So Who Do We Start Bombing to Stop These War Crimes?

Just asking:

Rebels in the mountains in Libya’s west have looted and damaged four towns seized since last month from the forces of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, part of a series of abuses and apparent reprisals against suspected loyalists that have chased residents of these towns away, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

The looting included many businesses and at least two medical centers that, like the towns, are now deserted and bare.

Rebel fighters also beat people suspected of being loyalists and burned their homes, the organization said.

The towns that have suffered the abuses are Qawalish, which rebels seized last week, Awaniya, Rayaniyah and Zawiyat al-Bagul, which fell to the rebels last month. Some of the abuses, Human Rights Watch said, were directed against members of the Mashaashia tribe, which has long supported Colonel Qaddafi.

Time for another Arab League No-Fly zone!






142 replies
  1. 1
    Mike Goetz says:

    Brown people.

    Is that what you want to hear?

  2. 2
    keith says:

    Any Qaddafi statues we can tear down to fix things?

  3. 3
    lacp says:

    Peeance and freeance, dude, peeance and freeance.

  4. 4
    Martin says:

    So, you thought the effort of removing a dictator would automatically leave kittens and cotton candy behind? Should we not do things that would make things better because we cannot make them perfect?

  5. 5
    4tehlulz says:

    BOTH SIDES DO IT

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Um, these are freedom fighters.

    Like the Contras, and anyone involved in the deserting fratboy malassministration, they can not commit war crimes. They’re the good guys!

  7. 7
    aisce says:

    http://www.aaiusa.org/reports/arab-attitutes-2011

    and we’re apparently less popular with the arab world now than we were during the bush administration!

    even when you try to do the right thing…

  8. 8
    BO_Bill says:

    No one, not even Nostradamus, could have predicted that:

    (1) Arab people would not behave in strict accordance with the Geneva Convention and instead simply wipe out their opponents regardless of age, health, or gender; and

    (2) The Libyan ‘rebels’, while not smart enough to extend the stocks on their AKs while firing from the standing position, are really good bankers, and have already established a new Libyan Central Bank with a fiat currency and everything.

    Go Ron Paul.

  9. 9
    Mike Goetz says:

    Forget it, Martin. It’s Moral-Purity Town.

  10. 10
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Martin

    Not me. I thought that we didn’t know enough about the rebels to support them with force. I still think that.

    While we may be making things better for some it remains to be seen, once Libya’s minimal infrastructure has been bombed to nothing, just how many Libyans’ lot we’ve improved. Ordnance is pretty low on the list of things that could make anything perfect.

  11. 11
    j low says:

    Our side doesn’t kill, torture, or rape. We cause collateral damage, do enhanced interrogation, and bring blessing from God. Get over it.

  12. 12
    Han's Solo says:

    @Martin:

    So, you thought the effort of removing a dictator would automatically leave kittens and cotton candy behind? Should we not do things that would make things better because we cannot make them perfect?

    Exactly. Quadafi is, from what I’ve heard, crazier than Michelle Bachmann. He was on the verge of what was described as genocide. The Arab League asked for our help and we gave it.

  13. 13
    El Cid says:

    Obviously you love Qaddafi and want to have his babies. Otherwise you would have paid more attention to the extensive and detailed discussions of all aspects of this Libyan civil war, and who was involved, and so forth, because it’s not like public discussions basically narrowed down to a mission to bomb Qaddafi forces or not.

  14. 14
    harokin says:

    As Donald Rumsfeld said 8 years ago, “while no one condones looting, on the other hand one can understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of repression and people who’ve had members of their family killed by that regime, for them to be taking their feelings out on that regime.” Can’t make a freedom omelette…

  15. 15
    Mike Goetz says:

    Don’t you see? It’s brown people committing war crimes against the brown people who supported the brown people threating genocide against brown people.

    Why do we care?

  16. 16
    agrippa says:

    This is a Civil War. A Civil War to dispose of a dictator. All this is to be expected.

    It is much easier to get into a war than it is to get out of one.

  17. 17

    Martin #4

    So, you thought the effort of removing a dictator would automatically leave kittens and cotton candy behind? Should we not do things that would make things better because we cannot make them perfect?

    You have a point.

    At the present time, is there anything that we/NATO can do to try to get the rebels to control their lust for revenge?

  18. 18
    scav says:

    OT query. Is it still rob!’s birthday? Because the Irish are explicitly calling the Vatican “entirely unhelpful” on the subject of clerical child abuse.

  19. 19
    jwest says:

    This video sums up the liberal position on U.S. troops:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded

  20. 20
    PIGL says:

    @Han’s Solo-12

    Exactly. Quadafi is, from what I’ve heard, crazier than Michelle Bachmann. He was on the verge of what was described as genocide. The Arab League asked for our help and we gave it.

    And of course every word you heard was true, especially the dire predictions of the Genocide that for sure was going to happen immediately if we didn’t start bombing. Every word true. Unlike last time and the time before that.

    “Descibed as genocide” forsooth. Actions that had not taken place, which were merely the reported chest-thumping threats of an admitted crazy person, were described in terms designed to bring the witless champions of western goodness on board. Will you people ever stop believing this?

  21. 21
    Martin says:

    Not me. I thought that we didn’t know enough about the rebels to support them with force. I still think that.

    Well, keep in mind that’s not exactly how this played out. We didn’t intervene until Gaddafi decided to roll tanks into cities and there had been a few weeks of documented mass civilian killings by Libyan police/military. We hardly lept at the chance to support Libyan rebels, and Gaddafi didn’t exactly make conditions easy for us to look the other way.

    This turning into a shitpile was inevitable. Either we were going to get rebels gaining the upper hand and the spoils of war shit that happens in every conflict around the world, or we were going to get Gaddafi putting this down with force and killing who knows how many civilians. They both suck, and there’s not a goddamn thing we could have done to prevent one or the other of these outcomes.

    What pisses me off about this is that rather than Cole gloating over beatings, looting, and burning of homes in some town in the west, he would have been completely silent and apathetic about Gaddafi snipers killing another 40 civilians in some town in the east. I don’t cast that as a personal failing, it’s just human nature to filter out those things that don’t personally impact you and filter in those things that do (now that the US military is involved, I understand why he’s interested), but because he’s not just reporting this but moralizing over it, it ends up being the worst kind of moral bargain: “I will condemn these bad things that happen close to my house and ignore (and thereby give a pass to) those horrific things that happen far from my house”.

    The US media is insanely bad about this (the missing white girl phenomena) and we certainly don’t need Cole’s personal version of it on a site that so eagerly takes shots at the shitty standards of journalism in this country.

  22. 22
    liberal says:

    Martin blithered,

    So, you thought the effort of removing a dictator would automatically leave kittens and cotton candy behind? Should we not do things that would make things better because we cannot make them perfect?

    And you know that (a) we’re likely to make things better, and (b) “making things better” (for Libyans) is our (and our allies’) actual intent…how?

  23. 23

    The organization Human Rights Watch seems to be monitoring things in Libya, although I don’t know how close they are to the actual action. They are providing publicity about several aspects of life in Libya right now. Publicity might be the best weapon of civilians.

    Governments, however, including France etc. that have people inside of Libya could apply pressure. The last I heard, the US also had people inside although I don’t know how close a relationship they have with the rebels.

  24. 24
    joes527 says:

    The bombing will continue until humanitarian conditions on the ground improve.

    Who is surprised by the trajectory of this? It is all proceeding exactly on-plan. We have more bombs than they have people. Extrapolate.

  25. 25
    liberal says:

    Martin blithered,

    They both suck, and there’s not a goddamn thing we could have done to prevent one or the other of these outcomes.

    So? Why is it our duty to “prevent” these outcomes? Why are you assuming that state entities like the US are capable of behaving like moral agents? Etc.

  26. 26
    Tsulagi says:

    In addition to Stalin I bet you haven’t denounced Kadhafi today. You go with the freedom fighters you have, not the ones you made them out to be.

  27. 27
    liberal says:

    Martin blithered,

    …and Gaddafi didn’t exactly make conditions easy for us to look the other way.

    LOL. Half the population of Saudi Arabia is essentially enslaved, and we’ve been looking the other way for decades now.

    With your decision criteria, the US should now commence invading and/or bombing a huge chunk of the world.

  28. 28
    El Cid says:

    Some sort of negotiated exit for Qaddafi would seem to be the most positive way to end this war, if indeed it’s going to end.

    Negotiation (with backing up via sanctions and agreed-upon peacekeeping etc) was the only strategy which led to the end of the Sudanese war against Southern Sudan (ie, Darfur), and which has led to the so-far independent new nation of, well, Southern Sudan.

    No military solution appeared to exist, despite the fevered advocacy of many for it.

    RTP or no, there’s at least decent evidence that this Libyan war could rage for a long, long time, as did plenty of Northern African wars — such as the one Qaddafi himself helped cause and subsidize, the aforementioned Sudan government war against both Southern Sudanese civilians and the likewise-acting Chadian troops/insurgents.

    I’ve got no magic mirror, but I don’t see signs of a complete defeat of fighting by forces currently backing Qaddafi, mainly because there are a lot of resources and land at stake.

  29. 29

    Its not war crimes John, look it up. It seems like they are just taking a page from the play book of late 18th century American rebels. Why do you people hate America’s Glorious Revolution so much? Also, look it up. As Martin @ #4 said, war “aint all kittens and cotton candy.” Grow the fuck up.

  30. 30
    Martin says:

    At the present time, is there anything that we/NATO can do to try to get the rebels to control their lust for revenge?

    Other than get them to stop acting human? No. Fuck, it’s not like US troops even in recent years haven’t succumbed to the very same things in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s goddamn hard to take people, even insanely well trained people like US military, and get them to turn off the emotion/revenge switch when faced with a group of people that are trying their hardest to kill you.

    We can minimize it, but it’s going to happen, and the only way to get it to not happen is to eliminate the fuckery from the outset. Once you get a guy like Gaddafi in power, the challenge of whatever power shift is going to come, however long it takes, is inevitably going to result in stuff like this – as it has in every nation. It’s the inevitable cost of dictatorships.

  31. 31
    Martin says:

    Great, I have a stalker now.

    Why is it our duty to “prevent” these outcomes?

    I never said it was. But you can’t complain about beatings and houses being burned as some moral outrage and then overlook 40 civilians being killed by snipers. This incident is only an outrage because you know about it, and you choose to not know about the other incident. That doesn’t make it morally more wrong, it simply makes you more of a douchebag for picking and choosing things to exploit to try and make a point.

  32. 32
    Cliff says:

    This turning into a shitpile was inevitable. Either we were going to get rebels gaining the upper hand and the spoils of war shit that happens in every conflict around the world, or we were going to get Gaddafi putting this down with force and killing who knows how many civilians. They both suck, and there’s not a goddamn thing we could have done to prevent one or the other of these outcomes.

    So six of one, half a dozen of the other, might as well spend a billion dollars on bombs and jet fuel while we’re at it?

    I’m not understanding the logic.

  33. 33
    Martin says:

    Half the population of Saudi Arabia is essentially enslaved, and we’ve been looking the other way for decades now.
    __
    With your decision criteria, the US should now commence invading and/or bombing a huge chunk of the world.

    No, and I’ve made this point repeatedly in the past: not all crises can be solved equally. There are situations you can reasonably solve and there are those that you cannot.

    10 people die in a tornado. 10 people die due to e-coli.

    In either case 10 people have died. The former is unfortunate, but our ability to prevent it is limited. The latter is criminal, because our ability to prevent it is very high.

    We intervened in Libya because we could, and likely could expect a reasonable outcome. Not an awesome outcome, not even a certain outcome. We don’t intervene in North Korea because we can’t, not without almost certain catastrophe. Nobody judges the situation in Libya as being more morally outrageous than what’s happening in North Korea, but there’s not much we can do with North Korea. There’s a lot more we can do with Libya – especially when there are others in the region willing to support a broad effort.

    This isn’t a difficult concept to understand, but you simply don’t want to understand it because you’re too wedded to your fundamentalist ideals.

  34. 34
    Ripley says:

    “Democracy is messy.” You can’t explain that!

  35. 35
    Tsulagi says:

    This turning into a shitpile was inevitable…. They both suck, and there’s not a goddamn thing we could have done to prevent one or the other of these outcomes.

    There you go. So we just had to hop into the “inevitable shitpile” too just to get our own shots in to join in the shitpile fun and make it bigger. Now there’s solid well-thought reasoning to commit our forces to war…um hostilities, er maybe stern kinetic activities or whatever works not to trigger the War Powers Resolution

  36. 36
    joes527 says:

    Martin

    Gaddafi didn’t exactly make conditions easy for us to look the other way.

    You vastly underestimate our ability to look the other way.*

    Why are the only problems in the world that we feel that we can really have an impact the ones that involve dropping bombs on people?

    * OK. OK. We aren’t completely looking the other way. We have provided $366M so far this year. Contrast that with the $550M we spent in 10 days in Lybia

  37. 37
    Martin says:

    I’m not understanding the logic.

    The logic is that the incident the outrage is being expressed over involved: beating, looting, and burning homes. The alternative was, documented at the time: mass killing, beating, imprisonment, looting, heavily artillery used against civilians, and burning homes.

    If you can’t tell the difference between those two conditions, then there’s really no point debating this.

  38. 38
    joes527 says:

    Martin

    Gaddafi didn’t exactly make conditions easy for us to look the other way.

    You vastly underestimate our ability to look the other way.*

    Why are the only problems in the world that we feel that we can really have an impact the ones that involve dropping bombs on people?

    * OK. OK. We aren’t completely looking the other way. We have provided $366M so far this year. Contrast that with the $550M we spent in 10 days in Libya

  39. 39

    Hey, at least they didn’t tar and feather them.

    The process of “TAR AND FEATHERING,” for example, was brutally violent. Stripped of clothes, covered with hot tar, and splattered with feathers, the victim was then forced to parade about in public. Unless the British Army was close at hand to protect Loyalists, they often suffered bad treatment from Patriots and often had to flee their own homes. About one-in-six Americans was an active Loyalist during the Revolution, and that number undoubtedly would have been higher if the Patriots hadn’t been so successful in threatening and punishing people who made their Loyalist sympathies known in public.

    http://www.ushistory.org/us/13c.asp

  40. 40
    srv says:

    So six of one, half a dozen of the other, might as well spend a billion dollars on bombs and jet fuel while we’re at it?

    Because it’s different when democrats support making shitpiles. All those sanctions and non-stop bombing in Iraq in the 90’s made everything so much better.

    No one could have foreseen the ‘inevitable.’

  41. 41
    celticdragonchick says:

    For some real laughs, read about what both sides were up to during the Revolutionary War in North and South Carolina. There is a reason why this part of the Revolution has been called our first civil war. Both sides burned out and killed supporters of the other side, including their own family members. POW’s on both sides were massacred. Civilians were murdered. Fun for everyone.

  42. 42

    Martin @33 = +1

  43. 43
    joes527 says:

    hrm. Moderation for providing too much documentation?

    Martin:

    Bullshit.

    There is a humanitarian crisis in the horn of Africa right now and we are providing chicken scratch.

    We don’t intervene where it is hard to look the other way.
    We don’t intervene when we can reasonably expect to help.

    We intervene when we think we can bomb people without getting bombed back.

  44. 44
    liberal says:

    Martin wrote,

    This isn’t a difficult concept to understand, but you simply don’t want to understand it because you’re too wedded to your fundamentalist ideals.

    Huh. Reading history and correctly concluding that states don’t do these things for “humantarian” reasons is “fundamentalist”? Who knew? Ditto for reading history and concluding that the evidence that US intervention results so often in misery for the locals that the standard for intervention should be extremely high—far higher than that reached in the recent case of Lybia.

  45. 45
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Martin

    Good observations.

  46. 46
    Cliff says:

    The logic is that the incident the outrage is being expressed over involved: beating, looting, and burning homes. The alternative was, documented at the time: mass killing, beating, imprisonment, looting, heavily artillery used against civilians, and burning homes.

    Wait, wait, I thought you were for the US intervening in Libya. Did I get that wrong?

    ETA: Oh, wait, I see now. The second list is slightly different than the first. So now the logic is, we’d better step in and provide the heavy artillery use against the civilians, because the rebels aren’t going to fucking do it themselves?

  47. 47
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Martin

    …and then overlook 40 civilians being killed by snipers.

    There are no civilians. There are the Good Guys and enemy combatants. In this case, the snipers felt that they were the Good Guys.

  48. 48
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Joe

    There is a humanitarian crisis in the horn of Africa right now and we are providing chicken scratch.

    Our last adventure in the Horn of Africa providing cover for UN relief workers didn’t go well at all. The world has walked away, and that is that.

  49. 49
    liberal says:

    @36 Martin babbled idiotically,

    If you can’t tell the difference between those two conditions, then there’s really no point debating this.

    If you can’t tell the difference between atrocities which are someone else’s, and atrocities which are ours, then there’s really no point debating this.

  50. 50
    celticdragonchick says:

    @liberal
    Your ad hominems are not helping your case. Martin has replied respectfully. You have behaved like an ass.

  51. 51
    FlipYrWhig says:

    There are costs to acting and costs to not acting. Both can be significant. Both can breed tragedy and amplify suffering. We can fight about what the right thing to do is now, should have been before, etc. But, honestly, using reports of bad shit happening to neener-neener your critics is not an attractive behavior.

  52. 52
    liberal says:

    Tsulagi wrote,

    So we just had to hop into the “inevitable shitpile” too just to get our own shots in to join in the shitpile fun and make it bigger.

    Of course! Martin has looked at all the relevant data and decided that it’s well worth it. How dare you question him, given his obvious intelligence and good sense?

  53. 53
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Tarring and feathering has always fascinated me, particularly how one could have survived it given the limitations of 18th century medicine. And yet, Prof. Wikipedia tells me there’s no record of any fatalities from it during the Revolutionary period.

  54. 54
    liberal says:

    celticdragonchick blithered,

    Your ad homiumns are not helping your case.

    I don’t think you know what the phrase “ad hominem” means. Ad hominem would be: “Why should anyone listen to a commenter who apparently thinks the minute the safety of a single woman is threatened that the US should invade?”

    Martin has replied respectfully.

    LOL.

  55. 55
    joes527 says:

    @celticdragonchick

    The world has walked away, and that is that.

    Holy fuck that’s cold. I guess so long as it isn’t us that’s dying its OK.

    Getting food to starving people _is_ hard. And dangerous. And the outcome isn’t certain.

    But that Libya thing. That’s a slam dunk.

  56. 56

    So Who Do We Start Bombing to Stop These War Crimes: French Resistance Edition?

    On September 2, 1944, legendary LIFE photographer Carl Mydans and John Obsborne, a war correspondent for LIFE and Time, were in Grenoble, at the foot of the French Alps, when they witnessed a grim, bloody proceeding: A group of Resistance fighters (known as Maquis) gathered to execute a half-dozen Nazi collaborators who had worked for the despised, feared Milice — the Vichy police.

    http://www.life.com/gallery/47.....45#index/0

  57. 57
    celticdragonchick says:

    @liberal

    I don’t think you know what the phrase “ad hominem” means.

    I am refering to your consistant use of derogatory and belittling adjectives wrt Martin’s intelligence and the quality of his statements which go well beyond merely stating your disagreement.

    It makes you look juvenile and truculent instead of edgy, which I assume was your intention, especially given that Martin ‘s comments do not reflect your aspersions.

  58. 58
    joes527 says:

    annnnnd … We’re Goodwin’d

  59. 59

    joes527 #53

    Getting food to starving people is hard. And dangerous.

    Are you volunteering? If you want me to, I’ll help you find out where you sign up for this sort of thing.

  60. 60
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @33 Martin

    We intervened in Libya because we could,

    Got that, liberal? Not because it’s the right and proper thing to do, but because we could. America is exceptional. Hey, it does what it can.

    and likely could expect a reasonable outcome.

    Got that, liberal? You – and every other person in every other country – don’t define “a reasonable outcome,” Martin does. And he’s “all in” on America is exceptional and has the right and duty to impose its idea of “a reasonable outcome” on anyone, anytime, anywhere, anyhow.

    This isn’t a difficult concept to understand, but you simply don’t want to understand it because you’re too wedded to your fundamentalist ideals.

    Got that, liberal? Your fundamental nonbelief in unjust killing and war is preposterously “fundamentalist” while Martin and President Obama’s fundamental belief in America killing people because we can (“Yes, we can”) is not fundamentalist in any way. And before you start squawking about it, just remember that America is exceptional, and that you’ve been haughtily lectured to on this topic before.
    .
    .

  61. 61
    Martin says:

    slightly different

    Jesus. Gaddafi was using snipers and tanks against civilians. He was killing hundreds every week.

    The rebels beat some people and burned their houses. It’s not even reported that they killed anyone in those towns.

    So, mass killing and looting are slightly different in your world. And just to be clear, you’re taking the liberal position here, not the Dick Cheney position. Correct?

  62. 62
    celticdragonchick says:

    @joes527

    Holy fuck that’s cold. I guess so long as it isn’t us that’s dying its OK.
    Getting food to starving people is hard. And dangerous. And the outcome isn’t certain.
    But that Libya thing. That’s a slam dunk.

    It is cold. I can’t say I really agree with it, but it is what it is. The humanitarian situation has been a disaster in the Horn ever since we left Somalia, but the ship of Worldwide Good Will sailed away and it will likely not be back during our lifetimes. It didn’t really need to be that way, since the Aidid Clan was shattered during the Blackhawk Down incident and we likely could have broken them for good and ensured the safety of UN relief. We left, and so did the UN and the rest is history.

  63. 63
    Martin says:

    If you can’t tell the difference between atrocities which are someone else’s, and atrocities which are ours

    WE DIDN’T LOOT THE TOWN.

    You can’t say ‘these Libyans did this horrible thing and it’s all our fault’ and then say ‘Gaddafi’s Libyans didn’t do any horrible things because that’s an internal matter and none of our business’. That’s not just bullshit, it’s fucking evil on your part.

  64. 64

    annnnnd … We’re Goodwin’d

    Right, because any discussion of WWII should never be permitted on the internet even when its completely relevant to the discussion at hand. I assume you avoid all discussion of European history of the 30’s and 40’s because its difficult to avoid mentioning (shudder) Nazis. Are you familiar with the quote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”? Emerson was talking about you joes527.

  65. 65
    stinkdaddy says:

    @ Martin, 4 and 36: Could you decide whether we’re there to overthrow Gaddafi or to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe? In the space of 30 comments, you’ve taken both sides and used whichever is convenient to the argument you’re making at that second.

  66. 66
    celticdragonchick says:

    Make up your mind. Are we there to overthrow Gaddafi or to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe?

    I was under the impression that the goals were complimentary.

  67. 67
    Cliff says:

    @Martin (59)

    All right, let me lay the sarcasm aside.
    Yes, Qaddafi’s oppression was/is horrible. I can’t fault anyone for being disgusted about it.

    But I see a large number of problems with our intervention there.
    As far as John Cole’s original point goes, the rebels’ retaliation may not be as bad as Qaddafi’s actions, but that’s only true so far.
    We really don’t know who these people are, and we’ve seen so many times in this part of the world that when an oppressed ethnic group gets into power they go hog wild on their oppressors. Nothing gets solved. I suspect the same will be the case here.

    But my main concern is the cost. We have just been told for three years that we have to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Planned Parenthood, and all regulatory agencies in order to keep from going bankrupt. We can’t even fix our fucking highways. We can’t even help Joplin MO, we’re told.
    But now we somehow can spend a billion dollars to drop bombs on a guy that really does not pose any threat to us?

    And then there’s the inconsistencies. Why Libya, and not Syria? Why Libya and not Yemen? Why Libya, and not Mexico, a failed narcostate that is one of the two nations that border us?

    No, the whole things stinks to me, and I don’t think we need to be there.

  68. 68
    stinkdaddy says:

    Martin, you say Gaddafi’s troops were killing hundreds a week. That’s tens of tens! Great. So what’s the bar? In how many other countries are people dying at that rate, and how many of them should we go to war with?

    I notice your righteous indignation doesn’t seem to extend to the citizens of Yemen, Syria, etc. Funny that.

  69. 69
    Martin says:

    There is a humanitarian crisis in the horn of Africa right now and we are providing chicken scratch.
    __
    We don’t intervene where it is hard to look the other way.
    We don’t intervene when we can reasonably expect to help.
    __
    We intervene when we think we can bomb people without getting bombed back.

    Ok, but the logical extension of that argument is that if we can’t help everywhere, we shouldn’t help anywhere.

    And in the case of Libya, our support came with the provision that we’re not moving any of our assets around, and we’re not going to commit manpower to this thing any more than we have to. We had carriers right off of Libya because of Iraq/Afghanistan. They just happened to be there at the time and nobody else was. We happen to have the ability to drop a tomahawk on a tank reliably without adding any manpower to the situation. In terms of people we committed virtually nothing.

    How do we help in the horn without committing massive amounts of manpower? ‘Help’ is not some fungible commodity where you can trade bottled water for peacekeepers for aircraft carriers for 100# bags of wheat. You can’t just yell ‘help’ and expect that we’re going to be sitting there with the precise formula of ‘help’ that you happen to need at that moment. So let’s look more precisely at the horn:

    1) They really, really don’t like us there. But let’s not have that deter us.
    2) Simply establishing a presence there now requires a military force to defend our presence there because of 1). We’ve played this out once before, and I don’t think we’ll half-ass it a 2nd time.
    3) Now that we have an on-the-ground military presence (no doubt taken from stop-lossing the military we’re pulling out of Iraq/Afghanistan, because we have nobody else to rely on) we need to move in relief workers. We’ll trust the UN to provide these.
    4) Since military intervention is not the ‘help’ they asked for, we need to appropriate funds to deliver water, wheat, medicine, etc. That requires Congress. There is no ‘Humanitarian Powers Act’ that allows the President 90 days to bomb people with food and cholera medicine before Congress tells him to knock it the fuck off, so we can’t even start this without Congress’s OK, which isn’t going to come.

    Walk me through a scenario where we can realistically help in the horn, given the assholes running the House, and the complete lack of manpower available to do the job?

  70. 70
    joes527 says:

    Linda Featheringill

    Funny how the intertubes are full of people who think they know who they are talking to.

    In any case, no I’m not volunteering for anything right now. Does that mean that we aren’t bombing Libya any more, because I’m sure as hell not volunteering for that.

  71. 71
    Martin says:

    There are the Good Guys and enemy combatants.

    4 year old children are enemy combatants? Come on…

  72. 72

    Holy fuck that’s cold. I guess so long as it isn’t us that’s dying its OK.

    We didn’t do anything about Tiananmen Square either and that was also pretty cold. I guess we didn’t want war with China. We are such hypocrites.

    Totally nongodwinned! Are “Red Menace” comparisons O.K. joe?

  73. 73

    This isn’t a difficult concept to understand, but you simply don’t want to understand it because you’re too wedded to your fundamentalist ideals.

    We are not stopping a humanitarian crisis. We are engaging in supporting one side in a civil war. A civil war that will result in more atrocities, more displaced and homeless, more civilians suffering from lack of infrastructure and supplies, and more civilian deaths.

    Would Great Britain and France have been morally justified in shelling US shipping and military targets to stop Sherman or other Union generals who were less concerned with civilian deaths and suffering than they were with ending the war?

  74. 74
    stinkdaddy says:

    @ 64: Really? I guess I missed the memo on that one. I remember a whole bunch of happy talk about humanitarian goals, and I remember a bunch of people inferring that this was really about toppling Gaddafi and bathing in Libya’s oil. But I don’t remember anyone in a position of power openly coming out and saying “Yeah no shit, don’t be naive. Of course this is about Libya’s oil.”

    From what I gather from several in this thread, I simply missed that acknowledgement and everyone has known all along that we went into Libya to kill Gaddafi. Interesting.

  75. 75
    Martin says:

    I was under the impression that the goals were complimentary.

    I think they wound up being complimentary, based on Gaddafi’s actions. I think had Gaddafi backed off when we intervened outside Benghazi, that we would have stepped back from supporting regime change. France was already pushing for that, so it may not have made a difference in terms of the outcome, but I think we would have stopped participating at all in short order (which we actually came very close to).

    But Gaddafi not backing off, and actually expanding his effort pretty much made it clear that regime change was either going to have to be the goal (whether we helped or not), or else he was going to clamp down on most of the country, and succeed at the thing we sought to prevent. At that point, the goals became complimentary. That was maybe 2-3 weeks in when we officially changed our position.

  76. 76

    cliff #65

    But my main concern is the cost. We have just been told for three years that we have to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Planned Parenthood, and all regulatory agencies in order to keep from going bankrupt. We can’t even fix our fucking highways. We can’t even help Joplin MO, we’re told.

    We/liberals/Democrats/Feds/commentariat have not yet cut funding to social services or regulatory agencies. The pressure to do all of that has come from the Republicans.

    Highways? Yes, you have a point there. Much infrastructure work needs to be done.

    Joplin, MO has gotten a lot of help. The folks in that area consistently say that FEMA and the Feds in general have been very generous and very helpful.

  77. 77

    But my main concern is the cost. We have just been told for three years that we have to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Planned Parenthood, and all regulatory agencies in order to keep from going bankrupt. We can’t even fix our fucking highways. We can’t even help Joplin MO, we’re told.

    We don’t have to cut any of those things. Republicans want to only because they are assholes. Furthermore, money for blowing shit up is appropriated directly from the magic pony’s secret bank account and therefore doesn’t count against the deficit. This has been true since the Reagan administration. You could look it up.

  78. 78
    stinkdaddy says:

    Awesome. I was going to point out the similarities between some of the arguments being made here (overthrowing dictators is hard etc.) and the stuff coming out of Rumsfeld’s mouth while we were watching Iraq’s museums get looted and whatnot. Now I see I don’t need to, as folks have not only brought that into the thread already but are in fact quoting Rummy approvingly, ie. comment #14 etc.

    One of my biggest fears when Obama took office was that a significant portion of the Dems/left/whatever would start up with the parroting of talking points, blind authoritarianism, hero worship kind of stuff that George Bush had benefited from for 8 years. Silly me, I thought maybe there was something going on in conservatives’ brains that made them more susceptible to this. I was wrong.

  79. 79
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Martin

    4 year old children are enemy combatants? Come on…

    And when Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait they threw babies out of incubators. Wait, they didn’t.

    Ask yourself this, Martin; if this situation had cropped up in, say, 2005 and Bush intervened the same way Obama has intervened, would you be posting the same laudatory stuff? And what if, to ice the cake, Bush declared that blowing up people and things by remote control didn’t constitute hostilities so the acquiescence of Congress was unneeded?

  80. 80
    Cliff says:

    We/liberals/Democrats/Feds/commentariat have not yet cut funding to social services or regulatory agencies. The pressure to do all of that has come from the Republicans.

    Really?

    President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget will cut several billion dollars from the government’s energy assistance fund for poor people

    http://www.nationaljournal.com.....r-20110209

  81. 81
    stinkdaddy says:

    “That was maybe 2-3 weeks in when we officially changed our position.”

    That can’t be right. I was assured this would be over in a matter of days.

    (Now you respond with something about how Gaddafi forced out hand by acting in such and such a way, as though we didn’t have the whole thing gamed out before we started dropping bombs. Our military is just that inept.)

    I’m still curious Martin, who else should we bomb? Syria? Yemen? Where’s the line, and how many other countries are crossing it?

    Obviously your concern here is not about an ad-hoc defense of Obama and the Libya war. Since you obviously have deeply-held principles about the US intervening in other countries during times of civil strife, maybe you could lay those out and help me understand why you’re so gung-ho about Libya in particular.

  82. 82

    cliff #65

    And then there’s the inconsistencies. Why Libya, and not Syria? Why Libya and not Yemen? Why Libya, and not Mexico, a failed narcostate that is one of the two nations that border us?

    Libya already had an active rebel group, trying to be an army. The govt of Libya had an army but it was limited. They had weapons, too but the bombing took care of some of that. Attacking Syria would result in a long, drawn out, nasty war. The govt of Syria is too big and too tough. Yemen is under the protection of Saudi Arabia, another state that could stage a long and nasty war. Mexico? Right next door? The US ruling elite might be bad people and willing to start wars just about anywhere but they haven’t been stupid enough to attack the next door neighbor.

    No, the whole things stinks to me, and I don’t think we need to be there.

    Maybe we don’t need to be there. That is a position and you certainly have every right to hold that position and express it.

  83. 83
    stinkdaddy says:

    @ Cliff, 80: Pfft, you can prove anything with facts.

  84. 84
    Cliff says:

    We/liberals/Democrats/Feds/commentariat have not yet cut funding to social services or regulatory agencies. The pressure to do all of that has come from the Republicans.

    Really?

    Bowing to growing budget concerns and months of Republican political pressure on federal pay and benefits, President Obama today announced he would stop pay increases for most of the two million people who work for the federal government.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.c.....e_for.html

  85. 85
    joes527 says:

    Martin

    OK. my first response that went into moderation had numbers and links (too many, it would seem) to show the resources ($$$) that we are spending in Libya dwarf what we are spending in the horn of Africa.

    That is WITH all those provisions you name. Even if we happen to have stuff in the area and we don’t put in troops, and stick with all the other limits … bombing the shit out of people is expensive.

    Now, you cleverly explained that our system gives the president the power to bomb people, but not much else. Where you went wrong was to expect me to start from this and get to puppies and butterflies.

    The situation that you described (that there is a war powers act but no humanitarian powers act) IS the problem. We have hard wired this country to equate engagement with blowing shit up. That was my point.

    Blowing shit up. It’s what we do. It is our hammer, and everything is a fucking nail.

    Pretending that we were forced into the Libyan adventure by the humanitarian conditions is pure bullshit. WE. DON’T. CARE. ABOUT. HUMANITARIAN. CONDITIONS. Our laws (as you pointed out) aren’t structured to deal with humanitarian condition.

    We care about bombing targets that can’t bomb back.

  86. 86

    Would France have been morally justified in shelling British shipping and military targets to stop Washington or other Revolutionary generals who were less concerned with civilian deaths and suffering than they were with ending the war?

    fixed that for you Comrade Dread.

  87. 87
    stinkdaddy says:

    @ Linda Feathergill, 82: Those are political calculations. You’re talking like a WH strategist, which I assume you’re not. Why think like that? What do you as an individual feel is right?

    If invading Libya is the right thing, without thinking about the political calculations would it also be the right thing to invade Syria and Yemen?

    And if invading Syria and Yemen is the right thing but we won’t do it because it’s too hard, are we really that exceptional?

    Either it’s about doing what’s right or it’s about doing what’s easy. Seems to me that we can’t have both. Which should it be, then? If we’re the country that doesn’t stand by and watch innocents be slaughtered… yknow… unless it’d be politically treacherous to do something about it… then we need to adjust our self-image a bit.

  88. 88
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Linda Featheringill

    The US ruling elite might be bad people and willing to start wars just about anywhere but they haven’t been stupid enough to attack the next door neighbor.

    The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) didn’t happen? I’m returning my history books.

  89. 89
    Cliff says:

    We/liberals/Democrats/Feds/commentariat have not yet cut funding to social services or regulatory agencies. The pressure to do all of that has come from the Republicans.

    Really?

    Here’s what appears to have been in the $4 trillion deal they offered the Republicans: A two-year increase in the Medicare eligibility age. Chained-CPI, which amounts to a $200 billion cut to Social Security benefit

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/....._blog.html

  90. 90
    Cliff says:

    Mexico? Right next door? The US ruling elite might be bad people and willing to start wars just about anywhere but they haven’t been stupid enough to attack the next door neighbor.

    The point is, we can spend some major resources to kill a third rate asshat in Libya, but for some reason we can’t lift a finger to address the huge fucking shitstorm that is swirling just to our south.

  91. 91

    #74 stinkdaddy – July 13, 2011 | 4:14 pm · Link

    @ 64: Really? I guess I missed the memo on that one.

    Not sure what y0u are talking about but I am pretty sure it wasn’t in response to comment #64.

  92. 92

    Cliff, you want to go to war with Mexico?!!!!

  93. 93

    The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) didn’t happen? I’m returning my history books.

    Next time don’t buy them from Texas.

  94. 94

    Cliff #80

    LIHEAP

    An intelligent answer to that would require some study on my part.

    On an AARP site,

    http://assets.aarp.org/rgcente.....liheap.pdf

    I did notice that the appropriation in 2009 and 2010 was about twice what it was before. Don’t know why, unless it was Democratic control of congress. The proposed amount for 2012 is about in line with what the appropriation has been in the past.

    But again, I’m definitely not an expert on LIHEAP.

  95. 95
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @gocart mozart

    But, they came with a lovely assortment of Gadsden Flag stickers. Who could resist?

  96. 96
    Martin says:

    We really don’t know who these people are, and we’ve seen so many times in this part of the world that when an oppressed ethnic group gets into power they go hog wild on their oppressors. Nothing gets solved. I suspect the same will be the case here.

    And it could well be. I said at the outset, there’s no certainty and anyone looking for certainty in life is going to be wickedly disappointed.

    There were a few things working in favor of Libya in this case. Nations on either side had just pressured their dictators to leave power, with somewhat promising results. Again, no certainty, but things in Egypt and Tunisia look more promising today than they have in some time. Much of the rebel support (either actual or influence) has come from those same tribal/ethnic populations in Egypt and Tunisia that successfully moved their countries – they aren’t a single tribal group, but different groups working together for a common cause. Further, there was intervention support from other nations in the region that have worked with those tribal groups for years. The folks in the region do know these populations pretty well, even if we don’t, and we do know the leader of the rebels pretty well – who is a pretty well known civil rights activist. Again, no certainty, but things are at least lined up in the right direction here, and that’s really about the best you can ever hope for for something like this.

    But my main concern is the cost. We have just been told for three years that we have to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Planned Parenthood, and all regulatory agencies in order to keep from going bankrupt. We can’t even fix our fucking highways. We can’t even help Joplin MO, we’re told.
    But now we somehow can spend a billion dollars to drop bombs on a guy that really does not pose any threat to us?

    Honestly, the financial ‘crisis’ is merely a political construction. Can we afford $1B? Sure. I even personally know one individual you can go to and get a $1B in taxes out of to pay for it. It’s not that we can’t afford any of those things, it’s that we lack the political will (and I’ll spread the blame evenly here) to pay for those things. But a one-time cost of $1B to dispose of a dictator (assuming it’s successful and doesn’t result in a civil war or another dictator or whatever – I’m not overlooking the possibilities here) is a bargain. It really is. If we could do the same in Somalia or a dozen other nations, we should do it and not look back.

    And then there’s the inconsistencies. Why Libya, and not Syria? Why Libya and not Yemen? Why Libya, and not Mexico, a failed narcostate that is one of the two nations that border us?

    Syria is much harder. It’s vastly more densely populated and has much larger suburban regions that are really hard to manage from the air. It has neighbor allies that will go in and help, and who are reasonably well armed. It’s right up against Israel, which complicates the fuck out of everything in that region (by their own doing) because there’s no way this doesn’t turn into a US+Israel against the Middle East thing. Syria would have to require an Iraq style response – troops on the ground, the whole thing, in part because the people in Syria being targeted don’t have any real support and don’t appear to have sufficient numbers to defend themselves. We wouldn’t be adding to their effort, we would be the effort.

    Libya was more isolated because of what happened in Egypt and Tunisia – and rebels could use Egypt and Tunisia for support. It’s desolate. Cities are generally smaller and much farther apart. It’s just easier to see tanks and artillary moving between cities from the air when the only thing between cities is a road and sand. And Gaddafi basically has no friends to call on. And the rebels in Libya had already taken control of a solid 1/3 of the country in part by getting decent chunks of the military to switch sides, so they could actually do something on their own.

    As for Yemen, some of the same problems as Syria with a few others. The folks we’d be siding with are in some cases Al Qaeda. There’s really 3 forces at play there: the government which we struck a devils bargain with, the general public, and al Qaeda, who we’re really after. I honestly don’t think we know what to do there that has a reasonable outcome. It’s quite a bit more complicated, and worst case there isn’t a civil war, but an al Qaeda run government that we just helped arm.

    As for Mexico, we’re offering. Mexico is taking us up on some of our offer, but they really want two things that we’re unwilling to deliver on:

    1) Deal with the war on drugs properly in the US so that the narcostate loses influence.
    2) Stop handing out guns to people in border states like bottled water, because that’s how they’re getting armed.

    We don’t have the political will to do either of those, and Obama can’t unilaterally do either one.

  97. 97
    FlipYrWhig says:

    So we’re playing this game again? Where we pretend that even if some government was committing genocide it’s just none of our business, sucks to be them? It should be troubling and worrisome to get involved AND troubling and worrisome NOT to get involved.

  98. 98
    stinkdaddy says:

    I’m looking over this Horn of Africa / world turns its back / it’s just sooooo hard to provide food so let’s drop bombs instead stuff going on in the middle of this thread. I’m reminded of the old Bill Hicks bit about using advanced military technology to shoot food at hungry people.

    Fly over Ethiopia, “There’s a guy that needs a banana!” SHOOP. The Stealth Banana. Smart fruit! I don’t know.

  99. 99
    stinkdaddy says:

    @ Flip, 97: Um, what? Not even the first time this has come up this thread, but as someone else already pointed out: any time we look at a situation and see six of one, half a dozen of the other, we might as well throw billions worth of bombs at it?

    Maybe I’m missing the point but I have trouble reading your comment as saying anything but, “It could’ve gone horribly bad either way, so clearly the only choice was to go to war.”

    … and btw, there’s a lot of “going into Libya was a good idea because we had a reasonable expectation of quick success” type talk going on here. Ok, so what you’re saying is that our military is full of incompetents and the moves Gaddafi has pulled to extend the conflict from ‘days not weeks’ to months are a complete surprise? Nobody coodanode? There’s an alternate, and much simpler explanation.

  100. 100

    gocart mozart

    Well, except France got involved not as a friend to America, the cause of liberty, or over humanitarian concerns about British loyalist oppression of freedom fighters. They got involved to stick it to the ENglish and out of their own national self-interest.

    So, I suppose, if you’re admitting that the United States is engaging in supporting one side of a civil war because it thinks it will be able to get benefits out of it and not out of some moral humanitarian concern, then I agree with your twist on my question.

  101. 101
    Cliff says:

    Honestly, the financial ‘crisis’ is merely a political construction.

    I know that, and that’s what I’m railing against.
    We’re getting told that rich people and corporations must never ever pay taxes or else our 10% unemployment will get worse, and in order to fund that lack of taxes we can never spend money on useful things.

    But let’s toss a few Freedom Bombs over in Libya.

    Here’s a weird thing: Here’s the latest news I can find on the cost of the war in Libya, and it’s from June 9th. And it’s a British news site:

    The cost of the U.S. campaign in Libya is set to exceed the $750 million Pentagon estimate set out in March, according to a leaked Department of Defence Memo.
    The ‘eyes-only’ DoD dossier said the U.S. had already spent $664 million in Libya by mid-May – a running cost of $60 million a month since the bombing began in March.
    At the current rate of spending, the U.S. will have to shell out at least an extra $274 million till the end of the current 90 day no fly zone extension period – brining total expenditure to a minimum of $938 million.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....z1S1O4hbAO

  102. 102
    Cliff says:

    Let’s try this again, Balloon Juice shut down on me a few minutes ago.

    As for Mexico, we’re offering. Mexico is taking us up on some of our offer, but they really want two things that we’re unwilling to deliver on:

    1) Deal with the war on drugs properly in the US so that the narcostate loses influence.
    2) Stop handing out guns to people in border states like bottled water, because that’s how they’re getting armed.

    We don’t have the political will to do either of those, and Obama can’t unilaterally do either one.

    Agreed, the whole system is set up to be a clusterfuck.
    It just doesn’t make sense to me to say “We need to fight the good fight in Libya!” when we can’t even scratch our own asses here in the States.

  103. 103

    If invading Libya is the right thing, without thinking about the political calculations would it also be the right thing to invade Syria and Yemen?

    Sadly, Presidents have to deal with the real world as it actually exists and don’t have the luxury of viewing things from your ivory tower.

    And if invading Syria and Yemen is the right thing but we won’t do it because it’s too hard, are we really that exceptional?

    We are not and never were. Adjust your jingoism accordingly.

    Either it’s about doing what’s right or it’s about doing what’s easy. Seems to me that we can’t have both. Which should it be, then? If we’re the country that doesn’t stand by and watch innocents be slaughtered… yknow… unless it’d be politically treacherous to do something about it…

    We should do what’s right if it is doable and avoid doing something for the sake of doing something if it will make things worse or lead to a cluster fuck. Why is this so difficult to comprehend?

    “then we need to adjust our self-image a bit.”

    Absolutely.

  104. 104
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ stinkdaddy:

    as someone else already pointed out: any time we look at a situation and see six of one, half a dozen of the other, we might as well throw billions worth of bombs at it?

    Obviously not “any time.” But some times yes, other times no, and we should argue about it vociferously.

    Indonesia occupied East Timor after/during a civil war and massacred hundreds of thousands of people. Vietnam invaded and occupied Cambodia when it was ruled by the crazy, repulsive Khmer Rouge. Which is more analogous to US involvement in Libya? Hell if I know. I don’t think there is a blanket rule to when a state should get involved in another state’s internal affairs.

    And we shouldn’t pretend like “These things tend to go badly awry, so we shouldn’t get involved” self-evidently trumps “Innocent people are getting massacred, so we should get involved.” Both ideas have merit, and yet they come into conflict. That makes for the starting point of a discussion, not the end of one.

  105. 105

    Sorry about the messed up block quotes. word press is like Hitler.

  106. 106
    Brachiator says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    While we may be making things better for some it remains to be seen, once Libya’s minimal infrastructure has been bombed to nothing, just how many Libyans’ lot we’ve improved. Ordnance is pretty low on the list of things that could make anything perfect.

    Minmal infrastructure? Where do you get this from?

    Ironically, Libya’s economy was coming along and Gaddafi was less corrupt than, say, Saddam Hussein. It’s a mixed bag, but not quite “minimal”:

    Although oil revenues and a small population have given Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, the government’s mismanagement of the economy has led to high inflation and increased import prices.
    __
    The government had been pursuing a number of large-scale infrastructure development projects such as highways, railways, air and seaports, telecommunications, water works, public housing, medical centers, shopping centers, and hotels. Despite efforts to diversify the economy and encourage private sector participation, extensive controls of prices, credit, trade, and foreign exchange have constrained growth.

    The civil war, and foreign intervention is obviously making things worse. But no one knows whether the rebels or their supporters include anyone who knows anything about running an economy.

    The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) didn’t happen? I’m returning my history books.

    Not to mention the US invasion of Canada during the War of 1812.

    Still, I simply do not understand this infantile neo-isolationism that would apparently hold that the US withdraw from the rest of the world since as far as I can see there are very few countries where sweetness and light abound, and all the citizens are saints. It is telling that there is little note in any threads here of the riots in Northern Ireland or the attacks in Mumbai. Should we cease relations with the UK or India and Pakistan?

  107. 107
    joes527 says:

    FlipYrWhig

    It would be pretty easy to sort out which situations are the right ones to get involved in.

    1) Compulsory military service. No exceptions.

    2) Engagement means boots on the ground, not just tomahawks from over the horizon. We are either in or we are out, none of this non-hostile hostilities shit.

    Two simple steps that would focus the mind enormously.

  108. 108

    So, I suppose, if you’re admitting that the United States is engaging in supporting one side of a civil war because it thinks it will be able to get benefits out of it and not out of some moral humanitarian concern, then I agree with your twist on my question.

    I guess we agree then. All countries always do what they think is in their self interest. It is in our interests to have a friendly government in power in Libya. I also happen to think it is the right thing to do and in the Libyan peoples interests for us to help them get rid of the tyrant Khaddafi.

  109. 109
    Bob Natas says:

    I’ve had a lot of arguments with interventionists over the last few years, and here is one thing I have learned: there’s really no point in trying to argue with interventionists. The reason is as follows: the arguments usually involve a bunch of hypothetical scenarios, counterfactuals, and a bunch of poorly thought out World War II or Revolutionary War analogies. One never gets around to actually examining the consequences of our recent interventions for the people on whose behalf we are intervening, what our unspoken motivations might be, or even what our good faith assumptions might be about the situation at hand. It is a religious faith for people; no amount of evidence can ever exist which would make, for example, which would disqualify Martin’s point of view.

    Look: the US has bombs; lots of people are paid lots of money to make them. The US believes it is fantastic; lots of people are paid lots of money to justify these beliefs. Adding: we get the US bombing a lot of people. People like Gaddafi (in some larger sense) have it coming. Other people (like the scores of people blown up at weddings) don’t. There is no logical sense to it.

  110. 110
    joes527 says:

    Brachiator

    Should we cease relations with the UK or India and Pakistan?

    I feel really stupid now. I knew about Pakistan … but we are currently bombing the UK and India also?

    neo-isolationism has nothing to do with relations or engagement, or the lack thereof. It is a name you call someone who is raining on your (military) parade.

  111. 111
    Martin says:

    Ask yourself this, Martin; if this situation had cropped up in, say, 2005 and Bush intervened the same way Obama has intervened, would you be posting the same laudatory stuff?

    In the same way? I think so. I didn’t oppose Afghanistan. My objections to Iraq were mainly fourfold:

    1) Bush was claiming WMD threats at the very same time that the weapons inspectors who were actually there were saying no WMDs. Same day, even. The UN position wins over the national position in my book unless a much stronger case can be made – and Bush never made it.
    2) There was no real multilateral support for Iraq. We made the case and pulled everyone in. In the case of Libya, others made the case and pulled us in. I have a much easier time accepting intervention when a range of non-allied parties are making the case TO the US.
    3) It was clear by 2003 that we weren’t dedicated to Afghanistan and trying to wrap that up, and absent a compelling case for Iraq (would have to be as compelling as 9/11) it seemed foolish to split our efforts.
    4) The humanitarian and other cases for Iraq struck me as bullshit from the get-go. We had a no-fly zone in place. Saddam was reasonably contained in terms of what he could do, and that should have been able to suffice until it was clear that the no-fly wasn’t effective. Those efforts could have been expanded without getting into an invasion, but we weren’t interested in that.

    But I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that Bush would have done it the same way, and that’s the real problem. Obama entered this reluctantly and he sought to get the US out of it quickly, and for the most part (everything except for drones) he did. I think Libya is a pretty textbook case of what US military intervention ought to look like (whether you agree with the decision to do it or not). A broad and understandable call for action (could still be misguided), the US uses its unique capabilities and then when things get to a level that match the capabilities of our allies, we hightail out of there.

    I’m not against giving Bush credit for good things, but there are quite honestly not terribly many good things to extend him credit for, and no real foreign policy examples that leap off the top of my head. More than anything he (applies more to Cheney) appeared to almost relish anything that might piss off anyone else on the planet.

  112. 112
    Martin says:

    But let’s toss a few Freedom Bombs over in Libya.

    Ok, but that’s just cynical. I’m not going to support a position where we fuck over any group of people simply because Republicans or blue dogs or whoever have chosen to be assholes.

    We make these things out to be either/or choices because that’s how everything in this country gets framed. Everything becomes you’re either with us or against us. There’s nothing stopping us from doing a good thing in Libya (or Syria, or Somalia, or Mexico, or Japan) and simultaneously unfucking our spending/revenue problem. Those aren’t at odds with each other unless we choose to put them at odds with each other. I think we’d do well to stop putting everything at odds with everything else.

  113. 113
    Martin says:

    Here’s a weird thing: Here’s the latest news I can find on the cost of the war in Libya, and it’s from June 9th. And it’s a British news site:

    From what I’ve been able to find, the only thing we’ve done there since mid/late April is fly drones and I’m guessing that whole operation is largely off-budget to start with. But even if it’s not, drones are pretty cheap.

  114. 114
    stinkdaddy says:

    @ Gocart, 103, fix the damn reply button already Cole:

    Sadly, Presidents have to deal with the real world as it actually exists and don’t have the luxury of viewing things from your ivory tower.

    I’m sorry, are you under the impression that I believe Linda to be the POTUS? If so why? If not, why try to throw up so many roadblocks to a simple question?

    If you aren’t willing to even say whether or not you think going to war* with Libya, Syria and/or Yemen is the right thing without having to throw up some shield of “well the President has to deal with…” apologia, that is more revealing than any actual answer. I’m not asking what the President thinks. I’m not asking whether it would be politically feasible based on conditions on the blah blah blah. I’m asking what you think.

    I find it rather revealing of the mental place Obama has gotten a lot of his more… let’s say ‘loyal’ supporters into, such that they constantly talk about what’s possible for him rather than what they actually think. Let the President worry about that shit, our job is to say what we think without worrying about the bullshit tactics.

    *I notice that I previously said invading, which is inaccurate

  115. 115
    Martin says:

    It just doesn’t make sense to me to say “We need to fight the good fight in Libya!” when we can’t even scratch our own asses here in the States.

    So, because we can’t fix the drug war we should just stop trying to do everything else? I hope that doesn’t become a stronger attitude with liberals because the GOP will be able to shut down their opposition without hardly even trying.

  116. 116
    stinkdaddy says:

    @ Linda, 94:

    I don’t know a lot about HEAP either but my understanding is that the spike in funding had to do with severe cold in the Northeast and thus more people needing heating assistance. So essentially, the story would be that it was severely underfunded, then temporarily less so, and now they’re cutting it back to “severely underfunded” status.

    Allegedly this is ok, because the only reason the spike in funding happened was severe weather. Questions:

    1) Isn’t it still severely underfunded?

    2) How do we know what the weather will be like this witner?

  117. 117
    Brachiator says:

    joes527:

    I feel really stupid now. I knew about Pakistan … but we are currently bombing the UK and India also?

    You may well be stupid, but you know yourself better than I do. As near as I can figure, John Cole’s yelping is because the Libyan rebels are not nice people. Again, I ask, do we only have relations with the nice people of the world? If so, where do we find them?

    And as to my UK and India examples. If the UK intervened again in Northern Ireland, should we break off all relations? If India is provoked into attacking Pakistan (which the Taliban and others would dearly love to see happen) should we stop providing India with economic and military assistance?

    neo-isolationism has nothing to do with relations or engagement, or the lack thereof. It is a name you call someone who is raining on your (military) parade.

    That’s odd, I never said I was in favor of the military intervention in Libya. Far from it.

    But I really tire of the silly little dodges that some Balloon Juicers like to engage in. It’s a nasty world and countries do nasty things. Is your stance that as long as the US is not actively dropping bombs, then you don’t give a shit what other nations do? Is it your stance that the US can sell military equipment to other countries or subsidize what other countries do, but as long as the US is not actually dropping the bombs, then it doesn’t count?

  118. 118

    Bob Natas @109, are you a pacifist or a hypocrite? Love your binary thinking. I must either support all wars or none. I was against Iraq before it started unlike our host. Most of the wars the U.S has fought were wrong or made things worse. That doesn’t mean that all military action is always wrong. I think we should have stayed out of WWI but I also think that we should have entered WWII sooner. (Whoops, there I go, Godwinning the thread again) What I am saying is that you should judge military action on a case by case basis.

  119. 119
    Martin says:

    It is a religious faith for people; no amount of evidence can ever exist which would make, for example, which would disqualify Martin’s point of view.

    My point of view is that each scenario is different and should be assessed on its own merits. People are different. Cultures are different. Relationships between cultures are different.

    Thinking slightly more on Dennis’s question (#79), there’s another point that I should raise, though I don’t know how I would come down on it. Had this been Bush and not Obama, doing precisely the same things, I could see myself coming to a different conclusion, not because of an ideological attitude, but because Bush’s motives acting on behalf of the US in that region may have been viewed differently than Obama’s motives acting on behalf of the US. I don’t know if that would have changed my attitude, but I’ll state that it might have. And that does matter and does color how some decisions are made. There are places in the world where France can intervene, but the US, doing precisely the same thing, cannot.

    Calling me an interventionist seems like an odd statement. I wouldn’t support going into Syria, not because I don’t care about the people there or think what’s going on is any less horrible than what was going on in Libya, I just don’t see a path to a positive outcome there. I don’t deny that there are many paths to bad outcomes in Libya, but I can at least see positive paths there. I think Syria would be a case of rolling the dice and needing thirteen to come up. We could set it exactly as we did Syria or in any other way that people can dream up, and I think they’re all destined to fail. I think in that case we’re left only with diplomatic options. Even if we could pull everyone out of Iraq and Afghanistan and eliminate the potential manpower problem, I don’t see a possible solution through intervention. Some problems have no solutions. Some do. That sucks, but that’s just how things are. You do what you can do, and sometimes intervention presents a solution, sometimes it doesn’t. And that doesn’t preclude the fact that even when intervention presents a solution, you can still fuck it up or simply have it go wrong.

  120. 120

    If you aren’t willing to even say whether or not you think going to war* with Libya, Syria and/or Yemen is the right thing without having to throw up some shield of “well the President has to deal with…” apologia, that is more revealing than any actual answer. I’m not asking what the President thinks. I’m not asking whether it would be politically feasible based on conditions on the blah blah blah. I’m asking what you think.

    Perhaps I was unclear. I assumed you meant geo-political implications which every President has to deal with as opposed to some abstract ethical question because the domestic political implications are minimal. If you leave out every possible repercussion any president would have to deal with from the question, the question becomes very stupid.

    I strongly support our actions in Libya and am rooting for the rebels, haven’t thought much about the other two. Is that clear enough for you?

  121. 121
    Cliff says:

    From what I’ve been able to find, the only thing we’ve done there since mid/late April is fly drones and I’m guessing that whole operation is largely off-budget to start with.

    Here’s what I’ve found:

    Air Force and Navy aircraft are still flying hundreds of strike missions over Libya despite the Obama administration’s claim that American forces are playing only a limited support role in the NATO operation.

    http://www.navytimes.com/news/.....ns-063011/

    That was dated June 11th.

    And no, I’m not trying to say that we can’t do anything until we fix the War on Drugs. I’m using the Mexico situation and our financial problems to point out some fallacies I see in the Libyan war.
    When the government says “We have to cut food stamps to save money but also we have to bomb Libya,” I don’t understand that.
    When the government says, “We have to help innocent Libyans” but then twiddles its thumbs on Mexico, I don’t understand that.

    And here’s another point:
    You and a few other people have argued for intervention in Libya as opposed to Syria on the grounds that our goals are achievable in Libya.
    I’m incredibly skeptical of that.
    As Brachiator said at 106, we don’t know if the rebels know how to run a country. We don’t know if they care to know how to run a country.

    For all we know, we could be overthrowing Shitty Dictator #1 in order to install Shitty Dictator #2. Can we consider that to be an achievement? Is that better than having Libya fall into a decade-long civil war that would never have happened if we’d left well enough alone?

  122. 122
    dmbeaster says:

    As a very basic matter, Martin does not get the point of Cole’s post on this (and presumably others on the same topic). And its ironic to see the huge humanitarian cost of the current policy shrugged off because we were allegedly acting for humanitarian purposes, and the resulting suffering is just to be expected.

    This war was sold as a necessary humanitarian intervention, even though it was pretty clear that intervention (especially the half-assed intervention that has been undertaken) would not lessen human suffering. Dictators routinely put down uprisings in brutal fashion – while this alleged humanitarian intervention is underway, similar bloody oppression occurred in Bahrain and Syria. No talk of humanitarian intervention there.

    Intervening in the current manner was likely to increase the human suffering – not lessen it. Maybe we would get the benefit of getting rid of Qaddafi, though no one can say they know that the new rulers will be better. Odds might favor it, or they may not.

    Now that the civil war is underway, there is brutal killing by the freedom fighter rebels that are allegedly going to end the Qaddafi reign of terror — by apparently instituting their own. Whocuddanode.

    The point is the moronic starry eyed fallacy of believing that the intervention was one big humanitarian rescue mission. We have decided to go to war against Qaddafi, but only in a half-assed means that increases suffering, and with uncertainty as to whether or not our intervention will in fact decrease suffering should a new regime take control. But we are supposed to ignore all of these ongoing facts and remain true believers to the humanitarian wonderfulness of the intervention.

    The point is the careless wreckless feckless lazy thinking that supports our warmongering interventions whenever it seems convenient, and as pointed out above, whenever we think we wont be bombed back. And then put on blinders to the facts that suggest that maybe that thinking was wrong.

  123. 123
    joes527 says:

    Brachiator

    Is your stance that as long as the US is not actively dropping bombs, then you don’t give a shit what other nations do?

    No. No. 1000 times no.

    I think that there is a limited amount that we _can_ do when someone not subject to our laws gets it in their head to kill their brother. I think that a little humility would go a long way in dealing with other countries. And I wish there was a Hippocratic oath for foreign service: First do no harm.

    Having said that, I am a firm believer in engagement and doing what can be done. I think we should be _more_ engaged in the world.

    I just don’t equate “engagement” with drone attacks. Yes, there will be failures of engagement w/o force, and bad stuff will happen and, yes people will die. But bad stuff happens, and people die when we go in with guns blazing.

    If the choice is between people dying due to our reluctance to use force and people dying due to our enthusiasm in using force, then I would chose the former. You may call this “not giving a shit,” but I think you are wrong.

    I don’t think that use of force should be off the table. I just think that it should be a _much_ less relied upon solution than it is today.

    Hard? Yes. Frustrating? Yes. Destined to involve failure? Yes. But so is the current approach.

    Is it your stance that the US can sell military equipment to other countries or subsidize what other countries do, but as long as the US is not actually dropping the bombs, then it doesn’t count?

    No. In precisely the same way that it is wrong to prop up rebels with air support, and then say “what are you going to do?” when they turn around and attack civilian targets, it is wrong to provide military support (through arms sales or subsidies) to a country and say “what are you going to do?” when they use those arms or subsidies to do something that we wouldn’t do ourselves.

  124. 124
    Martin says:

    Thanks for the link. It’s dated 6/11 but it only talks about ‘since 3/31’, and we know that we were contributing quite a lot in early April. It’s also a little inconsistent because it talks about F-16 sorties but then concludes that most of the aircraft in the region are reconnaissance. I’ll poke around some more, since I’d more interested in seeing how things have changed over the duration of the event, not the cumulative effort.

    For all we know, we could be overthrowing Shitty Dictator #1 in order to install Shitty Dictator #2. Can we consider that to be an achievement? Is that better than having Libya fall into a decade-long civil war that would never have happened if we’d left well enough alone?

    Those wouldn’t be achievements, but they probably wouldn’t be failures either because either Gaddafi was going to stay in power, which is the equivalent to the former, or the rebels would have been successful on their own and the civil war would have happened regardless. We’d have spent $1B to achieve the same outcome we would have gotten without spending the $1B. That’s unfortunate, no question, but it doesn’t necessarily result in a worse outcome.

    As for the question of do they know how to run a country – that can’t be a prerequisite to the decision because the only people that can demonstrate that they know how to run a given country are the people running it. Do they want to? I think the answer is clearly yes on that if you’ve followed the news closely. They’ve already worked out trade arrangements, restarted oil production, started selling it, established a bootstrap government, and are having diplomatic talks with various parties. They’ve got a more functional government running than say, Minnesota.

  125. 125
    Martin says:

    Martin does not get the point of Cole’s post on this (and presumably others on the same topic). And its ironic to see the huge humanitarian cost of the current policy shrugged off because we were allegedly acting for humanitarian purposes, and the resulting suffering is just to be expected.

    Perhaps I don’t get the point. That happens pretty often.

    But your argument seems to be that having your house burned and getting beat up is of greater suffering than being killed by a sniper or shelled by a tank. I’m not diminishing the acts by the rebels or excusing them. My point is to say that I think it’s unconscionable that moral outrage is being expressed over one action while a comparable action, of presumably greater individual harm, is shrugged off as ‘none of our business’.

    If you’re going to attach a moral value to an act, attach it to all acts so that a proper context can be established. A lesser evil is sometimes the best choice one can make. If you’re going to comment dispassionately on goings on which are none of our business, then do so consistently. Instead, Cole appears to be choosing to express outrage over some acts while ignoring others in order to make a ideological point – and that’s, frankly, dishonest.

  126. 126
    Cliff says:

    We’d have spent $1B to achieve the same outcome we would have gotten without spending the $1B. That’s unfortunate, no question, but it doesn’t necessarily result in a worse outcome.

    I say it’s ridiculous.

    I’ll give you the point about them governing better than Minnesota.

  127. 127
    Bob Natas says:

    Bob Natas @109, are you a pacifist or a hypocrite?

    Obviously, I’m a hypocrite. I live in NoVa. Don’t you realize how much money people make here because of people like you? I think the median income is something north of 100K in Arlington County. So, thanks! I guess.

    More seriously: it doesn’t matter what I believe, or don’t believe, about US intervention. Interventionist arguments really have looked the same for the last 100 years or so. You need a convincing villain (like a “Butcher” Weyler, or a Saddam Hussein, or in this case, a Gaddafi) whose armies can be easily pulverized. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned (I think the “kinetics” were supposed to end a couple months ago, or something), but we in the US are pretty forgiving; there isn’t anything that can’t be fixed with a bit more bombing, and it is just the sort of jobs program that we need in this time of crisis.

  128. 128
    stinkdaddy says:

    So, because we can’t fix the drug war we should just stop trying to do everything else?

    For someone who is all about how Libya is the right war because it’s possible, you suddenly seem to be having trouble with pragmatism. We have limited resources. Should? Where did ‘should’ come into this particular equation? If you take a million dollars and spend it on a bomb, that money cannot be spent on schools. This is not a hypothetical.

    And if you want to accuse me of putting our own citizens above those of Libya then feel free, because I am. Yes, we should do what we can to aid other countries. But we should also take care of ourselves, and if we can’t do both then you know where I stand.

  129. 129
    joes527 says:

    Martin

    My point is to say that I think it’s unconscionable that moral outrage is being expressed over one action while a comparable action, of presumably greater individual harm, is shrugged off as ‘none of our business’.

    There is a difference between bad actions of others and our bad actions. (or those of folks we are supporting with air cover)

    It is the whole Matthew 7:5 thing.

    As for which bad action is/was/would have been greater … their is a lot of hypothetical hyperbole about what would have happened, and the butcher’s bill for what is happening isn’t in yet.

    I _hope_ that in the end the humanitarian cost of what we are doing is less than the humanitarian cost of the crackdown (not genocide – not by a long stretch) that was going on. But there is no way to know at this time, and recent history isn’t encouraging in this area.

  130. 130
    Martin says:

    If you take a million dollars and spend it on a bomb, that money cannot be spent on schools. This is not a hypothetical.

    We had already spent the million dollars on the bomb. It wouldn’t have existed if we hadn’t. Sunk costs. Replacing that bomb is an altogether different decision and one we can choose to not do.

    And I’m not arguing that you’re putting Americans over Libyans, I’m arguing that you’re presenting a false choice, or at least an artificial one. Nobody is ripping textbooks out of children’s hands to build bombs, and the decision to build a bomb has nothing to do with the decision to fund textbooks unless politicians deem it so. I’m saying, don’t fall into the same either/or trap that the GOP has convinced half the nation to jump into. This nation has money to do both, if it so chooses. Argue for both if doing both is right. If you accept the either/or stance, they can force you to give up textbooks for medicine, and then medicine for food, by always tricking you into accepting it’s an either/or decision. Just stop doing that.

  131. 131
    stinkdaddy says:

    @ gocart, 103:

    We are not and never were. Adjust your jingoism accordingly.

    My jingoism isn’t the issue, and I really don’t think we are/were/whatever. My point in bringing it up is that I’ve seen others — Martin etc. — appeal or at least allude to it, ie. ‘Gaddafi made it too hard for us to look away’ and whatnot. This is at odds with simultaneously saying well, we can’t do anything about Syria, Yemen, Mexico, etc. because it’s just too complicated.

    There are plenty of places where we have no trouble looking away: Yemen, Darfur, DRC, the list goes on and on. Libya just happens to be a country that a) we can get away with bombing, and which b) has a bunch of oil. From what I gather, Martin would say that’s a coincidence and the reason we went in was a combination of small-scale exceptionalism (we couldn’t avert our gaze!) and logistic factors.

    I would say the simpler explanation is that it’s a country that has a bunch of oil that nobody’s going to care if we bomb, but obviously I’m a bit cynical.

  132. 132
    joes527 says:

    Martin

    Replacing that bomb is an altogether different decision and one we can choose to not do.

    ROTFLMAO

    Hypothetical much? Who is Nevil Naive now?

    “we can choose not to” hoo boy. That’s a hoot.

    I though that today was steely eyed pragmatists day. Boy, I got that one wrong.

  133. 133
    stinkdaddy says:

    Replacing that bomb is an altogether different decision and one we can choose to not do.

    Ok. You’re a ‘conditions on the ground’ kinda guy. What’s the chance that those bombs don’t get replaced? 0%? .0000001%?

    Nobody is ripping textbooks out of children’s hands to buid bombs

    Clever use of tense. No, but people certainly did rip textbooks out when those bombs were built.

    and the decision to build a bomb has nothing to do with the decision to fund textbooks unless politicians deem it so.

    So the USA won’t be the USA unless it’s the USA? We seem to be experiencing a role reversal. Look who’s a wild-eyed idealist! :p

    Of course I don’t accept the either/or stance, but this is really weird coming from you. You’ve been arguing all thread that we need to work within the constraints of the situation we’ve been given. Now suddenly it’s “we can have it all, you just gotta push!”

    You seem like a decent enough dude, but I am increasingly convinced that for you this is about defending Obama. Maybe the feeling’s mutual… or mutual in reverse… or whatever. it is what it is.

  134. 134
    Dennis SGMM says:

    What’s everyone so worked up about? Within a decade we’ll manage to bomb/bribe Qadaffi out and then an Interim Dictatorship of the Good Guys will take over and spend another few decades explaining why Libya isn’t ready for free elections.

  135. 135
    murbella says:

    Just asking.

    I’ll answer your question Cole.
    Because in Libya (for once) we are on the side of the islamists, and thus have a chance at a positive outcome.
    Are you aware the US just spent 4.4 trillion dollars for one measly little xian church in Iraq?
    Yup, that is all we will have to show for 4.4 trillion dollars, nearly a decade of occupation, 7 thousand dead american soljahs, a million dead muslim moms and dads and five million orphans.
    Can you blame Obama for wanting one ally in MENA?
    Everyone else is burning american flags in their streets.

  136. 136
    joes527 says:

    Dennis SGMM

    I’m think that the plan is to end up holding enough tigers by the tail that we can start braiding the tails together and then sneak off without any of them noticing.

  137. 137

    More seriously: it doesn’t matter what I believe, or don’t believe, about US intervention. Interventionist arguments really have looked the same for the last 100 years or so.

    O.K., you’re a cynic. I can respect that.

  138. 138
    stinkdaddy says:

    If you leave out every possible repercussion any president would have to deal with from the question, the question becomes very stupid.

    Oh yeah? So when someone lays down an argument that says, “We’re America; we do the right thing. When something terrible is going down, we don’t look away,” you don’t see the relevance in asking whether blowing up other countries that’re experiencing the same strife is also the Right Thing?

    I think what’s really going on is that you want to put it in the frame that suits your argument, which is that Libya was both Right and Feasible. Well, three months into a kinetic operation that would take “days not weeks” we’ve yet to topple Gaddafi, so I would argue that Feasability is out the window. Yeah, easy to say in hindsight — that’s why I was saying it ahead of time too. It doesn’t take any predictive genius to say, “Yeah right. That’s gonna turn into a quagmire.” But that’s a matter of opinion and if people want to feel that Libya was a slam dunk, or at least a reasonably safe bet, that’s their right.

    What I’m really getting at is the exceptionalism. We went into Libya because ‘Gaddafi made it too hard to look away.’ In other words there’s a threshold of horror beyond which we’re compelled to act, but when asked about Syria, Yemen etc. Martin for instance will say that it’s just too complicated, too many factors, how would we do it, etc.

    When asked why we don’t go after other states that are crossing the threshold of acceptable anti-civilian violence, the argument shifts back over to Feasible. In other words, the argument that going into Libya is right is meaningless, because it’s abandoned as soon as you apply that standard to any other state. If it’s all about what’s possible, fine; but maybe leave off the melodrama about how ‘we couldn’t look away’ because we clearly could, and can, and Martin, you’re even advocating that we do so anytime the implications of continuing to watch would be too complicated.

  139. 139

    When did I ever say “We’re America! We do the right thing. We can’t look away.”? We often don’t do the right and we often look away. Too often we get involved, when we should look away. I don’t think martin is making an exceptionalism argument and I’m sure not.

    Well, three months into a kinetic operation that would take “days not weeks” we’ve yet to topple Gaddafi, so I would argue that Feasability is out the window.

    First off, “THEY” have not yet toppled Gaddafi but are making slow but steady progress. Secondly, where is the quagmire? What have we lost and what have we sacrificed? Ultimately, its in the Libyans hands.

  140. 140
    Bob Natas says:

    First off, “THEY” have not yet toppled Gaddafi but are making slow but steady progress

    The Libyan fighters would have been unable to topple Gaddafi without significan Western intervention; this was sort of the point, no? The surprising thing is how ineffective that they have proven to be even with NATO acting as an airforce. It isn’t that I don’t think that they aren’t trying; they just aren’t going to win. I don’t think that the “brain trust” at the State Dept expected this. The Gaddafi loyalists, however, are an actual army, and are probably aware of the consequences of losing: the rebels will probably wind up killing them all in much the same way that our allies in Iraq dealt wound up dealing with the opposition there.

    What have we lost and what have we sacrificed? Ultimately, its in the Libyans hands.

    The answers are: some cash and some cash. I don’t think that the Libyan intervention will wind up being a complete debacle, as both Iraq and Afghanistan have proven to be, because despite the silly rhetoric surrounding the bombing, no one really has the sort of “courage of their convictions” (I can’t really describe this in any other way) in this situation. Of course, it isn’t in the Libyans’ hands; not anymore, anyway.

  141. 141
    murbella says:

    Cole is apparently unable to grasp the difference between Libya and A-stan for some reason.
    Its really quite simple.
    In Libya we are trying to help the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and the Muslim Brotherhood put Qaddafi’s head on a pike, and in A-stan the Taliban are going to put Karzai’s head on a pike the minnit we leave.
    They already did his brother, and we still have 100k troops there.

  142. 142
    Fenwick says:

    I admire Martin’s articulate tenacity in this thread. Don’t agree with all of his points, but on many I do.

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