I don't know about y'all but I'm deeply conflicted about the Libyan intervention. Gaddafi, however you spell his name, is indeed a bloodthirsty lunatic and I wouldn't shed any tears if his tent got hit by a tomahawk missle. BUT the way this whole thing came down is way too haphazard for my taste.One day everyone was obsessed with Japan and the next day we're bombing Libya. The rebels did appear to be on the verge of losing but at the risk of sounding like Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy, "who are these guys?" Beats the hell out of me. They're a leaderless bunch of guys who shoot guns in the air every time there are teevee cameras around. I hope Richard Engel doesn't get hit in the head with a stray bullet. Yo, Richard, maybe you oughta come home and write a book and let some other bastard get shot at.
I am usually NOT a process person but the way this happened doesn't sit well with me. It seems to have been driven by two pols who are very unpopular at home right now: President Sarko and Prime Minister Posh Boy. But now that the operation is underway, guess who's in the lead? In the immortal words of Bob Newhart, "that, that, that would be us." The mere fact that the President feels it necessary to say that our leadership role will last "days not weeks" makes me nervous. We've been on this slippery slope before and I'm not alone in having war fatigue.
I believe the Obama Administration's intentions are good: they don't want to see an humanitarian disaster on the scale of Bosnia occur on their watch. (Btw, I think that phrase should be retired but I'm using it in honor of Jude the Submariner) BUT good intentions are NOT sufficient. After watching the Bushies give Wilsonian internationalism a right wing twist, I'm a born again realist in matters of war and peace. If it's in our national interest to use violence, I'm willing to hold my nose and hope for the best. In this instance, however, I'm inclined to agree with Josh Marshall who ended a very strong post as follows:
So let's review: No clear national or even humanitarian interest for military intervention. Intervening well past the point where our intervention can have a decisive effect. And finally, intervening under circumstances in which the reviled autocrat seems to hold the strategic initiative against us. This all strikes me as a very bad footing to go in on.
And this doesn't even get us to this being the third concurrent war in a Muslim nation and the second in an Arab one. Or the fact that the controversial baggage from those two wars we carry into this one, taking ownership of it, introducing a layer of 'The West versus lands of Islam' drama to this basically domestic situation and giving Qaddafi himself or perhaps one of his sons the ability to actually start mobilization some public or international opinion against us.
I can imagine many of the criticisms of the points I've made. And listening to them I think I'd find myself agreeing in general with a lot of it. But it strikes me as a mess, poorly conceived, ginned up by folks with their own weird agendas, carried out at a point well past the point that it was going to accomplish anything. Just all really bad.
Like Josh, I *really* hope I'm wrong about this because I'd love to see that murderous brown clad shitbird Gaddafi toppled. But the way they've gone about this gives me the heebie jeebies. I think they should have drafted Silvio Berlusconi to go down and hang with his boy Muammar and talk him down when the latter is all mellow after a bunga-bunga party. That's what Dr. House would do, after all. Holy crap, did I just invoke Hugh Laurie's lunatic teevee doctor as having the prescription for world peace? Hookers and House, hookers and Berlusconi, hookers and Gaddafi. Bunga-bunga instead of bongo fury or something like that...
Yeah, I know war isn't funny but the absurdity of the situation cries out for mockery. I blame it on Joseph Heller: at a formative age I read Catch-22 far too many times for my own good. I've always identified with Yossarian's absurdist view of war. I'll leave sincerity to Nately and the Bush gang. Hmm, I wonder who Nately's whore was in the Bush era? But I digress,..
Despite my Catch-22 fixation, for many years I was something of a do-gooder when it came to international affairs. I thought that, in some circumstances, the good guys should intervene to protect people from dictators. It was, after alll, *one* of the reasons we fought against the Nazis. Then, I took a very interesting course in human rights law at Tulane Law School. It was taught by a visiting professor, Tom Farer, who is an expert in the field and a very entertaining prof to boot. The funnier the teacher, the more I learn. Surprised? I thought not.
The final exam was an eye opener: Farer created several scenarios involving military intervention in the name of human rights. It made me realize that while there *are* bad guys and there *is* evil in the world, it is very, very hard to use force in support of human rights. It sounds all righteous and noble but people still get killed, war is unpredictable and shit always goes wrong. Always.
I hope these ramblings made sense: other than spell checking, I applied no polish and just let 'er rip. (I guess that qualifies as a run-on sentence alert.) I am deeply conflicted about this latest episode as well as suffering from a nearly terminal case of war fatigue. Sometimes, I just wanna crawl under the covers and hide. In the end, all I can do is cross my fingers and hope that somebody takes out Gaddafi pronto so Sarko and the Posh Boy can thump their chests and get back to being deeply unpopular. I know nobody's going to take my advice about Silvio, Muammar and bunga-bunga but it would be less costly in lives and treasure.