NATO and the USA Charge Into Libya With Our Al Qaeda Allies! Go Team! Wait, What?
Oh my. The situation in Libya has been progressing dramatically, so on the one hand I have been loathe to write about it. Anything I write could be superseded by developments on the ground so to speak even as I type. Granted that’s always true no matter what the topic to some extent, but when a ground war is being fought over actual territory, things can move right along. On the other hand, this is important stuff. We are talking an actual war here, and wars have a way of gripping my mind. Some people stare at traffic accidents by the side of the road with morbid fascination, I can’t stop looking at wars.
So, after a week of US bombing the Libyan rebels appearing to be advancing on Tripoli again. The US is claiming that all sorts of lives have been saved, but the US has been claiming that since 1945 and, well, we’ve sure killed a lot of people while saving lives. (Killing to save lives, that’s a future post.) And people are certainly dying in Libya, it’s a full fledged civil war at this point. I can only guess at what’s going on, and I certainly have no clue how it’s going to end, but here are a few observations.
For one thing, it’s a little odd that the USA and Al Qaeda are fighting on the same side. If we do succeed in getting rid of Qaddafi, we will once again (remember Saddam?) have destroyed one of Al Qaeda’s enemies. And we are literally fighting on their side, the rebels admit that they have contacts with Al-Qaeda and that jihadists from Iraq and elsewhere are fighting with the rebels now. I wonder what our pilots think knowing that they are providing air support to fighters who killed American GIs in Iraq and Afghanistan. See why this war is hard to figure out, it’s hard to even get the brain around that one.
Obama is taking fire from all political quarters regarding his decision to intervene in Libya. Left and right. I’m actually surprised he isn’t taking more flak, isn’t the fact that we are fighting on Al Qaeda’s side proof he was a secret Islamic jihadist all along? Shouldn’t Glenn Beck be running with this? Maybe he is. In any event it’s nice to see voices being raised against this hastily conceived war. I’ve wondering how such a shrewd politician as Obama would so something that was going to give his domestic political enemies lots of ammunition? Could he really be doing it out of humanitarian concerns? <pause for laughter> No, my suspicion is that he calculated that the political cost of doing nothing was greater than the cost of action.
IE if Obama had stood by while Qaddafi crushed the revolt, the left would attack him for not helping save lives, and the right would attack him for being afraid to use force. This more or less means we went to war purely out of domestic political considerations. The fact that the rebels hold the bulk of Libya’s oil fields probably was discussed too. And I don’t think the intervention was thought through much more that that. I mean, we’ve already pawned it off on NATO just so the blame can be distributed. And now we’re more or less stuck trying to do whatever it is we are trying to accomplish in Libya. And speaking of the politics of it all, I can’t help but wonder if this was some sort of “perfect storm” situation where both our enemies and our “friends” encouraged Obama to do something that they knew wouldn’t end well for the USA. Russia and China have to be thrilled, in fact anyone who is waiting for the USA to go bankrupt has to be trilled. This new war is costing a lot of money and making a lot of enemies. Yes, it’s making us some friends, but when you’re making new enemies for every friend you make, well, it’s not much of a bargain.
And I’m also curious that like the ongoing Fukushima crisis, Americans seem almost oblivious to the fact that this war could have some terrible consequences for the USA. Qaddafi is the fellow who brought down Pan Am Flight 103 for starters. And Al Qaeda has apparently used the confusion to help themselves to some modern weapons. Wars have a way of leading to places that aren’t one anyone’s itinerary. That’s why despite my childish inclination to cheer the intervention, I still think wars are a bad idea with very few exceptions. And Libya isn’t one of them.
(The above image came from a site that claimed all its images are public domain: TotallyFreeImages.com. It’s an Australian soldier charging into a sandstorm during fighting in Libya in World War Two. The guy in the image might even still be alive. I think it’s self evident why I thought it was a great image to illustrate the US intervention in the Libyan Uprising.)