Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The enemy of my enemy...

  The US government fired over 100 cruise missiles this past weekend to disable Libya’s air force. It is part of a 'joint' action with Britain and France to prevent Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi from using his air force to eradicate the civil uprising that erupted a few weeks ago. When Gadhafi’s enemies (I don’t want to use labels like rebels or freedom fighters because I don’t know who these people are or what their agenda is) looked to be winning control of the country and advancing on the capital city of Tripoli, President Obama said that Gadhafi had to go just like he said Hosni Mubarak of Egypt also had to go. But the Libyan situation is a lot different than Egypt or Tunisia. Tunisia barely has an army, but in Egypt, the military was in control of the country before, during, and after Mubarak took power. There may be a new civilian government, but the military is still in charge and they chose not to use their force against the people of their country. If you don’t believe who’s in charge, look at who appointed the interim government and who will be setting up the elections.

  In the case of Libya, the armed forces of that country is mostly on Gadhafi’s side and are going keep their power by any means necessary. The military also is on the side of the ruling classes in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. It is one thing to make speeches calling for regime change, but quite another to use military power to enforce it, like the U.S. government has done.

  President Obama justified the destruction of Libya’s air capabilities, saying. "It is in America's national interests to participate ... because no one has a bigger stake in making sure that there are basic rules of the road that are observed, that there is some semblance of order and justice, particularly in a volatile region that's going through great changes". I’m not sure why we have the biggest stake in making sure the ‘rules of the road’ are being observed in Libya. England just made a deal with Gadhafi to free the bomber of Pan Am Flight 103 in order to allow British Petroleum to get in on lucrative Libyan oil contracts. Where was all this moral posturing then?

  I’d be more enthusiastic if the President just stood up and said, “We’ve been trying to get this guy for years, this is our chance, and we’re going for it.” as opposed to the humanitarian angle. There’s no question that Gadhafi is a world class bad actor, but there have been plenty of butchery going on all over the world that the US hasn’t seen fit to get involved in when there was an equal moral imperative. The Sudan has been involved in a bloody civil war for decades and no cruise missiles have found their way into that country. Iran has seen a reform movement brutally put down without any no-fly zones being enforced. And the only statement heard from the U.S. when Saudi Arabian tanks rolled into Bahrain to squelch protests in that country was to say how “deeply troubled” they were.

  If Gadhafi’s enemies win, are they going to be better than Gadhafi? Or will they be worse? No one knows. The U.S., Britain, and France seem to be going along with the theory that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. This is the same twisted logic that led to the funding of the resistance to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the late 70’s. That turned out to be the seed money for Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, and the Taliban. And the same logic has left us dealing with a corrupt regime in Afghanistan to try to help us eradicate the regime we bred 30 years ago.

  A tomahawk cruise missile costs $600,000 and we just shot over 100 of them into Libya. Given the overhead of getting the military into place for the operation and the fighter jet that just got shot down, the US probably will have to borrow another billion dollars from China to pay for this show of force. And that’s just for this weekend. The U.S. government wants to relinquish control of the operation as soon as possible, but our ‘partners’ can’t seem to agree on how that will work. And why should they as long as America pays the bulk of the costs in money and blood. If England and France are so hopped up to keep Gadhafi from winning his civil war, I’d rather they pay us to bomb Libya or just pay us for the cruise missiles and do the bombing themselves. Obama has pledged not to send troops into Libya, but what will he do if Gadhafi starts massacring civilians without using his air force? Just say ‘too bad, so sad’ or treat us to another round of moral outrage? I hope other countries don’t come to Libya’s aid because they are our enemies and Gadhafi is now the ‘enemy of their enemies”?

  If Bush had known he could have just talked about wanting Iraq to ‘follow the rules of the road’, he never would have had to come up with the pretext of ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ before invading Iraq.

  This already has cost a billion dollars. It can only end 2 ways. In one way, Gadhafi wins, America looks impotent, and we pay to repair all the damage our bombs have done at the gas pump. In the other way, Gadhafi loses and we give the new government money to repair all the damage our bombs have done and we pay for it through taxes, borrowing, and at the gas pump. I’d much rather see our government spend all this time, energy, and money on helping Japan recover from their earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster that is crippling one of our friends rather than try to pound on our enemies.