The Long, Ugly Road to Libya

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The Arabs and the West Europeans got us into Libya, yet once again we’re the ones who apparently will do most of the heavy lifting.

Airpower has prevented Qaddafi's forces from taking Benghazi and crushing the rebellion. A no-fly zone can be maintained without major losses. However, unless someone close to Qaddafi happens to kill him, he could maintain himself indefinitely in the western half of the country. If he survives, Western advisors, arms, and training will be needed — at a minimum — in addition to air cover, if the rebels are actually to win.

But exactly what will emerge after a rebel victory? That is anybody's guess.

And that’s enough, I think, to be opposed to our intervention.

Now consider Obama's position. The Arab League and America's NATO allies wanted intervention. Critics ranging from John McCain and the buffoons at Fox to insipid leftists like Nick Kristoff were maintaining a drumbeat for intervention, aided by the media generally, which was pumping out stories about the suffering of the innocent rebels and their kin.  Reagan and Eisenhower, and JFK after the Missile Crisis, had the cred to say, "No, not our business." (Whether they would actually have done so about current events in Libya is another matter.) But Obama doesn't. And while I don't believe he's a moral coward, he doesn't have the guts to say that we simply can't afford this.

The basic fact is that the moving forces in our society — in the media, in political circles, and to an extent in the international business and finance community, think we should police the world, or at least those parts of it that they care about.

Funny, isn't it, that there's a civil war in the Congo that has killed more people than any other war fought since World War II, yet nobody discusses doing anything about it. On the other hand, boy Clinton just mentioned that we should have intervened to stop the Rwandan genocide — although he found reasons not to do it when he was president. Left and Right alike in this country want to spend our blood and treasure around the world. They sometimes disagree about where in the world, but the philosophy is the same.

It's a drug we got hooked on after World War II. If there's a problem, we feel an urge to go "solve" it. We’ve never learned the solution to the urge itself: don’t intervene anywhere unless the lives, territory, or truly vital interests of the American people are involved. It's the interventionist philosophy, combined with the thoroughgoing welfare state created by LBJ and his zealous accomplices that has brought us to the brink of bankruptcy. We spend ourselves  —  economically, emotionally, morally  —  crusading abroad, when we should be conserving our strength and building a better society here at home.




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Comments

Wesley Mcgranor

Whether nation building for democracy or the free-market - i aint hip.

David Afton

Don't forget, it's also unconstitutional as hell, invading yet another country without congressional approval, let alone a declaration of war. Oh but wait, I fogot: the War Powers Act---a mere law, and not an amendment to the Constitution---changed that requirement, didn't it?...so that now as long as the President's Royal forces kick ass and win within what---60 days?---they don't have to ask ahead of time. Or they ask after the fact. Oh but wait---on top of that, Presidents since Truman have been sending troops into "police actions" and ignore any technicality about declaring war anyway, so I guess constructively the Constitution was changed long ago anyway.
We've irredeemably warped and perverted the Constitution in so many ways, that the cry of "unconstitutional!" means nothing anymore.

Guest

"Oh but wait, I fogot: the War Powers Act---a mere law, and not an amendment to the Constitution---changed that requirement, didn't it?...so that now as long as the President's Royal forces kick ass and win within what---60 days?---they don't have to ask ahead of time."

It is one of the powers granted Congress by the Constitution that Congress may grant (some?) of its powers to other branches.
This particular 'grant' seemed proper when the threat to the US was ICBMs, a time long past.
Like every "power" granted the executive branch, it has been abused by every president since that "power" was available. And used by those in Congress to duck any responsibility for 'war' for the same period.
There hasn't been a single circumstance since the Korean "police action" which justifies the grant, and if Congress had any ethical courage, it would be rescinded.
I'll have dinner rather than waiting.

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