Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Over hill, over dale...

Some of my friends on the left are turning against Obama because of his intervention in Libya. Although I am a bit apprehensive, I think that he made the right move. Gaddafi was quickly decimating his opposition and own people, including strafing them with jet fighters. The air strikes have evened the slate somewhat.

Of course once again the United States and a few allies are acting like the world's policemen. The question is, if not them, who?

The United States, thanks to many isolationists, non interventionists and outright nazi sympathizers sat out the first two years of World War II. We didn't enter the mix until Pearl Harbor in 1941. How many homosexuals, gypsies, jews and other undesirable people were slaughtered or gassed in the ovens while we sat on our hands? Did we not have a moral duty to act?

The outcome of the popular uprisings in the middle east are anybody's guess. Libya has always been a power struggle between three main tribal elements. If we supplant the Colonel and he is merely replaced by a similar tribal head, I think that we would term the revolution a failure.

In addition many prognosticators envision the next wave as much more stridently islamic and anti Israel. The main recipients of the people's ire have been the United State's allies in Egypt and Yemen. Syria, Iran and the hardline countries have been particularly brutal in quelling the efforts to throw off the yoke of oppression and dictatorship. And largely successful.

The war between Iran and Iraq was one of the ugliest of the last century. Lasting between 1980 and 1988, it was the longest conventional war of the 20th century. Almost a million people were killed on both sides of the battle.

Both the Israelis and the Americans were ambivalent regarding the conflict and have been accused in some circles of stoking the fire behind the scenes to prolong the conflict.  Kissinger remarked that "it's a pity they [Iran and Iraq] both can't lose." I find this type of realpolitik a bit nauseating from a human standpoint but also understandable in a strategic sense.

The Arab League, those bumbling buffoons, were quick to castigate the French and American air show this week, purportedly because of the twenty civilians that may have been killed collaterally, a fact that is being challenged by the Pentagon. The Arab League are a pompous bunch of blowhards who couldn't get out of their own shadow and could never aid there fellow arabs. Yet they criticize? The internecine hatreds in the middle east run so deep that it is laughable. Besides hating Israel there is not much else to agree on. For them to actually do something would be beyond comprehension.

Now Daffy Gadaffi is being lauded by his fellow peace lover, Hugo Chavez, from way far away in Venezuela. With the exception of Sean Penn and Ollie Stone, I don't think many liberals are real keen on Hugo but, hey, I've been wrong before. An interesting piece in the WaPo detailing the South American connection by Roger Noriega on Sunday.


I think that the more popular response on the part of the liberal left, the Ellsburg's of the world trying to recapture the spark of lost youth, is that this is just another opportunity for the United States to test out its missile systems and pump more money into the Military Industrial Complex. Cynical but understandable. I do not personally think that that is what is going on today in Libya. The Administration has been very firm about the limited nature of any operations.

I am very serious about getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq yesterday. But I applaud the administration for trying to stop a slaughter, regardless of the eventual outcome. One day, it could be us.


Anonymous said...

keep in mind, prior to W2 we weren't the world superpower that we are now; we did supply the Brits with considerable aid prior to our entry, though...i agree with you on Libya, Barack has moved cautiously but correctly so far; hard to see how this will play out... Hugo, Sean, Ollie and Noam be damned...g.

Anonymous said...

now it's "kinetic military action" we're engaged in, not war...