said that he’s in great pain and he wants to know if you can help him.
    Randy: All right. Would you tell him to just relax and I’ll be back as soon as I can with some medicine?
    Jive Lady: [to the Second Jive Dude] Jus’ hang loose, blood. She gonna catch ya up on da’ rebound on da’ med side.
    Second Jive Dude: What it is, big mama? My mama no raise no dummies. I dug her rap!
    Jive Lady: Cut me some slack, Jack! Chump don’ want no help, chump don’t GET da’ help!
    First Jive Dude: Say ‘e can’t hang, say seven up!
    Jive Lady: Jive ass dude don’t got no brains anyhow! Hmmph!

  322. 322

    @Allan:

    Thank you.

    You’re welcome.

    I should say, I haven’t been paying attention very closely to the drama around here.

    As for what to do, try to keep in mind that the truly unpleasant assholes are much louder and more loquacious than their actual numbers.

  323. 323
    WaterGirl says:

    @Corner Stone: Wait, wait, you misunderstand me. The best bad movie ever made is a high compliment, indeed. If they hadn’t overdone everything, it would have been a bad movie. But they didn’t hold back, and it’s a masterpiece!

    I mean, really.

    Hamm on five, hold the mayo.
    What’s the vector, Victor?
    Whacking materials.
    I guess I picked a bad day to quit smoking drinking.
    And all those serious actors.
    Perfection.

  324. 324
    WaterGirl says:

    @soonergrunt: You have me laughing out loud! Over and over again as I read every line.

    Edit: “No, thank you, I take it black, like my men.”

    Thanks for the laughs. This has been such a rough week I’m not sure I’ve laughed at all until now.

    Edit 2: I don’t suppose you have the text from where the little kid is talking to the pilot/basketball player, do you?

  325. 325
    Yutsano says:

    @soonergrunt: Sigh. You just made me miss Leslie Nielsen even more. I haz a sad naow.

  326. 326
    Allan says:

    @WaterGirl: Thanks again for the advice to leave the blog, but I already did that. I’m back because it pisses bullies like Bob Loblaw here off that I won’t run away from his taunts. I wouldn’t dream of giving him the satisfaction.

    No, I am going to continue to read BJ, and when I see a post on which I feel I have something on-topic to say, I will say it. And people who disagree with me and make a valid point or counter-argument to my content will be treated in a respectful fashion.

    But people who make the conscious choice to derail the conversation and attempt to make it about me in a bullying fashion will be answered until they stop it, or give up because it gets boring, or THEY decide this is not the place for them and THEY leave.

  327. 327
    Allan says:

    @joe from Lowell: It’s rather boring, actually. You see, I chose to be candid and out myself as one of the people who complained to John about his comments threads (actually, my complaint was centered on the late and unlamented m_c) and in so doing have become the target of bullies who mistakenly believe that this means I am a delicate flower and crybaby whom it would be entertaining to torture.

    I’m just doing my best to take all the fun out of it for them, as Boblaw complains above, so it’s working.

  328. 328
    soonergrunt says:

    @WaterGirl: Ask, and ye shall receive:
    Joey: Wait a minute. I know you. You’re Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You play basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers.
    Roger Murdock: I’m sorry son, but you must have me confused with someone else. My name is Roger Murdock. I’m the co-pilot.
    Joey: You are Kareem! I’ve seen you play. My dad’s got season tickets.
    Roger Murdock: I think you should go back to your seat now Joey. Right Clarence?
    Captain Oveur: Nahhhhhh, he’s not bothering anyone, let him stay here.
    Roger Murdock: But just remember, my name is…
    [showing his nametag]
    Roger Murdock: ROGER MURDOCK. I’m an airline pilot.
    Joey: I think you’re the greatest, but my dad says you don’t work hard enough on defense.
    [Kareem’s getting mad]
    Joey: And he says that lots of times, you don’t even run down court. And that you don’t really try… except during the playoffs.
    Roger Murdock: [breaking character] The hell I don’t! LISTEN KID! I’ve been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I’m out there busting my buns every night. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.

  329. 329
    soonergrunt says:

    @Yutsano: He was pretty awesome.

  330. 330
    Nied says:

    @AAA Bonds: I think you’re missing my point. We’re about as minimally involved as we can be in this whole thing, a couple of Destroyers that were already in the Med lobbed some cruise missiles at SAM sites and airstrips to soften things up for the French Air Force and RAF. No US personnel are in danger, no US personnel are on the ground, no US personnel are in the air, hell even the dollar cost is little more than a rounding error in the budget. But all of this is supposed to be some terrible slippery slope to Iraq because… Well because.

  331. 331
    Earl Butz says:

    If you dont see how this could end up as Iraq 2.0 a few moves down the road, I’m sorry to say, you are a fool.

    @Donut: Bingo. Sad that maybe 10 percent of the commentariat here are capable of taking the long view and understanding that once again we’ve been suckered by the media and our so-called “allies” into kicking the hornet’s nest that is the Middle East. Again.

  332. 332
    Allan says:

    @Earl Butz: Yes, and we kicked it with France and England’s foot. Stupid of Obama, no?

  333. 333
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Well, you made me laugh!

  334. 334
    WaterGirl says:

    @soonergrunt: Thank you! I couldn’t remember what the kid said to finally get him to break character.

    Edit: My kitties are staring at me (maybe it’s all the laughing) but they are telling me it’s time to put away the laptop and make some lap space for kitties. ‘Night all!

  335. 335
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Allan: There was also that guy “Tim” who was behaving stalker-ish-ly towards ABL.

    I think it’s easy to complain about censorship and thread-policing and whining. But then–as even John pointed out–there are people who do hateful things and won’t stop. Figuring out what to do then is tricky. As people who are basically at various points on the left side of politics, we generally believe in (1) not mistreating people, (2) not shutting down dialogue. What happens when the dialogue that’s happening is creepy and hateful? You have to decide to do something that doesn’t really square with one of those principles. It’s kind of hard. Anyone who was on a college campus in the late ’80s and early ’90s remembers the “hate speech”/”speech codes” debates. It’s that all over again.

    (Then again, lecturing people about it isn’t that great a decision either.)

  336. 336
    Nied says:

    @soonergrunt: Except both the French and the British have all those “unique capabilities. They both have tankers (for all the danger our guys would be in refueling planes over the Mediterranean). The RAF has very good ISR capabilities (including a bunch of planes that have been spared retirement specifically for this mission). And both the French and the British have plenty of wild weasel capabilities of their own.

  337. 337

    @Earl Butz:

    once again we’ve been suckered by the media and our so-called “allies” into kicking the hornet’s nest that is the Middle East.

    Huh?

    “Once again” our allies got us to intervene in the Middle East?

    Since when have any of our interventions in the Middle East been led by out allies? Not the Iraq War. Not Afghanistan. Not the Gulf War. Our interventions in the Middle East have historically been unilaterial, or with us as the leading force urging a coalition to act.

    Please tell me you’re not pushing some “Israel is behind this!” theory. Otherwise, I can’t understand how your claim about allies even makes sense.

  338. 338
    Allan says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Yeah, but to many people, freedom of speech means freedom from consequences for their speech. Never how it was meant to work.

    And I promise to talk less and less about the topic as things get back to their normal level of assholery; and the less frequently I am bullied, the less I’ll have to say about it.

  339. 339
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Earl Butz: Yes, so true, the lone voices in the wilderness who dare to be skeptical of US involvement in Libya. Unappreciated dissidents who occupy the, um, dominant view on the blog.

  340. 340
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Donut: What if we see this as Kosovo 2.0 down the road?

  341. 341
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Allan: I think some of the regulars misunderstood the original complaint, which–as I understood it–was not “John, people are being mean to me!” but rather, “John, you’re letting wackos and stalker-wannabes dominate your comments.” I think you got dogpiled because people got the impression of the former, and you got defensive because you were thinking of the latter, and it’s been unraveling ever since.

  342. 342
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Allan:

    Is there any particular reason you keep blathering about “derailment” (excuse me while I clutch my chest and shudder for a moment) when you haven’t had anything to say about Libya for a good six hours now, or are you just that clueless?

    But people who make the conscious choice to derail the conversation and attempt to make it about me in a bullying fashion will be answered until they stop it, or give up because it gets boring, or THEY decide this is not the place for them and THEY leave.

    Preach it, sister!

    The internet. The new frontier for nonviolent confrontation.

  343. 343
    Stillwater says:

    @FlipYrWhig: What happens when the dialogue that’s happening is creepy and hateful?

    I’m not sure I’d use those exact words, but basically I agree with you: Allan’s comments are creepy.

  344. 344
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-: I don’t know why we can’t just say things like “This could be Iraq all over again, or this could be Kosovo all over again, but here’s how I lean, and here’s why.” Let’s just stipulate that there are pros and cons of action and of inaction. Maybe the cons outweigh the pros. But this “You’re a fool” “Here we go again” stuff is just wankery and self-congratulatory cynicism. And it would be wankery and self-congratulatory humanitarianism if people were saying “I guess you like dead Libyan children,” too, but no one’s saying that, so there’s no overriding need to criticize it.

  345. 345
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Stillwater: Well, that thread from yesterday (when I was around more) saw him get knocked around more than he deserved, IMHO. But now he doesn’t want to back down, which is helping keep tensions high rather than letting them defuse.

  346. 346
    Allan says:

    @Bob Loblaw: I guess you overlooked comment 332 from a few minutes ago. And you’re still talking about me instead of Libya.

  347. 347
    roshan says:

    Can anyone shed light on how much of a role the Oil lobby/cartel had in bringing about this military intervention on the part of US? The stuff about humanitarian crisis in Libya spouted by the president is just hocus-pocus. I believe the reason is something completely different. Think oil.

  348. 348
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-:

    That would be similarly curious considering Libya can’t be divided and segregated upon ethnic lines. The desired end state regarding Serbian aggression was clear. The desired end state in Libya is nonexistent.

    At some point, somebody is going to have to own up to what the real international policy is regarding regime change and what force will be applied to ensure it. Enough with this faux-humanitarian bullshit.

  349. 349
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Allan:

    And you’re still talking about me instead of Libya.

    Yes. And this violates your adorable little personal code of conduct. We heard you the first time. And the second. And the three hundred and forty-third.

    And our response was Airplane! quotes. Lots and lots of Airplane! quotes. Because we picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue. And Lenny’s getting larger.

  350. 350
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @roshan: I don’t see why “oil” is a more obvious answer than “both neighboring countries rose up against their autocratic rulers and we cheered, so it would be tragic to let the autocrats triumph here.” You can think it’s starry-eyed, but I think that’s what’s going on. Bill Clinton got into a number of military conflicts with similar humanitarian/human rights logic, and that’s the staff Obama has advising him. IIRC Carter articulated a similar position when he was president, that the US would conduct a foreign policy aimed at protecting human rights rather than realpolitik. This is the way Democratic presidents think about war.

    ETA: And I’m not sure it’s a good idea myself. But I can see why Democratic presidents find it persuasive.

  351. 351
    Allan says:

    @roshan: Google tells me that oil production in Libya is down, mostly because workers aren’t coming to work rather than damage to facilities, and that the vast majority of it goes to Western Europe.

    Does that mean it’s a major factor in how France and England view the unrest? Very possibly.

    Does that give you license to dismiss the president’s accurate statements about the humanitarian crisis as “hocus-pocus”, and to mischaracterize a multinational, UN- and Arab League endorsed action as a “military intervention on the part of the US?” Nope.

  352. 352
    Allan says:

    @Bob Loblaw: Did I complain about those sidebars? No. Why? Because they weren’t bullying and derailing comments directed at me.

    I don’t know why this is so hard for you to comprehend, but if you don’t keep talking smack to me and/or about me, I won’t keep pointing it out.

  353. 353
    DPirate says:

    American forces dominated an effort to knock out Libya’s air-defense systems

    Yes and of course. We get to sell them new shit afterward.

    BTW, “Arab League”. This died with El-Lawrence. When I see “Arab League”, I read “Oil-Consuming Countries”.

  354. 354
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    You can think it’s starry-eyed

    The couple hundred dead Yemenis probably do, I would think.

    But unfortunately for them, they live in a country of specific geostrategic importance in the shifting battleground that is the global war on terror, so they can go fuck themselves. They should have chosen to be wiped out by a friendless dictator that the international community can throw up against the wall to show how much they love liberty now.

    @Allan:

    Does that give you license to dismiss the president

    Hey, lookit that. At least you’re being transparent as to your real motivations now. Much better. Thank you.

  355. 355
    Allan says:

    @Bob Loblaw: I thought I indicated above that I support this administration’s handling of the Libya crisis and the role it is playing as part of a multinational force.

    ETA: Very James O’Keefian edit job on my statement, btw. Breitbart would hire you like THAT.
    Roshan admitted up front that s/he lacked any knowledge or information on the topic, but chose to make spurious allegations which undermined his/her pretense of being open to being enlightened. I objected.

    And I look forward to hearing from Roshan in response.

  356. 356
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    That would be similarly curious considering Libya can’t be divided and segregated upon ethnic lines. The desired end state regarding Serbian aggression was clear.

    No, it wasn’t. The UN spent a decade after the war trying to sort out a resolution to keep Kosovo part of Serbia before the Kosovars said ‘fuck this we’re going on our own’. NATO didn’t go in specifically to liberate the Kosovars, the mission was first and foremost to prevent more ethnic cleansing.

    Which kinda dovetails into what we’re doing with Libya. The mission is to prevent more senseless slaughter. What the end state is, I can’t really say for sure, but I can say that the odds of the end state being better with Gaddafi gone or defanged are higher than they are with him still clinging to power by any means necessary. And its not like we’re going to be putting Paul Bremer in charge.

  357. 357
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Allan:

    And I object to the idea that one should ever require “license” to dismiss a statement made by an American President regarding the rationale behind military action. Or that you are qualified to be handing out said “license.”

    Spuriousness is relative.

  358. 358
    Allan says:

    @Bob Loblaw: Wow. An actual substantive response. Thank you.

    I’d be more than willing to substitute another phrasing that doesn’t hurt your delicate feelings, since you made a valid argument.

    How about:

    Have you made a convincing case for your claim that the president’s accurate statements about the humanitarian crisis are “hocus-pocus”, and is it accurate to characterize a multinational, UN- and Arab League endorsed action as a “military intervention on the part of the US?” Nope.

    That’s probably a better expression of my reaction to roshan’s comment, and I thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  359. 359
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-:

    No, it wasn’t. The UN spent a decade after the war trying to sort out a resolution to keep Kosovo part of Serbia before the Kosovars said ‘fuck this we’re going on our own’.

    Dividing and segregating != recognition of secession, necessarily. Restoration of ethnic Albanian autonomy was always a NATO requirement of Yugoslavia.

    What the end state is, I can’t really say for sure, but I can say that the odds of the end state being better with Gaddafi gone or defanged are higher than they are with him still clinging to power by any means necessary.

    Yes, but then the burden of proof is to show how this NFZ action produces that result. Is the success of the mission dependent upon regime change, and in what timeframe? Or if a cessation of hostilities could somehow be imposed without an associating guarantee of regime change, would that end the international commitment to act?

  360. 360
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Allan:

    I’d be more than willing to substitute another phrasing that doesn’t hurt your delicate feelings, since you made a valid argument.

    That sentence is internally inconsistent. It undermines your pretense to being open to enlightenment. And that’s really what I’m all about. Enlightenment. For great justice.

    And if you ever accuse me of making a valid argument again, I will find you and murder you in your sleep. Troll.

  361. 361
    roshan says:

    I’m not sure how anyone can look at this military intervention by the US and say that it was based on humanitarian grounds. We have about close to 6-7 revolutions going on in middle-east (egypt, syria, libya, yemen, bahrain) and Africa (tunisia) but this is the one the US chose to intervene. It seems that the folks commenting here lack historical perspective. There is a whole history of such interventions by the US in the past when the targeted country has been oil-rich. And don’t tell me that there was humanitarian purpose all along. Even the Iraq war was supposed to be paid for by selling Iraqi oil.

    Something to look at:

    But Obama’s stance in Libya differs significantly from his strategy regarding the other Arab revolutions. In Egypt and Tunisia, Obama chose to rebalance the American stance gradually backing away from support for President Hosni Mubarak and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and allowing the popular movements to run their course. In Yemen and Bahrain, where the uprisings have turned violent, Obama has not even uttered a word in support of armed intervention – instead pressing those regimes to embrace reform on their own. But in deciding to attack Libya, Obama has charted an entirely new strategy, relying on U.S. hard power and the use of force to influence the outcome of Arab events.

    http://thecable.foreignpolicy......51d60f%2C0

  362. 362
    Allan says:

    @roshan: Thanks for returning, and dropping the pretense that you seek to be informed.

    So your complaint boils down to, the Obama administration isn’t responding to unique problems in different countries in exactly the same way? That’s pretty damning.

  363. 363
    Stillwater says:

    @roshan: There’s two justifications for contemporary warfare: humanitarian intervention and self-defense. Both of these are laughable when uttered by the US. The humanitarian justification is especially repulsive because it is a corruption of morality.

    Iraq was justified as a humanitarian intervention as well as self-defense, with the humanitarian line being pushed very hard, and ultimately exclusively, not long after the whole WMD ruse was exposed as a well orchestrated lie. The ultimate goal of that action, however, was neither self defense nor humanitarian: it was purely pragmatic and strategic, with a little home-team political points, reconstruction contracts and crony capitalism thrown in. Same with Libya, no doubt.

    I can’t criticize anyone for believing, in the face of tremendous oppression and violence perpetrated by a crazed maniac, that we as a society ought to do something. But to discount historical evidence going back 70 years and beyond in making that assessment seems like a form of willful ignorance.

  364. 364
    roshan says:

    @Allan: Are you saying that the US couldn’t afford to keep out of Libya? But why only Libya, why not select some other country to intervene?

  365. 365
    Allan says:

    @Stillwater: Iraq = Libya. Got it.

  366. 366
    Stillwater says:

    @Allan: No Allan. You don’t ‘got it’. In fact, you’re not getting any of it.

  367. 367
    aisce says:

    @Allan:

    “thanks for coming back, you ignorant, spiteful clod. please supplicate yourself immediately and take heed of my enlightened wisdom, for i’m afraid my ego has taken a bit of a bruising as of late and my self-worth has plummeted.”

    we are not worthy.

  368. 368
    Allan says:

    @roshan: I enjoyed the article to which you linked. Did you read Ambinder’s? His covers the same turf, and sounds very intimately sourced, but has less of a fault-finding tone.

    But neither of them suggest that this is about anything more than responding to conditions on the ground in Libya as they have devolved. And both of them make clear that it was the judgment of many people (though not all of them) with far more access to intelligence than you or I that those conditions had reached the point where this was the best of several bad choices available NOW to deal with THIS country’s crisis. And world opinion, including the UN, is uniformly lined up against Gadaffi for these current crimes against his people AND his long history of crimes against other nations.

    And your repeated assertions about oil are still unsubtantiated in any of the reporting that has been contributed to this discussion.

  369. 369
    Ruckus says:

    @Stillwater:
    Mach 5 man, mach 5

  370. 370
    Allan says:

    @aisce: Interesting, because the person to whom that comment was addressed and I are having a very beneficial conversation. Perhaps he’s better able to handle having his ideas and argumentation techniques challenged than you are on his behalf?

    Since you didn’t introduce any new information or make any point, and because it’s quite late and I’ll be going to bed very soon, excuse me for not engaging with you further.

  371. 371
    Allan says:

    @Stillwater: Well, I certainly didn’t want to presume that your point was Obama = Bush, so I chose the more charitable interpretation.

  372. 372
    roshan says:

    @Allan: Ha, what crock this is, too good to resist.

    An hour before bombing began Saturday, Clinton spoke to the press in Paris. Asked why military action was in America’s interest, she gave three reasons and implied a fourth. A destabilizing force would jeopardize progress in Tunisia and Egypt; a humanitarian disaster was imminent unless prevented; Qaddafi could not flout international law without consequences. The fourth: there’s a line now, and one that others countries had better not cross.

    Yea, I would say my assertions regarding oil in the Libyan situation are unsubstantiated right now, but time will tell the tale as to what caused the intervention – humans or oil. I, for one, know, that history repeats itself. I’m not expecting anything different this time around. Money and power rules at the end.

    Also, cynicism is my best friend in such situations.

  373. 373
    DFer says:

    @Stillwater:

    But to discount historical evidence going back 70 years and beyond in making that assessment seems like a form of willful ignorance.

    I find this quite funny…that people voted for “change” and then when presented with the possibility that they got “change” try to find every possible explanation to prove its not “change” so that they can continue to complain about the lack of “change”

  374. 374
    Allan says:

    @roshan: You call that quoted section of Ambinder’s article a crock without explaining what makes it a “crock” in your opinion; his writing, Clinton’s statements, or the implied statement he inferred. I’d love to stay and hear why you said that, but it’s really getting late. Thanks for the conversation.

  375. 375
    Donut says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    If you’re mostly drunk on cheap wine, it’s easy to miss half of what is being said. My apologies.

  376. 376
    Donut says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-:

    Your point re: Kosovo is taken. The NATO bombings helped stop a horrible tragedy. I grant that, and I’m not saying UN intervention here won’t be helpful in a similar way.

    But what I am unconvinced of is that we can honestly look at Kosovo today, a dozen years later, and say, “wow, that NATO bombing really cleared the air and set the table for a period of stability, economic growth and democratic self-representation for the people of Kosovo and its neighbors.”

    I highly doubt anyone will say that about Libya in 12 years, either.

    I could be wrong. I don’t know everything.

  377. 377
    Alex S. says:

    Fun thread. John says that Allan is being an asshole to everyone for disagreeing with Bob Loblaw and arguing with Anne Laurie who can’t back up her position that is grounded on her feeling.

  378. 378

    @roshan:

    I’m not sure how anyone can look at this military intervention by the US and say that it was based on humanitarian grounds. We have about close to 6-7 revolutions going on in middle-east (egypt, syria, libya, yemen, bahrain) and Africa (tunisia) but this is the one the US chose to intervene.

    Well, no, the U.S. intervened, though diplomatically, in Egypt and Tunisia, too, helping grease the skids for the dictators’ ouster.

    So, why intervene militarily here? A couple of obvious reasons suggest themselves: for one, none of the other dictators have ramped up the violence to the degree Khadaffy has. Yes, there was the camel charge in Egypt. Yes, there was the horrible sniper attacks on Yemen yesterday. Neither of those actions rises anywhere close to the degree of force, and the amount of murder, carried out in Libya. Heavy artillery, air strikes on packed public squares – we’re talking about a different order of magnitude.

    Second, in none of the other cases have our closest allies – Britain, France, Canada, Italy – pushed for an intervention and expressed a willingness to take the lead.

    It seems that the folks commenting here lack historical perspective. There is a whole history of such interventions by the US in the past when the targeted country has been oil-rich.

    There is a whole history of the United States playing a junior role as part of a coalition to restrict the military operations of a besieged government and protect civilian populations after a massive popular uprising against a Middle Eastern dictator? One that includes the president ruling out the use of American troops on the ground?

    I can certainly understand being reticent about American intervention in another military action in the Middle East. It is because of the obvious differences between this episode and actions like the Iraq War that make me more willing to support it.

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    @Stillwater:

    I can’t criticize anyone for believing, in the face of tremendous oppression and violence perpetrated by a crazed maniac, that we as a society ought to do something. But to discount historical evidence going back 70 years and beyond in making that assessment seems like a form of willful ignorance.

    I find it meaningful that we are 1) limiting our actions to air and naval – that is, offshore- power instead of ground troops, and 2) intervening in a situation in which there actually is a local, indigenous force opposing the crazed maniac. Compare this to Iraq, in which we 1) intended to put in, and keep in, hundreds of thousands of American ground troops for years in an occupation and install permanent bases there, and 2) told local Iraqis to go screw themselves* and invading the country ourselves and monopolizing power in the country ourselves.

    *Prior to the beginning of the Iraq Ware, Shiite militias contacted the coalition and offered to fight alongside them as they moved through southern Iraq. We replied that any Iraqis found on the battlefield would be treated as the enemy.

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    Ija says:

    Because of Iraq, I think there is a danger of the left becoming as hard-core non-interventionist as the Pat Buchanan wing of the right. Not every intervention is like Iraq. The US does have a certain responsibility towards the rest of the world – maybe when the Republicans finally succeed at turning us into a third world country we won’t have that responsibility anymore, but right now we still do.

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    soonergrunt says:

    Gee. Couldn’t possibly have seen this coming at all:
    Arab League criticizes Western strikes in Libya

    And US military aircraft are directly involved in the operations. F-15E, F-16, and B-2 aircraft have attacked airfields, air defense artillery sites, and yes, ground troop formations.
    To date, one British submarine, four British aircraft, and twenty French aircraft have engaged in this operation, with over a hundred US aircraft, three US ships and three US submarines.
    Thank God for that coalition in which we’re a junior member.

  382. 382
    Corner Stone says:

    This is like when you trap/poison/kill one part of an ecostructure and some other organism springs up virulently to fill the void.
    IOW, I personally would prefer it if you’d unban M_C.

  383. 383
    Allan says:

    @Corner Stone: Why don’t you send John an email complaining to that effect? He really likes that.

  384. 384
    Corner Stone says:

    @Allan: I’m trying to determine who has a more pronounced aura of grandiosity, you or joe from Lowell.
    I have to admit, it’s a virtual tie to this point.

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    Stillwater says:

    @DFer: Wouldn’t the ‘change’ you’re referring to here have been to abstain from engaging in foreign adventurism, full stop? Is that one of the possibilities you’re deliberately overlooking to make a trivial and irrelevant point? Or are you one of the willfully ignorant who thinks that 1/20/09 ‘changed’ the way the US foreign policy establishment justifies the use of force to achieve specific goals, none of which includes humanitarian intervention as a goal in and of itself?

  386. 386
    John Cole says:

    @joe from Lowell: I can’t believe you even had the balls to argue this.

    Uloborus at 5:53

    “Seriously, people, the proposal being discussed is NOT ONE FOR THE US TO CREATE A NO-FLY ZONE. It is to allow the Arab League to do so, which they’ve been requesting.”

    Joe from Lowell, FOUR MINUTES LATER:

    Seriously, people, the proposal being discussed is NOT ONE FOR THE US TO CREATE A NO-FLY ZONE. It is to allow the Arab League to do so, which they’ve been requesting.

    Of the many traits of Bush-era Republicans that I despised, their determination that the actual facts of a situation didn’t matter, only their ideological conception of it, was one of the most irritating.

    Sometimes I think John is sort of like David Horowitz. He’s changed sides, but he brings the same intellectual habits to his new home.

    FOUR MINUTES AFTER HE SAID IT. Four minutes after I was chided because this was an Arab League only action with no involvement whatsoever, you piped in to add on that not only was I wrong, but I was like David Horowitz.

    And now that it is clear this is not simply an Arab League action and we’ve fired hundreds of cruise missiles and are knee-deep in this, and all of a sudden your earlier position about this just being an Arab League action just vaporizes, and you aren’t impressed that there is “heavy” US involvement.

    If I’m David Horowitz, you’re Jonah Goldberg, a stunning combination of dishonest and stupid.

  387. 387
    Ruckus says:

    @John Cole:
    Why are you worried about people who can’t see the forest for the one leaf they are focusing on at a particular moment? Who will focus on a different leaf 30 seconds later, and another after that, rinse, repeat. They never see the trees, let alone the forest. There are a lot of leaves though so there is a lot to discuss.

  388. 388
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @burnspbesq: There are a lot of Canadians who are very upset about what is happening in Alberta. Yes, exploit the tar sands, and exploit them for Alberta’s benefit, but don’t fuck up the entire watershed while you’re doing it, for $DEITY’s sake.

    It’s a terrible mistake.

  389. 389
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @4tehlulz: I really miss usenet.

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