But This Time It is Different

Can anyone deny this:

Whatever one thinks about the U.S. involvement in the war in Libya — some substantial portion of my readers support it, though Republicans are more enthused about the U.S. taking a leading role — it has unquestionably departed far from the claims that were made about it in the beginning. The no-fly zone was established long ago; the focus is now on attacking Gadaffi’s ground forces, enabling rebel advancements, and regime change. Despite claims about Arab League and French leadership, the U.S. has provided the overwhelming bulk of bombs, jet fighters, intelligence and other resources. And now there is what The New York Times calls a “fierce debate” within the administration about whether to arm the Libyan rebels.

But, but… RACIST!

The real question is the wisdom of this escalated involvement. How many times do we have to arm one side of a civil war — only for that side to then become our Enemy five or ten or fifteen years later — before we learn not to do that any more? I wrote earlier on Twitter, ironically, that one good outcome from arming the Libyan rebels is that it will lay the foundation for our new war 10 years from now — when Commander-in-Chief George Prescott Bush or Chelsea Clinton announce that we must wage war to stop the Libyan faction from threatening its neighbors and supporting Terrorism (with the weapons we provided them back in 2011). One of the most reliable ways that the posture of Endless War has been sustained is by our flooding the world with our weapons, only to then identify various recipients as our new (well-armed) enemy. Whether this is a feature or a bug, it is a very destructive outcome of our endless and always-escalating involvement in military conflicts around the world.

Clearly he hates freedom.

78 replies
  1. 1
    srv says:

    But, but… RACIST!

    Now you know how the PUMA’s felt.

  2. 2
    aimai says:

    Good luck with this one, JC. I had my own run ins with JFL a while ago and I just had to pull back and decide that if Someone was going to say stupid things on the internet I’d just decide that it wasn’t going to be me, and not only that, I wasn’t going to bother to respond. People have their hot buttons and their very strong convictions that when they represent a point of view on the internet that actually is a meaningful political act. Its pretty much not. But once someone has a whole lot of ego tied up in it there’s no point doing more than just skirting them and walking on by while they shriek at you.

  3. 3
    Not Really says:

    What exactly are people supposed to be denying here? They can state their opinions, but who knows for certain – GG doesn’t and neither do you or the commentariat. And also,

    But, but… RACIST!

    ??? JC, you are better than this. Come on now.

  4. 4
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    You know how poking the bear with a stick ended in Scotter Libby’s novel, right?

  5. 5

    I don’t know what I’m confirming or denying, or how race plays into it, so I’ll just leave it there.

    As re: Libya – I know this much. We are taking an active military role in a sovereign nation’s civil war. It is costing us $100 million dollars a day to do so. There is no benefit to be derived to us, the taxpayers, who are paying for said military action. And the last civil war that we intervened in was being fought in a charming nation (it really is, just so long as you’re not shooting the residents) known as Vietnam.

    This is what I know.

    Knowing what I know, I think our presence there is a stupid idea.

    Others will disagree, and probably make some comment about my intelligence or my parentage. That’s OK.

  6. 6
    John Cole says:

    @Not Really: See the thread from this morning to figure out what I meant.

  7. 7
    ppcli says:

    Clearly we need to design weapons that can only be used against Bad Guys.

  8. 8
    salacious crumb says:

    @John Cole: you hate freedom too!

  9. 9
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Invoking Glenn Greenwald’s opinion about something always leads to productive discussions about how well-intentioned reasonable people can come to a range of conclusions! Well played, John!

  10. 10
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    meh.
    The reason it is DIFFERENT FROM IRAQ AND A-STAN this time is that we are ON THE SIDE OF THE ISLAMIC INSURGENTS.
    The Muslim Brotherhood is your friend Cole.
    Sure, we armed the mujahadeen during our proxy war with the sovs, but the problem arose when we invaded the islamic insurgents’ country, and tried to impose our personal version of democracy.
    I actually think it would be good to arm the rebels. The MB will just arm them anyways.
    The sooner the Colonel gets the message, the less death there will be.
    And quit fussbudgetting about the next Libyan government.
    It will go down in the Egypt model, only with less military influence.
    Ain’t our bidness n/e way.

  11. 11
    Not Really says:

    @John Cole: I read that thread already, so I know what you are referring to. I’m saying that you don’t need to let people get to you like this. Doubt that anyone who’s been paying attention believes you are racist. When insinuations like that are made, it’s an opportunity for all to observe and decide if any of it makes sense or not. In that instance – not.

  12. 12
    taylormattd says:

    The point of that post is to further indocrinate the Paulbots into believing that Chelsea Clinton would be no different a president than Jenna Bush.

    He’s such an ass.

    The post would have been amazing if he has simply made this point and left well enough alone:

    The real question is the wisdom of this escalated involvement. How many times do we have to arm one side of a civil war—only for that side to then become our Enemy five or ten or fifteen years later—before we learn not to do that any more?

    But you know he can’t do that, because bush=gore=tweedledee/tweedledumb. Etc.

  13. 13

    Do nothing and let a lot of people die vs support the vampires of the military industrial complex. it’s really a no-win situation. i just really hope it finds some way to wrap up in a friedman unit or two for reals this time. also, too, arming a faction is just really sounding bad. hopefully the hawks lose that one piece at least.

  14. 14
    Mnemosyne says:

    How many times do we have to arm one side of a civil war—only for that side to then become our Enemy five or ten or fifteen years later—before we learn not to do that any more?

    I’d be curious to hear an example of where we did that when it was not us vs. the Soviets. Every single example I can think of in the past 50 years (at least) have been the US and the Soviets fighting a proxy war through the wars of developing countries (like, oh, say, Afghanistan perhaps?). At a minimum, they’ve been the US trying to smack down any communist or soshulist government that sprang up.

  15. 15
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Can we please just send Bradley Manning into Libya, and however that unfolds can determine the course of blogosphere history?

  16. 16
    Dave says:

    Glenn is wrong in that what the UN/NATO mission is doing right now is still within the framework of the resolution. Attacking Ghadafi’s forces and helping to advance rebel forces falls under “protecting civilians” since Ghadafi has shown a proclivity towards killing his own people.

    But arming the rebels…it’s not in the mandate. And if the US goes down that road, it’s a big mistake. IF the US goes down that road…

  17. 17
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: Not a civil war, but Iran/Iraq was a bit like that.

  18. 18
    MBunge says:

    “Clearly he hates freedom.”

    No, but he clearly doesn’t give a shit if thousands of innocent people or more get slaughted by Khaddafi’s forces. Which is a perfectly defensible position but should be remembered the next time Greenwald gets all self-righteous about something else.

    Mike

  19. 19
    taylormattd says:

    @srv: The only difference, of course, being that John didn’t spend the entire primary claiming Obama was a pimped-out, mobbed-up, anti-white racist, who is also a moooslim kenyan. Other than that, exactly the same.

  20. 20
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Failure, Inc.: I will make no claims about either your genome or your phenome. But you are wrong about this.

    And the last civil war that we intervened in was being fought in a charming nation (it really is, just so long as you’re not shooting the residents) known as Vietnam.

    America entered the Vietnam war to stop the spread of communism.
    America entered the Iraq and A-stan wars to stop the spread of terrorism/islamism.
    Now that is the lesson some people have not learned.
    But Obama, he is a learner.
    In Libya we are actually on the side of the insurgents.
    win, win.

  21. 21

    oh, btw, our galtian overlords yet again have successfully divided us. huzzah!

  22. 22
    John Cole says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: I don’t give a fuck what it is. I’ve never said this was Iraq or Afghanistan, you halfwit. We have hundreds of examples of us arming people in places other than Iraq or Afghanistan and having it turn out badly. I’m sick and tired of arming people and then years later having to go back and fix our mess after the weapons are turned against us our allies.

    This Libyan revolution will be long over in a few years, but the guns and explosives will remain. And they’ll be used somewhere.

  23. 23
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @John Cole: But the rebels will get them anyways, across the border from Egypt and the Brothers.
    Because we armed Mubarak for 30 years.
    I kinda agreed with you initially, but the faster Qaddafi goes down the less death there will be.
    I just think the coalition arming the rebels speeds things up, and sends a message.
    Can I ask a question?
    Do you really think Qaddafi can stay?

    And I’m answering your title post.
    I just told you how it is different, and you said you dont give a fuck.
    :(

  24. 24
    srv says:

    @taylormattd: I thought that would be obvious snark.

  25. 25
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Failure, Inc.:

    And the last civil war that we intervened in was being fought in a charming nation (it really is, just so long as you’re not shooting the residents) known as Vietnam.

    Can you really count Vietnam as a civil war, though? It seems much more like a colonial war to me, since Ho Chi Mihn was kicking the French’s asses before we tag-teamed in there like dopes. The main aim of the Vietnamese seemed to be to get rid of the colonial powers occupying them, not fighting among themselves.

    Cambodia’s probably a better example, though in that case it’s more that we managed to precipitate a civil war and then supported the wrong side without actively participating. Oh, and then we got all pissy with the Vietnamese when they invaded and tossed out Pol Pot to end the slaughter.

    The funny thing is, I actually agree with m_c on this: we are, at least, supporting the people against the dictator in a MENA country. That’s huge, given our history of sacrificing everything else for “stability.”

    Given that every other country in the region seems to be in revolt right now, Libya is a very small pixel in a much larger picture. But I still don’t think we should send ground troops. Let Sarkozy do it if he wants it so much and leave us out of it.

  26. 26
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    and I don’t think you are a racist.
    i think you are a pessimist.

  27. 27

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: Thanks for the lack of slander.

    I just don’t see arming one side as making a damn bit of difference as arming the other. Sure, you get Brand New Government IF the insurgents can at least hold their own (and that is by no means certain in this conflict) but in this case I don’t see how that is an improvement either.

  28. 28
    Mark S. says:

    And now there is what The New York Times calls a “fierce debate” within the administration about whether to arm the Libyan rebels.

    IIRC, that would be a violation of the UN Resolution.

    I initially supported this because I thought, with a little breathing room and air cover, the rebels could handle this and most Libyans wanted Gadhafi gone. I sure as hell didn’t support using our bombers to blow the living shit out of the Libyan army. That’s not what a fucking “no-fly zone” means.

  29. 29
    catclub says:

    @Mnemosyne: How about Serbia/Bosnia/Kosovo? Soviets were gone by then.
    (The Russians still had strong feelings, however.)

  30. 30
    cyntax says:

    Is anyone else getting the banner ad for single-muslim.com?

    Maybe it isn’t skynet we should worry about but ad-sense.

  31. 31
    Tony J says:

    I supported the enforcement of the No-Fly Zone the UN voted for, but yes, turning the “any necessary means” language of a Resolution passed to protect civilians from military bombardment into a justification for letting the Libyan rebels and NATO bomb ‘Ghaddafi’s civilians’ is so far beyond acceptable that it’s not even worth discussing, and over the last few days we’ve reached that point.

    The UN Resolution – has – been enforced. The civilians it was passed to protect – have – been spared from the genocide Ghadaffi promised. There was a chance that the rebels could take advantage of the obliteration of Ghaddafi’s forces in the east of Libya to rebound and reach Tripoli, but that didn’t happen. So now we’re looking at a very different situation that doesn’t come under the terms of any UN Resolution.

    Shorter – A civilian is a civilian, and the Resolution justifying military force to protect Libyan civilians is based on the principle that it doesn’t matter who those civilians support.

    Diplomacy might produce a shit-sandwich, but I’d eat it if the only other option was a barbed-wire burrito with high-explosive chillis and dead-brown person sauce.

  32. 32
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Mnemosyne: yup, no ground troops.
    And let the French take the lead for everything, along with the responsiblilty for helping stand up some government palatable to western interests post-Qaddafi.
    The French are already taking the lead. They recognized the NTC.
    Let’s limit the US participation to arms supplier.
    ;)
    Lob some cost-sunk last gen Tomahawks, airlift some last gen armor and munitions. Clean out our inventory.
    Qaddafi’s just got older gen sov stuff.

  33. 33
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @srv:

    Now you know how the PUMA’s felt.

    Uh huh, except they, you know, were being racist and entitled.

    Obama straight kicked Hillary’s ass. Move the fuck on already.

  34. 34
    Svensker says:

    You used Glenn Greenwald as ammo for your point? Whaddaya, bringing the hornet’s nest over to the baseball bats for extra special smashing or something?

  35. 35
    salacious crumb says:

    @Mnemosyne: uh, Iran..our craven fellating of the Shah and his dictatorial ways, for one

    Pakistan’s ISI, post defeat of the Communism, under the auspices of George W. Bush, and now ISI is coming to bite us in the ass, despite billions in aid.

    your question is a strange one. Are you saying blowback can only be in the form explicit terrorism against us? is that your standard? we pissed off pretty much all of Latin America with our support for right wing dictatorships, and sure they arent suicide bombing against us, but they elected people now (or parties) who are definitely have no love for the US (we have Hugo Chavez, Bachelet, Morales, Lula to name a few).

    oh and lets not even start talking about the Middle East.

    If we are solely talking about arming rebels, there is one thing I can guarantee. If we dont arm them, the weapons they use against, if they decide to attack us, wont be ours….which I take as a good thing..but we arm them, you cant guarantee that some our own shit will be used against us

  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    @catclub:

    How about Serbia/Bosnia/Kosovo? Soviets were gone by then.
    (The Russians still had strong feelings, however.)

    But those states were still products of the Cold War — they only stayed together under the pressure of the Soviet Union, and as soon as they had a chance, they went back to fighting with each other like they’d done for centuries. So that was even more heavily influenced by Cold War politics. Our first post-Soviet cleanup attempt.

  37. 37
    Joe Beese says:

    Meanwhile, in one of the Peace Laureate’s other wars…

    Taliban militants, who had been encroaching on the Waygal district for weeks, launched a coordinated assault on the local government building and police station… Also Tuesday, military officials said three NATO troops had been killed in separate attacks in eastern Afghanistan. The officials did not specify the locations or types of attacks.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....ml?hpid=z2

  38. 38
    Brachiator says:

    @John Cole:

    But, but… RACIST!

    No, it’s not racist. The conversation got off track. It’s too bad that apologies were not offered and accepted. Some good points got lost in the pointless nastiness. I don’t know, maybe this is a feature not a bug of the bloggosphere.

    And the last civil war that we intervened in was being fought in a charming nation (it really is, just so long as you’re not shooting the residents) known as Vietnam.

    To describe Vietnam as a civil war is reductive as hell. And largely irrelevant.

  39. 39
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @taylormattd:

    The point of that post is to further indocrinate the Paulbots into believing that Chelsea Clinton would be no different a president than Jenna Bush.
    __
    He’s such an ass.

    Is this a serious point? Who knew Chelsea Clinton had fucking fanboys?

  40. 40
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Not Really:

    JC, you are better than this.

    Not really,

  41. 41
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Failure, Inc.: Well, in the post Arab Spring landscape I just don’t see anyway for Qaddafi to hold on.
    I would support Coles position if someone can convince me Qaddafi is staying.
    Remember, he outlawed the MB in Libya (just like Mubarak) and shares a border with Egypt.
    The Egypt has a 30 year stockpile of American armament, an airforce, and a large standing army.
    Perhaps O is just seizing a chance to build some good will and reestablish America’s democracy street cred. Basically Egypt is Pakistan and could pour arms and insurgents over the border forever if they don’t like the outcome. Perhaps the coalition saw intervention as the lesser of two evils.

  42. 42
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Joe Beese: No, Afghanistan is not Obamas war.
    A-stan and Iraq are the direct results of the Bush Doctrine and COIN.
    Libya is Obama’s war.
    It is the first application of the Obama Doctrine.

  43. 43
    Mark S. says:

    @Tony J:

    Preach it, bro.

  44. 44
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @salacious crumb:

    we pissed off pretty much all of Latin America with our support for right wing dictatorships and sure they arent suicide bombing against us

    the difference is SA culture vs. Islamic culture.
    Most of SA already fell to the proselytizers when the pagan native populations were converted to catholicism.
    Islamic culture is immunized to proselytization, and resistance to proselytization is symmetrical and proportional.

  45. 45
    bourbaki says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think the US’s involvement in Haiti had all the makings of post-cold war example.
    Especially, this part Haiti. Though who knows how the earthquake is going to affect things.

  46. 46
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    Again, too, furthermore, and also: It’s kind of amusing how disturbed Cole is by JFL’s accusations of RACISM, given that he backs up ABL’s frequent, unsubstantiated charges of same leveled at commenters who oppose her, such as myself.

    Oh, not just racism, but sexism and missojunnee too!

    Those words take the place of supporting one’s argument you see.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @salacious crumb:

    uh, Iran..our craven fellating of the Shah and his dictatorial ways, for one

    You mean when we overthrew Mossadegh for trying to nationalize the oil industry on the pretext that since they’d been occupied by the Soviets after WWII, that they would align themselves with the Soviets?

    Pakistan’s ISI, post defeat of the Communism, under the auspices of George W. Bush, and now ISI is coming to bite us in the ass, despite billions in aid.

    You mean like when the ISI helped the Mossad smuggle Soviet weapons into Afghanistan?

    My argument is that we have run our foreign policy for the past 50 years on the assumption that if we didn’t take over a country, the Soviets would. (We’ll leave aside the idiocy of that conclusion for a moment.)

    A whole lot of people in government — especially during the Bush years — still have that mentality that it’s a binary world and if a country doesn’t choose to be our bestest buddy, they’re working with our enemy. They slotted “terrorism” in where “communism” used to be and carried on the exact same way they had for the previous 50 years.

    If you don’t understand that the US was propping up people like the Shah and Mubarak with the excuse that we were thwarting the Soviet Union, then a lot of world history is going to be incomprehensible to you.

  48. 48
    Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy says:

    This thread will hit 1000 comments . . .

    . . .on Joe from LOL and the ‘tako-chin’s comments alone!

  49. 49
    srv says:

    @Bob Loblaw: All Hitlery’s supporters were racist. Perhaps you should adjust your projectionmeter along with your trollmeter.

  50. 50
    Nerem says:

    I personally support helping the insurgents take out Qaddafi. He lost his legitimacy when he began slaughtering his opposition. I don’t support arming them, but rather continuing the No-Fly-Zone and stopping Qaddafi’s attempts at taking out the rebels.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @bourbaki:

    That’s a good example — thanks! We’ve been screwing with the Haitians since before Karl Marx was a gleam in his mother’s eye.

    Of course, my argument is that it’s the exception that proves the rule. ;-)

  52. 52
    Joe Beese says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    Afghanistan is not Obamas war.

    It became his war the day he tripled US ground forces there. Sorry if that fact is inconvenient for you.

    And lying about taking us into yet another war for oil is not a doctrine. It’s just shit that Republicrats do.

  53. 53
    Geek, Esq. says:

    I don’t trust anyone who thinks Libya is an easy call–on either side.

    Just glad I don’t buy gas.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @srv:

    All Hitlery’s supporters were racist.

    Only the supporters who kept insisting that Clinton had been cheated even after she threw her support to Obama at the convention. Those were the ones who just couldn’t stand the thought of a black man as our president.

    Everyone else was probably about as racist as the rest of us here in the US.

  55. 55
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @salacious crumb:

    we pissed off pretty much all of Latin America with our support for right wing dictatorships, and sure they arent suicide bombing against us

    In fact, for all the support the US provided for Latin American dictators, they _still_ assassinated Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in DC.

    For anyone who doesn’t know: Operation Condor.

  56. 56
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Joe Beese: It is not his war. The gound force surge is what Petraeus used to drawn down Iraq. McC told Obama what he needed to get out of A-stan and then bailed when he saw it was impossible.
    Obama has been trying to leave Bush’s unwinnable, undeclared and unjust war in A-stan since he took office.
    Both surges were never anything but cover for withdrawal with dignity.
    But no one expected the spanish inquisition Arab Spring.
    I think Obama is going to have to adjust strategy in A-stan, or else see his exit strategy morph into Operation Frequent Wind Part Deux.
    Bush was very rigid and inflexible.
    Hopefully Obama is less so.

  57. 57
    Chyron HR says:

    @Joe Beese:

    Taliban militants, who had been encroaching on the Waygal district for weeks, launched a coordinated assault on the local government building and police station…

    Damn Obama and his cadre of Taliban militants!

  58. 58
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy: at least im on Mnemosyne’s side this time.
    ;)

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Didn’t you know? The Taliban didn’t exist until Obama took office. Joe told me so.

  60. 60
    Brachiator says:

    @bourbaki:

    I think the US’s involvement in Haiti had all the makings of post-cold war example.

    How does that work? The US has been screwing with Haiti since that nation’s founding. And US forces occupied the country from what, 1915 through 1934. This is all pre Cold War.

    And how can we tell which was worse between the intervention which led to Aristide’s installation or the intervention which led to his ouster?

  61. 61
    Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy says:

    ‘tako-chin: wtf does ‘sides’ have to do anything? I just want you to STFU because I already know all the buzzwords, catchphrases, and Washington-esque acronyms that you are going to vomit up, 40 comments to the gross.

    It, and by it I mean YOU, is boring.

  62. 62
    Linnaeus says:

    Just read this over at Reuters:

    Obama authorizes secret support for Libya rebels:

    President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
    Obama signed the order, known as a presidential “finding”, within the last two or three weeks, according to four U.S. government sources familiar with the matter.
    Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA and the White House declined immediate comment.

    Hard to say what to make of this, given the anonymous sourcing and what not. Plus, apparently, it’s not certain that the US will actually undertake covert action:

    People familiar with U.S. intelligence procedures said that Presidential covert action “findings” are normally crafted to provide broad authorization for a range of potential U.S. government actions to support a particular covert objective.
    In order for specific operations to be carried out under the provisions of such a broad authorization — for example the delivery of cash or weapons to anti-Gaddafi forces — the White House also would have to give additional “permission” allowing such activities to proceed.

    That said, stuff like this, if true, tends to confirm my suspicion that the mission in Libya really is about regime change.

  63. 63
    Calouste says:

    Despite claims about Arab League and French leadership, the U.S. has provided the overwhelming bulk of bombs, jet fighters, intelligence and other resources.

    That needs proof. There was a statement by the US that they provided about half of the planes but flew only 25% of the combat missions.

  64. 64
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Linnaeus:

    It sure better be at this point.

    I realize people have been pimping the 1991 Iraq NFZ as a great policy success because it saved the Kurds, but um, what about the rest of the decade after that? Remember the Oil for Food program? Remember the half million starved kids and an entire generation crippled? Good times. Helluva potential fate for Tripolitania…

  65. 65

    The no-fly zone was established long ago; the focus is now on attacking Gadaffi’s ground forces, enabling rebel advancements, and regime change.

    Why do people keep making this claim? The very first shots fired by the international coalition, before the first cruise missile hit the first air defense battery, were bombs dropped by French fighter-bombers on Ghadaffi’s tanks outside of Benghazi.

    This was the plan from the beginning. This – bombing Gadaffi’s ground forces – was why the UN hurried up and passed the resolution on March 17: because the columns were rolling towards Benghazi, and they needed to be bombed ASAP.

    How can the very first thing done in the mission be mission creep?

  66. 66

    @Geek, Esq.:

    I don’t trust anyone who thinks Libya is an easy call—on either side.

    Wise.

    I also don’t trust anybody who says that “Libya” is only one call – that our choices are Vietnam War or the foreign policy of the America First Committee.

  67. 67

    @Linnaeus:

    That said, stuff like this, if true, tends to confirm my suspicion that the mission in Libya really is about regime change.

    Suspicion? The president went on national television two days ago and explicitly stated that America’s policy in Libya is regime change, echoing what he said back on February 26 – that Gadaffi must go.

    The UN’s mission in Libya isn’t regime change. The military action carried out under the UN mission isn’t regime change.

    But Obama explicitly stated that it was the policy of the United States to pursue the ouster of Gadaffi through non-military means, on national television, Monday night, and many times before that.

    So…suspicion confirmed.

  68. 68
    taylormattd says:

    @srv: doh. stupid Matt is stupid.

  69. 69
    taylormattd says:

    @Bob Loblaw: I could give two shits about Chelsea.

    Please explain, however, the purpose of a sentence that pretends Chelsea Clinton and Jenna bush are exactly the same in a piece supposedly about the dangers of arming rebels in the middle east.

  70. 70
    taylormattd says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: Honestly, don’t bother talking to that racist PUMA. He only started pretending he cared about occupying middle eastern countries the millisecond Hillary lost the primary. It’s not worth it.

  71. 71
    Linnaeus says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Suspicion? The president went on national television two days ago and explicitly stated that America’s policy in Libya is regime change, echoing what he said back on February 26 – that Gadaffi must go.
    The UN’s mission in Libya isn’t regime change. The military action carried out under the UN mission isn’t regime change.
    But Obama explicitly stated that it was the policy of the United States to pursue the ouster of Gadaffi through non-military means, on national television, Monday night, and many times before that.
    So…suspicion confirmed.

    Let me clarify. My suspicion (perhaps a better term would be “concern”) is that non-military means to effect regime change will become military means and that the UN mission was one foot in the door by which this will happen. We (the US and its allies) have picked sides in a civil war, and I could easily see this escalating into a commitment that goes far beyond the original UN mandate.

    I certainly don’t think that this situation was an easy call, and to be honest, I don’t have any certain opinions on all of this. I’m not saying that my concerns will come to pass, or that I can’t be wrong on this. But I don’t think I’m being unreasonable at all.

  72. 72
    Morbo says:

    @John Cole:

    We have hundreds of examples of us arming people in places other than Iraq or Afghanistan and having it turn out badly.

    Huh, and here I thought this morning’s thread was specifically about arming people in the Benghazi region only.

  73. 73
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy: i think….you just dont like what i say.
    Its ok, a lot of people don’t like what I say.
    And I’m confused.
    You already knew about Article 1 and Article 2 in the Egyptian constitution?
    Or about how the Israeli constitution doesn’t have freedom of religion?

  74. 74
    Fuzz says:

    This is only marginally related but to the Vietnamese it was essentially a civil war, they always called it the ‘war of reunification’ and the whole brother v. brother/families torn apart theme that we use in our civil war history is similar to what they use in describing theirs.

    Not to sound like Sean Hannity but I do think Afghanistan is Obama’s war. His foreign policy during the campaign largely centered around focusing on Afghanistan, and then he added 30k Americans plus about 10k European troops to the country. As late as 2007 Bush only had 34k soldiers there, though it rose to about 60k during 2008. Obama took a war that was relatively small scale (though obviously not for the soldiers there or the Afghans) and put troop levels at the same as we had in Iraq in 2004. That’s without mentioning the huge uptick in drone strikes.

  75. 75
    Brachiator says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    Or about how the Israeli constitution doesn’t have freedom of religion?

    Uh, how about Israel doesn’t have a formal constitution?

  76. 76
    BruinKid says:

    I’ll see your Greenwald, and raise you a Juan Cole. Seriously, when it comes to understanding the Middle East, I’ll take Cole over Greenwald any day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

  77. 77
    Brachiator says:

    @Fuzz:

    This is only marginally related but to the Vietnamese it was essentially a civil war, they always called it the ‘war of reunification’ and the whole brother v. brother/families torn apart theme that we use in our civil war history is similar to what they use in describing theirs.

    Uh, no. The Vietnam conflict began with France trying to re-assert their colonial control. On top of this was the emergence of communism in the north, which was really as much nationalistic as Marxist.

    On issue that a lot of people get hung up on (conservatives in particular) is an inability to acknowledge or understand that Vietnam was not “our war.” Eisenhower, and later Kennedy, got sucked into the entirely bogus notion about the war against Communism.

    The other issue (and this is similar to Afghanistan) is that South Vietnam was never a stable political entity. It was a cabal of corrupt officials entirely supported by Washington. One infamous image of the era, a monk setting himself on fire, emphasizes how the political elite of the South were Catholics, entirely alienated from the people.

    On top of all this, and more, you can add your civil war.

  78. 78
    Fuzz says:

    @Brachiator:

    You say “uh no” and then go on to describe a civil war and add lots of information that isn’t relevant to whether or not it was or wasn’t a civil war. Yes the monk immolated himself, Halberstam wrote a famous column about it in 1963, he witnessed it with his own eyes. Yes, Diem was Catholic and the masses were Buddhist and Diem was never viewed as legitimate and his army and upper political echelons were filled with Catholic cronnies. If the Vietnamese people fighting against one another either in support of communism or the government in the south is not a civil war then what is? South Vietnam was a civil war. There was a communist insurgency aided by the north, and then there were government forces supported by the US. If Vietnam wasn’t a civil war then neither were any of the conflicts in Central America during the 80s, or in Angola post-Portugese rule or Ethiopia or Afghanistan during the 90s, etc.

    Also, fwiw, Afghanistan has been a stable political entity during much of the 20th century. They had a king from 33 to 73 and then a communist coup, communists from 79-92 and then the anarchy began. Everyone likes to portray the Afghans as these un-tameable wild men but their country hasn’t been any more war like in its history than most other places in the world.

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