Can Anyone Answer Any of These Questions?

Look, I’m not opposed to saving innocent people. I’m not opposed to a word without Qaddafi. But can anyone answer any of these questions:

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) warned on Sunday that the U.S. is starting a treacherous descent down a slippery slope of international diplomacy by getting involved in Libya.

It doesn’t make sense, he said, for the U.S. to help Libyan civilians when the citizens of countries like Bahrain, Yemen and Syria are also being oppressed.

“We had better get this straight from the beginning,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” “or there’s going to be a situation where war lingers on, country after country, situation after situation, all of them on a humane basis, saving people.”

Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who has helped broker key nuclear weapons reductions with former Soviet Union countries, is one of the few Republicans who’s spoken against using force in Libya. He said Sunday the success of the airstrikes against Moammar Qadhafi’s air defenses hasn’t convinced him that getting involved there is a good idea.

Lugar warned that the U.S. is investing huge sums of money in a foreign endeavor at a time when the domestic economy is still struggling.”It’s a strange time,” he said. “Almost all of our congressional days are spent on budget deficits, outrageous problems. Yet, at the same time, all of this passes, which is a very expensive operation.”

He cautioned that President Barack Obama has authorized airstrikes without understanding whom the strikes might empower in Libya.

“We really have not discovered who it is in Libya that we are trying to support,” Lugar said.

When do we know we have “won?” Who are we protecting? What do we do if Qaddafi survives? What do we do when we figure out the people we are “saving” hate us, just slightly less than they hated Qaddafi? What about civilian casualties? How much is this going to cost? How long is it going to take? Who is going to pay for it? Are we going to raise taxes, or do we just proceed with devastating cuts to the poor to finance another war. Are we going to have to stay and protect people after we “win?” Will we have to create bases to protect the war profiteers who are going to swoop in and start drilling and reconstructing what we just blew up? What is the reaction going to be in other Arab nations? What kind of blowback will there be from this? We don’t know any of that. Other than Lugar, I don’t think anyone is discussing it.

And then the meta-lesson. What lesson does Iran learn from all of this? Qaddafi gave up his nukes to protect himself from American military attacks, and we went ahead and attacked him anyway. North Korea, with their nukes, remains safe from American tampering. What lesson would you learn if you were Iranian?

And then the way this was sold- just a no-fly zone and an Arab League action, which was just transparent bullshit from the get-go. I mean, this is a noble cause, but at least the Bush crew worked hard to sell their war with a special defense department designed solely to spew agitprop. We just get a serving of obvious nonsense about the Arab League leading this and it just being a no-fly zone, when it is pretty clear this is about regime change. I feel cheated- don’t we deserve war foreplay anymore? Someone say something about babies in incubators, for christ sake. I don’t need dinner and a movie, just talk dirty to me a little bit. Maybe jiggle my balls a little bit. Put some effort into it.

And so we have a coalition. How does that answer any of the questions in this post?






177 replies
  1. 1

    I am still waiting for President McCain to weigh in.

    I feel cheated- don’t we deserve war foreplay anymore?

    There was that whole french thing, just sayin.

  2. 2
    stuckinred says:

    Invaded???

  3. 3
    piratedan says:

    I’d like New American Imperialism for 200 Alex…..

  4. 4
    Ron says:

    John, these are reasonable questions for the most part, but the insistence that the “no-fly zone” is just an excuse seems weird to me. The US was more or less dragged into doing this after the Arab League begged for a no-fly zone and France and Great Britain pushed for it. Will this lead to regime change? perhaps, but I don’t know. And the idea that giving up their nukes gave them permission to do almost anything else without consequences isn’t realistic. Why are we not going after Bahrain or Yemen? Probably because at this point there is not a relatively universal agreement that action is required. As I’ve said elsewhere, just because there might be moral justification for other action equal to action in Libya, the fact that action there is not practical doesn’t invalidate the appropriateness of a reaction to what is happening in Libya.
    Honestly the thing that concerns me most is that Qaddafi is digging himself in pretty deep here and essentially daring the west to do more. It feels like an international game of chicken.

  5. 5
    MikeJ says:

    Libya is being invaded by the US? News to me. I thought we were just bombing.

  6. 6
    Comrade Mary says:

    John, when was it sold as “just” a no-fly zone? I remember Gates saying you couldn’t maintain a no-fly zone without some bombing. As far as this being sold as “just” an Arab League action, that’s not I read, either.

    But your other points about where this stops, and the effect on Iran: yeah. That is not a good situation.

    Interesting that Lugar worked with Obama on non-proliferation and that they’re so far apart on this issue now.

  7. 7
    Tom Q says:

    This is probably unfair of me, but when I saw on TV this morning that Lugar was raising objections, I thought, Gee, usually I’d pay attention to him because he’s a thoughtful guy, but ever since he opted to go full Teabag for his primary next year, I can’t take anything he says at face value.

  8. 8
    Corner Stone says:

    As I said in the previous thread, the next politician who stands up and says the US is “broke” should be hooted off the fucking stage.

  9. 9
    MikeJ says:

    @stuckinred: I believe it’s the not letting the facts get in the way of a good narrative that drove JfL to the Horowitz comparison.

  10. 10
    Ruckus says:

    You just pay for it, you don’t get to ask questions.

  11. 11
    OzoneR says:

    Does it matter? You think we “invaded” Libya, it’s not like anything we tell you is going to change your mind that this is a wrongheaded idea.

    And maybe that’s your POV, and maybe you would have said the same thing about Rwanda in 1994 or Darfur in 2003, and that’s fine. As for me, I made a big stink that Clinton didn’t intervene in Rwanda and Bush ignored Darfur. I’m not thrilled that we have to do this, especially with the country’s financial situation the way it is, but I had argued for intervening in situations where genocide is imminent before, it would be hypocritical for me not to do so now.

    And fas far as Yemen or Bahrain…well while there have been crackdowns, there haven’t been threats of genocide yet…Yemen’s president fired his whole government today, but if the situation there does escalate, then I think we, and by we I mean the international community, need to step in.

    Personally I applaud Obama for not putting us in front in this…and for dithering as long as he did because it shows just how serious he took this decision, and for forcing the European countries, and some Arab nations like Qatar to stand up.

  12. 12
    OzoneR says:

    Does it matter? You think we “invaded” Libya, it’s not like anything we tell you is going to change your mind that this is a wrongheaded idea.

    And maybe that’s your POV, and maybe you would have said the same thing about Rwanda in 1994 or Darfur in 2003, and that’s fine. As for me, I made a big stink that Clinton didn’t intervene in Rwanda and Bush ignored Darfur. I’m not thrilled that we have to do this, especially with the country’s financial situation the way it is, but I had argued for intervening in situations where genocide is imminent before, it would be hypocritical for me not to do so now.

    And fas far as Yemen or Bahrain…well while there have been crackdowns, there haven’t been threats of genocide yet…Yemen’s president fired his whole government today, but if the situation there does escalate, then I think we, and by we I mean the international community, need to step in.

    Personally I applaud Obama for not putting us in front in this…and for dithering as long as he did because it shows just how serious he took this decision, and for forcing the European countries, and some Arab nations like Qatar to stand up.

  13. 13
    cokane says:

    I feel like a crazy person in this debate. Am I the only one who doesn’t see this as a huge deal? We are bombing Pakistan, Yemen, and so many other countries. At least here we do have a coalition, though some want to snarkily dismiss that.

  14. 14
    Martin says:

    Honest question: If this no-fly zone is just a pretense for us to invade, why didn’t Bush use the existing no-fly zone over Iraq to do the same? Why did we go through all of that effort to coerce UN approval and a coalition of the willing when we already had the very thing we needed to just storm in?

  15. 15
    piratedan says:

    @Ron: I dunno Ron, North Korea? Tell me that our buddy the Big Q has done anything along the lines of what is going on above the 38th parallel? I think this is about securing or taking a flier on gaining more available access to oil, pretty much like Iraq without the Al Queda angle. We get to play the same role, good guy liberators (or bigger bullies on a different block) spend some ordnance, listen to the crickets chirping from the GOP because after all, its playing to their audience. A perfect lil’ TV MSM war, the Big Q gets a dual role as also playing as his minister of information as well. High Ratings all around and it gives us something to watch other than white people with signs that are spelled correctly.

  16. 16
    Comrade Darkness says:

    Ah, flashback to Republicans counseling prudence regarding Kosovo about bombing the hell out of someplace. Funny, there was a Democrat in power then too.

    Lugar was originally an Iraq cheerleader even though someone with the mental acuity of Trig could see it was a terrible idea. Lugar can try to gloss and spit shine over his warmongering now that it’s politically easy to do so, but it’s just an act, given his history.

    Sad to have to quote the bastard in support of rational thought, I guess is what I’m getting at. There aren’t any Republicans available without bloody hands to quote, I suppose.

  17. 17
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Does it matter? You think we “invaded” Libya, it’s not like anything we tell you is going to change your mind that this is a wrongheaded idea.

    2002/2003 was the blogosphere’s Spitfire Summer. It’s going to see everything through that prism, until we all die off, or lose our broadband.

  18. 18
    bleh says:

    Shuddup! Shuddup! Freedom bomb Islamic terrists with super American technology bombs! Also freedom, and democracy!

    PS nobody is listening to reasonable questions.

  19. 19
    John Cole says:

    @OzoneR: Oh for fucks sake, I meant attacked, not invaded. We haven’t done that. Yet.

    I changed the word to “attacked,” which we clearly have done, now you don’t have a convenient fucking dodge for every one of those questions.

  20. 20
    uptown says:

    Basically, the French were going in no matter what. So they made it legit.

  21. 21
    Wag says:

    If the French and British were so willing to do this, then we should have let them do it themselves.

    Oh, by wait, we’re the only country in the world (except perhaps North Korea) that spends so fucking much of our GDP on defense (offense?) that we have the required stockpiles of cruise miissles lying around to waste on this little stroll in the park.

    Our defense budget excesses make operations like this possible. It’s a neocon wet dream rainy day fund.

  22. 22
    Zifnab25 says:

    Obama and Clinton were diddling the UN. If you’re wondering why you didn’t get any foreplay, it’s because you weren’t the ones the US needed to jerk off to get to the next base.

    It would have been nice to sit and have a nice, long leisurely debate about costs and benefits and contingencies, but Gadhafi was marching on Bengazi. He wasn’t going to wait on a multi-lateral committee report.

    What’s more, even if we did have the time indulge in leisurely, level-headed, serious debate about the merits of bombing, you know the assholes running the GOP would have just pissed all over it.

    Obama doesn’t give a fuck what us plebs think. But then neither does the “loyal” opposition. Any attempt at discussion would have just descended into the traditional two-party pissing contest, where the biggest dicks would win. I’ll have to assume all these questions were brought up in Obama’s war room and that he’s got enough political self-preservation not to let this new War of Choice spiral into another $10 billion / month boondoggle. Because that’s all I can do at the moment. When it comes to War, the opposition has been proven completely and utterly powerless to hit the breaks. All you can ask for is a good driver.

  23. 23
    Tony says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Please, Lord may they die off soon.

  24. 24
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @bleh: Lord have mercy. Everyone is listing the same reasonable questions. I don’t know why so many people have such a commitment to acting like they’re the few brave voices speaking out against this, when the _vast_ majority of the blogosphere is indeed speaking out against it in the exact same ways.

  25. 25
    Brachiator says:

    And so we have a coalition. How does that answer any of the questions in this post?

    It doesn’t. But clearly, a lot of people were able to sleep well at night knowing that they opposed the West lifting a finger to help the Iranians during their contested elections. And some people will sleep well at night if nobody does anything and Gadaffi crushes all opposition.

    It’s not that these people don’t care about anyone other than themselves. Wait. It’s exactly that these people don’t care about anyone but themselves.

    And then the meta-lesson. What lesson does Iran learn from all of this? Qaddafi gave up his nukes to keep from being invaded by the US, and we went ahead and invaded him anyway. North Korea, with their nukes, remains safe from American tampering. What lesson would you learn if you were Iranian?

    This sounds a lot like the complaints coming from Israeli hardliners and the right wing militarist fringe, that the US and specifically Obama cannot be trusted because authoritarian despots cannot rely on him to keep their backs.

    Also, I would think that North Korea and Iran have some cover, for now, because friendly nations are so close by. But I would bet money that there are military planners looking at how quickly these countries could be taken out with a fast surgical strike. I think this would be enormously foolish, but the military consists of a lot of enormously foolish people. By the way, Iran’s recent announcement of new expansions of their space program has got to have some people worrying about their ability to bring military rockets to the front, which has got to have people worried about what to do next about this country.

  26. 26
    The Dangerman says:

    When do we know we have “won?”

    When civilians stop being cavalierly slaughtered; by some measures, we have already “won”.

    Who are we protecting?

    A large number of non-white people. Kinda like we are doing in Japan.

    What do we do if Qaddafi survives?

    It would appear we are well beyond a world where Qaddafi survives as leader of Libya; if he and his clan want to retire to a golf course, well, that seems fine.

    What do we do when we figure out the people we are “saving” hate us, just slightly less than they hated Qaddafi?

    They may hate us more than they would if they were dead, true.

    What about civilian casualties?

    Almost surely nonzero and almost surely far less than would have occurred if no action had been taken.

    How much is this going to cost?

    Who cares? Seriously, how are we paying for our Japan operations? Funny, same thing, but no one asks THAT question.

    How long is it going to take?

    17 days, 5 hours, 37 minutes, and 13 seconds.

    Who is going to pay for it?

    All of us, same as every other war.

    Are we going to raise taxes?

    No.

    Are we going to have to stay and protect people after we “win?”

    Have we (mostly) left Iraq?

  27. 27
    Alex S. says:

    This must be how the other members of the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ felt. The USA is not in the driver’s seat here, at least for the moment. As far as these questions concern the American involvement, they are defined by the UN resolution. Everything beyond that rests on the will of Great Britain, France and the rebels. They do not have to be of concern for America. Since the libyan air defense systems are almost completely destroyed by now, the need for american satellite technology, cruise missiles and the like will diminish. At some point, hopefully within the next 7 days, other countries including Qatar, the UAE and Turkey will uphold the no-fly zone with their planes.
    The meta-lesson for Iran is a stupid idea. If their thinking is really as simple as “Gadhafi forsakes nukes ->USA invades ->let’s make nukes” they might just as well think “Gadhafi suppresses revolution ->USA invades -> let’s allow more democracy”….as if it was that easy…

  28. 28
    Martin says:

    @OzoneR:

    And fas far as Yemen or Bahrain…well while there have been crackdowns, there haven’t been threats of genocide yet…Yemen’s president fired his whole government today, but if the situation there does escalate, then I think we, and by we I mean the international community, need to step in.

    But can we? I don’t mean whether we have the means – fuck, the Oregon National Guard could probably take out either country, but is there any statistical likelihood that we’d make things better?

    Jumping into Yemen is one thing – and I wouldn’t be overly shocked if it developed along the same lines as Libya somewhere down the line but Yemen’s leadership, though bad, isn’t even remotely in the same category as Gaddafi, at least not yet. And at least some rationale for the activity in Libya is based on the current state of Tunisia and Egypt. Yemen doesn’t have much of a regional impact at all. Libya definitely does.

    But jumping into Bahrain effectively means declaring war on Saudi Arabia, and that simply isn’t going to happen. I mean, if we want to talk about a tsunami of suck, that would be it. It wouldn’t make things better for the people of Bahrain, and it’d make things worse for a shitton of other people that currently aren’t that bad off. It’s more than likely turn into a regional war, including Israel and all of their neighbors. Just not going to happen, no matter how bad things get in Bahrain.

  29. 29
    D. Mason says:

    I think the biggest question that I haven’t seen discussed is: What message does this send to other rebellious populations and their respective dictators.

    It was super easy for this fucker to bring the fury of coalition air strikes into Lybia.

  30. 30

    The assumption that the US has any sort of moral authority to enforce any “humanitarian” military operation anywhere around the world is amazing. You guys messed up majorly with Iraq – you should not be trusted to run any bombing campaigns at least for the next 50 years.
    You were LIED into war; your media cooperated; AND you re-elected the guy who lied to you – KNOWING he lied to you.
    That, to me, means you all have to wait before being taken seriously as a civilized nation.
    Instead here we are all back to debating the entirely philosophical question of what you LEARNED from Iraq. May be you see this as a LEARNING process – bombing up an entire country. That, then, is a major problem.

  31. 31
    inkadu says:

    Hm. Lots of good questions, John, and I wish the media was more interested in asking these rather simple questions. So the media sucks.

    The way I see it is that Libya is a unique opportunity b/c it seems like everyone pretty much hates Qadaffi and have put their lives on the line to get rid of him. He is able to stay in power b/c he has significant enough support to run a better-equipped military and the money to hire mercenaries (some of whom come from his own country — those who work for pay).

    I think the idea is — Obama’s bullshit about this being limited to protecting civilians aside — is that the opposition groups can take out Qadafi with a just a little help from us.

    After that, as long as the new gov’t sell us oil and has a better terrorism track record than Qadafi, I don’t think anyone in the West will give a fuck.

  32. 32
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @D. Mason: Is it possible that something like this action might also be intended as a warning to whatever governments emerge in Egypt and Tunisia?

    ETA: Because I think there’s a kind of romance about “people power” winning in those places, and the idea that in Libya people power got off the ground but then smashed back down would be particularly disheartening.

  33. 33
    Allan says:

    John, will you be updating your prior post to indicate that the Arab League has walked back the posturing statement from Amr Moussa which got you so het up earlier?

    Or are you just going to continue to move the goalposts and demand that we respond to the concern-trolling of a Republican Senator?

    And demand that a necessary pre-condition for any humanitarian intervention is the ability to predict the future with stunning accuracy?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  34. 34
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Comrade Darkness: I don’t know. Maybe Dick Luger learned something from Iraq. People do that sometimes.

  35. 35
    satch says:

    I think the wingnuts biggest fear is that a Democrat will become a War President(tm), which will entitle him to complete loyalty and the unlimited power of the unitary executive. I was watching “This Week” when George Will made a semi reasonable (for him) remark to the effect that now that we’ve intervened in Libya, what do we do if rebels in Bahrain or Yemen ask for help. To which, Jane Harman replied that Bahrain and Yemen are NOTHING like Libya. That would have been fine, but then she teed off on Obama for not having a “coherent strategy across the Middle East.” Christ, how can you say in one breath that the situations in Bahrain and Yemen are different from each other, and all are different from Libya, and in the very next breath rag on Obama for not having a “coherent strategy” that addresses all the regional powers. And Harman is now supposed to be some sort of geopolitical braintruster.

  36. 36
    jeff says:

    My mom called me and asked me these same questions (as though I were responsible for some reason). I’ve been moving and following Japan–I have no idea what’s going on. That said, I’m impressed that my Mum–an ardent tea partier who has supported any and every invasion by Bush–has somehow discovered how important it is to ask tough questions and doubt one’s government. I wonder how that happened?

  37. 37
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Does any nation have “moral authority”? Or is it like “momentum” in sports broadcasting, some ill-defined Good Thing that you have until you lose it?

  38. 38
    Lolis says:

    Yep, this whole thing sucks. Not what I voted/volunteered/donated for.

  39. 39

    I am always ambivalent about UN actions. Watching the documentary “Shake Hands With the Devil” (available on Google Video atm) sealed that for me. Those Rwandans weren’t any less valuable than these Libyans.

  40. 40
    BGinCHI says:

    Tying this back to an earlier post, I thought one of the reasons it is left to Congress to declare war (see Constitution, US) has to do with funding. Congress is supposed to oversee the money that goes into war as well as declaring it.

    So, here we go again.

    I wish we had some kind of transparent system that tells us how much it costs to do these kinds of things. And what are the opportunity costs? How many places in education do we drop for every invasion? How much lower in quality of life do we sink for every year we occupy countries in the effort to change them?

    There’s such a total fucking disconnect in the national discussion between foreign and domestic policy.

  41. 41
    stuckinred says:

    @Suffern ACE: please

  42. 42
    jeff says:

    I guess I should spell it out, though I mentioned I’m in the middle of a move and have no idea what’s going on yet, that I can’t answer John’s questions.

  43. 43

    In re: “invaded”

    While there are no troops on the ground, we have clearly invaded their airspace and we have attacked targets on the ground.

    I suspect that if a foreign power did that to the United States we would feel, well, invaded, yes?

  44. 44
    Suffern ACE says:

    @satch: That damn Middle East. If only it could just present a uniform set of circumstances. It’s so intellectually sloppy.

  45. 45

    @Steven Taylor:
    Steven, good point, and good to see you around these parts of teh Interwebs.

  46. 46

    @FlipYrWhig – No individual nation does – but the United Nations yes meant to have that kind of authority. Yet, thanks to the Security Council’s structure, it has be come a joke. If the UN really exercised its authority, it would be the United States that should be punished for Iraq – everyone else should just stand in line. You have worked hard to be the top violator of international peace.

  47. 47
    Martin says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: It’s interesting how those that oppose this action are so eager to sweep away everyone else involved in order to take the US’s irresponsible actions in Iraq as an indictment against what is happening here, as though the US is alone in acting here. The UN resolution was brought by France and Lebanon. France recognizes the rebel govt as the official government of Libya – the US hasn’t changed our stance. France was the first to enter Libyan airspace. And France opposed Iraq, much to the dismay of the Congressional kitchen.

    So, if the US actions in Iraq should invalidate all US activities for the next half-century, given that France opposed Iraq and is leading the charge there, is that then evidence that this action is a just one?

    I’m honestly not cheerleading this action, and there are plenty of good arguments to make against it, but some of these arguments are so hollow and, well, stupid that they need to be taken on.

  48. 48
    FlipYrWhig says:

    If you can’t answer these questions, does that mean that there’s no way to justify military action? Is it good enough to say, “You’re absolutely right, we don’t know what comes next, but we couldn’t sit idly by as Qaddafi followed through on his threat to massacre the rebels, and we’re continuing to work it all out”? That’s not an ideal answer, but that’s probably their answer.

  49. 49
    goblue72 says:

    He’s a Republican. He’s the enemy. Who cares what he thinks. If he’s got a problem with this, then it means we’re doing the right thing.

  50. 50
    somethingblue says:

    Are we going to raise taxes, or do we just proceed with devastating cuts to the poor to finance another war?

    Well, that one I’m pretty sure we know the answer to.

  51. 51
    Mark S. says:

    And then the meta-lesson. What lesson does Iran learn from all of this? Qaddafi gave up his nukes to protect himself from American military attacks, and we went ahead and attacked him anyway. North Korea, with their nukes, remains safe from American tampering. What lesson would you learn if you were Iranian?

    True enough. On the other hand, if nothing is done, what lesson does any dictator learn when faced with civil unrest? Blow them the fuck away and all you’ll get is a sternly worded letter.

    I’m not saying we could possibly intervene everywhere a dictator is killing his own people. But I think it goes to far to say it should never be done.

  52. 52
    bleh says:

    @FlipYrWhig: yes, much of the blogosphere IS asking these or similarly good questions. But alas, it matters not. The decision is taken, the media are in full videogasm, and enough of the warmongers are making enthusiastic noises that it has it’s own momentum, and that momentum will carry it forward.

    The costs have been incurred. Iran has heard the message about the value of having nukes (again). US and western prestige is now on the line, and in a reactive way, while Qaddafi has the advantages of both initiation and home turf. The Arab League is already talking out of both sides of its mouth. (And I’ll bet Avigdor Lieberman senses an opportunity.). The die is cast. Who but the blogosphere cares at this point what the blogosphere thinks?

    PPS, forget the 11-dimensional-chess warnings to inchoate rebellions.

  53. 53
    scav says:

    For the sake of my blood pressure, I’m going underground but not without one wail of fucking Sarkozy.

  54. 54

    @Martin – I am not saying this action is unjust – it is approved by the United Nations. BUT, the US should not be involved in it. In fact you would expect that the American people themselves would count their nation out of such action given how disastrously your own INTERNAL checks and balances failed the last time.
    Instead you have the same “debate”, the hard questions asked about when you can participate or lead in bombings.

  55. 55
    Corner Stone says:

    @satch: It’s called “retiring to become the head of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars”, as Jane Harman is.
    She’s a hawk’s hawk, and a brutal shill for the National Security State.

  56. 56
    Suck It Up! says:

    but at least the Bush crew worked hard to sell their war with a special defense department designed solely to spew agitprop.

    Forget the David Horowitz comparison, you sound just like Andrew Sullivan.

  57. 57
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: True. But the burden of illegitimate acts in the past doesn’t mean that no action in the present can ever be legitimate.

  58. 58
    JGabriel says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Maybe Dick Luger learned something from Iraq. People do that sometimes.

    Perhaps, but it is funny how Republicans never seem to remember the horrors of war, or the imperative to balance the budget, until a Democrat is president.

    Ironic, that.

    .

  59. 59
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mark S.:

    On the other hand, if nothing is done, what lesson does any dictator learn when faced with civil unrest? Blow them the fuck away and all you’ll get is a sternly worded letter.

    I think that’s a very important factor here, and it hasn’t been discussed enough.

  60. 60
    SteveinSC says:

    Well I am one of the first to smell a rat in imperialist adventures, but I think the US kind of got dragged into this. We are caught in a sort of zugzwang because there are riots in Bahrain, Yemen, etc. where one or another of our “clients” is the strong-man, emir, despot or whatever and we may be in the process of presiding over the final collapse of George Bush’s “coalition of the willing.” The people there are also demanding change and the tin pot hitlers are shooting the protesters, too. What will we do next, indeed?

    @Comrade Darkness

    …mental acuity of Trig

    Under the new rules of decorum issued as fiat, this is a cheesy allusion to retards and there should be a warning issued. Moreover, if one wishes to refer to a real idiot, George Bush could have been used without harm.

  61. 61

    @Mark S – Why is it the United States’ problem what lesson dictators learn? News Flash – Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship. I think the only lesson any dictator should learn about the USA is to keep to the right side of the USA. That is all it has always been about.
    By the way, why don’t we worry about the “lessons” learnt by the USA since the last war you pushed down on the Iraqis?

  62. 62

    @Suffern ACE:

    Maybe Dick Luger learned something from Iraq. People do that sometimes.

    For the GOP, I have to go with the “Pics or it didn’t happen” rule.

  63. 63

    Sometimes, I can’t resist jumping into a nice, juicy flame war, especially when one of our own is attacked by right wing nut jobs who worship Sarah Palin.

  64. 64
    BGinCHI says:

    @JGabriel: Feature, not bug.

  65. 65
    Martin says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Why shouldn’t we be involved? If this is going to happen, what is the benefit of leaving out those that could target sites with less risk to civilians and to allies? You’re saying that because of what happened with Iraq, we should put Libyan civilians and French, British, etc. military at risk? Toward what benefit?

    And I agree that our checks and balances failed last time, but show me a country that doesn’t have comparable failures? Britain went along with us. A chunk of Europe is nationally broke. Japan failed to regulate their nuclear providers even as effectively as the pervasively anti-regulation US has. Are we all supposed to be Switzerland now?

  66. 66
    PIGL says:

    @FlipYrWhig: It means that the USA (and other western powers) can’t be trusted. Why is this so impossible for anyone to understand?

    The claim is not that no humanitarian actions are legitimate by anyone, anywhere ever. The claim is that as a matter of fact, the USA, UK, France and the other current or post-imperial powers have demonstrated by all their history that they can not be trusted to make such determinations. Therefore they should stop doing it.

  67. 67

    @FlipYrWhig – that is way too abstract. Like I said, it is the American people themselves who should be questioning this war. Instead you have the same usual reaction of “What lessons should we teach dictators?” Your country should stick to controlling your own internal anti-democratic processes.

  68. 68
    malraux says:

    @OzoneR:

    As for me, I made a big stink that Clinton didn’t intervene in Rwanda and Bush ignored Darfur. I’m not thrilled that we have to do this, especially with the country’s financial situation the way it is, but I had argued for intervening in situations where genocide is imminent before, it would be hypocritical for me not to do so now.

    While I personally favored intervention in Rwanda, in retrospect I’m not sure that I was right. I’m continually growing more and more skeptical of the ability of the US military to intervene against violent for humanitarian ends.

  69. 69
  70. 70
    The Dangerman says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    BUT, the US should not be involved in it.

    Hopefully, Obama will stay to his word that the U.S. will only be in a supportive role in all of it, but we do have some unique capabilities to use at the outset (see the three B2’s taking out some high value target last night). As I type, there is a shitload of antiaircraft fire in Tripoli occurring; I suspect we will find no aircraft will be shot down because, assuming that there were ever any planes in the area, we (well, mostly us) took out their AA command and control systems.

    Kaddafi brought this on; he could have yielded as Mubarak yielded. He chose to fight. Too bad for him.

  71. 71
    D-Chance. says:

    And then the meta-lesson. What lesson does Iran learn from all of this? Qaddafi gave up his nukes to protect himself from American military attacks, and we went ahead and attacked him anyway. North Korea, with their nukes, remains safe from American tampering. What lesson would you learn if you were Iranian?

    Excuse me, but I’ll handle this one.

    Annex and become West Korea.

    /rimshot

  72. 72
    PIGL says:

    @Martin: that would be a pretty good start, yes.

  73. 73
    Mart says:

    @Brachiator: What to do next about this country (Iran)? You would think they have occupying armies in Canada and Mexico and were threatening us next. You do realize WE have occupying armies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are threatening them next – right?

  74. 74

    @Martin – but YOU are the ones who should point to concrete benefits from being engaged in a war. It is not the other way round.
    Your country is the one which committed a major crime against peace barely 8 years back. You were too willing to let pure propaganda steamroll into a war. YOU should be asking your nation’s leaders if they have any sense taking you into another war. For all you know, the rebels may be another military faction. If I were you, I would be very sceptical about ANY of your own government’s justifications – considering how they cheated you just a few years back.

  75. 75
    Martin says:

    @PIGL: Well, hate to say – not everyone can be Switzerland. I would have thought WWII would have made that clear enough.

  76. 76
    Joe Bauers says:

    @The Dangerman:

    You learned nothing from the Iraq debacle, I see. Yes, having solved all other problems, lets use our infinite resources – which could not possibly be be better spent to any end that might affect actual Americans – to pick a winner in another nation’s civil war. What could possibly go wrong?

  77. 77
    PIGL says:

    @Martin: is there a point you are trying to make here? Or did your previous point about how “should we all be Switzerland” have no content whatever?

  78. 78
    Patrick says:

    John, I’m usually with you but I don’t know why you are comparing this to Iraq. This looks a lot like Bosnia, and the outcome there was pretty good.

    Iraq:

    No UN authorization
    No armed rebels in the field

    Bosnia

    UN Authorization
    Armed Rebels in the field

    As for bombing, it would be dereliction of duty to send our pilots on an air superiority mission without taking out ground radar and SAM capability. When it comes to NATO, I think the U.S. has the superior anti-SAM aircraft and missiles, which is probably where we focused early. Sounds like the French and British will actually be doing most of the patrolling.

  79. 79

    @Martin – My understanding is that you were attacked in WWII. It was not a humanitarian intervention. In fact there was a pretty strong anti-war lobby before the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

  80. 80
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @PIGL:

    The claim is not that no humanitarian actions are legitimate by anyone, anywhere ever. The claim is that as a matter of fact, the USA, UK, France and the other current or post-imperial powers have demonstrated by all their history that they can not be trusted to make such determinations. Therefore they should stop doing it.

    So who should do it?

    I mean, white Americans have demonstrated by all their history that they discriminate against black people. And yet, now, when a black person applies for a job in a white-dominated company, there are policies in place about how to handle it properly. The policy isn’t “We always fuck this up, so let’s just never try.” The policy is “Keeping in mind that we tend to fuck this up, let’s do the best to avoid doing that this time.” And sometimes it’ll still get fucked up anyway.

  81. 81
    soonergrunt says:

    @Martin: I’ve seen the Oregon National Guard. Your faith is…misplaced.

  82. 82
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @PIGL:

    The claim is that as a matter of fact, the USA, UK, France and the other current or post-imperial powers have demonstrated by all their history that they can not be trusted to make such determinations. Therefore they should stop doing it.

    Who does, then? UN? OAU? And with what do they follow through?

  83. 83
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: True, back then. Most people nowadays don’t think much of the idea that massive industrialized genocide was something that the German people should have taken care of themselves. Well, Pat Buchanan thinks that, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a widely-held view.

  84. 84
    Suffern ACE says:

    @FlipYrWhig: And what exactly are we trying to “get right this time?”

  85. 85
    Sly says:

    @Wag:

    If the French and British were so willing to do this, then we should have let them do it themselves.

    There’s not a hair’s width of daylight between the agenda of the Security Council and the agenda of the Washington foreign policy establishment. The two are coterminous, and the Security Council does nothing without clear signs of material support from Washington. When the Clinton administration knew that they would take heat if they took action in Rwanda, they backed off and thus the Security Council backed off. The result was that an insufficient international force that had been already sent to Rwanda was hung out to dry.

    So to get Security Council approval for a resolution on Libya, France and Britain needed U.S. backing for the same.

  86. 86
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    If by next week, Turkey, Qatar and other countries have taken over imposing the no-fly zone and the US steps back as stated (if I recall correctly the US’s initial role is to be limited to helping remove Libya’s capability to hit planes enforcing a no-fly zone), I think we’ll all be singing a different tune. Let’s see. I’m encouraged that Qatar is sending planes to help with the no-fly zone and frankly believe the Arab League nations should be the ones to enforce it.

    I understand people’s anxiety, given what happened with Iraq, but I heard the translated statements that Ghaddafi made about crushing Benghazi and showing no mercy. I think the UN resolution was the right thing and I think that after the initial help from the French, British and US, the Arab League needs to step up big time.

  87. 87
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Suffern ACE: How to help avert humanitarian catastrophe without generating further disorder or getting bogged down in endless reconstruction. Sounds like a bitch.

  88. 88

    @FlipYrWhig – your comparison of work place discrimination with actual bombing campaigns on another nation is hyberbolic. The point is your nation has shown that it can easily be propagandized into supporting “adventures” in foreign lands. Your nation has shown no contrition of such failed adventures; and is hypocritical when it comes to such support for “deomocracy” (see Saudi Arabia).
    Therfore you should be the one yelling at your government to count yourselves out.

  89. 89
    ChrisNBama says:

    Great questions, John. I’ve been losing twitter followers left and right because of my outspoken criticism of Regime Change 2.0.

    I supported Obama over Hillary precisely because I thought he would have the good sense to refrain from asserting American Power, but as the old saying goes: Power corrupts, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

  90. 90
    The Dangerman says:

    @Joe Bauers:

    …to pick a winner in another nation’s civil war.

    You’re right; let’s stay out of it and watch while hordes of refugees head to Egypt, thus possibly destabilizing a nascent government that just happens to be one of the key partners for Middle East Peace (such as it is), I mean, all those Egyptian tanks sitting on that shared border with Libya are probably just there for a leisurely picnic.

    As you say, what could go wrong?

  91. 91

    @Davis X. Machina – whoever does it, it should not be the United States.

  92. 92
    Fuzz says:

    I think a big difference between this and Iraq is also that there were Libyan rebels, civilians and rebel leaders asking for aerial support for weeks in the media. The run up to the Iraq war featured nothing but Iraqi expats who had not lived there for decades and who had obvious political agendas and also the neo-cons that had been calling for an end to Hussein’s regime since the mid 90s. Here you have thousands of rebel fighters and presumably millions of Libyan civilians who have been calling (ever more desperately as the Libyan army got closer) for aerial attacks and a no fly zone. You can be opposed to this action, but to put it in the same vein as Iraq, imo, is mistaken because we are acting on the requests of Libyans themselves.

  93. 93
    General Stuck says:

    Someday, we can only hope for a cure of Bush Derangement Syndrome, that has mutated into Obama Derangement Syndrome.

    One thing I appreciated about George Bush Sr, was his admission that Gulf war 1 was largely about oil. Of course, he lied about other stuff like an imminent Saudi invasion and stomping newborns to pilfer incubators, but no matter.

    And of course it was about oil, and is with Libya. Making choices on who to save and how much the west is willing to sacrifice with limited resources, those with the most return. Or, folks and countries with oil. There is nothing noble about it, and is a pragmatic choice after weighing all the pros and cons.

    I do believe the likelyhood that Ghadaffy will kill everyone suspected of rebellion if he were to prevail, but like it or not, and don’t tell baby jeevus, stability and whirled peas is laced up tight with reliable sources of Texas T. Love may make the world go around, but the engine runs on gasoline.

    Given all the pros and cons, especially the always unknown consequences of conducting warfare, I support what we are doing, but not one thing more. No nation building, at least where we are the lead actor, and NO MOTHERFUCKING GROUND COMBAT TROOPS. PERIOD. And Obama has drawn a pretty clear line in the sand on that.

    Nothing is for certain, we make our choices in these matters knowing it could all turn to shit. But history has taught us never trust an idiot with fighting wars, and Obama is no idiot. and these sorts of actions can be done correctly., the rest is up to Allah.

  94. 94
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Or, we should be yelling at the government to get it right for once. That’s another way to proceed.

  95. 95
    PIGL says:

    @Davis X. Machina: If there is a serious desire for humanitarian intervention by force of arms, then we seek to establish a UN-backed indepependent military force with the resources to impose conditions, up to some limits of what we’ll agree to pay for and what the permanent members will not veto.

    If the Western Powers are serious, they can back such a truly internationalist solution. However, in my opinion, until such a force is establishded they need to butt out, because they have proved over and over again that they can not be trusted.

  96. 96

    @FlipYrWhig – well, the allied powers in WWII themselves were colonizers and aggressors. You cannot view the entire history of the world in the 20th century as simply a fight between democracy and fascism. There was another, equally important fight, between colonialism and independence movements. The allied powers were on the wrong side of that fight; it is just that you don’t get to hear that often in the West.

  97. 97
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Fuzz: Agreed. It’s more like the debate during the _first_ Iraq war over supporting the Kurds. Good arguments to do more, other good arguments _not_ to do more (including concern over what would come next), and no one particularly happy either way.

  98. 98
    Donut says:

    @FlipYrWhig – that is way too abstract. Like I said, it is the American people themselves who should be questioning this war. Instead you have the same usual reaction of “What lessons should we teach dictators?” Your country should stick to controlling your own internal anti-democratic processes.

    Thank you for saying so succintly what others have us have been trying to say these last couple of days, but with far less economy and clarity.

  99. 99
    soonergrunt says:

    @The Dangerman: That would be Egypt’s problem.

  100. 100
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: That’s a good point that leads in some unpredictable directions, like Michel Foucault supporting the Islamic Revolution in Iran. We don’t always know what’s coming next, and sometimes what comes next is as bad as what used to obtain. This is why IMHO the US government needs to be humble and cognizant of the history you’re outlining, but also needs to not let that history prevent it from acting when appropriate. When _is_ it appropriate? Well, we’re all fighting that out right now.

  101. 101
    Ruckus says:

    @Steven Taylor:
    Just for giggles I looked up invaded.
    Sure looks like what has happened here.

  102. 102
    Sapient says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: “well, the allied powers in WWII themselves were colonizers and aggressors.”

    What? Against “independence seeking” Japan? Germany? Pleez.

  103. 103
    Joe Bauers says:

    @The Dangerman:

    You’re right; let’s stay out of it and watch while hordes of refugees head to Egypt, thus possibly destabilizing a nascent government that just happens to be one of the key partners for Middle East Peace (such as it is), I mean, all those Egyptian tanks sitting on that shared border with Libya are probably just there for a leisurely picnic.

    As you say, what could go wrong?

    Well, that is serious. Maybe the Egyptians and Libyans ought to do something about it.

    These sorts of things rarely work out as planned and the price tags (all of them) always work out worse. Why can we not extrapolate from our most recent several decades worth of military adventures and see the same thing happening here?

  104. 104
    Maude says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    Canada is there with us as well. I haven’t seen that mentioned.

  105. 105
    Martin says:

    @PIGL: Yes, my point is that only Switzerland can afford to be Switzerland. It’d be glorious if the world could be free from interventionist nations, but it doesn’t work that way. A legitimate call for the US to act like the Swiss can be made when North Korea looks like Switzerland, and Libya, and Pakistan, and Burma, and Congo, and even Mexico and Israel.

  106. 106
    PIGL says:

    @Sapient: South Asia. South East Asia. Almost all of Africa. Effectively, much of South America.

    They were also fighting enemies, two of whom happened to be fascist, but who felt left out of the whole colonial enterprise. And Japan, who could (for a while) credibly present themselves as anti-colonial allies of the people of what we now call Indonesia….for example.

    So, yes, Mr. Ariya is absolutely correct. There was more going on than you’ve seen in your favourite war movies, and you might read about some of it one of these days.

  107. 107
    The Dangerman says:

    @soonergrunt:

    That would be Egypt’s problem.

    Perhaps; nonetheless, the simplistic “did you not learn anything from Iraq?” is kinda silly in problems that are immensely complex…

    …and, for better or worse, Egypt’s problem is Israel’s problem and Israel’s problem is our problem. Oh, how I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

  108. 108
    Martin says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Germany and Japan declared war on the US. We only declared war in response to those acts, even with Germany having sunk a dozen US ships off the east coast prior.

  109. 109
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Martin: True, but his point is that the Allied powers were also imperialist vis-a-vis the Third World.

  110. 110
    Sapient says:

    @PIGL: “There was more going on than you’ve seen in your favourite war movies”

    There were colonies, but the war wasn’t about colonies. It wouldn’t have been fought over colonies, at least not by the United States. If you disagree, please point me to your favorite history book.

  111. 111
    eemom says:

    I’ll just interject that I am pleased with the new fashion of comparing John Cole to people that it pisses him off to be compared to.

  112. 112
    PIGL says:

    @Martin: Oh, sorry, I though you were being metaphorical, in that all nations should practice neutrality and restraint in their external affairs. Which Libya was in fact doing these last months.

    I did not call for the USA to “be the Swiss” or to act like the Swiss, except in the sense that it and other western powers should not intevene militarily in the internal affairs of other nations. Why? Because they are governened by unprincipled elites and degenerate electorates who have proved time and again that they can not be trusted.

  113. 113
    JPL says:

    The middle east has always been ruled by tyrants that we supported because of oil. I don’t know if the President is right or wrong but I am pleased with Susan Rice’s presentation to the UN and the ability to have a real coalition. I want to see how the next week plays out because I think his sons don’t want to die for their country.
    When my whacko friends complain about the gas prices I tell em that freedom isn’t free.

  114. 114
    Alex S. says:

    @eemom:

    We are all Jonah Goldberg now.

  115. 115
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @PIGL: But you’re also setting things up, IMHO, so that there is no way to ever win back that trust. It’s just that there was a toggle switch, and by now “western powers” have tripped that switch, and from now on whatever they do is indelibly tainted by their history, so they should do nothing.

  116. 116
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Sapient: Seriously? I thought the entire pacific war was about that! It was almost all good an well when Japan limited itself to Korea and what we now call Taiwan, and a bummer that they were in Manchuria and China (like all the west was trying to be), but try to take over the Philippines and Burma and French Indochina and the whole world just bitches and moans.

  117. 117
    Sapient says:

    “try to take over the Philippines and Burma and French Indochina and the whole world just bitches and moans.”

    And try to bomb Pearl Harbor, and lots of people have an emotional meltdown!

  118. 118
    PIGL says:

    @Sapient: I guess any book that describes how the middle east was transferred from a British to an American sphere of influence, as part of the price for American support of the war. How the French posessions in south east Asia passed from Dutch British and French to American protectorates, for instance.

    Was WW2 entirely about which western nation would control these assets? No. But it was a factor. The disputes about colonial access, and control of sea lanes between Europe and the colonies were part of the reasons for the armanents race between Germany, France and Britain, one of key factors that precipitated WW1, and hence WW2.

    This I would have taken to be common knowledge, but even John Keegan’s histories of the first and second wars will bear this out, and he’s as reactionary as they come.

  119. 119
    PIGL says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I wouldn’t say “never”. I would say “much longer than has passed”. Not while effectively the same people are in charge, the same propaganda machine churns unexamined, and while no alternatives, such as an independent force responsible to the UN, have been expored.

    So, yeah, maybe in 50yrs. Not now.

  120. 120
    PIGL says:

    @Sapient: Look. You asked for evidence, and evidence was provided. If you do not accept this evidence, you need to refute it in some way. Simply scoffing, and then introducing an independent factor does not qualify.

  121. 121
    Sapient says:

    “@PIGL: Was WW2 entirely about which western nation would control these assets? No.”

    No, not at all. The aftermath of WWII certainly was about how to reorganize the world, and colonialism wasn’t dead, for sure. But WWII wasn’t “about” colonialism in the least. It resulted in the winners reassigning pre-existing colonial territories. The allied powers were on the “wrong” side, and the fascist powers were on the “right” side of independence movements? Really?

  122. 122
    Brachiator says:

    @Mart:

    What to do next about this country (Iran)? You would think they have occupying armies in Canada and Mexico and were threatening us next. You do realize WE have occupying armies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are threatening them next – right?

    I have no idea what your point is. You want to do nothing anywhere in the world? Fine. Just man up and admit that it is very, very good not to be oppressed. It makes it ridiculously easy to pretend that you are on some moral high ground.

    I suppose that this would be as good a time as any for the US to withdraw from the United Nations. We should probably also eliminate the position of Secretary of State.

    Because the disruptive changes that we are seeing in North Africa and the Middle East is just the beginning. We have an elected leader unable to take office in the Ivory Coast. We have various forces trying to undermine South Sudan before that fledgling nation formally emerges. We have authoritarians fighting back against democracy in Egypt and elsewhere. We have Aristide coming back to Haiti, promising little more than more misery for that unfortunate nation.

    I am not in any way suggesting that the US should involve itself in every upcoming world problem. On the other hand, it is just blind to think that doing nothing does not add to the misery that will inevitably erupt in this world.

  123. 123
    Butler says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    I am not saying this action is unjust – it is approved by the United Nations. BUT, the US should not be involved in it.

    India is welcome to step up and contribute any time. But I guess we shouldn’t expect that, since your country wouldn’t even vote for the resolution and yet didn’t have the will to vote against it. Instead I watched your ambassador on CSPAN give a mealy mouthed speech full of excuses as to why this maybe possibly wasn’t the best idea at this time perhaps. Inspiring.

  124. 124
    PIGL says:

    @Sapient: In the case of south east asia, the Japanese were initially on the right side as compared to the western powers. They were in fact welcomed initially as liberators. This did not last, as you obviously know.

    As for “the winners reassigning pre-existing colonial territories” you would need to add that this was amongst themselves, as the loser had none to speak of, and then assume that the outcomes (that greatly benefited US power) did not figure in any nations war planning in any way. This is not the case.

    Therefore, WW2 was in part about the disposition of colonies, and not simply between the winning and losing powers, but amongst the winners themselves.

  125. 125
    Dennis SGMM says:

    We can debate the merits of US involvement in Libya for days and I doubt that anyone is going to be convinced to change their mind regarding it.

    One of my concerns is that right now the word is that “We’re just going to establish a no-fly zone.” Just as we were just going to remove the Taliban and we were just going to topple Saddam Hussein. If Gaddafi loyalists go to ground and then begin a guerrilla war against the rebels, what then? Or if the rebels begin turning on each in a power struggle, what should we do? We jumped into this with a very limited knowledge of what the rebels stand for or how many followers Gadaffi can count on.

    No, you can’t predict every eventuality but, recent experience suggests that we’re good at starting wars and then finding compelling reasons to expand them.

  126. 126
    BombIranForChrist says:

    Yay! More money down the Victory Hole!

  127. 127
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Butler: To be fair to India, until a few day’s ago, wasn’t that actually the position of the Administration?

  128. 128
    OzoneR says:

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

    If by next week, Turkey, Qatar and other countries have taken over imposing the no-fly zone and the US steps back as stated (if I recall correctly the US’s initial role is to be limited to helping remove Libya’s capability to hit planes enforcing a no-fly zone), I think we’ll all be singing a different tune.

    My guess is we won’t, because those who are complaining today will still deny reality and say there’s still US involvement.

  129. 129
    quaint irene says:

    What I want to know- why do these things need to have some ridiculous title?

    Odyssey Dawn? Sounds like somebody’s porn name.

  130. 130
    Sapient says:

    @PIGL:

    “In the case of south east asia, the Japanese were initially on the right side as compared to the western powers. They were in fact welcomed initially as liberators. This did not last, as you obviously know.”

    Therefore, they were not on the “right” side of the independence movement.

    From Wikipedia (just as an example, regarding an American colony):

    “Guam’s Japanese occupation lasted for approximately thirty-one months. During this period, the indigenous people of Guam were subjected to forced labor, family separation, incarceration, execution, concentration camps and forced prostitution. Approximately one thousand people died during the occupation, according to Congressional Testimony in 2004. Some historians estimate that war violence killed 10% of Guam’s some 20,000 population.”

    Please don’t rewrite history, calling the Allies on the “wrong side” versus the fascists on the “right side”. It simply isn’t borne out. Colonialism is a separate issue.

  131. 131
    Donut says:

    @General Stuck @ 94:

    Fuck if I’m worried about Obama making reasonably decent choices. But as I’ve said like 30 times since yesterday, once you get into a deal like this one, unless Qaddafi is done and gone fukkin quick, the next 2, 3 maybe 4 or more presidents have to deal with this. Again I point out, Obama is the fourth US president for whom Iraq is a major foreign policy concern.

    If all the cards fall on the table just right, maybe Obama pulls this off quick and relatively pain free.

    But recent and long-term history kinda point in the other direction.

    Just sayin’.

  132. 132
    catpal says:

    FU Repug Sen Lugar – not only a war-criminal cheerleader for the War Machine in Iraq, Lugar was a WMD LIE repeater.

    But we’re giving them one last chance and this last chance and this last chance is in fact to come forward with these weapons.

    Lugar Lies about Iraq WMD

  133. 133
    PIGL says:

    @Sapient: I am not rewriting history, I am quoting from it. See the wiki material on the Japanese invasion and decolonisation of Indonesia:

    Of course it not end that way, but that was clearly not my claim.

  134. 134
    Suffern ACE says:

    @quaint irene:

    Odyssey Dawn? Sounds like somebody’s porn name.

    Had they actually read the Odyssey? Maybe they think its the final chapters where, after a long time mucking and fucking about the Mediterranean, Ulysses comes back and kicks some major suitor ass. Or they just plan to be mucking and fucking about. Those parts were fun, too.

  135. 135
    Mart says:

    @Brachiator: I guess I am strange thinking it is odd that we are all so scared about Iran destroying the Usaisreal, while our army surrounds them in two countries we invaded. Today we are by far the world’s largest military aggressor. Iran does not have a history of aggression, other than border wars with Saddam. We are currently lobbing bombs into six or so countries. That is not enough, we better get ready to invade Iran preemptively, since that has worked out so well before.

    My point is we need to re-frame how we recklessly think about war = good outcomes. We might also discuss the cost of our blood and treasure to maybe help the oppressed in twenty or thirty years.

    PS – My bet is we will not come to the aid of any of the non-oil countries in your third paragraph, unless ADM or Cargill need cocoa beans from the Ivory Coast.

  136. 136
    OzoneR says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    well, the allied powers in WWII themselves were colonizers and aggressors.

    yeah, because the allies were the ones who invaded Poland and China for no other reason than to conquer them.

  137. 137
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mart: Who is this “we” who are so scared?

  138. 138
    OzoneR says:

    @Donut:

    once you get into a deal like this one, unless Qaddafi is done and gone fukkin quick, the next 2, 3 maybe 4 or more presidents have to deal with this.

    Obama is the fifth President already to deal with Qaddafi

  139. 139
    Joel says:

    And then the way this was sold- just a no-fly zone and an Arab League action, which was just transparent bullshit from the get-go. I mean, this is a noble cause, but at least the Bush crew worked hard to sell their war with a special defense department designed solely to spew agitprop.

    I interpret the lack of propaganda to be a positive.

  140. 140
    Mart says:

    We = most policy makers, most media, and any B-J commenter that is worried about the horrible consequences of the Iranian space program.

  141. 141
    Questions for Allan says:

    @OzoneR:

    Yes, and Saddam’s history as president of Iraq went back to the end of the Carter presidency, so Saddam was a foreign policy issue for five presidents, as well.

    My point is just that, in reality, no matter if Qaddafi is around a few years longer, or gets taken out and is dead by tomorrow, Obama’s use of the US military against Libya yesterday effectively means at the very least we can expect one or more future presidents to have to deal with Libya as a major problem.

    I could be wrong, I grant, but even in a best case scenario, I think this action has major long-term implications that are not hunky dory. Kosovo is brought up repeatedly as the standard that the US should aspire to here, but there is nowhere near the same international infrastructure in North Africa that compares to what was in place in Europe in 1999.

  142. 142
    El Cid says:

    @Dennis SGMM: It’s not the only possibility that ‘Qaddafi loyalists’ will keep fighting. It’s certainly possible that various factions attempt to exert rule over their base ethno-sectarian areas, and the notion of a unified state is shattered by continuous fighting in a civil war to develop their own territorial interests. Even if Qaddafi falls.

  143. 143
    var says:

    I guess where you have to see the US as having gone wrong if you are against this intervention is when we said that Qaddafi has to leave. At that point you are saying that you are on the side of the rebels and if Qaddafi wins, now he’s more inclined to take out more airliners, etc., support Al Qaeda, as opposed to when he was, say, paying Beyonce a couple of million to sing some songs.

    As a country, you are better off shutting up about the whole thing and letting it shake out. I think the commitment was when we said Qaddafi wasn’t legitimate any longer. Even if you arm the hell out of the rebels at the same time.

  144. 144
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @Patrick:

    As for bombing, it would be dereliction of duty to send our pilots on an air superiority mission without taking out ground radar and SAM capability.

    Uh-huh. And the reports of the US bombing tanks? Last time I checked, tanks didn’t fly…

    But, of course, it makes sense to extend the bombing just a little bit to cover tanks. And a bit more, to cover infantry. And maybe a bit more, to deal with government infrastructure. And then maybe a bit more to put a bit of pressure on loyalists…

    There is ALWAYS a rationale to use more force. And then you wake up embroiled in a shitty unending war with no way out and you wonder “how the fuck did that happen?”

  145. 145
    Butler says:

    @Suffern ACE: Officially yes. Though I have to believe the whole time they were working behind the scenes to arrange this whole thing. Obama claimed that we were “tightening the noose around Quadaffi” over a week ago.

    The military head of NATO canceled a speaking engagement 2 weeks ago because of “developing events”. Susan Rice didn’t go to the UN last week to start negotiations, the vote and the speeches around it was merely the final product of weeks of diplomatic work.

  146. 146
    PIGL says:

    @Patrick: So in other words, a no-fly-zone requires killing arbitrary numbers of civilians first, rather than risk a single fighter pilot or fighgter plane.

    I can see the reasoning, but it does rather detract from the humanitarian aspect, don’t you think?

  147. 147
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans: At the same time, there is always a rationale for doing nothing. I would say that I am skeptically optimistic about this. If we end up with troops on the ground, I will be both surprised and disappointed.

  148. 148
    Butler says:

    Last time I checked, tanks didn’t fly…

    Someone didn’t see last year’s “A-Team” movie…

  149. 149
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @Maude: That doesn’t really mean much. Harper never met a military anything that he didn’t get an immediate hard on for. Go visit Big City Lib, the Galloping Beaver, or Dr. Dawg’s Blawg to get a good overview of that.

  150. 150
    cbear says:

    testing

  151. 151
    Sapient says:

    @PIGL: “Of course it not end that way, but that was clearly not my claim.”

    Your “claim” (as I understood it) was that WWII was about two things: fascism and colonial independence, and that the Allies were on the wrong side of the second thing, . And that the fascists were on the “right side” of colonial independence (although “it didn’t turn out that way”). And what I said was that WWII wasn’t really about colonialism, although certainly there were still colonies, (and since they were considered territories of the colonial powers, they were defended as such). Colonialism certainly wasn’t the raison d’etre of the war: the aggressive and brutal military expansionist efforts of the Axis powers were. The European war was fought because of German invasion of other sovereign countries; the Pacific war was fought (by the US) because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Of course, Hawaii was a territory (a colony) of the US, but the bombing wasn’t an attempt to foster an independence movement – it was an attack on the United States Navy.

    So, sure, after the war, the winning powers divided properties. Independence movements continued. Wars of independence happened. History ensued. WWII was fought by, and in the context of, countries that had colonies. But it wasn’t “about” colonialism.

  152. 152
    liberal says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Tying this back to an earlier post, I thought one of the reasons it is left to Congress to declare war (see Constitution, US) has to do with funding. Congress is supposed to oversee the money that goes into war as well as declaring it.

    I could be entirely mistaken, but I don’t think that’s right. First, Congress has the power to cut off the money independently of its power to declare war. Second, the Founders gave Congress the power, not the executive, because they saw executives in Europe abusing the power, IIRC.

  153. 153
    NobodySpecial says:

    Haven’t read the thread.

    Give a man a gun, and he’ll use it. The US military has a LOT of guns, and a lot of friends in high places who want A) to hurt Iran (and all brown folks sitting on our oil) and B) to protect Israel from anything that looks remotely like a threat. Oh, and don’t forget the Reaganite diciples who’d love to finish what Ronnie’s cabinet started.

  154. 154
    liberal says:

    @Martin:

    France was the first to enter Libyan airspace.

    I’m not sure about that, but the little bit I’ve seen in the past few hours indicates that the action so far has involved mostly US forces, not French.

  155. 155
    Yutsano says:

    @liberal:

    Second, the Founders gave Congress the power, not the executive, because they saw executives in Europe abusing the power, IIRC.

    The executives were kings, and the Founders thought that way lay madness, so they put the power to declare war in as many voices as possible. The War Powers Act totally undercut that rationale.

  156. 156
    Patrick says:

    @Patrick: So in other words, a no-fly-zone requires killing arbitrary numbers of civilians first, rather than risk a single fighter pilot or fighgter plane. {}I can see the reasoning, but it does rather detract from the humanitarian aspect, don’t you think?

    When the Security Council voted on the Resolution, certainly, every voter knew how these things are done. How many pilots get killed? Your questions have a chicken and egg quality that cannot be answered. When SAMs are shot into the sky, and do not connect, don’t you think they eventually come down? Or do they transform into flowers and fall gracefully? The UN forces should strive to limit civilian casualties, but nobody can think they won’t occur or that everyone didn’t realize that.

    Still, it all looks like Bosnia not Iraq. Doesn’t even look like Vietnam, since there are no neighboring countries supplying troops and supplies to Qaddafi.

    Like Bosnia, when Gov’t troops cannot operate in the open against rebels, and Generals are dying in “Command and Control” strikes, the Army will quickly stop supporting the dictator. It isn’t fun when you can suddenly be killed rather than just ordering your troops to kill other people. Certainly, there was more popular Serbian support for Milosevic than I’ve seen for Qaddafi. It is basically, Qaddafi and the Army vs. the country. The Army will dump Qaddafi quickly if put in mortal peril.

  157. 157
    Ron says:

    @PIGL: Wow, nice complete misinterpretation. Are there going to be civilian casualties when missiles are fired at anti-aircraft? Most likely yes. But if I’m the one designing strategy that strategy includes taking out as much of the weaponry that can destroy my planes as I can.

  158. 158
    Brachiator says:

    @liberal:

    I’m not sure about that, but the little bit I’ve seen in the past few hours indicates that the action so far has involved mostly US forces, not French.

    From the first news reports:

    Libyan state television said 48 people were killed and 150 injured in the assaults, which began with a strike at dawn on Saturday by a French warplane on a vehicle the French military said belonged to pro-Gaddafi forces.

    And there’s this:

    “Libya demands an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council after the French-American-British aggression against Libya, an independent state member of the United Nations,” the statement said.

    Gaddafi sees this as a Western powers attack, not a mainly US attack.

  159. 159
    Allan says:

    @Questions for Allan: You know, that screen name made sense, although in a creepy stalkerish kind of way, when you created it to, you know, ask Allan some questions a few threads back.

    Divorced from its context, it just looks pathetic, like a skanky Jersey girl riding the train home on Sunday morning in last night’s sweatstained slutty dress and a bad case of bedhead with dried semen and cigarette butts in it.

    You might want to revert to whoever you were before you decided to change it, or think up something smart.

  160. 160
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @liberal: They also didn’t think there should be a “standing army,” that is, a professional fighting force that always existed, because like Chekhov said about having a gun in a play, at some point it’s going to go off. It’s supposed to be hard to declare war, and the idea that a professional soldiery is basically anathema is also why the US Constitution has that otherwise inexplicable 2nd Amendment in it. The reason why people are supposed to have access to guns is that at a moment’s notice they may be asked to form a military, i.e., “the militia.”

  161. 161
    PIGL says:

    @Ron: How is this a misrepresentation (and let us leave aside please my ignorance of modern air tactics).

    I take a no-fly-zone to be a place where a certain someone’s airforce is not allowed to fly. This can enforced by shooting down their planes that enter this region. I imagine this would be done by shooting them with fighter jets or blowing them up with anti-aircraft missile fired from a fighter or some other kind of plane (under the circmstances, we can rule out ground based weapopnry).

    That seems to be what I understand. But now, you want to include force protection as well. God forbid that your enemy should attack any of your planes. So you disable their anti-aircraft capacity, their C&C, their radar installation, hell why not take out their planes on the ground, and the pilots in their bunks. The point is, if the mission is expanded to include force protection, it’s hard to see where it ends.

    And force protection means you attach more importance to the possible loss of a very small number of planes and pilots than to the material and personell losses you will inflict on the enemy, which will include civilians. This rather detracts from the humanitarian objectives, as I originally stated.

  162. 162
    PIGL says:

    @Sapient: ok. i give up. Perl Harbour was the one and only reason for American involvement in the war. And the fact that half the planet changed hands afterwards had nothing to do with anybodies war aims.

    Of course the european theatre was a response to German agression. But that agression was partly about colonies. Roumanian oil, for example. And the war in the desert? What do you imagine that was about? Wresting control of middle-east oil from Great Britain, in part.

    What do you think 19th century colonialsm was? The armed capture of other people’s countries for economic gain, that’s what. Case in point being the Japanese, who first liberated and then colonised Indonesia. Therefor, for a brief spell, it could be said that Japan was on the right side. Key word being brief.

  163. 163
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Brachiator:

    Because the disruptive changes that we are seeing in North Africa and the Middle East is just the beginning. We have an elected leader unable to take office in the Ivory Coast. We have various forces trying to undermine South Sudan before that fledgling nation formally emerges. We have authoritarians fighting back against democracy in Egypt and elsewhere. We have Aristide coming back to Haiti, promising little more than more misery for that unfortunate nation.

    Are you suggesting that we might get involved in Cote d’Ivoire, the Sudan or Haiti? I find it nearly inconceivable that this nation will do anything of any consequence with regard to the issues facing those nations, and certainly nothing of a military nature. Because, you know, they don’t have natural resources vital to our infrastructure.

  164. 164
    benintn says:

    Don’t know if others have noted this or not, but it’s pretty clear that Obama is not planning to put any ground troops in Libya.

    The terms of “victory” in such an action are really not the point. We “won” pretty quickly because we went in and squashed the Libyan air defenses like a cockroach on the kitchen floor. The biggest question is whether there is any realistic possibility that Libya will become anything other than another Rwanda, with a bloody civil war. And if there is a bloody civil war, then what does that mean in terms of our culpability for that?

    As for Lugar’s question about the slippery slope, I think that’s a moot point. Each situation is handled on a case-by-case basis. That’s not mere situational ethics – on the contrary, it’s based on the application of a variety of decisional principles. And no, it doesn’t mean we should go into Bahrain or Syria, because truth is we haven’t “gone in” to Libya. I don’t think Syria is dropping bombs on its own people. I could be wrong about that. And a massive police action against the people of Bahrain is troubling but that’s not entirely unlike gang warfare on Chicago’s South Side (which is where Obama’s from.).

  165. 165
    Ija says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I don’t know why so many people have such a commitment to acting like they’re the few brave voices speaking out against this, when the vast majority of the blogosphere is indeed speaking out against it in the exact same ways.

    They think it’s still 2003 and they are the few brave souls going against the wind. They forget they are in the majority now. We are all non-interventionists, now.

  166. 166
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ija:

    They think it’s still 2003

    I noticed. Now we’ll have a pundit-sphere where it’s always 1968 and a blogosphere where it’s always 2003. Progress of a sort, I guess.

  167. 167
    Ija says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    So who should do it?

    Obviously China, the only superpower who has not gotten its hands dirty, the savior of all human race.

    You know what, I’m starting to come around to the non-intervention side. If all that is going to happen is we have presumably well-spoken and educated people like Ramiah Ariya talking about how “you lack the moral authority”, “you people were lied to” etc etc, maybe we should stay out of everything. Let’s stay in our safe little haven and let China solve everything in the world. Maybe they will do a spectacular job and the world will be all puppies and roses and rainbows with the US sitting out of everything.

  168. 168
    Ija says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    from now on whatever they do is indelibly tainted by their history, so they should do nothing.

    Maybe that’s our get-out-of-jail free card. People being slaughtered? Opps, sorry, we don’t have the moral authority, you see. Genocide and ethnic cleansing? Nope, we haven’t finished paying for our past sins yet. Wait a few thousand years, please. We’ll just sit on our asses for now and pray real hard to be forgiven for our past transgressions.

    Iraq is Bush’s biggest gift to the isolationist crowd. Pat Buchanan must be very happy right now.

  169. 169
    Brachiator says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Are you suggesting that we might get involved in Cote d’Ivoire, the Sudan or Haiti? I find it nearly inconceivable that this nation will do anything of any consequence with regard to the issues facing those nations, and certainly nothing of a military nature. Because, you know, they don’t have natural resources vital to our infrastructure.

    I guess you weren’t paying attention when the US intervened in Haiti during the Clinton Administration. And I will only briefly mention in passing the long, nasty, history of US interference in Haiti going back to that nation’s beginnings.

    This also brings up the typical American hypocrisy. The United States could not have gained independence from Britain without the help of other nations. But Haiti was refused help when it turned to American president Thomas Jefferson. Some of the bluntest criticism of Jefferson’s decisions came from another founding father:

    Timothy Pickering, the irascible Federalist who served in the cabinets of both George Washington and John Adams, took note. How, Pickering demanded of Jefferson, could he praise the French Revolution and refuse support for the rebels on Saint-Domingue because they were “guilty” of having a “skin not colored like our own”?

    From that day to this, it’s funny how so many Americans take a “We Got Ours, Fuck You” attitude towards the rest of the world.

    But no, I am not saying that the US has to jump in militarily in every new erupting hot spot. But I am suggesting that this neo-isolationism that some want to cling to will not necessarily gain you either peace or security.

    I was listening to BBC news reports of Egyptians in their 40s who were voting for the first time because they actually had something to vote for in free and fair elections. The recent results of the voting show that the people clearly want to put an end to any traces of the old authoritarian regime. Does this guarantee a new era of peace in that country? No, but it’s damn more hopeful than the sentiments of a few of the posters here, who would have been just as happy had Mubarak crushed the opposition, as long as Mubarak remained “our authoritarian dictator.”

  170. 170
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ija: I have no issue with someone saying, “I don’t believe the US should intervene here.” I’m a bit more curious when someone says, “I don’t believe the US should ever intervene, because it has blood on its hands.” That’s just a non sequitur.

  171. 171
    Max Daru says:

    The U.S. as impartial world-beat cop out to save innocent civilians? How about mugger with a rap-sheet the length of two arms helps innocent granny with a purse full of cash across the street?

    John, you deserve a better commentariat.

  172. 172
    MC J says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Talking to individuals as if they represent the group is always a mistake.

    I can’t help feeling that so much of the clash here ( as well as international policy in general) are based on the severely misplaced idea that groups and nations act like individual people. Nations, like any large group, are full of individuals with their own experiences and ideas. They connect themselves to the triumphs of the group and separate themselves from the mistakes. You can’t talk to them as if they own all the actions, good and bad. It sucks, because that makes groups very hard to hold accountable, but it just doesn’t work.

    So when you say (and I paraphrase) ‘you should feel chastised for YOUR mistakes’, you are telling people to feel responsible for action that they don’t see as their choice ( as individuals).. and you are not going to get very far. I personally opposed Bush at every step and feel quite offended to be lumped in with the group that you do not see as entitled to be a citizen of the world.

    I assume you would be similarly offended to be lumped in with the anti-muslim hate-mongering that has been such a staple of indian politics for the last quarter century (e.g. Pakistan, Ayodhya and the BJP).

    And I do see this as the same issue we all seem to have with foreign policy. You simply can’t expect peoples and nations to react with the perspective of the whole. When Israel conducts one of its ‘measured responses’ it seems to expect the body of Hamas to act like it’s had a small slap on the wrist, but to the individuals involved, who’ve had friends and loved ones die, the idea of it as a measured or proportional response is preposterous. To those close, it is a call to arms, to those far away, it’s just another bit of news, there are no people who feel the slap on the wrist and act accordingly.

    This is why it is important to be more precise, talk to people about their individual actions, choices, and yes, sometimes their complicity. But by painting everyone within a group using the same broad strokes, you’ll alienate and offend. Blaming an abstract “Them” will only drives people apart without advancing any constructive agenda.

  173. 173
    OzoneR says:

    @Max Daru:

    How about mugger with a rap-sheet the length of two arms helps innocent granny with a purse full of cash across the street?

    It’s delicious hearing liberals suddenly tell us criminals can never be reformed.

  174. 174
    bjacques says:

    Has anyone actually *read* the UN Security Council “no-fly zone” Resolution 19/3, ((main points here — c/o The Guardian)?

    I remember when the talk about the all-Libya no-fly zone rose to a fever pitch a few days ago, even as it looked like what the Libyan opposition really needed was a “no shelling the crap out of opposition-held towns” zone. Well, the resolution does in fact includes that, and orders a cease-fire to boot.

    Qaddafi’s spokesdroid responded with an agreement to comply with all of the above, incidentally misquoting the part about exemptions for commercial and humanitarian flights. Meanwhile, tanks raced toward Banghazi and al-Ajdabiya, shelling all the way, so they ensconce themselves in the middle of town with the opposition civilians as human shields.

    They got what they deserved.

    If Qaddafi wants to hole up in the middle of Tripoli with his loyalists volunteering to catch bullets for him, let him. Build a wall around them and let them sit there and rot. It’s a bonus if his sons (and daughter or two) are with him, but they probably aren’t that stupid. I’d love to see if he can buy food, water and electricity (and waste removal) on credit.

    The US and the coalition can still mess this up, but I think they’re doing a great job so far.

    Also, the Tomahawks are already paid for. Too.

    (By the way, can anybody identify that jet-compressor-thingy the Libyan government guy claim is a missile part? Tomahawks use turbofans, but I can’t tell if that was part of one).

  175. 175
    mclaren says:

    Silly Cole. Questions are for kids.

    Why ask why?

    America is now in the forever war. If we’re not at war in Iraq, we’ll be at war in Libya. If we’re not at war in Libya, we’ll be at war in Afghanistan. If we’re not at war in Afghanistan, we’ll be at war in Yemen, or Mexico, or Tierra del Fuego.

    Once upon a time, the military-industrial complex was a tiny little parasite feeding off the government. Today, in 2011, the military-industrial-police-terror complex has become the government, and every other part of the U.S. government is now the parasite feeding off it. We must have war forever, or the military-industrial-police-terror complex will starve, and America will die with it.

    America will be at war four years from now, fourteen years from now and forty years from now. War without end, war beyond war, horizon beyond horizon of enemies to be vanquished…

    This is America in the 21st century. Get used to it.

  176. 176
    McMullje says:

    I am not smart enough or well-informed enough to attempt to answer any of your questions John, but I will say that I am enormously grateful that democracy happens on your site. I just read through all of the responses and decided that when this can happen – all is well in America.

  177. 177
    Fe E says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Sorta OT: I have often wondered what would have happened if Japan had dispensed with an attack on the US fleet (Pearl Harbor and Phillipines) and just gone for the oil in the Dutch East Indies? I just haven’t found any clear indication that the US would have declared war over the atytack on somebody else’s colonies.

    Granted there was pretty much no way the Japanese would’ve been content to have the Phillipines in US hands sitting astride the lines of communication so an attack on the US was pretty much inevitable….but I still wonder how deep was US isolationism in 1941?

    Back to Mr. Ariya’s and PIGL’s take WWII had many, many, many threads of colonialism vs independence movement, but it strikes me that none of the substantial powers was fighting against colonialism–certainly none of the Axis powers.

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