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Opinion

Opinion

Libya action reflects American hubris

March 23, 2011

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— The missile strikes that inaugurated America’s latest attempt at regime change were launched 29 days before the 50th anniversary of another such — the Bay of Pigs of April 17, 1961. Then the hubris of American planners was proportional to their ignorance of everything relevant, from Cuban sentiment to Cuba’s geography. The fiasco was a singularly feckless investment of American power.

Does practice make perfect? In today’s episode, America has intervened in a civil war in a tribal society, the dynamics of which America does not understand. And America is supporting one faction, the nature of which it does not know. “We are standing with the people of Libya,” says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, evidently confident that “the” people are a harmonious unit. Many in the media call Moammar Gadhafi’s opponents “freedom fighters,” and perhaps they are, but no one calling them that really knows how the insurgents regard one another, or understand freedom, or if freedom, however understood, is their priority.

But, then, knowing is rarely required in the regime-change business. The Weekly Standard, a magazine for regime-change enthusiasts, serenely says: “The Libyan state is a one-man operation. Eliminate that man and the whole edifice may come tumbling down.” And then good things must sprout? The late Donald Westlake gave one of his comic novels the mordant title “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” People who do not find that darkly funny should not make foreign policy.

In Libya, mission creep began before the mission did. A no-fly zone would not accomplish what Barack Obama calls “a well-defined goal,” the “protection of civilians.” So the no-fly zone immediately became protection for aircraft conducting combat operations against Gadhafi’s ground forces.

America’s war aim is inseparable from — indeed, obviously is — destruction of that regime. So our purpose is to create a political vacuum, into which we hope — this is the “audacity of hope” as foreign policy — good things will spontaneously flow. But if Gadhafi cannot be beaten by the rebels, are we prepared to supply their military deficiencies? And if the decapitation of his regime produces what the removal of Saddam Hussein did — bloody chaos — what then are our responsibilities regarding the tribal vendettas we may have unleashed? How long are we prepared to police the partitioning of Libya?

Explaining his decision to wage war, Obama said Gadhafi has “lost the confidence of his own people and the legitimacy to lead.” Such meretricious boilerplate seems designed to anesthetize thought. When did Gadhafi lose his people’s confidence? When did he have legitimacy? American doctrine — check the Declaration of Independence — is that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. So there are always many illegitimate governments. When is it America’s duty to scrub away these blemishes on the planet? Is there a limiting principle of humanitarian interventionism? If so, would Obama take a stab at stating it?

Congress’ power to declare war resembles a muscle that has atrophied from long abstention from proper exercise. This power was last exercised on June 5, 1942 (against Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary), almost 69 years, and many wars, ago. It thus may seem quaint, and certainly is quixotic, for Indiana’s Richard Lugar — ranking Republican on, and former chairman of, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — to say, correctly, that Congress should debate and vote on this.

There are those who think that if the United Nations gives the United States permission to wage war, the Constitution becomes irrelevant. Let us find out who in Congress supports this proposition, which should be resoundingly refuted, particularly by Republicans currently insisting that government, and especially the executive, should be on a short constitutional leash. If all Republican presidential aspirants are supine in the face of unfettered presidential war-making and humanitarian interventionism, the Republican field is radically insufficient.

On Dec. 29, 1962, in Miami’s Orange Bowl, President John Kennedy, who ordered the Bay of Pigs invasion, addressed a rally of survivors and supporters of that exercise in regime change. Presented with the invasion brigade’s flag, Kennedy vowed, “I can assure you that this flag will be returned to this brigade in a free Havana.” Eleven months later, on Nov. 2, 1963, his administration was complicit in another attempt at violent regime change — the coup against, and murder of, South Vietnam’s President Ngo Dinh Diem. The Saigon regime was indeed changed, so perhaps this episode counts as a success, even if Saigon is now Ho Chi Minh City.

George Will is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

Tom Shewmon 3 years, 9 months ago

Still does not change the way the utterly corrupt mainstream media tells it to the American folks. With Obama, it's "oh poor guy, he had such a tough decision" and with Bush....well I don't need to even go there. Obama is their man who they fell head-over-heels in love with and they must keep him in a positive light as much as they possibly can leading up to 2012---no matter how much dishonesty and hypocrisy it involves. Oh and about that "going to congress thing"?

“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Sen. Barrack Obama – December 20, 2007

God Bless.

repaste 3 years, 9 months ago

You just read a "utterly corrupt mainstream media" article?

sr80 3 years, 9 months ago

Watch out Deacon i hear a backlash of put down words brewing in the cauldron of liberalism !!!

scott3460 3 years, 9 months ago

I am neither ignorant, nor ashamed. What are the answers to my questions. The assertion is that President Obama lied like President bush did, and that people died as a results of such lies. I simply wish to have the claim substantiated.

Godot 3 years, 9 months ago

The protesters are directing their anger at the wrong target. They should block entrance to the UN, and pitch camp in front of the White House - that would be a symbolic, if useless, gesture, since the Warmonger in Chief is rarely there. He only shows up for parties and celebrity visits.

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

Deacon, if this is so similar to the moves of the last administration, then you must be over the moon with happiness and gratitude for President Obama. Did he finally win you over by acting (in your mind) just like Bush? If not, why not?

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 9 months ago

Oil is nice, but Libya's central bank is owned by the state. The New World Order won't have it!

It's official! Obama has launched more cruise missles than all other Nobel Peace Prize winners combined! They should take his prize away.

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 9 months ago

Rush Limbowel, is that you? Glenn Suck, is that you? Do you keep the "talking points" written down on the back of your hand?

sr80 3 years, 9 months ago

I hear your Momma Pelosi is feeling bad, I also heard the altar boy ain't feeling too good either!!! Oh well come see,come saw ! what's that saying from Rome."when in rome.......

Liberty275 3 years, 9 months ago

will you be at the war protest saturday at 23rd and louisiana? make your voice heard!

sr80 3 years, 9 months ago

What is there to protest?you think it will make a difference when the powers that be can't be stopped ! ( Sure i'll come just let me know time)

Liberty275 3 years, 9 months ago

the new one. if you dont care enough, stay home.

sallyone 3 years, 9 months ago

The U.S. needs to get out of the middle east and stay out!

jonas_opines 3 years, 9 months ago

The fun thing about pointing out the hypocrisy of the left (whoever they are) in (supposedly) condoning this military action is how well it illuminates the mirror image of itself in those making the accusations.

Why is it only hubris now? Why is it only a problem now?

Godot 3 years, 9 months ago

Here is the lie:

On March 18, the One said, "Let me be clear about what we will not be doing; The United States will not deploy ground troops in Libya."

Here is the truth: ONSLOW COUNTY -- We've seen Camp Lejuene Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan and now they are joining the fight against Libya.

About 2,200 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, or 26th MEU will take part. Their mission is to help end the violence directed at the Libyan people. http://www.wcti12.com/news/27257042/detail.html

Godot 3 years, 9 months ago

Obama told Univesion that there absolutely will be no "invasion" of Libya. I guess he hasn't had time to actually talk to the Defense Secretary to learn about the Marines deploying to Libya. Or he's lying again. Either way, he is not fit for the job. He has lost the legitimacy to lead. He should just resign before the UN authorizes a no-fly zone over the US to force him out .

Grant_Runyun 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm mad as hell about what's happening in Libya, but you shouldn't lie about ground troops. The article you linked says they were performing strikes from harrier jets.

Godot 3 years, 9 months ago

Harriers are used to support ground troops.
from ehow:

Mission The Harrier is also known as a V/STOL type of aircraft. V/STOL stands for Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing. The craft is used to defend ground-based Marines and other troops in a variety of instances, including close air support, reconnaissance missions, escorting other aircraft and delivering ordnance, even at night. With its ability to lift off similar to the way a helicopter does -- or with adjustments, to take off on very short, sometimes make-shift runways -- the Harrier can be brought in much closer to support and defend troops than a traditional jet that requires set landing strips.

Significance Another advantage of the Harrier is that, unlike traditional seaborne fighter craft, it does not need an aircraft carrier as its base. The Harrier can take off from smaller, amphibious ships that can cruise in shallower waters than a carrier. This means the Harriers are based much closer to ground troops, use less fuel and can fly more sorties because of the shorter distance.

Read more: Role of the Harrier in the Marines | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5747529_role-harrier-marines.html#ixzz1HRpt9B6h

Of course, it is possible that the brilliant military mastermind, Barack Obama, has repurposed the Harrier to become the deliverer of humanitarian aid.

Otherwise, you owe me an apology.

Grant_Runyun 3 years, 9 months ago

Your own quote says they can be used for "escorting other aircraft ". If they are being used to support ground forces, what makes you think those forces are American? I imagine they're supporting the Libyan rebels. You won't hear me defend President Obama's military decisions, but I don't see any evidence of US soldiers on the ground yet.

Ceallach 3 years, 9 months ago

Are you crazy? Have you forgotten who is currently the vice president!! Think about what you say and be very careful what you ask for :)

Godot 3 years, 9 months ago

He and his entire administration should resign, including old Joe.

scott3460 3 years, 9 months ago

From the second sentence of the linked article:

"About 2,200 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will take part in support operations based aboard USS Kearsarge at sea."

AT SEA!!

...as in on a boat AT SEA.

...as in on the ocean, not on Libyan soil and AT SEA.

So where again is the lie?

Kontum1972 3 years, 9 months ago

we should bomb pearl harbor ourselves.....and get over it....we would probably feel better.... war is a dying business.....Too Late the Hero!

sr80 3 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

It appears that conservatives like Will are having a difficult time thinking about freedom loving people of the Middle East.

How many would prefer that those fighting and dying to liberate Libya just died instead? That was the option if we did nothing.

jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

Should we intervene against all of the autocratic governments of the world who are oppressing their people? A bunch of those are our "allies" - eg. Saudi Arabia.

And, according to a radio show I listened to a little bit this morning, there were some options that might have been more successful and less violent, that weren't sufficiently explored.

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

If I read the tone or intent of your question properly, are you suggesting that since we can't save the entire world we shouldn't ever get involved in foreign conflicts? How does that play out in non-military matters -- if we can't feed the world should we not try to feed people anywhere?

The fact of the matter is that today we are deeply involved in the Middle East, whether you and I like it or not. Too often we appear as the colonial force trying to control a region for our own selfish desires, the people be damned. In this instance in Libya, the people were asking for international help in their rebellion against their dictator. Should we just stand back and do nothing this time around? How would this come across to the people in the Middle East?

Sadly, we are involved in the Middle East, but to pretend we aren't at this time of wide-spread social rebellion and when we are being asked by the people of the region for help would be a mistake, in my opinion.

I didn't hear the radio program to which you refer, so I can't have an opinion to its merits. It wouldn't surprise me if we passed over other, non-military options.

jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

I think that it is horribly inconsistent and unexamined to intervene in some areas due to humanitarian concerns while ignoring the same concerns elsewhere when it suits us.

As it is to trade freely with China but impose embargoes on Cuba.

If we are intervening because we care about people, then we should intervene on their behalf a whole lot more. If that is not really the motivation, then we should be honest about the real reason.

Sitting on our hands while the royal families in Saudi Arabia oppress the heck out of their people because they're our allies doesn't impress me as some sort of great moral stance.

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

No doubt we have a horribly inconsistent foreign policy. Part of that goes with the territory with our replacing our leaders every four to eight years. There are bound to be different priorities based on who is in charge. You aren't about to get me to argue otherwise. I agree with you. As a nation, we are consistent in our inconsistencies.

However, just because we can't or don't do everything doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything. I can understand why we are doing something in this instance. There are other times I wish we hadn't used our military might, and still others where I feel we should have. Part of the problem with our having such a large military is that every now and then we have to let it loose.

jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

So did you support the war in Iraq?

Hussein was a brutal dictator who massacred his own people, wasn't he?

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

No, I did not support the war in Iraq. Our focus needed to be in Afghanistan, a war I did support. One difference is that Hussein HAD massacred his own people, he wasn't in the process of doing so when we invaded. We are now enforcing a no-fly zone and bombing a dictator as he is in the middle of attempting to kill his own people. Waiting for years after they have been killed won't be a help.

That also wasn't the reason for our invasion of Iraq, as you well know. We went in to remove WMDs, charges based on false data (or trumped up and knowingly incorrect data, however you may read it). There were no uprisings from the people at the time. There wasn't an internal struggle happening to overthrow Hussein at that time. That time had long passed. Should we have done more to remove Hussein following the Gulf War? Perhaps, but we didn't. So no, I did not support the Iraq war. I see the Iraq and the current Libya situations as dramatically different.

Just so you know, yes, I do think Obama should have addressed and gotten approval from Congress, even if I think the ultimate move was the correct one.

jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

So if a dictator is brutal enough and successful at quashing any public unrest, we should just leave them alone?

Sorry, it doesn't make any sense to me.

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

So if a dictator did bad things to his people in the 1990s, we should attack now? How about the 1980s? Can we go back to the '70s or the '60s? Is there no time limit in your opinion? What if all the people in the rebellion have already been killed? As I said, if we were to do something about Hussein, it probably should have been after the Gulf War.

Sorry, but in a military situation (like many situations in life) timing is crucial. As I stated above, while America can't do all things and be in all places (which leads to inconsistencies in foreign affairs, no doubt), at times we should get involved in world affairs. This is one of those times, in my opinion. It would be much better to do something now when those who are rising up are asking for assistance than wait until they get crushed and a decade or two from now go in and bomb Libya and attempt to occupy the country. If we wait a decade, then we would be in an Iraq-type situation. Certainly, in that regard the Libya and Iraq are not equal. Can you really not see this major difference?

jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

They're not exactly the same, but they're similar.

And, the idea that we should topple the dictator in Libya because he's brutal, but shouldn't have gotten involved in Iraq for the same reasons is inconsistent.

It's analogous to the right wing folks who espouse the opposite, which is equally unconvincing.

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

Jafs, you seem to be disregarding the issue of time I pointed out. I'm saying we should help the people who are rising up to topple their leader as they are doing so -- we shouldn't just go in and topple the dictator ourselves a decade from now. That is the difference between what happened in Iraq and Libya.

jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

If Bush were president now, and Obama had been president then, would you have the same view?

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

I now move to the bottom of the comments. This thread is getting stretched so much I can no longer see what I am typing.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 9 months ago

If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Obama inherited the unitary executive that was Dick Cheney's wet dream-- one equipped with the greatest war machine in human history. Obama's just whacking at nails with the hammer Dick was so kind to have forged for him.

jaywalker 3 years, 9 months ago

Right. Cheney is responsible for American military might. Um hmm...gotcha.
While it's fairly simple-minded to believe the only tool the U.S. has is a 'hammer', which other 'tool' do you think could be wielded effectively? How's diplomacy gonna work with someone like Gaddhafi? How long do we sweet talk a madman while he systematically murders his countrymen? I'm not a fan nor propoent for MORE military action in the Middle East, but this was a UN call out to allied forces to stop a slaughter. That was the 'tool' selected because time's of the essence and because you don't use a screwdriver or a wrench to hammer a nail, right?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 9 months ago

Work on your reading comprehension. Then maybe we can have something like a discussion.

" I'm not a fan nor propoent for MORE military action in the Middle East,

That's precisely what you are.

jaywalker 3 years, 9 months ago

Now THAT's funny. You criticize reading comprehension, then quote a sentence but opt to believe it belies a contrary opinion. I'd be surprised if you can tie your own shoes, bozo.
Care to point out my lapse in comprehension or address the questions I raised over your initial lunacy? Or are you just gonna keep bein' ..... well...you?

sr80 3 years, 9 months ago

You know whats worse than Rep.Pelosi ? A retired Liberal school teacher that doesn't know when to quit !!!

Flap Doodle 3 years, 9 months ago

In other news: "Say, maybe this is why Barack Obama has decided to shave a couple of hours off of his South America tour by skipping the Mayan ruins in El Salvador. With Joe Biden insisting that he would personally take charge of impeaching a President that launched military action against another country without getting authorization from Congress, Obama may feel the need to race back to Washington to keep his own VP from ousting him from the Oval Office. No worries, Mr. President; Biden said this while talking to Iowa Democrats in 2007, in the context of potential military action against Iran. You know, that country that wants to build nuclear weapons and holds conferences on creating a world without the US and Israel? When the target of the attack is a country that hasn’t presented a threat to the US for years, it’s apparently no big deal … especially if that President is a Democrat. Via Drudge:" Watch the video at http://hotair.com/archives/2011/03/23/biden-we-should-impeach-presidents-who-launch-attacks-without-congressional-approval/

Godot 3 years, 9 months ago

This is "humanitarian relief" the Obama way:

Six Libyan villagers are recovering in hospital after being shot by American soldiers coming in to rescue the U.S. pilots whose plane crash-landed in a field. The helicopter strafed the ground as it landed in a field outside Benghazi beside the downed U.S. Air Force F-15E Eagle which ran into trouble during bombing raid last night. And a handful of locals who had come to greet the pilots were hit - among them a young boy who may have to have a leg amputated because of injuries caused by a bullet wound.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1368633/Libya-war-US-chopper-shoots-6-villagers-welcomed-Air-Force-F-15-crash-pilots.html#ixzz1HR0aIIXS

bad_dog 3 years, 9 months ago

While this is indeed a tragic event, the account I read yesterday indicated at least several of the wounded understood the mistake and had forgiven the pilot for strafing them. It's not unrealistic for the pilot of the strafing plane to believe the pilot on the ground was injured/defenseless and endangered by the onrushing civilians.

Given their intent was to come to the assistance of the downed American pilot, it does seem that at least some Libyans understand the mission and appreciate what freedom may offer them-despite what George Will may believe. Obviously this is a difficult situation filled with many potential pitfalls and ramifications. While I very much prefer not being policeman to the world and I do not like intervening in the affairs of other countries, the alternative is to stand by and watch while Gadhafi's troops continue the slaughter of defenseless, uninvolved civilians with tanks, artillery and snipers.

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

Godot, you act as if Obama personally directed the U.S. pilots to fire on the villagers, knowing that they were, in deed, villagers. You know that to not be true.

However, in reality what you are doing is questioning the soldiers on the field without being in the situation yourself. Yes, it is tragic whenever citizens pay the ultimate price for nations in battle, but it does happen. How does your questioning the soldiers fit in your view of supporting the troops? I sure don't recall your posting stories of citizens killed or wounded by U.S. soldiers as a result of friendly fire in Iraq. Why not?

Godot 3 years, 9 months ago

I am accusing Obama of being naive and foolish to think that sending in F-15's and Harrier jets in to bomb and strafe that there would be no risk of endangering Libyan innocents or our military. He is audacious enough to say this is not a war, that this is a humanitarian aid. It is not. It is about destruction and killing.

jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

If he wasn't properly briefed by those in the military about the possibility, whose fault would that be?

Godot 3 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, that's it! That's the ticket! Obama was tricked into going to war by the evil military because they don't have enough to do and were just chafing at the bit to go to war without a plan.

What a fantastic unsupported assumption that lets little barry off the hook. The buck never stops with him, nosirree. I predict we will soon see the entire US military thrown under the Obama bus when things turn sour.......and they will.

More likely is that Obama did not believe he needed briefings from his military advisors, after all, those people probably did not go to Harvard or Yale, what could they possibly know? Or maybe he didn't bother with it because it would have harshed his vacation high.

jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

It was just a question - one which you chose not to answer, I notice.

Many people seem too inclined to blame everything on Obama, as far as I can tell, forgetting that there is a large staff of various kinds that a President relies on for information and advice.

Obama is not a military expert - he relies on those who are in the military for their expertise, just as most presidents do.

And, as far as the rest of your post goes, it's a bunch of speculation.

By the way, those in the military are frequently more ok with collateral damage and civilian casualties than those outside of it.

I didn't say this wasn't Obama's fault, by the way, I just asked a question. It could very well be his fault, having gotten all of the correct information from the military.

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

Godot, what makes you think Obama believed citizens would miraculously stay out of harms way? That is a huge assumption on your part that can't be supported.

Admit it, you are just upset because you don't like Obama. It has nothing to do with this particular situation.

gudpoynt 3 years, 9 months ago

Even the link you provide indicates that the injured do not harbor resentment.

Thank you for posting the article. But it seems as though you've chosen to highlight only the part that supports your cynicism. Surely that was not your intent, was it?

yourworstnightmare 3 years, 9 months ago

This column reflects Will's hutzpah.

And shamelessness.

yourworstnightmare 3 years, 9 months ago

However, I agree with Will. Obama has chosen to use military force in a regime change operation, and has bypassed the Constitution and Congress. It is a mistake. Obama made the wrong decision here. We do not know whom we are siding with in a civil war. Obama should have stayed far away from this one, and instead rebuffed the drivel from the right about dithering and indecisiveness. In many ways, Obama played right into their hands, because the same right wingers are now critical of the operation.

No vital, acute interests of the USA were threatened. At least the Bush administration lied about vital national security in invading Iraq in a war of choice regime change operation.

But, the Bush Doctrine of regime change in the middle east lives in the Obama administration.

Disappointing.

Peacemaker452 3 years, 9 months ago

FYI to those who can’t look at maps: Libya may be a predominately Moslem country but it is not in the Middle East, it is in Africa (North Africa if you want to attach a directional name to it).

A question for those who support the current action in Libya: Would you feel the same if the people of Montana decided to secede from the union and China enforced a UN sanctioned no fly zone, staging out of air bases in Canada?

bad_dog 3 years, 9 months ago

The U.N. couldn't sanction it as the U.S. and/or their allies would veto it in the Security Council.

Peacemaker452 3 years, 9 months ago

Are you going to answer the question or just dodge it?

bad_dog 3 years, 9 months ago

When you posit a realistic scenario, I'll reconsider.

yourworstnightmare 3 years, 9 months ago

This scenario is similar in theory but has absolutely no basis in reality. Reason devoid of fact and reality is meaningless.

I do not support our involvement in Libya. It is a war of choice and a regime change exercise. No vital national interest was acutely at stake, and we as a country should not decide on whose regime gets changed and whose doesn't. For these same reasons I did not support the Iraq war.

Peacemaker452 3 years, 9 months ago

Bad dog and YWN, Sorry that I asked you to stretch your limited metal capacity by not fully developing a “believable” scenario for you. I should have known better.

Please see Vertigo’s much expanded scenario and ATFQ. If you don’t want to answer, please leave the space for someone who might actually try to exercise their intellect.

bad_dog 3 years, 9 months ago

Easy enough. You're looking at a scenario for the onset of WWIII. There are still many details missing such as the reason why Alaska is seceding. For example if Palin is leading the rebels I'd be tempted to say let her go... Nevertheless, did you really think I'd say we should just stand down or not resist intrusion into our sovereign affairs by an outside force?

As for the balance of your comments, you're right. You should have known better. Perhaps you could have stretched your own mental capacity by posting a realistic scenario in the first place rather than criticizing someone for pointing out the fallacy of your hypothetical, then relying on vertigo to do your creative script writing for you.

And while I'm at it, don't assume I support the current incursion any more than I did Bush's field trip to Iraq. You know what happens when you "assume", although in this case it's merely you that winds up looking like a-well you know what. I won't waste any more bandwidth telling you what you can do with your antagonistic "ATFQ".

"Peacemaker"? That's rich.

Peacemaker452 3 years, 9 months ago

There was no fallacy for you to point out; you just chose to look at it from a very narrow point of view so that you could make a rebuttal while still avoiding the issue. I would like to thank vertigo for expanding on the idea in such a way that your mind could wrap around it. I guess the only assuming that I did was that since you decided to enter into the discussion that you would have the mental capacity to actually provide meaningful input.

Why should this be the start of WWIII? Why does it matter why Alaska is seceding? Should we expect Libya to begin attacks on anyone who participates in the UN activities?

I did not make any comment or inference about your support of the current actions in Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan, why so defensive?

Of course my “ATFQ” was antagonistic; it needed to match your attitude to get your attention.

“Peacemaker” is only part of the name, the numbers have significance. Do you need me to spell all of that out for you also?

bad_dog 3 years, 9 months ago

I didn't attempt to refute that which could not exist, therefore it "IS" a fallacy (or fairy tale) whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

As I subsequently stated, post a realistic scenario and I'll reconsider. You didn't. vertigo did and I did as I stated. I just refused to play your little game on your terms. Do you have the ability to create a meaningful hypothetical that could actually exist in today's world?

Now, back to vertigo's scenario. If you don't believe a Russian led multi-national force that carries out air attacks on U.S. soil would initiate WWIII, I don't know what I can say to assist your understanding.

My comment with respect to whether I support the current action was in response to your 4:52 post which inquired whether I would answer the question or dodge it. By virtue of the fact you prefaced your hypothetical with the statement: "A question for those who support the current action in Libya:" you created the inference that someone responding to your post supported the current action. It was not my intent to address the subject matter of your question (for reasons already mentioned), rather it was merely to point out the impossibility it could occur as stated. Sorry that irritated you.

As for my "attitude", given what you've displayed in our correspondence, it's obvious you don't like it when someone points out the implausibility in your hypothetical. Apparently any challenge to your perception offends you and constitutes "attitude". Pretty sad, indeed.

Finally, with respect to your user name, I really don't care what it purportedly represents. I just found it highly ironic to use the term "Peacemaker" then arrogantly demand that someone "ATFQ". That's like making a peace symbol with your fingers then using them to poke another in the eyes.

Whatever. While this was a pleasant diversion, I have Motions to file. Adios.

Peacemaker452 3 years, 9 months ago

Thank you for pointing out the major error in your own argument.

My initial scenario did not say anything about whether the UN was operating under current rules or if something had changed to allow a resolution to pass without US concurrence. You simply assumed (what was it you said about assuming?) that was the case. Only when vertigo gave you an expanded scenario did you “understand”. I don’t claim to be a mind reader so I don’t know if you don’t have the capability to see a broader picture or if you intentionally limited the scenario so you could attempt to dodge the question but still make a snide reply.

“Apparently any challenge to your perception offends you and constitutes "attitude". Pretty sad, indeed.” All I can say to that is: Pot meet kettle

The comment about my user name further demonstrates your propensity to limit your “understanding” of a topic to suit your predetermined response. You may find “Peacemaker” ironic but if you understood the full user name you would understand why there is no irony at all. It is obvious that you would prefer not to understand the full scope of anything if it interferes with your fallacious arguments.

Hope your “motions” go better that this discussion did for you.

bad_dog 3 years, 9 months ago

My Motions are just fine, thank you. Ironically, one was a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim for which relief could be granted. Somewhat analagous to your hypothetical, eh? Fortunately the Judges we deal with understand the importance of words and presenting an accurate, logical argument based on the facts and the law, not some fantasy world that plays fast and loose with reality.

Thank you as well for confirming your decision to completely ignore more than 65 years of U.N. history as well as your expectation that everyone reading your hypothetical would merely presume a total suspension of U.N. Security Council protocols and procedures. I believe I've already demonstrated I understood your question and could have answered it as posed but chose to point out the obvious defect in your hypothetical rather than respond to it as stated. vertigo did not need to explain the broader picture as you put it. He just framed the question appropriately as you were apparently unable or unwilling to do. He then got a response including the potential for global conflict that apparently escaped your otherwise omniscient vision.

Finally, I am not limiting my understanding of your user name. As previously stated I really don't care why you chose it or what it represents anymore than I suspect you care whether I chose bad_dog because I bite strangers, jump fences or climb on furniture.

Enjoy the balance of your evening. I certainly am.

Grant_Runyun 3 years, 9 months ago

Wow, you should really make sure you know what you're talking about before spouting off about other people being wrong. "it is not in the Middle East, it is in Africa" haha, what? Like "East" is a continent, so if it's on Africa it can't be part of "East"? I could go on about how stupid you sound, but here's a couple of quotes from wikipedia that get to the point:

"The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and North Africa."

"The first official use of the term "Middle East" by the United States government was in the 1957 Eisenhower Doctrine, which pertained to the Suez Crisis. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles defined the Middle East as "the area lying between and including Libya on the west and Pakistan on the east, Syria and Iraq on the North and the Arabian peninsula to the south, plus the Sudan and Ethiopia."

Peacemaker452 3 years, 9 months ago

“Wow, you should really make sure you know what you're talking about before spouting off about other people being wrong”

Wow, you should really read your own source before you post.

“I could go on about how stupid you sound, but here's a couple of quotes from wikipedia that get to the point”

See above.

Nothing more stupid than doing exactly what you accuse the other guy of doing.

You should really read more than just stuff on the internet. Also, get out of your parent’s basement and try visiting an area before you think you are an expert.

yourworstnightmare 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree that Libya is in North Africa, but North Africa is commonly considered a part of the Middle East.

Peacemaker452 3 years, 9 months ago

Having spent over 3 years in the Middle East, I would not consider it common to include North Africa.

yourworstnightmare 3 years, 9 months ago

Not that Wikipedia is a definitive source, but North Africa is considered the middle east, especially in modern times.

yourworstnightmare 3 years, 9 months ago

Having voiced my opposition to this action in Libya and described why it is a disppointing mistake, it is now time to call out the hypocritical right wing on this.

The right wing supported Bush's war of choice in Iraq and vilified anyone who opposed it. They swallowed his lies about weapons of mass destruction, and then quickly got on board when the mission morphed, out of political convenience, into a one to bring democracy to Iraq.

A week ago, they were critical of Obama for not taking action in Libya to help a people find liberty. Now, a week later, they oppose his actions with vitriolic and froth-mouthed rhetoric. A 180 degree turn-around.

The right wing of the GOP have once again demonstrated that they are, above all, concerned with politics and getting elected. They will say and do anything, and then say and do the opposite, as it suits their perceived re-election chances.

This duplicity of the GOP right is seen in things from domestic policy and foreign policy, and is especially evident in the economic matters. Deficits don't matter when they are in charge, but are critical when others are in charge.

Obama's actions in Libya are a disappointing mistake, but shamefully shameless in all things are the GOP.

scott3460 3 years, 9 months ago

Pretty weak response. What's the matter? Faux "News" not broadcast the talking point yet?

Flap Doodle 3 years, 9 months ago

"too little, too late" seems to be the basic theme of much of the heat Barry's Big Adventure is receiving.

yourworstnightmare 3 years, 9 months ago

It is interesting to read the post of the right wing posters relating to this story.

They simply do not know what to think. On the one hand, our troops are at war in Libya and must be supported. On the other, Obama is evil and anything he does is bad.

So, instead of making intelligent comments, they don't comment at all or just sputter random insults.

Indeed, Scott3246, the Faux News talking points on this one have not yet been released. I imagine by tomorrow we will start seeing some semi-literate post by right-wingers rationalizing why Obama's war is worse than Bush's wars, taken straight from Faux news.

As it is now, however, right wingers are simply floundering.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 9 months ago

At least Will is relatively consistent in his IR views. That's more than I can say for most politicians and pundits.

BigPrune 3 years, 9 months ago

Obama was cool and calculating (or so we are lead to believe).

Nice job Nobel Peace Prize winner - maybe they'll take it back.

Corey Williams 3 years, 9 months ago

Yeah I guess joining in with an actual coalition of nations to enforce a decision made by the UN is just as bad or worse than outright invasion? Maybe Obama should have said there were WMD's involved...a mushroom cloud...things like that.

"led" to believe

Mixolydian 3 years, 9 months ago

Well this is interesting, Obama has managed to align our country in purpose with the overthrow of Gadhafi with.........Al Queda:

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=212003

It's been 2 decades already, can we finally get a grown up in the oval office in 2012...please.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 3 years, 9 months ago

"Such meretricious boilerplate seems designed to anesthetize thought."

Somebody has a dictionary and isn't afraid to use it! My guess is that he believes that using those "five-dollar words" makes his column seem more legitimate -- he's wrong.

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

Jafs, on your question of whether or not I'd feel the same were Obama president then and Bush president now, I absolutely say yes. Of course it is a hypothetical, but the reason I am so confident of my statement is because, as I am sure you will recall, Bush was coming off a 90% approval rating following 9/11. The majority was behind him on getting us into Iraq, including Congress. Hillary Clinton voted to approve the invasion of Iraq, which I think is the reason she is not president today. I was strongly against it then, because there seemed to be too many holes in the story. I wish I had been wrong and that it was a quick in and out operation. It wasn't. I did not just hate Bush for the sake of hating Bush, he earned my scorn with his policies, which continued to go downhill after invading Iraq.

I am a Democrat, certainly, but I'm not a party above all else loyalist as some have claimed. Never have been. My being a Democrat is largely based on social issues. I do vote for Republicans when I feel they will do the best job, including voting for a handful of Republicans in the most recent midterms despite knowing that the Democrats needed all the help they could get. If there were viable third party politicians, I'd consider them as well. I'm not fully happy with everything Obama does, either, and I feel he lets down his liberal base far too often. I feel he is doing a better job than McCain would have, but that is just speculation given my living in Arizona and seeing a little closer what McCain doesn't do for my state on a regular basis.

jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

Ok.

What if the argument was made that we should attack Iraq and depose Hussein because he was a brutal dictator, rather than the arguments that were used? The length of time is irrelevant, if there's a moral imperative involved.

Shouldn't we have opposed Mubarak instead of supporting him?

Why do we trade with China, despite their dismal human rights record?

I'm fine with military involvement in certain cases, and LIbya may in fact be one of them - I'd just like to see us develop a consistent and reasonable foreign policy. If we're going to protect people from their brutal rulers, then we should do that wherever that's found.

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

Jafs, the problem with the questions posed is that, as I already explained, I disagree with you that the length of time between when a dictator kills his people and when we drop bombs is irrelevant. To just send in bombs ten or more years after a dictator killed his people is impractical, even if the morality of the situation remains the same. It makes a huge difference if the people are in the middle of the battle with their leader, or have already been crushed, are completely disorganized and possibly unable to rise up any longer.

Yes, it would be nice to have a consistent foreign policy, but it is never going to happen. Different leaders and different parties in power at different times will handle situations differently. We also are not powerful enough to treat China like we treat Iraq or Libya.

If you like sports, I have an analogy for you. In basketball a forward might easily go to the basket if defended by a smaller guard, but they might be more cautious or avoid the lane altogether if facing a center. Think of China as, ... well, Yao Ming. A young, healthy Yao Ming, with a large number of equally sized players ready to come off the bench. We might score a basket, but we will probably get knocked on our backside even if we do.

So yes, foreign policy is often based on what we can get away with. We might be able to stop small dictatorships, but we may not be able to stop big ones. If we can't feed the world, does that mean we shouldn't feed the person starving on the corner? We both wish we could make the whole world one big freedom loving planet. However, we can't. In this instance with Libya, at this time, in my opinion, it seems like the correct thing to do. It appears you believe so too.

I do wish, however, that Obama had brought this to Congress. His lack of doing so does suck.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Does anybody know what we are trying to do and what the expected end state is?

I sure hope Mr. Obama had an idea on what would likely happen before he started this effort. I cannot imagine how he could not have been aware that civilians would be killed (if only from "bad" jets falling out of the sky). You don't need a "Joint Staff" briefer to tell you that. Of course since I really do not know who is in charge I don't know that our own military knows all of what is happening (French seem a bit independent)

This initiative is IMHO not distinguishable from Iraq or Afghanistan or Somalia, or - keep on naming them). We are imposing our will on someone else because we think we can. Is there anybody left in the world with whom we are not in some form of conflict?

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

George, if you and I know that civilians are likely to be killed while dropping bombs, I am sure our president knows this as well.

As best I see it, we are taking part in a UN approved endeavor to enforce a no-fly zone over a region controlled by a dictator who was, until a couple of days ago, using jets to bomb his nation's people who are currently attempting to liberate themselves. There is no indication that there is a plan to send in American troops to occupy the nation. These basic factors should distinguish Libya from Iraq.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Got that much Bea, but still do not know all we are doing or all that is being done. Have not a clue what the end state is to be.

So Bea your distinction between Obama and Bush is that this is UN sponsored (Security Council - us and a few dear friends and enemies) and that we are only killing people with bombs and rockets and not bullets fired from guns on the ground? Doubt the dead make note of the difference.

IRAQ AND THIS were/are controlled by dictatorships who were/are killing their own people. Note we are not after several other dictators who are as I type killing their own people. I note that after Iraq I we did not save the freedom fighters in Iraq - they were crushed.

A no fly zone does not include bombing tanks that it appears somebody is doing

It appears that NATO is now in charge of something, we are no longer in charge of something and someone else is in charge of something. Wish I knew all the somethings.

I still see little distinction - except I had a better idea of the somethings in Iraq I and II - we were in charge and in I it was to throw him out of Kuwait and in II it was to remove him.

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

George, if you look at the string earlier on between Jafs and I, you will see as best as I could explain it where I stand on this issue and why I see a big difference between this situation and Iraq. It really and truly isn't about Bush / Obama. I'm not that totaly invested in who gets to invite billionaires to the Lincoln Bedroom. While you attempt to be flip with regard to those killed, the truth is that ground troops means more dead Americans. Keeping American troops out of harm's way if possible means something to me. We should not send our troops into foreign conflicts if we can avoid it. Should I be flip in response and ask why you don't care about dead Americans? Those kinds of questions don't really help if you care to understand what someone else thinks.

Those somethings in Iraq, by the way, were the WMDs that didn't exist. In Desert Storm, we weren't going into Iraq.

However, since you and so many others here don't appear to see much difference between our involvement with Libya and Iraq, then I wonder how many will be defending Obama for his actions the way they did when defending Bush. Is it really just about who is in office to people? It isn't to me, but then, I see a big difference between the two situations.

Also, I'm not trying to be a booster for the bombing of another nation. I just understand why we are doing it. It doesn't make me happy -- it is war and death and bombs and just sadness. It doesn't make me happy.

Regarding Obama, his not bringing this to Congress is bad. Really bad. He blew it there, in my opinion.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Bea, don’t confuse me with Tom! I have not defended any of our recent wars.

I stand by a doctrine that our national interests should be involved, we should use all necessary force to accomplish our objectives. Those objectives should be clear and measurable. We should be willing to cut and run when and if the price gets to high.

I reject nation building through military means when done form the right or the left.

I value all lives including the enemies. If it is worth doing then we should be willing to sacrifice our own. Do you really support US action to the last Brit? Good real-politic but seemingly out of p-lace with a true democrat.

I wish the issue of WMD would go away as it is stupid. I have never really bought the notion that chemicals and biologicals are truly WMD. That is what Iraq had because they used it on the Kurds and international observers verified it. Where it went - who knows? Small quantities- can cause large number of deaths under the right conditions- can be easily lost/destroyed/etc. I suspect what he had is in Syria.

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

George, don't worry, I won't confuse you with Tom.

beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

Yes, how dare people think about and discuss their actions and the actions of our national leaders.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

Of course.

Since there are many other nations, we shouldn't be concerned with our own actions at all.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Interesting point but there is an old law circa late 1700s that authorizes paying the troops. Interpreted to basically keep the military going. The military does what thje commander in chief directs. To stop spending money on something the Congress would have to specifically not support it.

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