13 comments on “Obama and Libya: Quick Thoughts

  1. Hey Dre,
    I’ve been waiting and waiting for this post with all your past quotes on wars for oil and involvement in internal affairs of another country. I was SOOOOOO ready to whip them out against (I was certain) a nuanced repositioning to defend President Obama’s actions. Imagine my disappointment when instead I got a perfectly justifiable position that is consistant with everything you’ve stood for so far. I applaud you with much respect.

  2. I wouldn’t call it the exact same thing.

    1. Unlike 2003, there’s been a real American effort to get the support of allies and international organizations to join and takeover this effort… and it’s working.

    2. Unlike 2003, there is an imminent threat of annihilation of large swaths of the country in question… Ghadafi is not playing….he’s not simply being “bad” to his people.

    3. and unlike in 2003, the change started from among the Libyan people,Rebel leaders subsequently appealed for and have welcomed the help ( and was not imposed from above)…

    with that said, it’s just unrealistic for any POTUS not to get involved in a situation like this, I would have expected GWB to do the same… it certainly seems like it’s the US’s interest to do so. It could be a stretch, but it depends on how you define imminent threat to the nation.

    I thought Pres. Obama kept his promise in that he’s been working with regional and international organizations to get it done, Andre, are you saying the US shouldn’t have gotten involved at all? or are you saying he should not have done so without consulting congress?

    • @ Gazelle: Much like the Iraqi and Afghani efforts, I’d hardly say the Libyan conflict has been a concerted effort. Over 95% of the 150 or so tomahawk missles striking Libyan airfields and targets are products of the US of A. At around $1.5 million per missle, that’s no small tab. Then there are the other expenses (fuel for B-2 bombers, air tankers for refueling, parts and equipment, combat pay for pilots, etc) that haven’t even been factored into the equation yet. The atrocities in Libya are bad. But when you’re quite literally tapped out on money, taking on the lead (or what has, for all intents and purposes become the lead) on an international militaristic campaign is a bad look.

      I almost need for Obama to lie about WMDs in Libya for me to get on board with this.

    • Hi Gazelle,
      Since no one else corrected some of the inaccuracies in your statement, I’ll do it. I know that when you only hear one side, it can become easy to mistake propaganda for truth.
      1) Before 2003, we went to the U.N. repeatedly prior to the Iraq invasion. The U.N. issued several resolutions, you can find all of them at http://www.casi.org.uk/info/scriraq.html . I would suggest reading them. You might be suprised at the difference between what you heard and what the truth was. You’ve probably heard over and over that we went in “unilaterally”, which means by our self (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unilaterally)-Not true, here is a list of the “Coalition of the Willing”, 30 countries that supported the invasion with troops or money. That list expanded to over 40 countries at it’s peak. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2862343.stm It’s funny that the press only recognized them as they left. One good point for your side though, Arab countries were absent.
      2) Saddam actually killed thousands of his own people and threated to kill thousands more. That’s what he went on trial for. Even PBS confirmed that he murdered the Kurds with gas. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/july-dec06/trial_08-21.html By comparison, Milosevic, during the Bosnian Genocide killed far less. The biggest mass grave we could find in Bosnia was 300 people. We found several by Saddam that contained thousands including the Mahaweel grave site that contained 3115 bodies. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_169995.html
      3) There was a long history of Saddam stepping on any rebellion, that’s why he was killing Shites, using Bathification, and gassing Kurds. The only reason none of them went farther is because we didn’t react. In fact, after we stopped the first Iraq War, Saddam immediately went about murdering the Kurds and anyone else that helped us. Saddam also released the worst oil spill in history-on purpose. http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/the-13-largest-oil-spills-in-history.

      For the record, I was against the 2003 Iraq War and I’m against this one.

      • HC,

        I apologize I don’t think I said exactly what I intended to say.

        for #1- I am aware of the fact that other countries “supported the U.S. invasion, but closer scrutiny of that coalition shows that the majority of them are beholden to the US and or were trying to get something out of their “support” politically (the BBC article that you cited even gives examples of this…. Yes, I misspoke, (or rather, mis-wrote) on the US going in unilaterally, I think a better way to phrase it would be that much of the world (perhaps even the majority) and even the majority of citizens of some of those countries that were part of the coalition did not support the invasion (Spain, Italy and UK figure prominently on this list), which is part of the reason why some of them eventually had to pull out. And as you acknowledge, none of the Arab leadership were willing to be associated with that. So unilateral? No. But certainly not the most ideal make-up for the coalition of the willing. It still had the feel of the US ramming a war down the throats of the rest of the world for quite a few.

        But thank you for the link to the UN resolutions, it was my understanding that none of their inspectors found absolute proof of WMD, but perhaps it would be better for me to be sure about that — now I can (more easily).

        For parts 2 and 3: I know that Saddam killed people, but when compare it to the Libya situation we are comparing apples and oranges or at least fresh apples with rather stale ones. If the US had invaded Iraq immediately after the Kurdish massacres or in direct reaction to some other horrific thing that Saddam Hussein did, then we would have something that parallels Libya… But we don’t . Ghaddafi and his son continue to stress the fact that they will not step down and that they will crush whomever is in their way. Based on his track record which is no less if not just as terrible as most other dictators out there, I wouldn’t want to the chance of a genocide of Rwanda proportions. Thus, I see US (and coalition) actions as an immediate response to an imminent threat, and not the result of decades of suppression, repression etc. That is one of the many sticking points, for me anyway.

        At any rate, like it or not, the US is another military campaign, but hopefully it is likely that it won’t be the headache that previous ones have been. At least that’s what I am hoping for, it’s the most annoying thing to be abroad and be accosted for “My” foreign policy.

  3. I’m sorry, Dre. But I’m with gazelledusahara. All I’m hearing from you is another argument that pretends that this is nothing but an unilateral attack when we all know that it’s really as act supported by allied action.

  4. I wholeheartedly disagree with you on this one Andre…. any type of intervention is going to involve more US involvement than anyone else…That is just what comes with the territory of being the leader of the free world. Libya is not about the money. The government literally wastes tons of money on tons of things everyday. Libya is not one of those frivolous expenses.

    I would say a joint-effort international effort even if (it is joint in the sense that a whole bunch of countries agreed to it) that will save many lives (there are 700,000 people in Bengazi, the rebel stronghold town alone—-)and help the US regain some respect in the international community, particularly the Arab world (which we sooooooo need right now) is worth the expense.

    Thank you Mike! good to know that I am not alone.

  5. I wholeheartedly disagree with you on this one Andre…. any type of intervention is going to involve more US involvement than anyone else…That is just what comes with the territory of being the leader of the free world. Libya is not about the money. The government literally wastes tons of money on tons of things everyday. Libya is not one of those frivolous expenses.

    I would say a joint-effort, an international effort (even if it were joint in the sense that a whole bunch of countries agreed to it… which doesn’t really describe this situation ) that will save many lives (there are 700,000 people in Bengazi, the rebel stronghold town alone—-)and help the US regain some respect in the international community, particularly the Arab world (which we sooooooo need right now) is worth the expense.

    Thank you Mike! good to know that I am not alone.

  6. So Dre: if I’m reading you correctly, you expect me to believe that all of a sudden everything President Obama said three or four years ago is absolute Gospel truth? Really? As I recall from some of your posts, you tend to forgive “flip floppers” when they’ve been approached with a reality different than they may have campaigned on. I mean, it’s quite probably that he could have been wrong about things in 2007 and learned more about the deal once he became President. C’mon, is this the best you can do?

  7. At the end of the day (like it or not) President Obama has used the Office of the Presidency to do exactly what he had previously vociferously protested as being outside the authority of the office he now holds.

    There are only two possibilities; either he is power-starved or just a liar trying to sell the old, “Oh, my bad. I meant it’s only a bad thing when “they” do it”.

    From my perspective, Obama is no different than Dubya, who is no different than Slick Willy (although I give Obama more style points than this predecessors) who was/is no different than Dubya’s Daddy. How you can tell? Ask yourself: What terrible bad awful things their predecessors had done and they campaigned against, that any of them “un-did”? Zip. Each of them just added their own rocks in the Citizen’s backpack–none of them has taken any out. (example: Obama hasn’t curtailed Bushs’ folly (war mongering). Instead, he’s just expanded it.)

    Go ahead, apply this test to any of them it’s fun–and a great party game. That’s because it’s really ‘them’ (those who seek power over others) versus ‘us’ (Just people, who want to be left alone, and thought they hired government to be their janitor, not their jailer). It’s not the Republicans-vs-the Democrats, it’s the principles of freedom and the People-vs-the Republican/Democrats. They’re both the same thing, separated only by percentages and degrees.

    • Well said, Don’t Blame Me.
      They are definately all the same. It’s amazing to hear people try to justify all the things they found so repulsive when it was the other side doing it (Oh, but it’s different now, our guy’s good and pure with only the best of intentions). We’re still side-stepping Congress, violating the Constitution, getting involved in Civil Wars, arming people who will later turn on us and going deeper and deeper in debt to feed a war machine that is always overly optimistic.

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