Rules of war

Everyone’s talking about this, from Marc Ambinder, which describes pretty much exactly what I thought the new Obama model for intervention would be:

The development of a new doctrine in the Middle East is taking form, and it could become a paradigm for how the international community deals with unrest across the region from now on. The new elements include the direct participation of the Arab world, the visible participation of U.S. allies, as well as a very specific set of military targets designed to forestall needless human suffering. Though the Libyan situation is quite unique – its military is nowhere near as strong as Iran’s is, for one thing – Obama hopes that a short, surgical, non-US-led campaign with no ground troops will satisfy Americans skeptical about military intervention and will not arouse the suspicions of Arabs and Muslims that the U.S. is attempting to influence indigenously growing democracies.

The US is not going to move towards a non-interventionist model, no matter how well Daniel Larison argues in favor of one. If the US is going to intervene all over the world — and it is, for better or worse — getting international approval and avoiding ground drops sure seem like good ideas to me. This new Obama model sounds a lot like the Bush I/Clinton model.






362 replies
  1. 1
    bleh says:

    Okay, nice “first draft of history.” But there’s lots of “could” and “hope.” And it doesn’t get at the question several people are asking, ie, what’s the end-game? Gates wanted to “game out” the possibilities — did he, and where do they end?

    I haven’t seen ANY talk of, say, an Arab-League-led peacekeeping force, or any discussion of what happens when Qaddafi retreats to siege mode and then gradually steps up the pressure again until the rebels finish collapsing.

    So far, this looks like nothing but a giant, very expensive TV show. Remember that every Tomahawk missile costs, what, a million dollars or so, all things considered?

  2. 2
    terraformer says:

    Well, if the goal is to “forestall needless human suffering”, then this new rule set should probably not be so transparent in doing the forestalling only in areas that have oil.

  3. 3
    Ron says:

    It’s not an ideal situation, but I agree with Doug here. This is the right way to go about this. Get UN support as opposed to essentially a unilateral invasion. While I don’t support the idea of essentially invading countries without any real justification, I think that if the UN votes to do something and we have international support that is a completely different situation.

  4. 4
    MikeBoyScout says:

    If the US is going to intervene all over the world—and it is, for better or worse—getting international approval and avoiding ground drops sure seem like good ideas to me.

    YES! Splendid little wars with coalitions of the willing! Nothing can go wrong! If it turns out badly, nobody could have predicted!
    Also too, no impact to the pesky deficit.

  5. 5
    MikeJ says:

    @terraformer: Part of the plan is getting international support. You can’t blame the US for not leading a unilateral invasion of someplace and then complain that the multinational support is in favor of invading other places.

  6. 6
    SGEW says:

    I wonder how many people who are for or against the Libyan intervention would also be for or against an intervention into Bahrain or Yemen (if the crackdown on protests accelerates), or the Ivory Coast (if Gbagbo starts seriously shelling villages), or Burma (if new protests started and the government went totally apeshit on their own citizens (entirely likely, alas)), or Darfur (if the cease-fire broke down and the genocide started up again), or some other event that could lead to thousands of civilian deaths. Or hundreds of thousands.

    Is it about rising to a certain level of humanitarian crisis? (A crisis in which almost a million people could be killed > a crisis in which a thousand people have been killed.) Is it about logistics? (No military force looks forward to deploying into the Congo.) Realpolitik? (There’s no way China would agree to an intervention into Burma; the tribal situation in Libya is completely different from the sectarian situation in Bahrain.) Caution? (Historically, the unforeseen consequences of using military force usually outweigh the attempted goals.) Or simply a question of stated principles? (E.g., even if an intervention into Rwanda could have prevented genocide, it would not have been in the U.S.A.’s national interest (see Larison, et. al.).)

    It’s a very disconcerting calculus.

    So what is the administration’s policy? Obama (flanked by Clinton and Power and Rice, fer cryin’ out loud!) allegedly said that this is a chance to “realign our interests and our values” — which interests? What measurement of value?

  7. 7
    JPL says:

    What is this end game the media keeps talking about?

  8. 8
    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 not including tanker support, three US ships and three US submarines.
    Thank God for that coalition in which we’re only a junior member.

  9. 9
    SGEW says:

    Also, too: Love that people are reading Marc “I Never Liked Blogging Anyway” Ambinder again.

  10. 10
    terraformer says:

    @MikeJ:

    Umm, I didn’t single out the U.S. As the story says, this “could become a paradigm for how the international community deals with unrest in the region from now on”.

  11. 11
    scav says:

    and what of the Arab League’s sudden disclaimer (from BBC)

    “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians,” said Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @6 SGEW, put me down as against all freedom bringing military interventions. When the risk of collateral damage is equal between the oppressed and the gun boat diplomats, ring me up to reconsider.

  14. 14
    Ron says:

    @scav: I’m not sure what the Arab League expected when they asked for a no-fly zone. Generally it’s prudent to try to take out anti-aircraft artillery if you want to try to enforce a no-fly zone.

  15. 15
    gnomedad says:

    @Ron:

    I’m not sure what the Arab League expected when they asked for a no-fly zone.

    They get the no-fly zone they want plus the ability to simultaneously condemn it?

  16. 16
    Ron says:

    @gnomedad: That sounds about right. Whether one agrees with what is being done, you can’t logically ask for a no-fly zone and then complain when there are missile attacks on that country.

  17. 17
    soonergrunt says:

    @scav:
    @Ron: There have been civilians killed. There always are. That’s sad and unfortunate, and not even remotely what the Arab League is concerned about.
    They are concerned that this will set a precedent of the western powers attacking their oppressive regimes as well. It’s one thing to distract the west with the shiny thing in Libya, it’s another thing entirely to have the west thinking that stopping them from killing protesters at will.

    Some talking head on MSNBC was saying that a lot of this is the French jockeying for position with respect to the rest of Europe, and that’s why the Germans aren’t supporting this.

  18. 18
    Freddie says:

    In other words, you support wars where you don’t have to see the bodies. I’m glad you approve of the Arab League’s involvement; they are currently lending their great legitimacy to the cause of shooting unarmed protesters in Bahrain. But such is life when you treat the application of military force by executive fiat as the sad truth.

    I assure you, friend– you will not get the world you want out of Barack Obama and his foreign policy. The fact that people can continue to hide behind the absurd canard of “smart” warfare, after we have seen decades of proof that military aggression inevitably kills innocent people, is proof that the American mind can convince itself of anything so long as it wraps itself in righteousness.

  19. 19
    New Yorker says:

    @gnomedad:

    That sounds like the Arab governments I know. I know they love condemning Israel, but also love Israel for fighting Iranian proxies like Hezbollah so they don’t have to.

    One concern I have is that a sane leader, having seen air strikes wiping out his air defenses, tanks, and artillery, would immediately call for a cease-fire and ask for the opportunity to negotiate a settlement with the rebels in Benghazi. Needless to say, Qaddafi does not qualify as “sane”, so if he continues to broadcast loony threats from some bunker near Tripoli and vows never to surrender, what are we going to do?

  20. 20
    Ron says:

    @Freddie: Good thing no innocent civilians were being killed in Libya before we attacked their anti-aircraft weapons.

  21. 21

    If the US is going to intervene all over the world—and it is, for better or worse—getting international approval and avoiding ground drops sure seem like good ideas to me.

    As does the high priority placed on humanitarian, as opposed to geo-strategic, goals.

    This new Obama model sounds a lot like the Bush I/Clinton model.

    Everyone talks about “the Bush I model” in terms of the coalition we led into Iraq, but nobody remembers the U.N.-condemned, unilateral invasion of Panama.

  22. 22
    Tim H says:

    @soonergrunt:

    And 110 cruise missiles. But we’re certainly not leading this. No siree.

    By the way comrade, I could have sworn that Bush II got hisself a UN resolution before he invaded Iraq. In Sept 02, IIRC.

  23. 23
    Ron says:

    @New Yorker: That is definitely the big question. He is digging in pretty deep referring to the west as “Nazis” so there is a definite question of “now what”. While I agree with the actions so far, I think actually sending troops into Libya would be a disaster, so I don’t know what happens next.

  24. 24
    soonergrunt says:

    @Freddie: You write as if that were an exclusively American phenomenon. I assure you it’s not. It’s not even a primarily western phenomenon.

  25. 25
    New Yorker says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Some talking head on MSNBC was saying that a lot of this is the French jockeying for position with respect to the rest of Europe, and that’s why the Germans aren’t supporting this.

    Same as it ever was. Well, at least they aren’t digging trenches facing and promising their armies that they’d be “home before the leaves fall” these days…

  26. 26

    @MikeBoyScout:

    YES! Splendid little wars with coalitions of the willing!

    The United Nations is a “coalition of the willing?”

    Really?

    You know, I suspect you spent years denouncing Bush for his unilateralism and for acting without U.N. approval in Iraq.

    So did I.

    The difference is, I meant it. It wasn’t just something I found convenient to say in an argument with an Iraq hawk.

  27. 27
    Tim Connor says:

    Intervention for the benefit of US multinationals. If that’s the policy, and it is, then DougJ is quite right, the window dressing is handy.

    It doesn’t change the fact that US highways will continue to rot to support the people sending US jobs overseas.

  28. 28
    Corner Stone says:

    @soonergrunt: So we’re estimating the US has spent north of $300M in two days? Maybe north of $500M by the end of operations tonight?

  29. 29
    Tokyokie says:

    Well, you know, when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. What we’re doing here strikes me as similar to what we did in Kosovo; bomb the crap out of a nasty regime without a lot of support in the international community without much of an end game.

    And what others said about the Arab League. No power capable of enforcing a no-fly zone is going to try to do so solely by engaging the not-supposed-to-be-flying forces in a series of dogfights. My guess is this amounts to the U.N. calling the Arab League’s bluff; the league favored anti-Gadafi rhetoric but didn’t expect anti-Gadafi action.

  30. 30
    jon says:

    Loved the comments in the Hulabaloo link. It’s always fun to read the words of those who get angry for Obama being what he said he was rather than what they thought he said he was.

    Again and again I say to myself, as if it’s some sort of Mentat mantra, “It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is through balloon-juice that thoughts acquire speed, the thoughts get strained, and Obama remains Walter Mondale with charisma rather than the Kwisatz Haderach. It is by will alone, and an internet connection.”

  31. 31

    @soonergrunt:

    To date, one British submarine, four British aircraft, and twenty French aircraft have engaged in this operation, with over a hundred US aircraft not including tanker support, three US ships and three US submarines.

    The keyword being “to date,” meaning, on the first day of the operation. And as you either know and are pretending not to know, or actually don’t know, the first thing that happens when denying another military the ability to operate in the air is a series of strikes on their anti-aircraft system and the radar systems of their air force, actions which require much more specialized assets than the continuing policing of a no-fly zone require.

  32. 32
    Ija says:

    @Freddie:

    How about stick to the condescending tone at your own blog, Freddie? No need to call anybody “friend”. DougJ is not your “friend”, he’s a blogger, just like you.

    I guess the left is strictly hard-core non-interventionist, now. Or is that only for “true leftists” like Freddie?

  33. 33

    @Tim Connor:

    Intervention for the benefit of US multinationals.

    Why would the French and British spend weeks pressing the United States to intervene for the benefit of US multinationals?

  34. 34

    @Tim H:

    By the way comrade, I could have sworn that Bush II got hisself a UN resolution before he invaded Iraq.

    It was not an authorization to conduct military operations, like Resolution 1973, or the resolution preceding the Gulf War.

    It actually matters what the resolutions say.

  35. 35
    BR says:

    @Tim Connor:

    Intervention for the benefit of US multinationals. If that’s the policy, and it is, then DougJ is quite right, the window dressing is handy.

    Indeed it is. Libya has one of the last best remaining reserves of light sweet crude oil in the world. Apparently it’s so good and so easy to pump that by some estimates it only costs them $1 / barrel to produce, so the other, say $109 / barrel (brent crude prices) are theirs to keep:

    One Country’s $109 Profit on $110 Oil

    The funny this is that article is from 2008, the last time oil was at $110 / barrel. Well, not so funny, because as we’re seeing peak oil is going to cause 3-5 year cycles of recession / inadequate recovery, as we take the economic escalator down.

  36. 36
    SGEW says:

    @MikeBoyScout:

    When the risk of collateral damage is equal between the oppressed and the gun boat diplomats, ring me up to reconsider.

    So, speaking hypothetically . . . say that Country X (pop. @ 10-20 mil., no oil) went crazy-town, and started, I don’t know, putting certain ethnicities into death camps or something (I’m talking worst-case-scenario stuff). The U.S. has an option to intervene, along with the U.N. and the regional organization of states (e.g., OAS, AU, etc.), in order to destroy Country X’s military forces and support a local revolutionary movement (made up of a coalition of ethnicities that are being put into death camps, let’s say) with the end-game of regime change and a new constitutional convention. There would probably be significant collateral damage to the civilians of Country X (projected to be far less than would have been killed if the genocide continues unabated, but still significant), with very little risk to the nations that invade (i.e., the “gun boat diplomats” would sit safe at their desks, and push buttons, and drink soda pop).

    Still no reconsideration? If so, which differences are the deciding factor? Or would it come down to the actual facts on the ground?

    (N.B. Obviously, the Libyan situation is very much not this scenario — and I really hope no one has to make an actual policy decision about this sort of thing any time soon! But I suspect that some people in the Obama administration (Rice, Power) are thinking about it pretty seriously, and are basing some of their decisions about Libya on this line of thinking.)

  37. 37
    JAHILL10 says:

    @joe from Lowell: Word. From what I have read, it looks as though the US is to bomb the crap out of their airfields to make it hard for Gaddafi to put anything in the air and the Europeans are going to step up and enforce the no-fly zone afterwards. It’s not that complicated a strategy.

  38. 38

    @Ija:

    I guess the left is strictly hard-core non-interventionist, now.

    No, people like Freddie no more speak for “the left” on international politics and intervention than they did on the PPACA. Being a loud faction of a faction on the internet doesn’t actually mean you represent most people.

    What’s happening, in terms of left-right politics, is that the Bush era of sharp partisan polarization is ending, and we’re going back to something that looks more like the 1990s, when both the left and right were divided over different actions, and there were ever-shifting left-right coalitions for and against particular actions.

  39. 39
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @26 joe from Lowell,

    Yes, The United Nations REALLY is a coalition of the willing.

    Regarding your suspicions about my opposition to the US invasion of Iraq, my opposition was not because of a legality but because it was destined to kill thousands of innocent people.

    A legal justification is no justification for the mindless slaughter of innocent people, no matter how august the legal body providing the fig leaf.

  40. 40
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Nobody in Libya had even HEARD the term “civilian death” in the past few weeks until the eeeeeevil US and NATO got involved, right guys?

  41. 41

    @MikeBoyScout:

    Yes, The United Nations REALLY is a coalition of the willing.

    I don’t really know what to say about this. It’s like someone insisting that the sky is green.

    Regarding your suspicions about my opposition to the US invasion of Iraq, my opposition was not because of a legality but because it was destined to kill thousands of innocent people.

    Then please stop ginning up these legalistic arguments that you don’t actually believe.

    If you want to make the case that letting Khaddaffy level Benghazi and slaughter the protesters is the humane thing to do, fine, argue that. Good luck.

  42. 42

    @Blue Carolinian:

    Nobody in Libya had even HEARD the term “civilian death” in the past few weeks until the eeeeeevil US and NATO got involved, right guys?

    Nobody ever dies unless they’re shot by an American. Don’t you know that?

    Curse that evil, oil-grubbing Samantha Power! What does she know about the humanitarian considerations involved in military interventions? She’s just fronting for the oil companies. Man.

  43. 43
    BR says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Where was our intervention in the Congo? Sudan? Somalia (after a brief failed attempt)? Burma? Rwanda? …

    We’re going after Tripoli Tea. That’s it.

  44. 44
    soonergrunt says:

    @Corner Stone: I honestly don’t know.
    A lot of those figures are classified. How much fuel does a B-2 burn in an hour? I’ll bet you could determine some fairly accurate performance information from that.
    We know about the cost of the missiles because that’s public record, and JDAM bombs (the preferred ordinance for long range strike) cost about $35,000/each for small bombs and $70,000/each for the bigger bomb for the guidance package, bolted onto a standard iron bomb, again public record.
    JP-8 jet fuel isn’t cheap. About $10/gallon last I cared to check.
    Probably somewhere around $200,000,000 but I wouldn’t rule out $300,000,000 at this point. We don’t know what all they’ve done or are doing.

  45. 45
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @36 SGEW,

    Your hypothetical is too hypothetical. It does not work that way.
    Nation states primarily operate in their own self interest. Politicians primarily operate in their own self interest. Private corporations operate in their own self interest.

    For a topical comparison see Bahrain vis-a-vis Libya.

  46. 46
    Blue Carolinian says:

    We can never stop a humanitarian crisis or a genocide in a country unless that country doesn’t have oil.

    I am playing your arguments back to you so you can see how fucking stupid they sound.

  47. 47
    Blue Carolinian says:

    We can never stop a humanitarian crisis or a genocide in a country unless that country doesn’t have oil.

    I am playing your arguments back to you so you can see how fucking stupid they sound.

  48. 48
    JAHILL10 says:

    I think one thing that people are going to have a very hard time wrapping their heads around is the realization that pan-Arabism is dying. That’s not what motivates the voters in these countries any more. They do not care about Israel as much as they care about the conditions within their own borders. The game is changing. We are going to have to start dealing with Arab nations on a nation by nation basis.
    I keep thinking of that Matt Damon character in Syriana who was laying it out to the leader of a fictional Middle East country with oil:
    “But what do you need a financial advisor for? Twenty years ago you had the highest Gross National Product in the world, now you’re tied with Albania. Your second largest export is secondhand goods, closely followed by dates which you’re losing five cents a pound on… You know what the business community thinks of you? They think that a hundred years ago you were living in tents out here in the desert chopping each other’s heads off and that’s where you’ll be in another hundred years.”
    The people in these countries don’t want this. They want their countries to be developed. Not sucked dry and discarded.

  49. 49
    evinfuilt says:

    Good thing we’re not broke when it comes to war. Ibet there won’t be been a peep of complaint from tea partiers, blowimng up brown people is a much better use of chinas money than feeding our own people.

  50. 50
    Ija says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    If you want to make the case that letting Khaddaffy level Benghazi and slaughter the protesters is the humane thing to do, fine, argue that.

    I think the rational argument is, if we attack, civilians will also die. So it’s death versus death. People also died due to our bombing in the former Yugoslavia, but I still think that was a trade-off that was worth it due to the genocide in Bosnia. That’s the question, is the trade-off worth it? It’s a different calculation for every situation, I think most (rational and sane) people differ only on where they fall on the balance.

    Of course there will always be people who think that all interventions are evil or everything is about the oil etc etc.

  51. 51
    soonergrunt says:

    @joe from Lowell: I know this very well. Either you do not know, or do not understand, or are pretending to not know or understand that this isn’t any of our fucking business propping up European military adventurism.
    If they’re going to depend on US military forces so blindingly obviously, the least they could do is pay us for it. Failing that, they should grow the capabilities themselves.

  52. 52
    SGEW says:

    @MikeBoyScout: So you’re saying that an actual humanitarian intervention is technically impossible because nation states only act in their own self-interest? No hypothetical, then — should we have intervened in Rwanda in 1994? Could we have?

  53. 53
    BR says:

    Now Russia is telling the US/UK/France to stop the bombing:

    Russia called on Britain, France and the United States on Sunday to stop air strikes against what it said were non-military targets in Libya, saying the attacks had caused civilian casualties.

    http://af.reuters.com/article/.....DF20110320

  54. 54

    @BR: Did you reply to the wrong comment?

    Nothing you wrote has anything to do with anything I wrote.

    Anyway, I would have supported an intervention in Darfur, I did support the intervention in Somalia when it was about guarding food convoys (I still think that the half million people we saved from starvation were worth saving)..

    As for Congo and Burma, Thomas Aquinas wrote centuries ago about the conditions for a just war, and they involve calculations about the likelihood of success and the cost imposed. I’d have to see a proposal, but I doubt that the math on those considerations is as favorable for most theoretical Burma or Congo interventions as it is for Libya. But, then, coming to a conclusion about that would require consideration of the specific circumstances of different situations, which a surprisingly large number of people seem unwilling to do when it comes to American military actions.

    It gives a whole new meaning to”fighting the last war.”

  55. 55
    mick says:

    the next six months we’re going to find out whether a decent outcome is possible in libya. a very critical period!

    ha. meet the new boss.

  56. 56
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @41 joe from Lowell,

    Joe the Strawman?

    I’m not ginning anything. And I’m certainly not letting Gaddafi do anything. Neither are you nor the UN or any coalition of the willing going to prevent him from doing anything.

    The difference is I KNOW that, and you want to believe you have some level of control over the outcome by dropping bombs in an internal conflict.

  57. 57
    Blue Carolinian says:

    He brought in foreign mercenaries. It ceased to be “internal” weeks ago.

  58. 58

    @Ija:

    Of course there will always be people who think that all interventions are evil or everything is about the oil etc etc.

    Those are fine considerations to pay attention to. They’re questions to be asked.

    The problem comes in thinking that just raising the question automatically answers it, always the same way, regardless of the circumstances.

  59. 59

    @joe from Lowell:

    Joe, you get the gold star for that one….

  60. 60
    BR says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    It applied to your comment – I was responding to this sentence you wrote:

    If you want to make the case that letting Khaddaffy level Benghazi and slaughter the protesters is the humane thing to do, fine, argue that. Good luck.

    My question comes down to why we’re often good little humanitarians when a country has oil or other strategic interest and we’re non-interventionist otherwise.

  61. 61
    Blue Carolinian says:

    How much oil do Bosnia and Kosovo have?

    How about Haiti?

  62. 62

    @soonergrunt:

    Either you do not know, or do not understand, or are pretending to not know or understand that this isn’t any of our fucking business propping up European military adventurism.

    Unless we decide that the action is worth doing.

    If they’re going to depend on US military forces so blindingly obviously, the least they could do is pay us for it.

    This isn’t us renting our capabilities as mercenaries. We’re part of this mission, too. We’re not driving the train this time, but we’re one of the cars. We aren’t doing this as a favor for the Europeans.

    Failing that, they should grow the capabilities themselves.

    Indeed.

  63. 63
    soonergrunt says:

    @BR:

    My question comes down to why we’re often good little humanitarians when a country has oil or other strategic interest and we’re non-interventionist otherwise.

    [Waving hand] Some of us have been non-interventionist for a long time.

  64. 64
    Bob Loblaw says:

    This new Obama model sounds a lot like the Bush I/Clinton model.

    Well, then it’s hardly new, is it?

    Sometimes I think Americans forget which country actually suffered under an unyielding dictator for forty years…

  65. 65
    BR says:

    @Blue Carolinian:

    Yugoslavia was strategic – we weren’t going to allow that kind of mess to go on in Europe.

    As for Haiti – I don’t remember cruise missiles or anything like what we’re doing in Libya.

  66. 66

    @JAHILL10:

    “They do not care about Israel as much as they care about the conditions within their own borders. The game is changing. We are going to have to start dealing with Arab nations on a nation by nation basis.”

    This.

    What I found very interesting during the months of protests in the ME was that there were no indications that they were directed against the US or Israel (a favorite meme of some), but rather against their own corrupt governments. Even if the governments and leaders were allies of the US, there were no anti-American or anti-Israel vibes present.

    Things are changing…

  67. 67
    JAHILL10 says:

    @Blue Carolinian: @BR: Do you think the Libyan protesters who will now NOT be wiped out by Gaddafi give a shit about that? My guess is they are thanking their lucky stars that they are in a strategic location, not bemoaning the fact that everyone who is involved may not have the purest motives.

  68. 68
    soonergrunt says:

    @joe from Lowell: my point is that this isn’t our fucking business and just because we have certain “unique capabilities” does not obligate us to use those capabilities on behalf of the French. And the best way to get the French and the British and the Spanish and whoever else wants to do this shit is to deny them the use of ours. They’ll find room in their budgets for those capabilities if they really want them.

  69. 69
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @51 SGEW,

    I’m saying the outcome of firing weapons at people is death, and that those of us who sit and watch it on the teevee have a completely unrealistic belief that magic smart bombs don’t kill innocent people.

    SGEW, I don’t believe in “impossible”, but neither do I wear rose colored glasses.

  70. 70
    BR says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Yeah, same here. The way I look at it is like they say on airplanes – put your oxygen mask on before helping others.

    Our country is in (and has been in) a huge mess since Reagan, and getting worse. We can’t afford these sorts of constant military excursions. Instead of wasting all this money on bases around the world and weaponry and … we need to get our act together on the limits to growth and downscale our society.

  71. 71

    @MikeBoyScout:

    Joe the Strawman?

    Nope. People really, honestly, even on this very thread, are arguing that we should let Khadaffy continue what he’s been doing for the past two weeks, instead of stopping him, and are arguing this for humanitarian reasons.

    Just watch. They’re going to do it even more, in ever-more heated language, as this thread goes on.

    I’m not ginning anything.

    You made the little snark about this being a “coalition of the willing,” and argued back at me when I pointed out that it was, in fact, UN authorized.

    Neither are you nor the UN or any coalition of the willing going to prevent him from doing anything…The difference is I KNOW that, and you want to believe you have some level of control over the outcome by dropping bombs in an internal conflict.

    Ah, yes, Lafayette, since when has external intervention altered the outcome of an internal fight? Good thing you “know” it didn’t. Sort of like how you “know” that the U.N. Security Council is just like a “coalition of the willing.”

  72. 72
    BR says:

    @MikeBoyScout:

    I’m saying the outcome of firing weapons at people is death, and that those of us who sit and watch it on the teevee have a completely unrealistic belief that magic smart bombs don’t kill innocent people.

    This.

  73. 73
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Tim H:

    By the way comrade, I could have sworn that Bush II got hisself a UN resolution before he invaded Iraq. In Sept 02, IIRC.

    So they could put Democrats on the eternal hot seat for either going along with a clusterfuck or opposing a glorious war of American exceptionalism.

  74. 74

    @BR:

    My question comes down to why we’re often good little humanitarians when a country has oil or other strategic interest and we’re non-interventionist otherwise.

    You mean like in Bosnia and Kosovo?

    Or did you mean Haiti?

  75. 75
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Innocent people never die in wars unless a western country, especially the United States, is involved

  76. 76
    BR says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Um…I answered that above.

  77. 77
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    Sometimes I think Americans forget which country actually suffered under an unyielding dictator for forty years…

    Cuba?

  78. 78
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone:

    So we’re estimating the US has spent north of $300M in two days? Maybe north of $500M by the end of operations tonight?

    Anyone got a decently solid figure? If we’re helpless to oppose the neocons, at least we can reveal the austerity pimps to be frauds.

  79. 79

    @Bob Loblaw:

    Well, then it’s hardly new, is it?

    It is to some people, who seem to think that Obama is following the Dubya model, and its radical departure from the Bush I/Clinton model.

    (These tend to be people who were absolutely convinced in March 2003 that the Iraq invasion represented a significant change in American policy, but who subsequently decided it did not).

  80. 80

    @Freddie:

    I assure you, friend—you will not get the world you want out of Barack Obama and his foreign policy.

    There is a line of thought that proposes that we won’t get the world we want as long as there are nation states.

    This line of thought stretches from the inception of the anarchist movements [there have been several], through the lyrics of “Imagine”, and into what we could call New Age Philosophy.

    I haven’t made up my mind about the risks and benefits of this idea, but I do think its proponents are not entirely wrong.

    I think proponents of this proposal consider Obama to be a good-hearted person but definitely a part of the Old Order.

  81. 81
    JAHILL10 says:

    @joe from Lowell: I wondered when someone was going to mention the French intervention in our little democratic experiment. Do you suppose they did it out of the goodness of their hearts or because they wanted increased access to the natural resources of North America?

  82. 82
    t jasper parnell says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    If you want to make the case that letting Khaddaffy level Benghazi and slaughter the protesters is the humane thing to do, fine, argue that. Good luck.

    So how does it end? Negotiations between whom, exactly? G-Man and his loyalists, non-loyal members of the current admin, the protesters, and the (alleged) mercenaries?

    Staying out of yet another war or war-like situation might not be “humane,” except to the extent that staying out doesn’t involve using violence against somebody or some as yet undetermined period, but intervening like this in that situation almost certainly ensures more active “engagement,” which I believe means accidentally killing civilians. Who, I ask in advance, could have known that intervening would lead to more intervention and yet even more killing?

  83. 83
    BR says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The irony there is the Cuba by recent studies is the only country in the world that is environmentally sustainable and has a high human development index. That’s what happens when you’re cut off from much of the industrialized world and you enact smart policies – you develop self-sufficiency and sustainability. (This isn’t to say that it wouldn’t be better if they were also democratic.)

  84. 84
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Everything used in this conflict has already been bought and paid for.

    I’m kind of on the fence, but the anti intervention arguments aren’t helping your cause. Cheap shots about oil and body bag pacifism is the best you can do?

  85. 85
    IM says:

    Surgical? When I hear surgical, I reach for my revolver.

    That tired old lie should really be retired. Along with promises that everything will be over by Easter.

  86. 86
  87. 87

    @soonergrunt:

    my point is that this isn’t our fucking business

    And that’s where we disagree. I actually do support the use of power for humanitarian purposes.

    and just because we have certain “unique capabilities” does not obligate us to use those capabilities on behalf of the French.

    We’re not using them “on behalf of the French,” but on behalf of the protesters.

    And the best way to get the French and the British and the Spanish and whoever else wants to do this shit is to deny them the use of ours.

    That’s questionable. The EU significantly increased its capabilities after the Kosovo War, for instance. It’s not an open-and-shut case.

  88. 88
    t jasper parnell says:

    @BR: If you ignore the Invasion of Hati way back when, the embargo ofter Haiti’s successful revolution and the related etc, then sure nothing like Libya.

  89. 89
    BR says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Maybe this really is some 11 dimensional chess move. Obama and Dems support Libya intervention, GOPers turn non-interventionist, Obama calls them on it and pulls out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I wish.

  90. 90
    KB says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Where are you getting the figure of 100+ us planes from?

    According to the US military they’ve used 19 planes over libya.

  91. 91
    BR says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    Are you talking about back in 1915?

  92. 92
    cleek says:

    yay war!
    yay for wars of choice!
    yay war!
    yay for opting to entangle!
    yay war!

  93. 93
    soonergrunt says:

    @Blue Carolinian:

    Everything used in this conflict has already been bought and paid for.

    And the fuel burned up and the parts worn out and the bombs dropped and the missiles fired will all be replaced through magic fairy dust, will it?

  94. 94
    t jasper parnell says:

    @BR: Jefferson’s embargo and the 1815 coup, yes.
    ETA and the “penalty” the Haitians had to pay France for having the temerity to lead the only successful slave revolution in world history.

  95. 95
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I’ll admit to my own ambivalence, but it seems as if the Overton Window for BJ foreign policy discussions has moved someplace between Robert Taft and the official Libertarian Party.

    And yes, people seemingly trying to make up for the failures of 2002-2003 arent helping things.

    ETA: and yes, just to go the full Godwin, why did we “intervene” in Europe in 1941 if it wasn’ the Germans who attacked us on December 7? And we all know there was a conspiracy with that dastardly FDR who wanted to destroy America’s proud tradition of not going abroad to find monsters to fight.

  96. 96
    Mike Furlan says:

    Of course Daniel Larison is against intervention in Libya.

    It doesn’t narrowly promote white supremacy.

    Proudly pro-Confederate, League of the South member, He believes that violence was justified in the defense of slavery in the 1860s.

    And now? As he says, “There is, of course, nothing inherently wrong in “identity politics for white people…”
    http://takimag.com/article/egads_identity_politics

    Mr. Larison is smart and well educated. Why would he claim to believe such nonsense? Does the white supremacist wingnut welfare game pay that well?

  97. 97
    BR says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    Ah, so you’re going back even further.

  98. 98
    soonergrunt says:

    @KB: Sure there were only 20 US aircraft dropping bombs or shooting missiles.
    How many tankers, JSTARS, AWACS, and SAR packages were in the air? How many of those assets were replaced on station by other assets?

  99. 99
    BR says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    I’ve been anti-war and anti-empire for as long as I can remember, and not the least bit capital-L Libertarian.

    I guess I’m tired of us being “like Mother Teresa with First Strike capability.”

    As for WWII – that wasn’t a civil war. We had allies and they were taken over. So it’s a different situation.

  100. 100
    DFer says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Some talking head on MSNBC was saying that a lot of this is the French jockeying for position with respect to the rest of Europe, and that’s why the Germans aren’t supporting this.

    France is trying to become the new Germany, the defacto “leader” of Europe; economically, politically, and militarily. This has a lot to do with that.

  101. 101
    t jasper parnell says:

    @BR: Yes indeed, understanding the present horrors in the light of past horrors is my business. For all you humanitarians out there you might find this interesting.

  102. 102
    JAHILL10 says:

    @t jasper parnell: I think this is what makes people so uncomfortable. We don’t know exactly how this is going to end. I suppose if Obama told us a story about how the U.S., EU and Arab League forces would be greeted as liberators or some such nonsense, people would have a “narrative” to hold onto. But the real answer is we don’t know. What Libya becomes is ultimately up to Libyans. But if national community gives them room to make that decision on their own, the chances that they will be hostile to the community are lessened.

  103. 103
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @70 joe from Lowell,

    …even on this very thread, are arguing that we should let Khadaffy continue what he’s been doing for the past two weeks, instead of stopping him, …

    I’m sorry. You are not capable of understanding that a no-fly zone implemented with UN coalition of the willing planes and bombs is not going to stop Gaddafi from killing people. Neither are you yet capable of understanding that our adding to the carnage is wrong.

    Sadly this seems in part due to your not having a firm grasp of history. So, why don’t you stop commenting for an afternoon and (re?) read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present.

    That’s the best I can do for you Joe.

    I look forward to your return on a thread when this splendid new little war is quickly won and all your totally legal (by the UN! weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!) interventionist unicorns and rainbows have been delivered.

  104. 104
    stuckinred says:

    Got it solved yet?

  105. 105
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @BR:
    I was referring to foreign policy views, which seem to be here that if you aren’t stridently isolationist (and its always 2003 here!!) than you are an apologist for AMERCIAN EMPIRE RAR!!!! Not the full gamut of offical Libertarian Party docrtine.

    Seriously, I get the need for people to atone for past mistakes, but sometimes zealous converts need to take a step back and relax.

  106. 106
    DFer says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    I suspect you spent years denouncing Bush for his unilateralism and for acting without U.N. approval in Iraq.

    Personally, I didn’t support the Iraq war, UN approval or not, and I always warned people who used the UN approval card as an excuse that it would come back and bite them in the ass when a Democrat starts a war “the right way”

  107. 107
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    I doubt that the math on those considerations is as favorable for most theoretical Burma or Congo interventions as it is for Libya.

    And there we have it. Thank you for accidentally falling into honesty there for a moment.

    There are no rules. There are no principles. There is opportunity.

    Two million people in the Congo can get hacked up, and it’s a tragedy. We can do nothing. “The Congo is too difficult.”

    Two thousand Libyans can die, and it’s an actionable humanitarian crisis. We can do something. Because Libya is flat and sparse and accessible by sea. And patron and friendless.

    Stop getting false moralism in your fucking realpolitik and be straight on this. There’s nothing wrong with this viewpoint.

  108. 108
    Hypnos says:

    The oil argument is stupid. The best approach to keep the oil flowing was mumble something irrelevant, wait for Gaddafi to clear out the protesters, and go back to buying oil from him. Oil would have been back on the market in a matter of weeks. That’s exactly what Italy’s Berlusconi – being a mafia man he doesn’t have a conscience – tried to do. When Gaddafi started massacring protesters and Westerners started howling in outrage, asking Italy to put pressure on its best friend, Berlusconi answered that he “didn’t want to disturb Mr. Gaddafi”.

    Now obviously the Arab League and Russia are making noises. The West is openly supporting a series of revolts AGAINST its best economic interests (which are stability in MENA), and this revolts are aimed at the very nice chaps who chair the bloody Arab League. Their butts are on the line, and if this is the West saying “Screw the oil, screw stability, let’s double down on democracy”, than they must be very scared indeed.

    Now I don’t think the West will go that far, especially because we won’t have anymore oil to run our militaries if we do that, but this is not another oil war.

    As for the US involvement, I don’t think Europe really has any kind of swaying power over the use of American armed forces. The USA tend to do whatever the fuck they want. And if they wanted out, they could’ve stayed out, like Germany did.

    And at the end of the day, peacekeeping is not a US business. Less than 1% of UN peacekeepers are American. 5% are European. The rest is the rest of the world. In Kosovo, out of 50k troops, the US had 8k. The rest were European.

    So the only places where American ground troops actually go and die is where the American government puts them – not whiny Europeans or anyone else.

  109. 109
    SGEW says:

    @MikeBoyScout:

    I’m saying the outcome of firing weapons at people is death, and that those of us who sit and watch it on the teevee have a completely unrealistic belief that magic smart bombs don’t kill innocent people.

    Sure. Didn’t exactly answer the question, but I certainly get your point.

    But leaving aside the ignorant and short-sighted narcissistic jingoism that motivates many “pro-war” advocates (and I really don’t think I’ve seen all that much of that sort of thing here), there is still the question of when (or whether) humanitarian intervention can ever be justified. Or, I suppose, trusted.

  110. 110
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Howard Zinn?

    How old are you? 20?

  111. 111
    HBuellA says:

    “Purest motives” are and have been non-existent in all the wars cited above. More closer to my ancestry is Kosovo. Although both sides co-existed as neighbors and friends for many generations, both sides upon the newer ideals of the younger generations became enemies. It’s the way of the world.

  112. 112
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Mike Furlan:

    Because he says the right things with regards to foreign policy, people don’t realize just how warped and fucked up Larison’s other views are (his Southern/Confederacy fetish, as you mentioned) and lets be honest, going after the contemporary GOP is just low hanging fruit.

    Suppose that won’t stop him from being linked by front pagers, but that’s the irony-people linking to a Confederate sympathizer, while DennisG has his (awesome too, IMHO) screeds denouncing the South.

  113. 113
    BR says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    Seriously, I get the need for people to atone for past mistakes, but sometimes zealous converts need to take a step back and relax.

    You mean Cole and DougJ?

    I don’t (and I imagine a lot of folks here don’t) fall into the converts category – since as long as I can remember I’ve been politically democratic s-cialist, for downsizing the military-industrial complex, etc…

  114. 114
    Hypnos says:

    Also, if European planes use American planes to refuel, wouldn’t they pay for the fuel?

    Innocent question here.

    Saudi Arabia and Kuwait did pay for Iraq – some 40 billion if I recall correctly.

  115. 115
    t jasper parnell says:

    @JAHILL10: If it’s up to the Libyans, why oh why is the west establishing air superiority right this very minute?

  116. 116
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @SGEW: The key factor is whether Bono has ever visited.

  117. 117
    DFer says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Curse that evil, oil-grubbing Samantha Power! What does she know about the humanitarian considerations involved in military interventions? She’s just fronting for the oil companies. Man.

    The whole “this is for oil” argument is really quite ridiculous. If we were doing this for oil, we would’ve left Gaddafi in place, because unlike Saddam Hussein, he’s not being stingy with his oil. He’s letting it flow free like beer at a bar during an NFL game. Why would we risk that to allow the Libyan people to put in place a government that might take away our free-flowing oil and perhaps privatize the industry?

  118. 118
    BR says:

    @DFer:

    I think you’re oversimplifying the “it’s for oil” argument. It’s that we (the coalition) are being opportunistic – we’re interested in the oil that’s there strategically, and this seemed like a good chance to take out Qaddafi. If that also means one of the supermajors gets to set up shop, I’m sure we wouldn’t mind.

  119. 119
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    There is a line of thought that proposes that we won’t get the world we want as long as there are nation states.

    If you’re stuck with them — and we are, for the foreseeable future, there either has to be some way to police their behavior, or declare individual states the top of the coercion totem pole, and write off their behavior so long as it’s internal. There’s no perfect way to do the first, so we can’t do it. And there’s no way to tolerate the second.

    It’s the trolley problem, moved to international relations.

  120. 120
    JAHILL10 says:

    @t jasper parnell: That’s a valid argument if you think Gaddafi is the only Libyan whose opinion matters. As long as he is bent on slaughtering the political opposition, the Libyans (plural) don’t get a say.

  121. 121
    t jasper parnell says:

    @JAHILL10: On whose side are we intervening? What, exactly, comes after air superiority and G doesn’t stop killing people? More humanitarian killing of people?

  122. 122
    KB says:

    @soonergrunt:

    So the 100+ now does include tankers?
    “with over a hundred US aircraft not including tanker support”
    was your original claim.

    And the british and french haven’t been juggling their assets?
    Or using refuelling planes? (certainly the UK have)
    Or using their equivalent of awacs?

    So where did you get your figure of 100+ planes from?

  123. 123
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @DFer:

    Perhaps. Though your case would have stronger backing if security relationships and diplomacy between Europe and Libya were not shown to be deeply and inextricably interconnected to oil services contracting in the wake of the resolution to the Lockerbie scenario not 18 months ago.

    By the way, I wonder what that terrorist dude has been up to lately? Depending on how things shake out, he might have wished he had never gotten out of jail in the first place.

  124. 124
  125. 125
  126. 126
    SGEW says:

    @Davis X. Machina: There is a very good case for a humanitarian intervention to stop “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”

  127. 127
    Corner Stone says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Looks like our solution is to drone the trolley and leave the people tied to the track.

  128. 128
    Shoemaker-Levy 9 says:

    The development of a new doctrine in the Middle East is taking form, and it could become a paradigm for how the international community deals with unrest across the region from now on.

    Or at least until the next President takes over.

    Knuckle-draggers like Ambinder make these grand pronouncements every few years. Remember how Afghanistan and Iraq were going to be the new paradigm? I know we Americans have short attention spans, but it wasn’t that long ago. So I will be conservative and put the over/under for the next time Ambinder declares a new paradigm “from now on” at six years. Much depends on how the next election goes.

  129. 129
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I don’t mind a principled blanket anti-interventionism — it’s principled. And if the world were a better place, it’d be the better option

    What I do mind is a factitious ‘Intervene here, here, and here, and then you can intervene in Libya, having proved thereby your oil-free bona fides‘ position thrown up purely for debating purposes.

  130. 130
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    And if the world were a better place, it’d be the better option

    Out of curiosity, what positive or successful interventions are you thinking of? To narrow the field of humane endeavor, let’s say post 1945.

  131. 131
    BR says:

    Btw, for those cheering the Libya intervention – why aren’t we intervening in Bahrain, where from what I can tell the protesters are being killed by the police, and Saudi Arabia is helping the Bahrain government suppress protests?

  132. 132
    Mike Furlan says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    I can’t see how Daniel Larison adds anything to the conversation that you couldn’t get in many other places.

    Plenty of smart folks against intervention.

    Not all of them want to be seen as a white supremacist kook.

  133. 133
    Dennis SGMM says:

    I’ve noticed a distinct absence of news or fact regarding what the rebels stand for, except being opposed to Gaddafi. We don’t know whether we’re supporting a Libyan George Washington or the next Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

    One other point; there is no such thing as a “surgical strike” and ordnance delivered for humanitarian reasons often winds up killing non-combatants just as effectively as ordnance delivered for non-humanitarian reasons. When you blow shit up the shrapnel flies far and wide and it doesn’t distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys.

  134. 134
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @t jasper parnell: Everything in the Balkans. East Timor, when the UN finally got off its ass. First Gulf War, though the sequelae were badly managed. Chad, at least the ’83 go-round.

  135. 135
    Comrade DougJ says:

    @Mike Furlan:

    I agree he is crazy on many other things, but his arguments against interventionism are the most convincing ones I have read.

    I am not a non-interventionist, personally. I still think the Bosnia mission was a good idea.

  136. 136
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I’ve noticed a distinct absence of news or fact regarding what the rebels stand for, except being opposed to Gaddafi.

    What rebels? Are you suggesting there is something going on here besides genocide, massacre and wholesale slaughter of innocent civilians? You clearly aren’t keeping up with the propaganda.

  137. 137
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @129 BR

    why aren’t we intervening in Bahrain, where from what I can tell the protesters are being killed by the police, and Saudi Arabia is helping the Bahrain government suppress protests?

    I thought we did intervene with telephone calls?
    Also too, those killed in Bahrain may simply not be as human as the folk in Libya and worthy of our peace bombs.

  138. 138
    JAHILL10 says:

    @t jasper parnell: The people who are running Gaddafi’s military at the moment are mercenaries, most of the military abandoned Gaddafi awhile back and joined the opposition. The point of the no-fly zone was to keep Gaddafi and his mercenaries from bombing the opposition into oblivion. So I think we can safely say we are intervening on the side of the political opposition. They’ve been telling Al Jazeera for weeks that if we could get Gaddafi’s planes off their ass they would have a fighting chance. Not that we should invade and take over for them, but that they be given a fighting chance. That appears to be what we are doing.
    If we and all these other countries failed to intervene, as has been pointed out above, Libyan civilians would still die in large numbers because they would be killed by G man and his paid army. Gaddafi would continue to sell oil, oil prices would drop and the economic impact on the US would be minimal. Libya would have a brutalized and oppressed population of survivors who would hate the West, be ripe for terrorist recruiters and to whom the rhetoric of democracy and freedom would be hollow words.
    I have to side with the fighting chance as uncertain and messy as it might be.

  139. 139
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    When you blow shit up the shrapnel flies far and wide and it doesn’t distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys.

    I thought they were smart bombs.

  140. 140
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Davis, you forgot Korea.

  141. 141
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Blue Carolinian: Damn. Dad fought there, too. Although that is, I suppose, of a different scale, and perhaps not an intervention in sensu stricto.

  142. 142
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Okay, why are these successful?

  143. 143
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Probably not another Ayatollah, since Shiism is all but non-existent in Libya.

  144. 144
    Blue Carolinian says:

    i’d say it is an intervention–the UN chose to intervene on one side in a civil war.

    Keeping the genocidal Kim family out of the southern half of the Korean peninsula was one of the best things the international community ever did.

  145. 145
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Competent sanction. Limited objective. The whole megillah.

  146. 146
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Blue Carolinian:

    I vaguely remember from my days studying Korean at DLI, that the Sino-Korean word for United States was “beautiful country.” I think its the same Hanja as the beautiful in beauty salon, for example.

  147. 147
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:
    My point, and I’ll fess up to making it with hyperbole, is that we have no idea what the rebels want Libya to look like post-Gadaffi. Intervening in a situation like that one seems to me another path to folly.

  148. 148
    t jasper parnell says:

    @JAHILL10: First isn’t, operationally speaking, a no fly zone, it’s air superiority. Secondly,given the amount of bullshit that surrounds our humanitarian interventions, remember those dead babies in Gulf I or Curveball in Gulf II?, what makes you so sure about G and Mercs?

  149. 149
    JAHILL10 says:

    I should add too that the reason that the debate in this country is so weirdly lopsided (and stuck in 2003) is that we are not getting quality news about what is happening over there. Not only has the disaster in Japan dominated coverage recently (because heaven forbid the MSM cover two international stories at once) but the MSM covers everything foreign policy related as though it is a measure of the size of Obama’s gonads. There have been stories done about the Libyan opposition coalition and what they want. You just will not see them outside of Al Jazeera. So the blanket assumption that “someone just as bad or worse than Gaddafi” will probably take over are pat and simplistic.

  150. 150
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    No one is going to enforce a no fly zone without first destroying Libya’s air defense network (as antiquated as it probably is).

  151. 151
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Ah, I see, hard to argue with such a nicely detailed response.

  152. 152
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @JAHILL10:

    So the blanket assumption that “someone just as bad or worse than Gaddafi” will probably take over are pat and simplistic.

    Wow! I’ve been looking for someone like you all of my life. As long as you’re so good at predicting the future would you be good enough to provide us with some winning lottery numbers?

  153. 153
    JAHILL10 says:

    @t jasper parnell: Because independent news organizations have interviewed the mercs. See my rant at 147.

  154. 154
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: Clicking through being such a bother, when opinion matter more than fact:

    It has become clear a day after its imposition that what allied forces are doing is NOT imposing a “No-Fly Zone”, so much as they are imposing absolute air supremacy in order to enable them to conduct operations against fielded Libyan forces on the ground. These are two very, very different matters. One deprives the the target of his ability to use the air to prosecute his own counterinsurgency operation (which after all, is what Qaddafi is doing), and the other (our operation) is designed to enable allied forces free reign from the air to support the insurgents.

    Words have meanings and doing something different is, in fact, doing something different.

  155. 155
    JAHILL10 says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Sorry to introduce a little nuance to your monochrome world. Keep clinging to the notion that Arabs can only be ruled by strong arm dictators.

  156. 156
    IM says:

    @JAHILL10:

    Mercenaries? You mean contractors.

    And as far as I understand Gaddafi still has sizeable libyan forces.

  157. 157
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @142 Blue Carolinian,

    Keeping the genocidal Kim family out of the southern half of the Korean peninsula was one of the best things the international community ever did.

    Without question the Kim family’s rule of North Korea is horrible. But when did it become genocidal? Before the intervention or after? Are you really so certain that without US led UN intervention in the conflict would have produced the same result in the south as had happened in the north with our victorious intervention?

    There are no easy answers. But there are many more complications when fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
    Would you feel so confident that the US led intervention under the auspices of the UN was a success had it led to a nuclear war with USSR? Coulda happened.

  158. 158
    PIGL says:

    Very touchy, you people.

    I personally am not opposed to intervention in the cause of mercy and justice, in all cases, always and as such. It is a matter of by who and how executed. If there were a UN independent military force capable of implementing UN security council resolutions, for example, that would be be an aceptable mechanism. Or a nation of spotless Christian heroes, at the ready. Or the Host of the West led by Aragorn and Gandalf, with eagles. Or unicorns.

    I also accept in some degree the arguments from trade-offs and just war theory, again in principle.

    The reason I am opposed to intervention in Libya and almost all other conceivable cases is this. I believe that by their history of military adventurism and oppression, the western powers have foreited their moral authority to act in this way and to make those tradeoff of blood and death on behalf of others.

    No honest person with a life or a nickel to lose could possibly take our protestation of moral purpose seriously for a microsecond. “Seriously, this time we’re the good guys…see, we have this UNSC resolution.”

    We have no right, and should just STFU and stay at home, and let others sort out their issues.

    Now if you are going to argue from real-politic, fine, you’re a fan of killing whatever and whoever stand in your way for profit; but in that case have the grace to drop the cloak of morality, and stand in the light as the pirates that you are.

    I can think of only one intervention that was actually justified in my lifetime, and that was the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. And look how popular that made them with the likes of all y’all.

  159. 159
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @IM:

    Mercenaries? You mean contractors.

    lmfao

  160. 160
    IM says:

    @PIGL:

    The tansanian invasion of Uganda.

  161. 161
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @MikeBoyScout:
    Please, tell me how the nuclear arsenal of the Soviet Union during the Korean War was capable of destroying the United States, much less reaching the lower 48? I’d have been more worried about a Soviet conventional push into Western Europe. You need to do a better job at researching the Soviet nuclear OOB for the early 50s. SAC wasn’t quite at its Dr. Strangelove height yet, but your claims of a nuclear war are overblown.

  162. 162
    t jasper parnell says:

    @JAHILL10: Remember Nayriah?

  163. 163
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @PIGL:

    We have no right, and should just STFU and stay at home, and let others sort out their issues.

    The Harding/Lindbergh School of International Relations

  164. 164
    Allan says:

    @cleek: Thanks for summarizing Michael Moore’s tweets from yesterday for everyone. He really is clueless, isn’t he?

    Oh, wait…

  165. 165
    Davis X. Machina says:

    If there were a UN independent military force capable of implementing UN security council resolutions, for example, that would be be an aceptable mechanism.

    My preferred solution. Work to make it possible. Because there’s never going to be a world without conflict, and without very powerful weapons.

    The beginning of civil society was when individuals renounced their right to resort to deadly force and ceded it to the sovereign. It’s long past time for nation-states — who have shown themselves a rather mixed blessing — to at least start to do the same. We don’t tolerate, certainly don’t advocate, micro- and mesoscale communities operating in the Hobbesian state of nature.

  166. 166
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Excuse me, Mike, but you didn’t ask me about fictional alternate history. You asked for a successful case of intervention and I gave you very succesful example.

  167. 167
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Oh and the USSR didn’t have much in the way of nuclear capability and were pissed Kim Il Sung launched his attack against the South without their approval.

  168. 168
    Allan says:

    @JAHILL10: And, of course, BJ commenters who oppose this intervention know fuck-all about what’s actually happening in Libya, and many of them admit that they don’t care how many Libyans die, just as long as it’s other Libyans and their hired guns who are doing the killing.

    They just see a shiny new toy that they get to fling at Obama while impotently cursing him for being just like Bush.

  169. 169
    fourmorewars says:

    @Shoemaker-Levy 9: Knuckle-draggers like Ambinder make these grand pronouncements every few years. Remember how Afghanistan and Iraq were going to be the new paradigm? I know we Americans have short attention spans, but it wasn’t that long ago. So I will be conservative and put the over/under for the next time Ambinder declares a new paradigm “from now on” at six years. Much depends on how the next election goes.

    Not only was it not that long ago, why is Ambinder, or anybody for that matter, allowed to put behind us realities like permanent Iraqi refugees in the low millions, and the walled-off, cholera-fertile, sectarian-enclave slow motion horror that is Baghdad. What, we just let him skip merrily up the road, leaving a stinking pile of garbage behind him, out of sight, out of mind?

    Is there zero chance any member of the major U.S. media like Armbinder will ever be forced to stop and look the Iraqi reality in the face, and be obligated to integrate it into any subsequent ‘analysis’ he makes of further developments like this one?

  170. 170
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    The beginning of civil society was when individuals renounced their right to resort to deadly force and ceded it to the sovereign.

    It’s arguments like these, with off-hand conflating of civil society and the monopolization of force especially the volunteerism insisted upon, that gives me hope for the future of argument on the intertubes.

  171. 171
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @161 Amanda in the South Bay,

    Please, tell me how the nuclear arsenal of the Soviet Union during the Korean War was capable of destroying the United States, much less reaching the lower 48?

    Nope. Never said that. Ain’t going to defend it.
    I believe I said nuclear war with USSR coulda happened.

    Thanks for your advice on areas of improvement in research. May I offer you some advice?

  172. 172
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan: In addition to denouncing Stalin and Broccoli, I denounce those who use this to compare Obama to Bush, unless they want to compare Obama to Bush for continuing a dangerously crazy US foreign policy that defaults on blowing things up elsewhere that dates back to, let’s say for the sake of argument, Mexico.

  173. 173
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @t jasper parnell: Why is the difference in degree actually a difference in nature in this instance?

  174. 174
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @MikeBoyScout:
    WTF, so now you are confusing. Was a nuclear war between the US and USSR possible during the Korean War? You seem to be shifting goalposts.

    “Would you feel so confident that the US led intervention under the auspices of the UN was a success had it led to a nuclear war with USSR? Coulda happened.”

    And I’m telling you that the Soviet Union was pretty much incapable of fielding large (i.e. just about any) numbers of nuclear weapons during that time. If by nuclear war you mean “the Soviet Union could’ve used a couple of weapons,” but…would’ve mattered fuck all.

  175. 175
    fourmorewars says:

    Lol, obviously not up on my comment section skills. I managed to put the first part of my own comment inside the block quote section. Apologies to Shoemaker-Levy 9. I tried to go back in and edit, but this thing ran the clock out on me and told me I couldn’t.

    Don’t know how important SL feels it is, but if it’d been my comment, I’d politely request the editors here if they could adjust that to make it clear his words end, and mine begin, at that section.

  176. 176
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Allan:

    They just see a shiny new toy that they get to fling at Obama while impotently cursing him for being just like Bush.

    Mr. Good Faith Enlightenment, everybody.

    You’re all a bunch of impotent, insidious worms because Michael Moore is fat. And loud.

    Now scream something about firebaggers and Jane Hamsher and run along. Michael Moore…it is to laugh.

  177. 177
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Davis X. Machina: What?

  178. 178
    PIGL says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-: Or, we could support, politically and financially, the establishment of a real UN military force designed for such puposes and reporting directly and only to the UNSC. Would that be OK with you? Bacause I said that it would be OK with me.

    What I claimed was that no actually existing national institution has the legitimacy to act in cases like this, because they have jointly and severally blown their moral legitimacy in a long history of plundering and murder. The US is conspicuous, but by no means alone in this respect. My own country, Canada, has clearly joined your ranks in recent years.

    If you want to support your position by putting words in my mouth, than you are either an untruther or tuppence off the shilling.

  179. 179
    Allan says:

    @soonergrunt: You keep making this point as if the US doesn’t already spend gazillions of dollars on the DoD every year, and will continue to for the immediate future. At least under Gates, there has been some effort to look at HOW those dollars are being spent, and on what. We will certainly spend some of those dollars to build more of the armaments that have been used in this action, but we spend more of those dollars paying our troops and caring for them and their families.

    Are you arguing for immediate giant cuts in the defense budget? And if so, how much unemployment should we Americans be willing to shoulder in support of this noble goal?

  180. 180
    Davis X. Machina says:

    You seem to think that the scale matters. That what was done, is done, routinely, on a daily basis, with communities of a size smaller than nation-states isn’t going to work with nation-states, ipso facto.

    Is it the voluntarism, or the size?

  181. 181

    @JAHILL10:

    Do you suppose they did it out of the goodness of their hearts or because they wanted increased access to the natural resources of North America?

    Neither. They wanted to stick a fork in the eye of the British.

    Anyway, I’m a lot more interested in consequences than in feelings when it comes to judging the moral case for human choices.

  182. 182
    Donut says:

    @Davis X. Machina: @114

    You, for the win. Best observation on Libya yet.

    @Shoemaker-Levy 9:

    Yesterday (while literally half-drunk) I was trying to make the observation about how this action has to be seen in full long-term context – meaning the next president (even if Obama wins reelection next year), is going to be dealing with an unruly mess in Libya.

    Again, those of you supporting this in full-throated fashion – I’m having a hard time understanding whether many of you have thought about what happens after Qaddafi is deposed, finally. And what happens if he isn’t?

    Either way – big fucking mess. You kid yourselves if you think this will wrap up tidily. I remind you the United States military invaded Iraq twice. We’ve been fucking with that country for 20 years and it’s been a foreign policy problem for FOUR presidents now.

    Stop thinking of this in the short term. We are now in deep in Libya. This ain’t Kosovo, kids.

    What happens if/when another neo-con and true hawk takes office in 2012, or 2016?

    When a neo-con took office in 2000, we got ourselves a full-scale invasion of Iraq – again.

    What makes you think something like that won’t happen again?

    It will.

  183. 183
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @JAHILL10:
    What else have you pulled out of your ass today? My monochrome world happens to include knowing the difference between the Abbasid and Umayymad Caliphates, among other things. Keep clinging to your uninformed smugness.

  184. 184
    fourmorewars says:

    Oh, also, if you do the necessary adjustment, please then delete my comment 175, and this one as well, which both would obviously be superfluous.

  185. 185
    Allan says:

    @Bob Loblaw: And you continue to James O’Keefe my comments by ignoring the part that makes the argument that you are ignorant and know fuck-all.

    I’m telling you, Breitbart pays big bucks. You should definitely send him your resume.

  186. 186

    @t jasper parnell:

    So how does it end?

    With the protesters driving Khadaffy out of power.

    Staying out of yet another war or war-like situation might not be “humane,” except to the extent that staying out doesn’t involve using violence against somebody or some as yet undetermined period, but intervening like this in that situation almost certainly ensures more active “engagement,” which I believe means accidentally killing civilians.

    The Vietnamese invasion of Khmer Rouge Cambodia killed people, too. And they didn’t intervene for purely humanitarian purposes. Why, they even had geo-strategic concerns. So…would it have been more humane of them not to?

  187. 187
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @166 Blue Carolinian,

    Excuse me, Mike, but you didn’t ask me about fictional alternate history. You asked for a successful case of intervention and I gave you very succesful example.

    Fair enough on the fictional alternate history jab, but you merely provided your own judgment without any support.

    Let’s just review the actual history and you can come back and tell us how our intervention in Korea was so very successful, ‘K?

    What started out as a very reasonable intervention led to an expansion of the conflict with China by a general who had command of troops on the ground and not a very good command of the Chain of Command.
    The intervention started in 1950 and tens of thousands of US troops remain there today, 60 years later.
    North Korea has subsequently starved millions of its people to death and possesses one or more nuclear bombs it uses to threaten its neighbors.

    But we’ve both got Samsung 3D ready flat screen teevees, so it is all good.

  188. 188
    Wolfdaughter says:

    Blue Carolinian:

    Cheap shots about oil and body bag pacifism is the best you can do?

    The phrase “body bag pacifism” is breathtaking callous and borders upon sociopathy.

    At least this intervention involves UN forces and at least the rebels have apparently asked for help. BUT.

    If air intervention could be limited to just engaging Ghaddafi’s air force, I could get behind that. If it were possible to send some well-armed troops directly to where the rebels are, I could even see supporting that.

    But what is happening here seems to be killing to prevent killing. And dropping bombs does result in civilian deaths. Even if you don’t concern yourself with civilian deaths, which I do, civilian deaths result in breeding more terrorists.

  189. 189
    PIGL says:

    @IM: Perhaps….I know too little of it. But stipulated, noting that in this case again, it was a case of a non-western regional power intervening against egregious behaviour in a neighbouring regime.

    (I suppose I should google the incident you mention, but would rather honour historical memory when I run across it, rather than madly fact check every single thing.)

  190. 190
    Blue Carolinian says:

    We shouldn’t pressure Mubuarak or want him to step down, cause what happens next?

    What if the Muslim Brotherhood takes over?

    And why there, but not in Libya?

    /isolationist

  191. 191
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Davis X. Machina: If you’re talking about the monopolization of force, there was nothing voluntary about it, consider Richelieu’s wars on the French nobility, to say nothing of Peasants’ Wars andthe various “famous” revolutions, 1789, 1830, 1848, 1871 to name a few, or the nearly constant, until recently, local tumults and riots. Furthermore, the monopolization of violence/force inn the hand/s of the “sovereign” didn’t create “civil society,” as the force monopolizers weren’t especially interested in allow subjects/citizens to freely converse among themselves. The processes leading to state formation and civil society have along and complicated history and your short-handed version is simply wrong.

  192. 192

    @MikeBoyScout: First, I’ve read Zinn cover to cover twice.

    Second, I’m not even the slightest bit interested in trying to have a discussion with someone who, even after being corrected, would insist on writing something as idiotic as “UN coalition of the willing” just to be a dick.

  193. 193
    t jasper parnell says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    With the protesters driving Khadaffy out of power.

    And? If the fighting continues? We do what now? I may be mistaken but didn’t the KR rise to power during a period of political destabilization after an intervention designed to protect folks from the dangers of commies symps?

  194. 194
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Mike, you think the reason the Kims mismanaged their economy, built a sickening personality cult, and obtained (we think) a nuke is because the UN intervened to stop their attack on South Korea? That the famine and totalitarian state they built was…because the US made them do it?

  195. 195
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Wolfdaughter:

    If air intervention could be limited to just engaging Ghaddafi’s air force, I could get behind that. If it were possible to send some well-armed troops directly to where the rebels are, I could even see supporting that.

    But what is happening here seems to be killing to prevent killing. And dropping bombs does result in civilian deaths. Even if you don’t concern yourself with civilian deaths, which I do, civilian deaths result in breeding more terrorists.

    so, we’re supposed to destroy Libya’s air force and air defense network, whilst allowing him to continue to shell and use armor against civilians? Wonderful logic. And what is it with this “breeding terrorists” thing? This ain’t AQ in Iraq or A-Stan. I don’t think terrorism is any part of this discussion, only serves to try and make it out to be another Iraq or A-stan.

    I don’t get the logic that says its better to send in ground troops than it is to conduct air strikes against loyalist armor and artillery. So now ground troops are okay? I can’t keep my sides straight in this debate.

  196. 196
    Canadian Observer says:

    If North Korea had been allowed to unite their people under a single government rather than be under siege for the past 50+ years from the Empire and its puppet satellite in the South, maybe North Korea could have focused on building its economy and transitioning to democracy rather than having to spend all its resources on the military to counter the Empire.

  197. 197
    Allan says:

    @t jasper parnell: Did you misunderstand what Obama said during the campaign about how he wanted to wind down Iraq and refocus on Afghanistan?

    Did you miss his Nobel speech wherein he defined just war?

    Were you asleep for his Cairo speech?

    Because if you were not paying attention, I can see how you might have expected Obama to wave a magic peace wand once elected and shut down the Department of Defense, while telling the rest of the world that as long as they don’t cross our borders and attack us, we were just going to sit on the sidelines, so they should feel free to wage war against their neighbors and even their own populations with impunity.

  198. 198
    DFer says:

    @PIGL:

    We have no right, and should just STFU and stay at home, and let others sort out their issues

    Translation: “We need to leave other people alone so I can complain about how we’re not doing anything for these poor people”

  199. 199
    DFer says:

    @Canadian Observer:

    If North Korea had been allowed to unite their people under a single government rather than be under siege for the past 50+ years from the Empire and its puppet satellite in the South, maybe North Korea could have focused on building its economy and transitioning to democracy rather than having to spend all its resources on the military to counter the Empire.

    this is a joke, right?

  200. 200

    @Bob Loblaw:

    Thank you for accidentally falling into honesty there for a moment.

    I am honest in everything I write. Why would I bother to lie on a blog comment thread?

    There are no rules. There are no principles. There is opportunity.

    You’re not much a reader, are you? Here’s what I actually wrote:

    As for Congo and Burma, Thomas Aquinas wrote centuries ago about the conditions for a just war, and they involve calculations about the likelihood of success and the cost imposed. I’d have to see a proposal, but I doubt that the math on those considerations is as favorable for most theoretical Burma or Congo interventions as it is for Libya.

    If you’re so fucking moronic that you don’t know that Thomas’ Aquinas’ Just War theory includes both moral and practical considerations, you need to STFU for a few years, and fill in the gaping holes in your education.

    No, Bob, just because you can’t manage to incorporate two whole variables into your beliefs about the use of force doesn’t mean we all share your handicap. Some of us – me, Barack Obama, Thomas Aquinas – believe that it takes both a strong moral case and a good practical case (involving cost-benefit and likelihood of success) to justify a war, and are even able to consider two things at the same time.

  201. 201
    Canadian Observer says:

    No, Mike is correct. A united Korea under Kim Il Sung could have focused on building its economy and developing its nation rather than being forced to put all their money into the military to counter a bully a million times stronger than they are sitting on their border with tanks, airplanes, missiles, and aircraft carriers.

  202. 202
    DFer says:

    @Allan:

    BJ commenters who oppose this intervention know fuck-all about what’s actually happening in Libya, and many of them admit that they don’t care how many Libyans die, just as long as it’s other Libyans and their hired guns who are doing the killing.

    Also, if Obama ignored Libya, they would have said how Obama is just like Bush for ignoring genocide, cause Bush did it in Darfur

  203. 203
    Canadian Observer says:

    The biggest threat to world peace and civilisation is the American Empire.

    Good tweets from Michael Moore:

    #1. If the Arab League supports this military action, why haven’t they sent in their Arab troops and planes in real amounts? Uh-huh

    #2. Our job is 2 prop up Arab dictators (Saudi, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, etc), not overthrow them & everyone in Arab world knows it

    #3. So knock off “it’s our moral obligation 2 defend ppl of Libya.” After Iraq & Afghan & support of dictators, we have no moral standing.

    #4. Too little, too late. So NOW we try 2 help the Libyans after Khaddafy has retaken most of country? Really just a big show, isn’t it?

    #5. We have neither the troops, stomach, or $$ to fight a ground war for months/years to defeat MK. So can we get back to the NCAA?

    #6. Unrest forced France & others 2 close down their oil shipping from Libya. Khaddafy then offered China, 3rd World France’s oil. Oops.

    Just say “no” to another war against an Islamic nation.

  204. 204
    IM says:

    Canadian Observer is a poe, right?

  205. 205
    DFer says:

    @Canadian Observer:

    A united Korea under Kim Il Sung could have focused on building its economy and developing its nation rather than being forced to put all their money into the military to counter a bully a million times stronger than they are sitting on their border with tanks, airplanes, missiles, and aircraft carriers.

    This HAS to be a joke. No one is this stupid, no one.

  206. 206
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan: I voted for Obama knowing that he was going to lots, if not all, of what he did. It doesn’t mean that I agreed with all of it or that I gave up the option of disagreeing with it at BJ. Sorry if that was unclear.

  207. 207
    Canadian Observer says:

    Obama is simply a more competent Imperialist and Neocon than Bush, which makes him all that more dangerous.

  208. 208
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @t jasper parnell: I don’t expect the process to be anything except long and complicated at the supra-national level. It’s already a hundred years or so old, and not very far along. Because it’s a long process, though, it’s not necessarily an impossible one.

  209. 209
    DFer says:

    @IM:

    Canadian Observer is a poe, right?

    i don’t know, if s/he is a serious person, then s/he’s a very sick human being. It’s one thing to criticize American imperialism, it’s another to come here and defend Kim Jung Il and try to tell us that he’s starving his people and slaughtered them, including setting them on fire in a fucking stadium, because he has to defend his poor country against an empire.

  210. 210
    Corner Stone says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Some of us – me, Barack Obama, Thomas Aquinas

    Allan, I hate to inform you but joe from Lowell has just broken the tie you two were in for “Most Pompous Jackass on BJ”.

  211. 211
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @174 Amanda in the South Bay,

    And I’m telling you that the Soviet Union was pretty much incapable of fielding large (i.e. just about any) numbers of nuclear weapons during that time. If by nuclear war you mean “the Soviet Union could’ve used a couple of weapons,”

    Clearly I am not as good at researching as you. I mistakenly believed using a couple of nuclear weapons in a war was the definition of nuclear war.
    Those damn Japanese peace activists from Hiroshima and Nagasaki are no match for your skills at defining nuclear war.

    In any event I honestly hope a couple of nuclear weapons do not fall on you or yours – ever.

  212. 212
    t jasper parnell says:

    @joe from Lowell: To say nothing of Augustine, who is the usual suspect for Catholic Just War theory — given that he first developed it.

  213. 213
    Allan says:

    @t jasper parnell: No one is trying to silence you. I’m just taking issue with what you’ve actually written here in the BJ comments thread by writing other words in the comments thread. Sorry if that was unclear.

  214. 214
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Yes, but it’s not a “voluntary” one as you argued nor is the one related to the other.

  215. 215
    Allan says:

    @Corner Stone: And you still have nothing to offer except insults. You’re currently in a tie with Bob Boblaw for the biggest derailing bully at BJ.

    I look forward to the finals, and best of luck to you.

  216. 216

    @BR:

    why aren’t we intervening in Bahrain, where from what I can tell the protesters are being killed by the police, and Saudi Arabia is helping the Bahrain government suppress protests?

    1) The scale of the government’s repression is entirely different. Khadaffy has killed thousands, and will kill thousands more. This goes to the moral case for war.

    2) The absence of international support for those interventions, and the absence of a meaningful local force actually capable of fighting against the government, make the chances of success less likely, and mean that “success,” in terms of overthrowing the dictator and forming a new government, would devolve upon the outside powers. This goes to the likelihood of success and the costs.

    As everyone should know, the question of the justness of a war needs to take into account both the moral case and the practical (chance of success, costs and benefits).

  217. 217
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan: You made, I believe, the point that I must have been asleep to write what I wrote. I made the point that I was awake. I didn’t write nor do I think that you are trying to “silence” me but rather that you misunderstood my awakedness.

  218. 218
    PIGL says:

    @DFer: Get back to me after you have learned to read.

  219. 219
    Canadian Observer says:

    The reason the Empire doesn’t intervene is because Baharain is a satellite, supported by another satellite, Saudi Arabia (which is also a dictatorship).

  220. 220
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @194 Blue Carolinian,

    No. None of those things. My point is that intervention has unknowable and unintended consequences. Our military intervention in Korea in 1950 is nothing to be bragging about in 2011. It did not go as planned, and 60 years later it ain’t finished.

  221. 221
    Allan says:

    @Canadian Observer: Thanks for posting those. Upthread, people who hadn’t read them were making the claim that I was out of line for mocking them.

  222. 222

    @JAHILL10:

    If we and all these other countries failed to intervene, as has been pointed out above, Libyan civilians would still die in large numbers because they would be killed by G man and his paid army.

    Indeed.

    If any of the “anti-interventionists” can stop patting themselves on the back for a moment, perhaps they type up an explanation for why we’re supposed to care more about Libyans killed by NATO than Libyans (even if the number is a lot larger) killed by the Khadaffy regime.

  223. 223
    Allan says:

    @joe from Lowell: I’m still waiting for that explanation as well. It never comes. Instead we get, shut up, that’s why! Obama = Bush!

  224. 224
    IM says:

    I think Canadian Observer is a fake. There so few supporters of North Korea left, it would be a bit implausible that one of them would appear at Ballon Juice, of all places.

  225. 225
    Blue Carolinian says:

    The UN mission was to repel North Korean forces back up above the border and keep them there.

    Looks like it succeeded to me, and had this not happeneed, the entire Korean peninsula would be the private property of the Kim family instead of just the northern half.

    Now, if you were Truman, I guess you would have done nothing, right?

  226. 226
    DFer says:

    @Allan: I’m still trying to figure out what they mean. Is Moore telling us its impossible for us to regain even some moral high ground?

    I mean I’m noticing a pattern here…they want “change” and when faced with the possibility they got “change,” try their darnest to prove it isn’t “change” even if they have to fall back on the “well, considering our history…” as if it’s not even possible to consider that FOR ONCE, we might be doing something for the right reasons.

    So why would Obama enact “change,” his own “supporters” wouldn’t believe it anyway.

  227. 227

    @Dennis SGMM:

    My point, and I’ll fess up to making it with hyperbole, is that we have no idea what the rebels want Libya to look like post-Gadaffi. Intervening in a situation like that one seems to me another path to folly.

    We don’t know what the United States is going to look like after the 2012 elections. The bad guys might come to power then, too. Nonetheless, the uncertainty of success is a lot better than the certainty of continuing Khadaffy’s rule.

    Frankly, the fact that there isn’t some Libyan Ahmed Chalabi being plumped as the George Washington of Libya, to be installed by NATO at wars’ end – the fact the, post-war, the Libyan rebels themselves, and not us, will be deciding Libya’s future, is an argument in favor of this action, not against it.

  228. 228
    t jasper parnell says:

    @joe from Lowell: One reason might be that “we” are NATO and, in some way or another, that makes “us” responsible for the Libyans killed by “us.”

    As to what to do to stop the killing, I’m not exactly sure but recent events suggest intervening isn’t going to accomplish what it supposed to do.

  229. 229
    DFer says:

    @Blue Carolinian:

    had this not happeneed, the entire Korean peninsula would be the private property of the Kim family instead of just the northern half.

    Well of course Kim Il Sung would have promoted peace, democracy and economic growth had he only been allowed to burn Seoul to the fucking ground. Duh!

  230. 230
    t jasper parnell says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    the fact the, post-war, the Libyan rebels themselves, and not us, will be deciding Libya’s future, is an argument in favor of this action, not against it.

    The evidence for that “fact” is what not?

  231. 231
    Gozer says:

    @DFer:
    I was once at a lunch with people that tried to argue that an American president (ANY American president) was one of the most evil people in the world by virtue of being president.

    Certain dictators were excluded from the “worst people” list due to all the reasons I listed (incl. deliberately starving their people, executions, genocide, etc.) being “American propaganda”.

    So I can definitely see those comments as not being a joke. I’ve encountered such things in the wild as it were.

  232. 232
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Blue Carolinian:

    Looks like it succeeded to me, and had this not happeneed, the entire Korean peninsula would be the private property of the Kim family instead of just the northern half.

    My money would been on China “owning” Korea, as it props up — to some extent, the wretched Northern half. Also MacArthur and the Yaloo River

  233. 233

    @PIGL:

    The reason I am opposed to intervention in Libya and almost all other conceivable cases is this. I believe that by their history of military adventurism and oppression, the western powers have foreited their moral authority to act in this way and to make those tradeoff of blood and death on behalf of others.

    Sorry, Benghazi. Sorry, protesters. As an act of penance for our sins in the past, you have to die.

    We have no right, and should just STFU and stay at home, and let others sort out their issues.

    Where “others” is defined as “the Khadaffy regime and their mercenaries,” and “sort out their issues” means “level Benghazi and slaughter many thousands of non-combatants and protesters.”

    You know, if we didn’t provide aid to the poor, they invisible hand of the market would “sort them out” just fine. And, we wouldn’t have to do the dirty work of collecting taxes from people. So, therefore, that must be the best outcome – because it’s the one that involves inaction.

  234. 234
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Allan:

    Stop acting a fool, and you’ll stop being called on it.

    If you want to call people ignorant, don’t in the next breath accuse people of wanting to see Libyans die just to make the President look bad.

    Sheesh, this thread is a cesspool. But now Canadian Observer is here, so really we haven’t seen anything yet.

    I want to hear more about Michael Moore and Howard Zinn…

  235. 235
    t jasper parnell says:

    @joe from Lowell: According to some blowhard or another G is now handing out guns to anyone who wants one in order to create further chaos and death. Are things going yet again according to The Plan, St. Thomas?

  236. 236
    Corner Stone says:

    @Allan:

    They just see a shiny new toy that they get to fling at Obama while impotently cursing him for being just like Bush.

    If this is the kind of content you’ve been petulantly, and repeatedly, demanding we respond to over the last couple days then I think your reign as Lord High Hall Monitor should soon be expiring.

  237. 237
    Canadian Observer says:

    People need to do some reading:

    http://www.amazon.com/Obama-Sy.....038;sr=1-1

  238. 238

    @Wolfdaughter:

    Even if you don’t concern yourself with civilian deaths, which I do,

    You don’t actually seem to be concerned about civilian deaths, only civilian deaths caused by people of European descent.

    You want to see a whole lot of civilian deaths? Let Khadaffy’s military and his mercs have free reign against Benghazi.

  239. 239
    Gozer says:

    This one’s for Canadian Observer:

    Fucking USA!

  240. 240
    DFer says:

    @Wolfdaughter:

    And dropping bombs does result in civilian deaths. Even if you don’t concern yourself with civilian deaths, which I do, civilian deaths result in breeding more terrorists.

    oh bullshit, are you going to tell me that if we don’t drop bombs, civilians won’t die? If Gaddafi just gonna make them listening to his singing as punishment?

    you’re not concerned about civilian deaths, you’re using them as pawns.

  241. 241
    Canadian Observer says:

    Shorter DFer and joe from Lowell:

    “We have to burn the village in order to save it from the Viet Cong!”

  242. 242
    PIGL says:

    @joe from Lowell: The sins of the past, which you seem to acknowledge, practically gurantee that our futuire actions will be contaminated by the same self interest, independent of the number of deaths we cause or prevent.

    The reasons we should stay out is that we have proved time and time again that we can’t be trusted, not least because of the attitudes of people like you.

  243. 243

    @t jasper parnell:

    And? If the fighting continues?

    With only a few hundred air observers on the ground and some naval/air assets, we were able to support the Northern Alliance to overrun the Taliban and take Kabul.

    I may be mistaken but didn’t the KR rise to power during a period of political destabilization after an intervention designed to protect folks from the dangers of commies symps?

    I don’t like this “the devil you know” argument. I’m supposed to worry about the chance that the rebels will be worse than Khadaffy more than the absolute certainty that Khadaffy will turn the country into a charnel house, and then keep being Khadaffy, why, exactly?

    Anyway, our backing of the rebels gives us a better chance of influencing their behavior after they take power.

  244. 244

    @DFer:

    this is a joke, right?

    Sadly, no. He once cited “America’s aggressive war in Korea” to me as a reason we’re the bad guys.

  245. 245
    t jasper parnell says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    With only a few hundred air observers on the ground and some naval/air assets, we were able to support the Northern Alliance to overrun the Taliban and take Kabul.

    I meant, and I was unclear, if the “rebels” begin to fight amongst themselves, as Rebels sometimes will.

    Anyway, our backing of the rebels gives us a better chance of influencing their behavior after they take power.

    Sort of like how America did what the French wanted after they (sort of) supported the American rebels? Or how the American rebels supported the British after they ended France’s violence prior to the Revolution?

  246. 246

    @MikeBoyScout:

    Our military intervention in Korea in 1950 is nothing to be bragging about in 2011. It did not go as planned, and 60 years later it ain’t finished.

    Holy crap.

    It’s nothing to brag about that South Korea isn’t now just like North Korea?

  247. 247
    t jasper parnell says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    I don’t like this “the devil you know” argument.

    I brought up the KR’s rise to power because you used VN’s invasion as evidence of the benefits of intervening. My point was and is that intervention led to the KR’s being their in the first place. So in that case the argument that intervention stopped a terrible situation, while perhaps true, ignores that the terrible situation was caused by an intervention. Swords, double edges, and so forth.

  248. 248
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I think this stuff about how the US doesn’t have the “moral authority” to act in a case like this is about like saying a cop who takes bribes shouldn’t try to stop a bank robber. Not all guilt or responsibility should be treated as disqualifying. I think we can all have a robust and heated argument about the conditions under which the US military should be involved in international conflicts without throwing out these canards and alternative/utopian scenarios. The US massacred the Indian tribes, built an economy on slavery, destabilized leftist governments around the world, and, worst of all, deprived Bradley Manning of his underpants. People can point to any number of abhorrent acts committed by American power. True. And yet sometimes the US might still accomplish some good, in the past, in the present, and in the future. Is this one of those cases? Intelligent people appear to disagree.

  249. 249
    Stillwater says:

    @PIGL: The reasons we should stay out is that we have proved time and time again that we can’t be trusted, not least because of the attitudes of people like you.

    This, PIGL, ain’t gonna fly. History, evidence, reason … none of it matters. It’s just a datum – as Allan keeps reminding us – that a failure to embrace and advocate US intervention that is already happening – independently of our judgments about it’s merits, mind you – reveals isolationists as immoral, unprincipled, clueless, hypocritical, reallyreally dumb reactionary deniers of the New Era.

  250. 250
    PTirebiter says:

    I see that the minions of the A.E.I. are out gassing about Obama’s unilateral action without the consent of Congress or a clear objective or exit strategy. I’m okay with “stop the bleeding” as the goal and leaving any exit strategy to those who choose to go in. But America’s broke and President McCain is not pleased with our freedom hating caution.

  251. 251

    @t jasper parnell:

    One reason might be that “we” are NATO and, in some way or another, that makes “us” responsible for the Libyans killed by “us.”

    I love this theory: not only is someone killed by “us” worse than someone killed by Khadaffy, but we’re supposed to worry more that a shell aimed at a Libyan artillery position might go astray and kill someone in Benghazi more than that artillery piece firing dozens of shells an hour, day after day, into Benghazi.

  252. 252
    Allan says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    If you want to call people ignorant, don’t in the next breath accuse people of wanting to see Libyans die just to make the President look bad.

    I see you’ve now moved from selectively quoting my comments to putting words in my mouth.

    Breitbart, man. He’s your golden ticket!

  253. 253
    Allan says:

    @Stillwater: You forgot “allied with Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan.”

  254. 254

    @t jasper parnell:

    The evidence for that “fact” is…

    …the exclusion of occupation forces from the UN resolution.

    You don’t get to decide who runs the government without boots on the ground.

  255. 255
    cleek says:

    @Allan:

    And, of course, BJ commenters who oppose this intervention know fuck-all about what’s actually happening in Libya, and many of them admit that they don’t care how many Libyans die, just as long as it’s other Libyans and their hired guns who are doing the killing.

    and your solution is… to kill the Libyans ourselves ?

    brilliant.

  256. 256
    t jasper parnell says:

    @joe from Lowell: As I understand things, after Gulf I, Saddam killed lord knows how many Kurds and, no doubt, others. Given what you know about the situation in Iraq, including — of course — the number of civilians killed and assuming that something similar would have occurred would you have intervened?

  257. 257

    @t jasper parnell:

    According to some blowhard or another G is now handing out guns to anyone who wants one in order to create further chaos and death.

    As opposed to his refusal to arm people up till now?

    Are things going yet again according to The Plan, St. Thomas?

    Yup. Believe it or not, Rainbow Pony Land within 24 hours was not actually the plan.

    Oh, my goodness, the fighting you are arguing should continue indefinitely has actually continued for a whole day!

  258. 258
    t jasper parnell says:

    @joe from Lowell: Just moments ago, you suggest that there were going to be some “boots on the ground,” albeit in the form of observers, should the fighting carry on. I take from this that you understand that should the situation change, the extent of our involvement will, you know, change.

  259. 259
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Some of us – me, Barack Obama, Thomas Aquinas

    Three of the greats.

    I’m unconcerned with just war doctrine. It’s not rooted in how wars are actually chosen and conducted.

    You can define morality along an axis of practicality all you like. You can absolutely believe that removing Qaddafi is the right move because the math checks out, and you’re likely right, but it doesn’t make you a committed humanitarian. It makes you a bookkeeper.

    Asymmetrical warfare is conducted solely on a battleground of cynical opportunity. There is no underlying morality system. None. Far worse atrocities are ignored, or even covered up or assisted on a routine basis. Paths are exclusively chosen because they are easy and because they are profitable. It is the ultimate example of power’s ability to redefine itself and its aims on a whim.

  260. 260
  261. 261
    t jasper parnell says:

    @joe from Lowell: Did you read the post? The argument Levenson is forwarding is that G is arming everyone to increase chaos, as opposed to arming his loyalists in order to defeat the rebels. Which means that rather than staving off thousands of Libyans’ deaths, the intervention, as interventions will, may well cause thousands of senseless deaths.

  262. 262

    @PIGL:

    The sins of the past, which you seem to acknowledge, practically gurantee that our futuire actions will be contaminated by the same self interest, independent of the number of deaths we cause or prevent.

    Just so you know, the fact that your – plural – position that the number of deaths we prevent is irrelevant judging this intervention is exactly why your moral argument is so unpersuasive.

    You really do think that my “attitude” and some inherited guilt from actions of the past is more important than the actual human beings who will or will not die violently in Libya – so you can forgive me if I don’t rend my garments over your moral reasoning.

  263. 263
    Donut says:

    @Blue Carolinian:

    The US military dropped how many bombs on Mubarak?

    Oh, that’s right. It was zero. That was the number.

  264. 264
    Stillwater says:

    I’m coming to the conclusion that there is a large faction of liberals here at BJ who aren’t opposed to warfare and the use of military force generally (you know, killing people and blowing shit up), and who don’t believe that it requires a very high burden of justification (that intervening leads to better outcomes than not intervening, to mentions just one example). No. There are lots of liberals that actually embrace warfare to accomplish political ends and enhance US power across the planet, just so long as it conforms to the justifications we prefer, the justifications made by our guys, even tho the justifications of whatever stripe always lead the same outcomes.

  265. 265
    Allan says:

    @cleek: Actually, it’s not my solution, but that of the international coalition, that we should intervene to see to it that Gaddafi and his forces stop killing Libyans. Gaddafi and many of his forces may have to die in order for that to happen.

    Or we could just let them prevail over the rebels and then conduct massive genocide. Is that what you’re rooting for?

  266. 266
    PIGL says:

    @joe from Lowell: You are being obtuse. My claim is that the (expected) number of deaths caused or prevented can not be presumed to form any fucking part of the calculus of western intervenion in the actual existing world.

    And I am done here.

  267. 267

    @t jasper parnell:

    Sort of like how America did what the French wanted after they (sort of) supported the American rebels? Or how the American rebels supported the British after they ended France’s violence prior to the Revolution?

    No, I mean, sort of like how effective isolationism will be in influencing the behavior of Khadaffy. Um….

    Is anyone else noticing that the scary, worst-case scenarios of the anti-interventionists are all a whole hell of a lot more desirable than what will happen if Khaddaffy is allowed a free hand?

    Ohnoes! There’s a chance there could be fighting! In Libya! Ohnoes, the successor government might be illiberal! Ohnoes, a round of ordinance might hit Benghazi!

    Wouldn’t it be awful if there was political fighting in Libya, which led to some violence in Benghazi, and then a government that doesn’t measure up to a Jeffersonian ideal came to power in the country?

    Since those things are all so awful, we must do nothing.

  268. 268
    DFer says:

    @Donut:

    The US military dropped how many bombs on Mubarak? Oh, that’s right. It was zero. That was the number.

    Did Mubarak murder or threaten to murder millions of his own citizens?

  269. 269
    DFer says:

    @cleek:

    and your solution is… to kill the Libyans ourselves ?

    are you seriously saying we’re just wantonly firing missiles into Benghazi apartment buildings?

    there’s a big difference between razing a city and firing missiles at targets where a few civilians may unfortunately be in the way.

    What you’re saying is we should let millions of Libyans die so we may not possibly accidently kill 5.

  270. 270
    soonergrunt says:

    @Allan: Yes. I am for immediate cuts in the defense budget, but that is utterly fucking immaterial to the point I am making and you are desperately trying to ignore, which is that this isn’t our fucking business, nothing good will come to the US because of it, and we are servicing European imperatives instead of American ones.
    We will not get anything but shit from the Europeans for protecting their interests. Just like every other time we did so. The rest of the Arab world will not see this thing as NATO and the Arab League protecting Libyan protesters from a genocidal maniac. They will see it for exactly what it is–the US is attacking ANOTHER oil-rich Arab country, with a smattering of Europeans in support.
    How exactly does this help US national security? You keep not answering that.
    Since we can definitely set a dollar value on our expenditures to date in support of European goals, I’m mentioning it. When the Arab League and the French and Spanish governments reimburse us for it, then it will cease to be a valid point.
    Apropos of nothing, but the first American service member who dies in this operation, whether at an airbase in Italy from an accident or from getting shot down, will cost $600,000 in direct costs alone. Do you think that we should just write that off when it happens?

  271. 271
    Blue Carolinian says:

    My comment about Mubarak was in response to the “devil we know” and “who will come nex?” argument which could have easily applied to Egypt, and I doubt any of the posters here did.

  272. 272

    @t jasper parnell:

    As I understand things, after Gulf I, Saddam killed lord knows how many Kurds and, no doubt, others. Given what you know about the situation in Iraq, including—of course—the number of civilians killed and assuming that something similar would have occurred would you have intervened?

    I would have intervened differently.

    And, in fact, we did intervene differently, changing our policy – we implemented the No Fly/No Drive Zone in Kurdistan, which allowed them to get out from under Saddam’s boot. Yes, I think that was wise.

  273. 273
    t jasper parnell says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    we must do nothing.

    What’s it like in binary world? What do you think Qatar’s involvement means? What about the Arab League about face? Any word on Iran’s response? Any sense of the costs? Are “mercs” different from “contractors”?

  274. 274
    soonergrunt says:

    @DFer: Actually, that’s high quality product from Canadian Observer.

  275. 275
    Donut says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I am not drunk today so I’m not calling people crazy or stupid and skimming over valid points, etc., and apologies for any of that I may have engaged in last night, but I still feel strongly that embracing this military action in Libya is going to lead to more problems than it will solve. That said, I don’t know how it will turn out. If I had all the answers to this stuff I wouldn’t be sitting here watching cable and reading Balloon Juice. This adventure could work great for all I know. And yeah, reasonable people of intelligence can agree and disagree on lots of things. But I also know that the pat answer of “shut up, you’re an isolationist Obama-hater Firebagger” that keeps showing up is just as off-putting as is the “shut up, this is Obama’s Iraq, he’s just like Bush” side of the arguments. There justification for both opinions.

    Gotta think I’m done trying to interject anything else in the discussion. Not that anyone should care…

  276. 276

    @t jasper parnell:

    Just moments ago, you suggest that there were going to be some “boots on the ground,” albeit in the form of observers, should the fighting carry on.

    There are British SAS in the country right now. Still, this is not the sort of presence it takes to install a government against the will of the populace.

    I take from this that you understand that should the situation change, the extent of our involvement will, you know, change.

    That’s an odd takeway, since the presence of observers doesn’t represent any sort of change at all.

  277. 277
    Canadian Observer says:

    Indeed, why are Ghadaffi’s forces “Mercs” while Blackwater, Xe, KBR, and Haliburton are “contractors”?

  278. 278
    DFer says:

    @Stillwater:

    I’m coming to the conclusion that there is a large faction of liberals here at BJ who aren’t opposed to warfare and the use of military force generally (you know, killing people and blowing shit up), and who don’t believe that it requires a very high burden of justification (that intervening leads to better outcomes than not intervening, to mentions just one example).

    You saying Libya without Gaddafi isn’t a “better outcome?” both for the US and the world?

    On that note, I’m convinced that there’s a large faction of liberals, here at BJ and nationwide, who don’t want to see solutions to the problems they highlight. I mean all this pearl clutching over stuff like Darfur and that we ignore atrocities around the world. Did you think had we intervened in Darfur, part of that wouldn’t require bombing Khartoum or bombing Sudanese military locations in Darfur where there’s a chance innocent civilians will die? Or was Darfur just one of those things you were happy to complain about, but didn’t want to see anything done to stop it?

  279. 279

    @Bob Loblaw:

    I’m unconcerned with just war doctrine.

    Congratulations! I’m not; it’s how I decide if I support or oppose an action.

    You can define morality along an axis of practicality all you like.

    Nope, you fail to understand again. It’s not defining morality along an axis of practicality. Once again, they are two different axes, and a proposed war must sore high on both of them.

  280. 280
    Donut says:

    @DFer:

    I don’t know how many people Mubarak killed. Probably a lot, though. I am guessing a pretty fair number. Maybe not millions. Certainly thousands, I would guess, over the decades.

    Let me ask you, did Qaddafi actually murder “millions”? I don’t know the answer to that, either.

    I know he’s killed a lot, but I don’t think it has been more than 999,999 people.

    Thanks for bringing up the point, though.

    Very illuminating?

    Ok, for real, I’m out of this thread.

  281. 281
    Allan says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I am for immediate cuts in the defense budget, but that is utterly fucking immaterial to the point I am making and you are desperately trying to ignore, which is that this isn’t our fucking business, nothing good will come to the US because of it, and we are servicing European imperatives instead of American ones.

    This is our fucking business, because we are part of an international coalition of nations who support the rights of people everywhere to self-determination, and protection from mass murder by their tyrannical leaders.

    The fucking good that will come to the US is that we will be on the side of an international coalition which agrees that Libya is an example of above, and that people currently oppressed by tyrannical murdering dictators will know hope and expect the international community to back them up when they are ready to overthrow their despots.

    And we are supposed to service the “imperatives” of our allies in this international coalition standing for freedom from murder and oppression. This is why we belong to organizations like NATO and the UN.

    If you’re opposed to all of these things, you’re certainly welcome to say so. But you don’t get to re-write America’s role in the world into the Pat Buchanan Doctrine without being criticized for it.

  282. 282
    t jasper parnell says:

    @joe from Lowell: So you are certain that under no circumstance, say to avoid a humanitarian disaster caused by massive infighting between “rebels” with different agendas, will the various forces involved intervene with troops?

    ETA: or that the probability is so low that its possibility doesn’t enter into the pre-intervention planing and pragmatic/moral considerations?

  283. 283
    soonergrunt says:

    @BR: Because Bahrain is our ally, while Ghadaffi’s Libya is not.
    SATSQ.

  284. 284
    DFer says:

    @Donut:

    Let me ask you, did Qaddafi actually murder “millions”?

    no, but he threaten to, and is currently doing so…if you were watching Al Jazeera’s reports out of Misurata, you’d see the glaring difference between Gaddafi and Mubarak.

    Mubarak didn’t threaten to slaughter everyone in Alexandria. Had he, then he too should have been on the receiving end of a no-fly zone.

  285. 285
    DFer says:

    @BR:

    why aren’t we intervening in Bahrain

    I don’t know, but I’m all for it.

  286. 286
    Stillwater says:

    @DFer: You saying Libya without Gaddafi isn’t a “better outcome?” both for the US and the world?

    When did regime change become the goal of US intervention to save innocent Libyans from being slaughtered? Sheesh, had I known that was the point from the beginning – you know, back three days ago when the US was merely gonna play a supporting role for the Arab League to stop the violence – I’da been on board brother! Regime change is what the US is reallyreally good at!

  287. 287
    Stillwater says:

    @DFer: But I appreciate your honesty in actually thinking thru the implications of imposing a ‘no fly zone’, and what that means for US and other commitments to ‘change’ in Libya.

    In short, regime change. At least we can give up on the pretense that this is just a surgical strike against the bad guys.

  288. 288
    DFer says:

    @Stillwater:

    When did regime change become the goal of US intervention to save innocent Libyans from being slaughtered?

    Oh excuse me, I thought I was making the obvious point that the innocent Libyans getting slaughtered are the ones wanting regime change. By protecting them, we’re giving them the ability to change their regime. We’re not doing it, they are, which how it should be done.

    Should they choose they don’t want to change their regime, then fine. A Gaddafi out of power, or one in power and not killing his people, are both better outcomes for the world and US.

  289. 289
    DFer says:

    @Stillwater:

    When did regime change become the goal of US intervention to save innocent Libyans from being slaughtered?

    Oh excuse me, I thought I was making the obvious point that the innocent Libyans getting slaughtered are the ones wanting regime change. By protecting them, we’re giving them the ability to change their regime. We’re not doing it, they are, which how it should be done.

    Should they choose they don’t want to change their regime, then fine. A Gaddafi out of power, or one in power and not killing his people, are both better outcomes for the world and US.

  290. 290
    Corner Stone says:

    @Stillwater: DFer is another Nick sockpuppet. Just fyi.

  291. 291
    DFer says:

    @Corner Stone: Who the hell is Nick?

  292. 292
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Nope, you fail to understand again.

    You keep saying this. I understand you perfectly.

    I don’t agree that morality is on the same dimensional plane. I think it exists in its own separate, irrelevant space.

    I don’t ask states to act in a moral fashion. Or an honest one. They have no capacity. I might as well ask for a perpetual motion machine. I simply ask for competence in whatever pursuit they so choose.

    Even at this lowest possible standard, I am frequently disappointed.

  293. 293
    Stillwater says:

    @DFer: Your naivete is stunning.

  294. 294
    Corner Stone says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Ohnoes! There’s a chance there could be fighting! In Libya! Ohnoes, the successor government might be illiberal! Ohnoes, a round of ordinance might hit Benghazi!
    __
    Wouldn’t it be awful if there was political fighting in Libya, which led to some violence in Benghazi, and then a government that doesn’t measure up to a Jeffersonian ideal came to power in the country?

    It’s funny how easily you dismiss these outcomes as somehow negligible. Do we have any answers as to what we will permit at the “end” of this engagement? What if Gaddafi is toppled but hardliners in the military are still engaged in fighting rebels? Will we permit that?
    Shouldn’t we have the answers to some of these very likely scenarios before we go in?

  295. 295
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    I simply ask for competence in whatever pursuit they so choose.
    Even at this lowest possible standard, I am frequently disappointed.

    Bingo.

  296. 296
    DFer says:

    @Stillwater:

    You’re naivete is stunning.

    Oh is it? Probably not nearly as stunning as your condescending need to jump to conclusions based on nothing but assumptions.

  297. 297
    Questions for Allan says:

    @Allan:

    because we are part of an international coalition of nations who support the rights of people everywhere to self-determination, and protection from mass murder by their tyrannical leaders.

    Would you agree or disagree, let’s just say in the past 200 years, that European powers and the United States have only supported the democratic rights of people everywhere to self-determination, and protection from mass murder by their tyrannical leaders, when and where they want? And not in every instance? And that this “support” you claim exists is not always immediately and forcefully forthcoming, at all times and in all places?

    I ask you those questions because there is a hell of a lot more subtext to this event than you are allowing credit for. Hell, there is a lot more overt text vis a vis the West and its interactions with Africa that you seem all to happy to skim over right now.

    I think you need to do some reading up on African history, my friend. The Western powers taking this action today are not acting in a vacuum that just popped up post-Tunisia.

  298. 298
    Corner Stone says:

    @DFer: Here you go Nick.
    Refresher

  299. 299
    DFer says:

    @Corner Stone: Yeah, you’re pulling up a thread that I had forgotten about (and creepily, you didn’t) where you accuse me of being a sockpuppet because I defended some guy named Nick to prove I’m a sockpupper…yeah ok, so I’m just going to move on and talk to the serious people.

  300. 300
    Stillwater says:

    @Corner Stone: DFer is another Nick sockpuppet. Just fyi. Good to know.

    @DFer: Oh is it? How old are you Nick?

  301. 301
    Corner Stone says:

    @DFer: You mean like, “the adults are talking” ?

  302. 302
    Allan says:

    @Corner Stone: You should definitely compile all your supporting documentation and send an email to John demanding that he compare IP addresses and ban DFer as a sockpuppet.

    He LIVES for that sort of thing.

  303. 303
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Corner Stone: No he means like people who want to blow stuff up are serious people. And, for the record, neither regime change nor G’s removal are part of the UN’s authorization. Hillary has said so a couple of times. All he needs to do, which is — I think — impossible, is promise to be a good boy and have the promise accepted.

  304. 304
    Canadian Observer says:

    MARCH 19, 2011
    OBAMA: ‘Today we are part of a broad coalition. We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world’…

    …MARCH 19, 2003
    BUSH: ‘American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the… world from grave danger’…

  305. 305
    gil mann says:

    Indeed, why are Ghadaffi’s forces “Mercs” while Blackwater, Xe, KBR, and Haliburton are “contractors”

    Yeah, libs are such hypocrites, demonizing Ghaddafi while full-throatedly supporting Dick Cheney and Erik Prince.

  306. 306
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Questions for Allan: I think that the pro-interventionists are as wrong as wrong can be but I don’t think it’s fair to argue against their position on this issue by pointing out that the modern nation-state acts with a limited sense of its own interests and selectively intervenes with allegedly universal criteria. Allan et alia, as I understand them, favor this intervention because it fits their standards for intervening; they’re wrong and a bit pixelated, but it’s not their fault the nation-state nearly always does the wrong thing or the right thing for the wrong reason.

  307. 307
    Canadian Observer says:

    Obama has increased the participation of Blackwater/Xe, KBR, and Haliburton not repudiated them.

  308. 308
    Canadian Observer says:

    GREENWALD on the chilling similarities between Libya and Iraq, including the exploitation of terrorism fears:

    http://www.salon.com/news/opin.....3/19/libya

  309. 309
    Corner Stone says:

    @Allan: I’m not sure why you keep fetishizing contacting Cole. Maybe you should work that out with your therapist.
    I’m not shy about handling my own business, or coming and going as it pleases me.
    It seems some people here have a sense of self entitlement they seek to impose on Cole, for some reason.

  310. 310
    DFer says:

    You know WTF ever. I don’t need to sit here in some echochamber filled with losers who have to live in a blog because they’re too weak and feeble to face reality and be accused of being a sockpuppet because I defended some dude four months ago some loser named Corner Stone doesn’t like. Good bye.

  311. 311
    cleek says:

    @DFer:

    are you seriously saying we’re just wantonly firing missiles into Benghazi apartment buildings?

    i’ll bet you $10,000 that you cannot find a single word of mine that says anything like that.

    What you’re saying is we should let millions of Libyans die so we may not possibly accidently kill 5.

    no, that’s not what i’m saying. kindly stick to making your own arguments and allow me to make mine.

  312. 312
    cleek says:

    wait, DFer is Nick ?

  313. 313
    Questions for Allan says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    And? Those questions are fairly asked to people arguing both sides of this issue. My questions are there to point to the complexity of the situation, not to try to convince anyone to change their minds. I did not say Allan was wrong.

    He is, however, making very sweeping statements and assuming far too much about why and what we are doing in Libya – in my opinion. And opinions are indeed as ubiquitous as assholes.

    Now that I’ve issued a cliche, here is an understatement, and an obvious one at that: there’s always so much more than meets the eye.

  314. 314
    DFer says:

    @cleek:

    i’ll bet you $10,000 that you cannot find a single word of mine that says anything like that.

    unless you’re telling me there are civilians living in missile silos, that IS what you’re saying

  315. 315
    DFer says:

    @cleek:

    wait, DFer is Nick ?

    No, he’s not, but what the hell, you’re going to believe it anyway because it means you don’t have to take anything someone else says seriously.

  316. 316
    DTOzone says:

    Wow, this is a shitshow. I’ll go back to my month-long isolation from this place

  317. 317
    Corner Stone says:

    @DFer: Enjoy your Sunday Nick. America will still be a center right nation tomorrow.

  318. 318
    gil mann says:

    @DFer:

    Pretty sure cleek’s kidding.

    I don’t need to sit here in some echochamber filled with losers who have to live in a blog because they’re too weak and feeble to face reality

    What’d I do?

  319. 319
    Allan says:

    @Questions for Allan: By the way, nice handle. It isn’t the least bit creepy that your participation in this thead is defined in response to mine.

    The US and/or the international community have been, at various times, right and wrong in how and when they’ve chosen to intervene in the affairs of specific nation-states, in the manner and timing of that intervention, and there have been positive, negative and mixed results from such interventions.

    There have been many times in which reasons offered as rationales for intervention have been proven to be right, or wrong, and/or pretexts for other agendas.

    And the world is not ahistorical, meaning that there are almost always histories of conflict and/or alliance with the nation-state being targeted for intervention which may color how the conflict raising the potential need for intervention are viewed.

    Thanks for asking.

    Do you have any questions like these for those advocating isolationism in this currrent situation?

  320. 320
    Allan says:

    @DFer: Don’t let the bullies run you off the site. It’s what they live for. Stay and continue to make your case. You’re doing it well, which is why you’re being targeted.

  321. 321
    Allan says:

    @Corner Stone: And it seems some people here are determined to derail the thread because they fear they’re losing the argument.

  322. 322
    eemom says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Just out of curiosity, has it never occurred to you that even if you’re right about all these alleged Nick sock puppets, your obsession with tracking them is even creepier than Nick’s having them?

  323. 323
    eemom says:

    “Questions for Allan”?? You gotta be fucking kidding me.

    Yer all nuts. I’m getting out of here.

  324. 324
    Corner Stone says:

    @eemom: Nick isn’t smart enough to pull it off. It’s not hard to determine, and I find it vaguely amusing. In the same kind of vein that I ask if you shouldn’t be somewhere eating dead Palestinian babies right now?

  325. 325
    FlipYrWhig says:

    DFer doesn’t sound like Nick stylistically.

  326. 326
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Questions for Allan: Exactly so.

  327. 327
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan: Who is advocating isolationism? It’s not the case that our choices are bomb or do nothing, is it?

  328. 328
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Canadian Observer: I’m not sure Glenn Greenwald has ever found two things _not_ to have chilling similarities. Except the Citizens United ruling and the upsurge of naked corporate dominance over politics, or left-wing libertarianism and right-wing libertarianism. Those are totally unrelated.

  329. 329
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan: One of the proponents of bombing argues that some ancient Catholic theologian’s arguments about what is or isn’t a just war in world where their are bomb, airplanes, and etc, as opposed to cross bows and swords are valid. Other proponents insist that it obvious that this intervention is going to do exactly or near enough to what it is intended to do that arguing against it makes the arguer an isolationist. If that’s your notion of “winning” then I can understand the ease with which you support military responses to potentially tractable problems.

  330. 330
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Donut: Yes, point taken, and that’s all I’ve been trying to say in these threads and elsewhere. Let’s stipulate that US military action has been known to have dire effects. Let’s also stipulate that Muammar Qaddafi has no compunction against killing people. Given that those are both true, on balance, what should happen? It’s valid to say that on balance you think the US should not be involved. It’s also valid to say that on balance you think the US should be involved. It’s a particularly cheap way to fight, though, to stack up only the possible bad outcomes, or only the possible good outcomes, and then scream at each other for taking a different view. If you make it black and white, yor doin it rong. Davis X. Machina‘s citation of the “Trolley Problem” is very conceptually helpful. There are fatal outcomes around every corner.

  331. 331
    Allan says:

    @t jasper parnell: You should probably reread, for starters, the posts by soonergrunt. He’s not alone by any stretch of the imagination, but he certainly is one example.

    Helpful hint: people advocating for isolationism rarely type the actual word “isolationism” in their comments, because most of them are embarrassed to declare their allegiance with Ron and Rand Paul, and Pat Buchanan, so you’ll have to actually read and ponder the philosophy each commenter is espousing in order to identify the isolationists.

  332. 332
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan: Helpful hint to you as well, arguing against military action and in favor of garden tending don’t mean isolationism because, go figure, even isolationists didn’t think that the US ought never do anything abroad. Isolationism never existed.

  333. 333
    Allan says:

    @t jasper parnell: That particular comment to which you responded was directed at a derailing bully who, unlike you, shows no interest in actually discussing the issues.

    Please don’t take it in ANY way directed at you. I appreciate how you’re advancing the conversation and you are the last person I would want to feel unwelcome here.

  334. 334
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan:

    you are the last person I would want to feel unwelcome here.

    Wait until you know me better. :)

  335. 335
    Allan says:

    @t jasper parnell: I think you may have meant to say that isolationism rarely PREVAILS in US foreign policy, because it’s transparently obvious to anyone with a knowledge of US history that there have always been reflexive isolationists among us. Is that a more accurate statement, do you think?

  336. 336
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan: I am going to go with no. Herring is pretty convincing that isolationism, at least among those responsible for policy making, never existed. Are there isolated individuals who think, as it were, the world is flat, in a non-Freidman sense, maybe. But it’s a vanishingly small number near enough to zero, for me in any event, that none captures it.

  337. 337
  338. 338
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan: You’re mistaking refusal to take a military action in this or that particular event with a refusal to ever take military action. You really should read Herring.

  339. 339
    Ron says:

    @Bob Loblaw: I don’t see the conflict between using moral arguments and “realpolitik”. In an ideal world, I would like to stop the horrors all over including Sudan, Congo, etc. When not all is solvable you attempt to solve the ones that are realistic. That doesn’t change the moral viewpoint. It’s just a matter of picking battles you have a chance to win.

  340. 340
    cleek says:

    @DFer:
    goddamn, that’s dumb

  341. 341
    cleek says:

    @gil mann:
    well, i’ve heard Nick’s fond of the sockpuppet, and then i saw @this… so, i was wondering.

  342. 342
    Allan says:

    @t jasper parnell: Based on the goal-post moving case you’re making on his behalf, I’m going to pass, thanks.

  343. 343
    Mike Furlan says:

    @Comrade DougJ:

    Crazy,or ugly and hateful?

    I think Daniel Larison’s views are more the later.

    Longing for a slaveowners victory, supporting modern “white power.”

    And how is his anti-interventionist argument superior to, say, Noam Chomsky’s?

  344. 344
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan: I have no idea what your talking about. If I oppose this invasion does it mean that I am going to oppose every invasion? No. Because for a brief period in the 1930 some American Firsters, like Gerry Ford, didn’t want to go to war, what with their recent WWI experiences and all, your claim is that they never wanted to go to war, when in fact they later did, in fact, go to war and that right gladly. It’s not goal post moving, it is a fact of the matter.

    The argument about isolationism being in the US’s DNA is usually traced back to the famous entangling alliance eschewing of the founding fathers, which of course isn’t an argument for isolation but rather for freedom to act or not act. The same reason, by the way, the opponents of the LofN refused to join: if they joined America lost its freedom to act or not act. It’s called unilateralism or, as GW put it, he wasn’t gonna ask no UN for a permission slip.

    But by all means, don’t read Herring, the less you know the much simpler problems look and, consequently, the world is a much easier place bomb.

  345. 345
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @cleek:

    wait, DFer is Nick ?

    Yes. And Merkin, and prolly a half dozen other people too.

  346. 346
    Allan says:

    @t jasper parnell: I offered up the observation that “isolationism rarely PREVAILS in US foreign policy” above as a reasonable counter to your insistence that you and Herring get to define “isolationism” in a way that doesn’t mean exactly what 99.9% of people agree it means.

    I provided the example of a SERIES of Neutrality Acts passed by Congress throughout the 1930s that severely constrained FDR’s ability not JUST to go invade someone, but to even provide material support to countries which were being invaded.

    And the action has moved to newer posts by John, whom you will be happy to know is on your team.

  347. 347
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @t jasper parnell:

    If that’s your notion of “winning” then I can understand the ease with which you support military responses to potentially tractable problems.

    Look at it this way: Allan wanted to run the comment section on Balloon Juice according to his rules. He wasn’t happy with the regime that has always existed here. So he went to the powers that be, ABL and John, and made the case that innocent people were being persecuted and thought genocide was occurring. ABL, who is entangled with Allan in other ways, talked John into acting on Allan’s behalf, and John did so, to the benefit of Allan. So why the heck wouldn’t Allan think this could work just as easily in Libya?

    This is why I drink yer fucking milkshakes regulary. :)

  348. 348
    Allan says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Care to cite your sources for that particular history lesson? I think you have some of the details entirely wrong, but I won’t help you correct them because it’s all water under the bridge for those of us who don’t cling bitterly to the past.

    And yes, I am the kind of person who, instead of bitching endlessly about things I don’t like, directs my feedback to the people who are actually empowered to fix them.

    And sometimes this works to my benefit, and sometimes it doesn’t.

    And that way, I always know whether or not my intervention could have made a difference, and can then move on with my life, whatever the result.

    These are really effective approaches to problem-solving that people who are interested in actually solving problems have been using for centuries.

    You might consider trying them sometime.

    ETA: enjoy your milkshake.

  349. 349
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Allan: slurrrrp

  350. 350
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan: For Isolationism to mean something it has to mean in all cases I won’t intervene, refusing to intervene in this or that case is just that: a temporary refusal. Think about it this way, if I stop drinking for a week I am not a teetotaler, I’m just not drinking for a week.

    For what it’s worth, it’s nice that JC isn’t in favor of this event, but not really the point is it.

  351. 351
    Allan says:

    @t jasper parnell: You’re saying that “isolationism” ONLY means absolutist, non-situational isolationism. I disagree, and use the word in its more general sense as both a philosophical view AND a descriptor of positions favored by segments of society, including, in the 1930s, the majority of members of the US Congress who effectively tied FDR’s hands far below the threshold of actual military intervention with Act after Act until the US was actually attacked.

    I’m comfortable with my usage of the word and I believe it reflects what most people mean when they use it. Though the Google preview of Herring to which you linked doesn’t include much of it, I note that he uses the word “isolationism” in the title of the chapter describing the period between WWI and WWII.

  352. 352
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan: 99.9% of people think that a principled refusal to ever engage in foreign adventures excludes people who believe in engaging in foreign adventures when it suits but if they once defer they are always principled opponents? Then 99.9% of people don’t understand the difference between making case-by-case decision and principled opposition across all possible cases, which is to say, you and they are wrong. Consider, as a related argument, Appeasement. You know who over saw the build up of the RAF and forced its leaders to think about defending England from attack from the air? Chamberlain, the damn coward.

    Well, now that you haven’t read the book, your insight into Herring’s argument is noted and taken on board for all that it is worth.

  353. 353
    Allan says:

    @t jasper parnell: Clearly, we’re talking past each other here. I think I’ve made my case for how I am using the word “isolationism” in this thread, and I’m confident that my usage is extremely common and understood by the vast majority of readers.

    You and your authority Herring appear to argue that it only means an absolutist unwavering commitment to non-intervention in all circumtances or else the thing being described is not actually isolationism. Perhaps someday yours will be the universally agreed definition, but it isn’t now.

  354. 354
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan:@Allan: Isolationism doesn’t mean what you think it means; as I already noted, it means a long-standing American tradition of refusing to engaging wars. America has not Isolationist tradition, it has unilateralist tradition: we get to do what we want when we want. Your understanding is incorrect. Accusing people of being isolationist, when they are a making an argument about this concrete case is simply wrong. And, like Appeasement, it allows you to ignore what is being argued because you’re sure you know that the arguement is “isolationist.” Speaking of which, did you know that both Lindy and our ambassador to the Court of St. James opposed the war with Germany because they thought we’d lose? Not Isolationist but defeatist, and, for good measure, Lindy blamed the Jews.

    And as to your certainty about everyone else in the world and your erroneous understanding of the in correct notion of America’s alleged tradition of isolationism, do they contact you through the voices in your head or come by for beers?

    Enjoy your evening.

  355. 355
    Stillwater says:

    @Allan: Clearly, we’re I’m talking past each other everyone here.

    Dude, you’re an island. And you know it. And even the heroic effort of tjp couldn’t get you to speak to anyone but yourself. You don’t hear anyone, hence, there is no discussion, only counterarguments and semantic disputes to prove something no one but you cares about, hence, you’re an asshole without a point or purpose (which you’ve proudly admitted on several threads), hence, you’re the living embodiment of a troll.

  356. 356
    Allan says:

    @Stillwater: I’m having a pleasant conversation, albeit one in which we appear to be at cross-purposes, with another BJer on a topic pertinent to the thread.

    Perhaps someday your definition of “troll” will be the universally accepted one. But it isn’t now.

  357. 357
    t jasper parnell says:

    @Allan: To the extent we are at cross purposes, it might be that you are trying to shrink the term Isolationism from its accepted meaning: a long standing American tradition dating back to the Founders meaning unwillingness to get involved in War [eta which isn’t true], to a new meaning of Republican opposition to a new War in Europe that includes anyone who opposes this intervention.

    But, I would say that wouldn’t I.

  358. 358
    Allan says:

    @t jasper parnell: I really thought we were done, but since you insist on making me wrong for using the word as it is widely used:

    My example is the pervasive anti-intervention mood in the US between the World Wars, as evidenced by the passage of several Neutrality Acts by bipartisan majorities in the 1930s Democratic-controlled Congress (because the Southern Dem bloc unsurprisingly sided with Republicans).

    If this really matters to you, I propose that you engage the next ten or so reasonably well-educated people you encounter in a conversation about “What does isolationism mean to you, and can you give me an example of isolationism in US history?” I expect that the majority of those who offer an example will point to this exact era and say something to the effect of “A lot of people fought hard to keep the US from getting involved in the war in Europe until we were attacked at Pearl Harbor.”

    As I noted above, Herring uses the word isolationism in the title of his chapter on this exact period of US history. It may well be that he argues in his book that this was not, in fact, isolationism as he defines it, but even he recognizes that this is exactly what it means to Americans.

    And I see that you have begun to capitalize the word Isolationism as I never have, and your final phrase “to a new meaning of Republican opposition to a new War in Europe that includes anyone who opposes this intervention” reflects neither anything that I have said, nor does it even make sense, unless you meant to say a new War in Libya, and even then is not what I have said repeatedly in this thread.

    May we move on now?

  359. 359
    Ija says:

    @PIGL:

    The reason I am opposed to intervention in Libya and almost all other conceivable cases is this. I believe that by their history of military adventurism and oppression, the western powers have foreited their moral authority to act in this way and to make those tradeoff of blood and death on behalf of others.

    But we should also acknowledge that the trade-off is there already even if we don’t intervene. It’s not like people won’t die, and it will all be rainbow and puppies if we don’t intervene. That’s the thing, the anti-intervention people refuse to acknowledge that the trade-off is also there when we don’t do anything, when we decide to stay home because we think we should be paying for our past sins, because we lack the moral authority, because we are the most monstrous country in the history of the world etc etc. There will be deaths if we don’t intervene, too. We should acknowledge that.

  360. 360
    Ija says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    I was referring to foreign policy views, which seem to be here that if you aren’t stridently isolationist (and its always 2003 here!!) than you are an apologist for AMERCIAN EMPIRE RAR

    Yup. It’s like bizarro world. The left is turning into the Pat Buchanan wing of the right. How long till someone make the argument that maybe intervening in WWII in the European theater was a bad idea since Germany didn’t attack us, only Japan did. Did not fulfill the “national security” requirement and all that.

  361. 361
    justin says:

    @DFer: Stupid comment. Saddam wasn’t being stingy with his oil, we enforced sanctions that limited how much he was allowed to sell.

    The oil angle is only stupid if you think the argument is that the U.S. just wants to take oil. As numerous policy planners have made explicitly clear over the decades, its not that we just want to take a countries oil, we want to maximize our control over its flows because this gives us political leverage for every country in the world that imports oil. If we are closely aligned with exporters, we can pressure our oil exporting allies to cut off energy to buyers when they piss us off.

    Qaddafi has been open to doing business, just like Saddam was, but he was still not trusted or controllable from our perspective.

  362. 362
    AC in BC says:

    Ambinder forgot three other criteria: whether they are sitting on top of a lot of oil; and whether the regime is US friendly. Bahrain and Saudi Arabia can rest easy.

Comments are closed.