Also via Larison, this from James Joyner:
Yet, for all the UK’s foresight in planning, they have been steadfast in declaring that they will not participate in any peacekeeping force, with Mitchell reiterating that there will be no British boots on the ground. The Obama administration has said the same for America. This rules out, therefore, the two most significant military powers in NATO.
After a decade of war and overseas occupation, this reluctance is understandable. Additionally, while happy to have Western help in the fight against Qaddafi, the Libyans are likely to come to resent any long-term presence of European forces in their country.
Putting a different face on the post-conflict stabilization efforts would be ideal, then, even if Western nations have to pay for it. The obvious candidates are the United Nations and the African Union, both of which have extensive experience in peacekeeping missions and would come without imperialist baggage.
Peacekeeping, of course, requires that there be a peace to keep. As the ongoing UN missions in Liberia and Ivory Coast demonstrate, blue helmets are not a panacea. If the mere presence of trained outside security forces is insufficient to prevent the outbreak of sectarian fighting, the peacekeepers then get caught in the crossfire. If they choose sides and shift into kinetic operations — for which they tend to be ill-equipped to begin with — they can often lose their legitimacy.
In theory, this would all have been worked out before NATO intervened, thus taking ownership of the outcome. And it’s possible that someone, somewhere planned all this out. But, if they did, they’ve been awfully quiet about it.
It appears that no one wants to take responsibility for the mess created by the Arab League No-Fly Zone in Libya.
We’ve entered a bizarre era when all military planning seems to have been taken over by the underpants gnomes:
Step 1: Bombing Runs
Step 2: ????
Step 3: Profit!
It’s a shame that Joe from Lowell is no longer around to tell me I hate freedom. Although I suppose Matoko_Chan and Derf comically calling me a libertarian shall suffice.
...now I try to be amused
Bummer, man. Having British, German, and Italian troops in Libya would be just like old times.
(Seriously, was Tobruk ever in the news between 1942 and 2011?)
Why don’t we just pay China to put some of THEIR troops on the ground there? That would certainly “put a different face” on it. There couldn’t be any downside to it at all! Win!
2. We will be greeted as liberators
Baron Jrod of Keeblershire
I don’t think we even bother hoping for step 3 anymore. It’s just:
Step 1: Spend shitloads of money to attack
Step 2: Repeat step 1 for the rest of time
How about those Pirates?
You guys banned JfL?
I am really going to miss his gymnastic defenses of the RC hierarchy re child abuse and predation. His insistences that only a few priests were/are predators and hardly anyone on the inside knew about it — so the coverup is limited to a select few — were masterpieces of cognitive dissonance.
He wasn’t banned. He just got sick of us.
“The obvious candidates are the United Nations and the African Union”
The African Union is in Qaddafi’s pocket. That’s not an exaggeration — in 2009-10 he paid 40% of their total budget. He’s been using the AU for years to leverage Libya’s oil wealth into diplomatic clout.
That’s why Jacob Zuma and other African leaders keep popping up asking for “dialogue” between Qaddafi and the rebels — IOW, that the rebels should accept a ceasefire followed by some form of power-sharing that leaves Qaddafi in charge. It’s also why he’s still getting mercenaries and weapons via Libya’s African neighbors to the south — in addition to funding the AU, he’s given huge piles of cash as “bilateral aid” to the military dictators in Niger and Chad.
Seriously, whether you support the intervention or not, even suggesting the African Union in this context is an automatic fail. It shows the author is unfamiliar with some fairly basic facts about the situation in Libya.
I don’t think you hate freedom, you’re just objectively pro-Qadaffi.
Good. Hate the banhammer; love it when annoying people leave of their own volition…although, as mentioned, I’ll miss the “Watch me flail as I attempt to mold uncomforable facts to my worldview, instead of changing my view to fit new facts” displays. Well, we can’t have everything.
Villago Delenda Est
Yup, shortstop, right on the money about JfL and his ongoing defense of the RC hierarchy. Defending the absolutely indefensible.
I don’t know why, what with all the sweethearts around here.
It’s a shame that Joe from Lowell is no longer around to tell me I hate freedom.
I miss him telling me I’m bigoted against Catholics. A position he held to even when I pointed out that this would imply that I’m bigoted against myself and 95% of my extended family….
Having British, German, and Italian troops in Libya would be just like old times.
Ach, die guten alten Zeiten…
It is a feat to blank the Reds two games in a row, but today is another day.
I am really going to miss his gymnastic defenses of the RC hierarchy re child abuse and predation. His insistences that only a few priests were/are predators and hardly anyone on the inside knew about it—so the coverup is limited to a select few—were masterpieces of cognitive dissonance.
Or how me being upset that Catholic children were sexually abused was proof of my irrational hatred of Catholicism.
The mess “created by” the no-fly zone? “Created by”? That’s strange, because it seems to this observer that Libya erupted in violent revolution against Qaddafi’s government all on its own.
I suppose turning a blind eye while Qaddafi tanks rolled through Benghazi killing thousands, plus the ensuing mass arrests & disappearances would have been the cleaner solution?
Hate the banhammer; love it when annoying people leave of their own volition…although, as mentioned, I’ll miss the “Watch me flail as I attempt to mold uncomforable facts to my worldview, instead of changing my view to fit new facts” displays.
I remember him from Yglesias’ blog, back before Yglesias destroyed his own comments section, and Joe was strident though generally reasonable. But the last year or two sort of sent him over the edge; joking aside, I thought his position towards me regarding the Church child abuse scandal was pretty indefensible and appalling.
Him calling you an Uncle Tom was classic BJ theater. I almost had to Heimlich myself reading that one.
ETA: I didn’t read most of his posts, so to be fair, I have no idea if his church apologia were just a personal blindspot. I have some sympathy for that, but not when it manifests itself in hysterical and unsupportable lashings out at others who are calmly and factually criticizing the revered institution.
“It is a feat to blank the Reds two games in a row, but today is another day.”
Two out of three is good, and then we get the Cards. My Screen name isn’t Honus for nothing. It’s because Roberto is too many letters.
Sadly, I think you’re probably right.
Davis X. Machina
@Guster: Certainly cheaper. If it’s not the cost, then it’s a strange new world where the most rousing defenses of the Westphalian nation-state can be found on liberal blogs.
It’s a shame that Joe from Lowell is no longer around to tell me I hate freedom.
He went to LGM.
Libya was in Civil War prior to the NFZ; the NFZ just set the conditions for who will win that Civil War. Someone will step up to be the Peacekeepers through the UN; first things first, however. Team Qaddafi has to see the time has come for them to go.
I’m a Obot, but, cmon, getting rid of OBL and MQ inside of a few to several months ain’t too shabby.
This why the Terminator films have done such damage to U.S. National Security. Everyone’s so afraid of walking killer robots, not realizing that flying killer robots can only do so much.
It’s not a revolution, it’s a civil war. Apparently nobody in our State Department was aware that there are a lot of Qaddafi loyalists out there. I suspect there’s either going to be a negotiated settlement in the next couple months or the current state of affairs will continue until the US gov’t runs out of money or moves on to another shiny object to bomb.
I don’t see what’s so objectionable about our actions re Libya. We chose sides by lending the rebels some support, but we haven’t put boots on the ground or gotten too entangled in the civil war. We’ve forced the libyans to take ownership of the outcome. Seems to me that that’s a pretty reasonable middle path between ignoring the situation completely and sending in thousands of troops in an effort to overthrow Q ourselves.
yeah John but you are still probably a racist for questioning Obama’s decision for declaring start of hostilities against Libya
ETA: I didn’t read most of his posts, so to be fair, I have no idea if his church apologia were just a personal blindspot. I have some sympathy for that, but not when it manifests itself in hysterical and unsupportable lashings out at others who are calmly and factually criticizing the revered institution.
He’d also started to go nuts if you criticized Obama. I remember a series of posts in which he was touting “Recovery Summer” against claims that the stimulus had been too small to start with.
Joe can tell you you hate freedom and this idiot from yesterday can tell you you don’t give a shit about the wars, and everyone can be happy in their anger.
Also, Joyner says “The parallels with Iraq are eerie.” How so? I don’t see it.
Oh great. Now you’ve said it. You’ve summoned the “nuh-uh Those loyalists that interfere with the narrative are really Chad mercenaries (cleverly disguised as Libyan citizens)” crowd.
That’s really not so impossible, you know.
I’m hoping to do the same someday. ;-)
You know, reading what the Libya discontents have to say for months now, I’ve yet seen one of them stake out an actual coherent proposition of how and when and to what extent the US should intervene abroad. Or how we / the global community should deal with a humanitarian chrisis flaring up.
It’s never moved beyond the spectrum of sniping – sarcasm – nitpicking.
That’s not a serious alternative. That’s not a coherent position based on either principle or pragmatism.
If I were to speculate and do a bit of homework for John, Kevin Drum and others, I’d say that there are two positions on principle one could hold to oppose the Libya intervention:
1) The US should only intervene when we have been attacked or are under imminent threat of being attacked. Let’s call that the non-intervenionist position.
2) The US should never intervene abroad, even if we are attacked. We should defend ourselves at home. Let’s call that the absolutist pacifist position.
Then there’s the legalistic argument (no declaration of war by congress, hence illegal), but solely arguing legalisms without some guiding principles about which conditions makes it morally right and/or in our interest to intervene, lacks substance and is pretty pointless.
But no-ones been willing to come out of the closet as a supporter of 1) or 2) afaik and no-ones been willing to make a substantial and coherent argument on why Libya could be acceptable on principle but the particular circumstances in Libya says we should stay out.
Only the sniping, the sarcasm, etc.
To the best of my judgement, opposition seems pretty much to boil down to “enough with the wars” – which is pretty much the worst conceivable reason for opposition (if understandable).
It’s a bad reason because we may end up having supported a stupid war we should never have supported and opposing an intervention which we absolutely should support. Only because one came after the other.
Villago Delenda Est
I’m just a bit weary of the “let’s spend some treasure on bombs to drop on some people somewhere” solution to every fucking thing that comes along.
Perpetual low level conflict.
As long as the number of people who die on a given day can be counted w/o removing your shoes, then it can be sustained indefinitely w/o anyone getting upset.
I’ll believe that there is an exit plan when we get out of Korea.
It’s so ironic you’d use this, since for the Underpants Gnomes working in the defense industry, Step 2 can’t be more obvious or logical: charge a ton for the new bombs needed to replenish the inventory used up in Step 1, and for the new bombing runs needed to spread freedom for the ever increasing numbers of foreigners angry and upset at us for some reason.
Repeat Steps 1 and 2 and you indeed get profit. Lots of it. It only looks weird if you think the US government is supposed to put the interests of its citizens over the wishes of the defense industry. But since they don’t, it makes perfect sense.
Post 35 captures my feelings perfectly.
So how does that sentiment lead to us consistently making good decisions? One came before the other at a time when we wanted to trash stuff and were full of confidence. The other came just when we went through the hangover of that first rash and stupid decision.
But thats simply by chance, it offers us no guiding principle to make the right decision the first time and then make the right decision again the second time.
Well said Danny and Villago Delenda Est just confirmed that his argument boils down to the “enough with the wars already” camp.
Danny – I’d say a coherent argument against intervention in Libya begins with the fact that it is a “Civil War” not an Egyptian-style revolution. Traditional international law theory states that it is illegal for a country to choose sides in a civil war, “illegal” in the sense that you are violating the rights of the established and rightful government of that state (here: Qaddafi).
I think the initial response of a no-fly zone and the like were appropriate, in an effort to protect non-combatants, but when the goal changed to actively killing Qaddafi, then you’ve chosen a side in the civil war. This was not a case of one side slaughtering the other out-right. Both sides have guns and have committed violence against non-combatants.
I can accept that Qaddifi is the bigger bad guy here, hurting more civilians and committing more war crimes, but it is not a “clean” situation which I think can be added to the list of when the U.S. should definitely intervene and actively try to overthrow a government. That is when the government is using its military to slaughter civilians and there is no organized opposition to them.
Otherwise, you end up supporting an alternate militarized faction that you know is not afraid to use violence and weapons to achieve its ends and likely you have no idea of what else they are capable of. At least in a peaceful revolutionary situation, you start with people who you know have chosen a specific non-violent path to achieve their ends.
“Why does John Cole hate ‘freedom’?”
Because “freedom” bit your ass?
I don’t agree on Lybia and support limited intervention in support of the rebels, but I’m glad the doubters and critics are raising the tough questions. I wish I’d been treated to the same respect when I was dead certain invading Iraq was the dumbest, most dishonest proposition I’d heard since the Great Gulf of Tonkin Scare.
Sane discussion of this topic probably requires that one acknowledges that “Enough with the wars already” is a perfectly valid emotional response to the situation, while simultaneously acknowledging that it’s insufficient intellectual response to the situation.
Just Some Fuckhead
He’s over on Lawyers, Guns and Monkeys now.
@John Cole: He wasn’t banned. He just got sick of us.
In my last exchange with the old bloke, he said “So I create a straw man of your view based on a selective misreading of your argument and intent, and I’m the bad guy?”
“Yes”, I said.
And then he was gone! (Snif)
Unfortunately, that’s the MO operative in certain of the ABL threads if one takes issue with the White House’s policy awesomeness-and-total-trustworthyness-in-all-things… I could cite the posts that attempted – lamely – to tar me if I had the time or inclination. That – or “ratfucker” (per General Stuck.)
I also don’t know how to prove the Riemann Hypothesis, but I do know that a bunch of people that have no concept of basic algebra aren’t going to be able to come up with a proof.
1. The “experts” at State don’t know what they are doing. This was true under Bush the Lesser, and it is still true.
2. What is this “global community”? Would that be the same “global community” which was dealing Q a bunch of weapons not that long ago? Or some different “global community”? In any case, as Cole points out, they are as clueless as our officials at State.
3. In the end, there is really no debate to be had. People who demand intervention want an “argument” based on a bunch of hypotheticals, and the argument would quickly be dismissed. They need people to make the argument, so they make concerned faces and issue grandiose statements. The actual consequences of interventionism are never addressed by the supporters of interventionism. I suspect this is why you see Cole sniping: he was on the other end of this argument over Iraq, and undoubtedly knows this.
he’s been spotted at Booman’s too.
Good heavens. He’s EVERYWHERE but here. Was it something we said?
Where is that coterie of folks arguing that
missile strikesmilitary intervention can be used to do good in the world, and just so long as no boots hit the ground, and every other country involved STEPS UP!, and the rebels get our respect instead of racist condescension, and we realize that Qdiddy will be dead, deposed or simply stroll out of Libya within weeks of the initial attack – so the whole operation wouldn’t actually have been about regime change after all, see?
Was it really only Joe who thought this way?
Just Some Fuckhead
Yes, everyone else was just rahrahing Obama.
The ‘discontents’ don’t have to offer sufficient conditions for the use of military force in humanitarian interventions – that’s the job of the advocates. The critics need merely outline the necessary ones: like (in the case of Libya) will the initial military action lead to its intended result, or only stir the pot; is there a post-intervention plan in place when the country is in tatters so that the mission is actually successful, and what does that plan look like; does HI, to be successful, necessarily entail regime change, and if so, does regime change require nation building? The list goes on and on. Advocates for HI were to enthusiastic about the prospect of blowing shit up to save ‘besieged rebels’ that they failed to notice the argument.
He’s fighting the good(?) fight at Lawyers Guns and Money these days.
I doubt that there’s any “if” about who’s going to pay for it and I’m certain that “Only Halliburton has the resources and expertise to accomplish a project of this type.”
Sporadic sighting at the GOS.
Say his name three times and he might appear.
In the case of YOU, Captain Doom John Galt Cole…it’s spelled freeDUMB!
There is no such thing as a “clean” situation involving the use of modern military. It is inevitable that unjust and obscene actions will result directly from any military intervention of any scale. WWII wasn’t “clean” – it was horrific, albeit necessary. I don’t think that any war can be isolated from evil deeds – certainly not in the age of aerial bombing and heavy artillery. And the more “foreign” the turf, the worse the so-called “collateral damage” is likely to be, for reasons that are both inevitable and, in many cases, very ugly. That said, I’m not a pacifist. I just think it’s naive – at best – for anyone arguing for the “lesser evil” of a particular military intervention to ever imagine it can be “clean.”
I would add that intervention where there isn’t an active and organized military opposition to an “evil” regime is far more problematic, politically and militarily, than taking the side of and supporting an existing rebel contingent. There may be cases where one thinks it’s morally justified, but in fact we’ve sat on our hands in most of the instances where a genocidal regime was doing its worst.
That argument was used as a sort of retro-justification for Iraq when the WMD hype collapsed in a pile of fabrications, but if anything the entire episode proves what a fools errand unilateral intervention to topple a regime where there’s no coherent opposition engaged in something resembling an uprising is likely to be. And that these “moral” issues are never “clean” but are linked almost iron-clad to political sub-texts.
Iraq is also an indication that a regime’s atrocities are most likely a civil war in slow motion and that toppling it will trigger overt civil war. So the problems of civil wars are pretty much always present in these scenarios.
@Just Some Fuckhead: To quote my favorite superhero Captain Hammer: “I remember it differently.”
It was an Egyptian-style revolution at first, and became a civil war when Gaddafi ordered regular forces to attack the protesters, and them opting to arm themselves and fight back.
It works as dogma – “no intervention in civil wars” – but establishes incentives for autocrats to do exactly what Gaddafi did: attack discontents with tanks and jet fighters.
I’m not sure exactly what “traditional” theory of international law you’re referring to but under the contemporary framework intervention and breach of territory by foreign powers is perfectly legal (by international law) if sponsored by a UNSC resolution, and in the case of Libya it is.
All participating parties are arguing that their actions are well within the boundaries set up by the UNSC resolution and I haven’t seen a strong legal case made that that isn’t the case.
If it could be proven that the goal actually was killing Gaddafi you’d have a legal case, but at this point that amounts to nothing more than suspicions and conjecture.
It most definitely was at the outset. Gaddafi sending e.g. fighter jets to strafe civilian demonstrators etc was well documented and in fact Libyan jet pilots defected to Malta because they refused to follow orders if I recall correctly.
I’d recommend checking out the Wikipedia page on the conflict, I think they have a pretty good rundown of the initial crisis that led to the UNSC resolution.
It’s pretty much a false equivalency to equate Gaddafi initially sending his armed forces against civilian protesters at the outset of the crisis, with reports of rebel acts of revenge against civilian loyalists last week. That would seem to argue that we should have been able to predict the future months ago.
Anyhow, the UNSC resolution mandates protecting the civilian population so it would seem that one way to prevent further violence from rebels against civilians would be to use leverage with the rebels (who are dependent on our support) or the threat of violence to get them to reign in such behavior.
That was exactly the situation at the outset of the crisis.
Sure, we could establish such a doctrine: that the global community should intervene only if the opposition have commited to strict Ghandi-esque non-violence.
But we should keep in mind that the fact that the rebels are doing their own fighting in Libya is exactly what allows us to have no boots on the ground, no casualties at all so far, and having spent a dissappearing fraction of the money compared to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Would you be willing for us to commit the resources it would take to get your “clean” war? In Libya it would have required a fully fledged land invasion of Gaddafis Libya by a regular Nato/UN army to fight that war. Preferable?
Would you have accepted the PR fallout in the muslim world of such an invasion – likely including a substantial contribution of american troops – instead of the present general support for the intervention. (Still true, I think, but full disclosure: I haven’t seen polling on that since right after the initial intervention).
Just Some Fuckhead
If we could figure out how to deploy the armchair warriors, we’d rule the world.
...now I try to be amused
I read somewhere that even the most odious dictatorship has the active and enthusiastic support of at least 15% of the population. Of course said 15% have all the heavy weapons. Given that, a revolution that doesn’t turn into a civil war would be the exception, not the rule.
I don’t know why John Wayne Gacy Cole hates freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law. I really wish he liked them.
@52 Stillwater wrote,
You mean, the entirely reasonable proposition that the onus is on those advocating going to war, rather than those opposing it?
Don’t think Martin et al. are going to be happy with that.
@Just Some Fuckhead: Maybe the Pentagon could seamlessly ingrate military weapons systems with Cheeto-stained laptops?
Edit: Hah! ‘ingrate’. I’m gonna leave it.
Shouldn’t you wait until we get rid of MQ before you run with that argument?
One coherent proposition is that humanitarian interventions cannot be ruled out, but that the levels of evidence and purported carnage should be extremely high. Which wasn’t true in the Libyan case.
Of course, the basic underlying problem for the advocates of humanitarian intervention is that, empirically, states don’t appear to intervene for humanitarian reasons, despite what they might claim.
You don’t think that the people who make policy should be able to make a case on principle or practicality as to why the prefered policy is the right course of action?
Only going for: “yeah, but I’m not making policy, Kevin Drum’s not making policy, John Cole’s not making policy, we’re only citizens poking holes in the argument of those who do, is pretty much conceding that discontents have no credible alternative to offer.
In contrast, I could easily present you with at least a couple different arguments on principle why Iraq II was wrong, if you’d ask me to.
Agreed on your proposed doctrine of humanitarian intervention: that’s an example of what I asked for from discontents. I respect that position, although I wouldn’t sign on myself.
On your second claim, I don’t agree at all. E.g. the various interventions in former Jugoslavia being (mostly) of a humanitarian nature. Doesnt mean that different nations cant have different interests that influence what positions they take.
E.g. in the case of Libya the intervention would probably not have happened without support from the Arab League and support from the Arab League was possible because of outrage from the muslim public at the Gaddafi ordered atrocities and public support for the opposition but also by the fact that Gaddafi pissed every arab leader off at one time or another…
If we could figure out how to deploy the armchair warriors, we’d rule the world.
Given advances in drone warfare, this may actually be a possibility sooner than you think.
People have been making the case.
It’s a chance to rid ourselves of a particularly odious dictator that had already started slaughtering citizens, while having to committ practically nothing to do so. Low risk, low cost, high benefit.
There’s the argument. And instead of addressing it, the response has been variously:
1. If we don’t intervene everywhere, we shouldn’t intervene anywhere.
2. It’s just like Iraq.
3. Ghadaffi isn’t that bad and there are way worse so why don’t we overthrow them? (see 1)
4. Legal excuse making: I’d love to help but my hands are tied legally. They’re tied.
None of which really rebut the argument being made.
I read somewhere that even the most odious dictatorship has the active and enthusiastic support of at least 15% of the population.
That should probably be 27%….
A FTFY’s job is never done.
@ 57. Bruce S
Bruce – I wasn’t using “clean” in regards to anything our military might do, it was in reference to situations we chose to get our military into. I agree that there’s no such thing as anything “clean” in any of this, especially when the US military gets involved (that’s part of why I put it in quotes).
@Danny: You don’t think that the people who make policy should be able to make a case on principle or practicality as to why the prefered policy is the right course of action?
Anyone can make whatever case they see fit, on whatever merits they choose to invoke. A rational, interested person will listen to those arguments and make a determination based on the coherence of the argument, the strength of the evidence provided, the consistency of the principles invoked, the likelihood of success, etc.
The burden is on the advocate of intervention to make these arguments, not on the skeptic.
Fair enough, but didn’t this entire thread start with the premise that we’re fucked because no one will be a Peacekeeper? Perhaps that should come to pass, too, prior to going “oh, noes, what are we gonna do?”. If one gets to project the future, I get to project the future, too.
Its way upthread and I can’t link without a reply button but
DEPLOY ARMCHAIR WARRIORS
seems to me to be one of the great potential internet memes and a contender for the Balloon Juice rotating tagline.
Also, Joe from Lowell started out at Lawyers Guns and Money where he seemed like a really nice, reasonable guy. I had my dustups with him over here, especially the last one where he hammered me with assertions that I “didn’t understand the first amendment” and argued that I must oppose things I don’t oppose and am therefore very confused. For example, although I am jewish I do not oppose, not even in theory, Nazis in skokie parading and saying Nazi things. I wouldn’t say those things myself but I am not opposed to people holding opprobrious political views. I think we are better off when they say what they fucking mean than when they agitate for policy covertely. But he really didn’t believe it, and so he accused me of not saying what I’d said, or not believing what I’d said, or something.
I feel sorry about J from L because I saw a real change in his posts over the years. I assume he had some serious emotional and social problems IRL which made discussion of certain issues on the internet painful.
@Lol: It’s a chance to rid ourselves of a particularly odious dictator that had already started slaughtering citizens, while having to committ practically nothing to do so. Low risk, low cost, high benefit.
That was never, and I mean never, offered as a rationale for the UN/NATO mission.
Edit: I mean the ‘never’ to apply to official justifications for the inervention.
Obama made his case, in a very eloquent (no surprise) and quite honest speech that actually treated the citizens as adults (a bit of a surprise, given history), imho.
Sure, it’s absolutely warranted to ask someone pitching war to have a strong case, but that cant mean that opponents are free to choose from a revolving smorgasboard of different objections and nitpicks where no standard of internal consistency need apply or no need to fit it all within a macro argument. I wouldn’t be satisfied with that if I didn’t agree with Libya. I’d want my opposition to be based either on first principles or on measured consideration of and a coherent argument about the outlook for a successful mission.
ETA also re @75 that makes the same points I responded to here
you don’t understand. gaddafi has clearly seen that “the time has come for him to go.” clearly. another friedman unit should clear the matter up. also, too, milosevic remained free for two years after the kosovar war, and saddam hussein 12 years after the gulf war. but pay no attention to that.
no, that’s the math that people are rebelling against. you don’t know a damn thing about the libyan people. you don’t know a damn thing. war supporters never give a shit or know anything about the places and peoples that are involved in these conflicts.
the libyans themselves don’t know what kind of country they’ll be post-gaddafi. the guy has been in power for four decades. every facet of the state, what little there is, has flowed through him and his flunkies and family. you don’t know what libya can be, you certainly don’t know what it will be, and your “low cost” extends exclusively to the potential for american casualties. which is about the furthest thing from a genuine “global humanitarian” perspective there is.
libyans could find themselves in a low level war for the next 10-20 years. you don’t know. they don’t know. we don’t know the libyan character when gaddafi is no more. we don’t know what kind of state will ultimately be acceptable to the people. we don’t know what happens to the hundreds of thousands of people who are displaced, whose cities and infrastructure have to be completely rebuilt from scratch. we don’t know who will end up profiting from the libyan oil wealth, and whether it will ever make its way to the people.
we don’t know. libya was a black hole to the west for forty years. there is no cause for any sort of triumphalism in any of this.
@aimai: The reply button is an easy fix. Find it here. Just install Stylish (or which ever you need) and cut and paste.
Lot more going on behind the scenes than I was aware of.
I don’t think you’ve looked very hard, but in any case, what’s your coherent proposition?
And while you’re at it, why don’t you give us a list of the current conflicts that your coherent proposition demands the United States be involved in. After all, if you think Libya is a slam dunk, you must be in favor of bombing Syria, but what about Yemen, Somalia, Iran, or Nigeria? Should we have been involved in Sudan? What about the war between Georgia and Russia? And how do we deal with a gangster state like Zimbabwe?
I’m sure you have a sensible proposition for why we should engage in all these conflicts simultaneously, even while we’re still extracting ourselves from to two wars and debating whether we should be shutting down our own government.
Cris (without an H)
I guess I’m a supply-sider or something. I think the person who maintains a website fixing the problem for everybody by changing one line of code is better than asking everybody to install something special on their client browser.
@ 60. Danny
Danny – I’ll concede your points on how the conflict started. You ask if I would have been for U.S. intervention at that point, when it was “clean” as I described it. I would say yes.
It would be massively expensive and put US lives at risk. And undoubtedly unpopular. But I think if the UN and US are going to get involved in such a situation, it is better to resolve it, rather than having it dissolve into the current situation where we do not know much about the rebels we are supporting. As to the popularity of such an action in the Muslim world, I think such an operation with the support of the UN to go in, remove Qaddafi, help set up a provisional government with opposition leaders (who have ‘clean hands’) would not be anathema.
To some of your other points:
Perhaps this is semantics between “target” and “targeting”, but NATO now contends that Qaddafi has always been a fair target, as part of the Humanitarian Intervention has been to stop the killing of civilians which requires killing those who are ordering those killings. The HI as originally told to, at least the US people, was that it would be limited to stopping Qaddafi’s forces from carrying out such crimes, not the overthrow of his government (which is the effective result if his govt. is targeted).
First, I think it was easy to predict that any violent force in such a situation is going to commit war crimes. History teaches us this. Rebels are going to kill civilian supporters of the oppressive government – are you OK with that? I’m sure you’re not, but it is something that you accept when you support such a group and enable them from afar.
I guess my question for you is, what is the endgame? Boots will be on the ground eventually, unless the drones are going to help rebuild.
I think you have it wrong, John. You treat this like the Iraq War and complain that there is no plan, but that was precisely the point: The Libyans themselves are meant to decide their future. There doesn’t have to be a western plan.
Just Some Fuckhead
@Cris (without an H):
Perhaps, but as it turns out, Stylish is pretty cool. I now view the site ad-free, which is kind of shitty on the one hand, but on the other hand, I should be paid to read this drivel nowadays.
@Cris (without an H): Ha! So your refusal to take my free reply-button offer (actually, it’s MonkeyBoy’s) is an act of protest against TPTB.
Long live la revolucion!
Cris (without an H)
@Just Some Fuckhead: Right, and I didn’t mean to be smug. (It just comes naturally.) We know that John is never going to get around to fixing this problem or letting somebody else do it, so the client-side solutions have the virtue of actually going into effect.
Cris (without an H)
@Stillwater: You misunderstand! If I fix it locally, I’ll stop being pissed about it. It’s not protest, it’s the motivating power of annoyance.
Maybe if you don’t want people to argue that “it’s just like Iraq” you should come up with an argument that isn’t literally just like the one Bush used to go to war with Iraq.
@Jinchi: Maybe if you don’t want people to argue that “it’s just like Iraq” you should come up with an argument that isn’t literally just like the one Bush used to go to war with Iraq.
ETA: gold claps are way better than golf claps.
And again. People say it’s just like the Iraq war, because you keep using the same justifications that were used to justify the Iraq war.
Just Some Fuckhead
@Jinchi: In fairness, they used every possible excuse for the Iraqi debacle so many will no doubt be repeated. :)
@ Jinchi, 93:
I never said there were weapons of mass destruction in Libya.
Also, wake me up if there is a european/american occupation force in Libya.
And while you’re at it, show me that the Iraqi people actually called for help against Saddam Hussein.
How long until we can get drones circling the int’l borders of Cris without an H-astan ?
Do we know if there are brown people inside?
You said the genius of the Libya action is that there is no western plan, the Libyans will decide their own future.
That was exactly the argument given by the Bush administration in Iraq. We wouldn’t need to be involved in nation building, because the Iraqis would decide their own future. That was why it was only going to cost $50 billion, and that’s why the Iraqi state collapsed after Saddam was deposed. We didn’t have a plan for the aftermath.
If you’re going in on a humanitarian mission to get rid of a brutal dictator, you’d better have a plan to ensure that he isn’t replaced by something worse.
You’ve never heard on Ahmed Chalabi?
Just Some Fuckhead
Don’t forget about the Kurds.
And Poland. You forgot Poland.
This question doesn’t make any sense.
You think that I am obliged to present a coherent policy statement, presumably in triplicate, to you prior to pointing out that interventionism doesn’t work the way its adherents are proposing? Why am I obliged to do that? Why can’t I say that “Look, the last few interventions have some … unintended consequences: we put a mafia don in charge of Kosovo, several thousands bodies were sent floating down the Tigris because our allies in Iraq are thugs, Afghanistan is going nowhere. Maybe it is safe to say that we don’t know what we are doing, and should be mindful of that.”
Arguments don’t matter; what happened in Iraq as a result of the intervention that actually happened? What is happening in Afghanistant because of the ongoing intervention? Were/are they successful, or not? Based on this evidence, what should we think about the prospects of success in Libya?
@Corner Stone: How long until we can get drones circling the int’l borders of Cris without an H-astan ?
If the Pentagon would hook up my laptop to CentCom they’d already be there.
Nice post, John.
#74 – I understand the distinction, but I don’t think there’s ever anything “clean” in the decision-making either. This stuff is always highly politicized, “interest”-bearing and much more complicated than “international law.”
This is wild speculation, but I’m curious why our left-wing press isn’t at all focused on France’s uranium interests in Libya’s neighboring client states. Pro-Qaddafi developments in Africa potentially endanger their nuclear-heavy energy industry.
My guess is that they see it as too hard to explain to American audiences.
My alternative plan to bombing Libya is to not fucking bomb Libya.
I’m not sure why I need to articulate an overarching doctrine of interventionism for each specific case when the problem seems to be overarching doctrines of interventionism.
I’m a believer in the global community and the UN as a framework that the nations of the world should work within and use – when there’s reasonable consensus – to make humanitarian interventions or uphold regional or global stability.
IOW, I’m perfectly fine with there being A World Police, just not with the US being The World Police.
A global body that works by consensus can have legitimacy where the US never could. Legitimacy is imperative when it comes to humanitarian interventions, peace keeping and nation building.
Furthermore, I believe that leaders who take their country to war should make an open and transparant case on the merits, if at all feasible.
I’d like to see a world where there’s some modicum of order and rule of law on the intra-state level. There may never be quite the rule of law and state monopoly on violence that can exist within a nation state. But the UN framework as it has worked – when it has worked – after the end of the cold war is the best option available from my POV.
Even under those conditions, I think that going to war is not a decision to be taken lightly so there has to have been a hard, cold cost benefit analysis, and consideration of likely outcomes, possible outcomes and worst case outcomes.
This last requirement is not a requirement that there must be no possible bad outcomes. There are always possible bad outcomes and making such a requirement is to ask for no worst case scenarios to be considered or transparently accounted for.
That’s why I opposed Iraq II from the outset and why I spent a lot of time on various message boards and blogs arguing against it. Iraq II:
1) Was not sponsored by a UNSC resolution. There was no consensus in the global community, in fact there was the opposite. Even worse the Bush administration choose to wage a PR war with and within the UN, pitting ally against ally, flinging various accusations around and declaring the irrelevance of countries (France, “Old Europe”) and the UN as a global institution (the Neocons, John Bolton, Cheney, etc)
The Bush admin started chipping away at long standing institutions of western democracies and international law, in particular the Geneva Conventions in order to legitimize torture.
To summarize: they took what had been meticulously built up during half a century to prevent repeating the lessons of WWII and prevent WWIII and pissed all over it.
2) When making the case to the nation and to the world the Bush administration opted to not make the case transparently and on the merits. (Whatever they were, most likely Saddam Hussein publicly and vocally challenging the worlds remaining superpower and an effort to maintain “credibility” as the worlds remaining superpower. And SH being a threat to Israel)
Instead they made a case pitched Saddam Husseins Iraq as a credible threat to the United States, specifically that SH had access to or would soon have access to nuclear weapons and had the motive and means to use them against the US or supply Al Qaeda with them to strike the US.
This pitch was known by the administration to be somewhere between severely overstated to outright fraudulous.
Since it was widely believed in the global community that Saddam Hussein was in fact not very close to attaining nuclear capability the disconnect between the administrations public pitch and facts previously known directly caused the conflict within the UN and the wrecking of the international framework that followed.
So for those reasons I opposed Iraq.
The scope of the operation and the trickle of reports of insufficient planning numerous preventable fuckups, etc, etc were aggravating factors in the case against war.
Let’s look at Libya then.
It had broad support in the global community, UNSC sponsorship and Arab League support.
There was not one but many reasons for intervention and they were all transparently accounted for by the administration:
1) There was a confirmed, ongoing humanitarian crisis and good reason to expect escalation.
2) Gaddafi had the means, incentives and M.O. to intervene and destabilize neighbours Tunisia and Egypt, that had just gone through their democratic revolutions. Egypt in particular is central to the stability of the middle east and Libya was full of Egyptians (guest workers).
3) The opposition was part of popular and (at first) peaceful uprisings across the middle east, in demand of basic human rights and democracy. That’s in line with our values that we should seek to promote and support.
4) As mentioned already it was possible to get legitimacy through a UNSC resolution, a broad coalition and – crucially – the support of the Arab League. Quatar and the UAE is participates with fighter planes.
Furthermore, as an american I was encouraged to see Obama using international support to limit US investment, visibility and risk; at the same time increasing legitimacy in the muslim world.
That’s indicative of people who know what the fuck they’re doing and will do cost benefit and worst case analysis, not driven by blind faith. Imho.
So there’s my two cents on Iraq, Libya, principles, coherence and practicality.
It’s not some great invention I outlined above. It’s pretty much mainstream democratic foreign policy, as promoted by Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama.
Is there consensus in the international community to intervene, or is it possible to achieve it? Is it possible to get regional legitimacy? Is there a need for US unique capabilities? UN and french forces recently intervened (with boots on the ground) the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, without anyone seeing a need for US participation.
If you take all the countries in the world where there’s conflict or abuse and formulate the requirement that we should intervene in all of them or none at all, well then your formulating a de facto policy of pacifism.
That’s perfectly O.K. but we should be transparent about doing so.
My basic requirements are humanitarian reasons or threat to regional or global stability established AND there being reasonable concensus and legitimacy. Then we should support the policy but doesnt mean we should participate, if we’re not needed.
But concensus and regional legitimacy rules out many or most of your examples. Never possible to reach consensus, UNSC sponsorship or regional legitimacy in Georgia, given – well – Russia.
So there you go.
Nope, I dont think we should do that at all. I think we should focus on finishing Libya, getting the remaining troops out of Iraq and start handing Afghanistan over to domestic troops and police.
Phew. That took quite some time typing all of that and but a fraction of B-Jers are gonna have the patience to read something so blatantly tl;dr
I have some other stuff to attend to, but will look through the thread and try to respond to people who responded to my posts later….
Just Some Fuckhead
How do you square that with your responsibility to bomb Libya?
I dunno; sounds like the wheels may be starting to come off the consensus wagon.
Just Some Fuckhead
No matter what happens, we can pat ourselves on the back for stopping the most horrific genocide ever imagined by the armchair warriors.
Better to clean up rubble than dead bodies from a massacre ordered by the countries leader though.
I’ve seen Joe From Lowell over at Booman. Miss him.
@lacp: Maybe I’m not gettin what you’re givin, but how is letting Ghddfy stay in the country on the condition he surrender power a break from consensus?
Stillwater, maybe I’m overreading (or, as a former President might say, misoverreading) that item, but it seems to me that the only way he’d stay in the country and stay alive is if Libya were partitioned.
@Danny: Because I’m lazy, simply google-fu some of the original Libya threads here and you will see quite a few people who laid out their (valid) reasons for opposition (I’d like to think I belong in that group, so search my comments).
Plus, I don’t have time to write a dissertation about how and when I think military force is utilized. I painted broad strokes and how Libya didn’t fit them for me, but I still believe they are reasoned.
@108, 109, et al
Well case in point.
Snickering, sarcasm and implying everyone who supports a military operation is a chickenhawk is good nuff for teh blog comments but try running a candidate for POTUS with that platform.
That’s what it comes down to sooner or later (later being next november).
I was never all that anxious to see you guys to lay out a foreign policy and nat sec platform, but I expect at least a little bit more from people like Cole and Drum. Hence my original post…
Sorry, I spent enough time accounting for my own position when asked to do so, in @106, to go read through old threads. I read Cole, I read Drum, pretty much daily. I havent seen either of them laying out anything resembling first principles or a platform they support. That was what I was getting at from the start. If there’s someone here who got a good pitch and want to make it, go right ahead. Some people did do that, and more power to them.
But if you, patton, wont be bothered to spell out your beliefs here well you just gotta plead no contention for now and live to fight another day, right?
people might take your tl;dr more seriously if you knew anything more about libyans than that they were the terrorists in back to the future.
fucking dipshits who keep talking about the arab league need to stop pontificating about things they know not.
war is not a video game. and it is not a legal thought experiment. it is not a theoretical matter, it is an entirely practical one. you can do “everything right” in starting a war, you can have your “consensus that something must be done,” but once you’re in one, you don’t know where the hell you’re gonna end up.
@Danny: I was never all that anxious to see you guys to lay out a foreign policy and nat sec platform, but I expect at least a little bit more from people like Cole and Drum.
Danny, who’s ‘you guys’? Lots of people have responded with very precise answers. The upshot was a general frown on bombing people unless very restrictive conditions are met. Why isn’t that a foreign policy?
Or do you mean a foreign policy that the electorate will embrace, which means a foreign policy that conforms to CW, and therefore a foreign policy that is no longer squeamish about the use of military force for
either preemptive orhumanitarian reasons and is surprisingly like the foreign policy of Barack Obama?
Fair enough. That’s a honest disagreement on principle and execution, and as it happens there’s one high profile public figure who vocally supported that course of action – John McCain – albeit for worse reasons (“the US doesnt lead from behind”). But you two share the belief in getting a quick resolution by putting boots on the ground in great numbers.
I would probably not have supported such an intervention in Libya though, because I don’t believe – as stated – that such an operation would have had legitimacy with the muslim public, and the cost in lives and money and the general stakes would have been much higher.
But, again, difference of opinion.
I’m not up to speed on exactly what Nato is claiming of late. Previously if an argument was made, it was that Gaddafis compound – where he might be located – was also a key command and communications center used to coordinate troop movements, etc, thereby being a legitimate target.
I’d assume that any claims Nato makes about what’s mandated in the UNSC, there’s a fair case to be made. Countries like Norway, Sweden, Quatar and the UAE have planes patrolling Libya and their domestic political climate is just as sceptical to these kinds of ventures if not more than the US.
But full disclosure, I haven’t heard the latest news, so if you got a link to some solid reporting on the subject I’d be happy to read up on it….
Well, since you believe any rebel force is likely to commit war crimes, then we’re back at you basically staking out the doctrine of only intervening in support of a non-violent, Ghandi-esque opposition.
It’s a consistent, clear position. I don’t support it myself, since:
a) Any autocrat then need to make sure to radicalize the opposition, or beat down the nonviolent opposition quickly. and
b) Intervention can only be done with a full-blown regular army of boots on the ground, e.g. Libya and Afghanistan become impossible; Iraq II however fine & dandy.
But once again, difference of opinion, and props to you for taking the time to support an actual platform.
The endgame is Gaddafi electing to leave or being forced from power by the rebels, hopefully replaced by something that grows into a working democracy down the road.
Boots are already on the ground now – rebels and the regular army. Hopefully, with Gaddafi gone, they’ll make up the national Libyan army, keeping order while the Libyans rebuild their country. I’m not saying that’s necessarily how it’s gonna play out, but best case scenario and what to aim for.
Sorry, a bit sloppy. What I meant was “you, the guys electing to not respond with serious answers but go for the snark and sarcasm”.. But honestly, I haven’t really had time to go through the whole thread yet, so maybe that was a bit gratitious…
If there is a clearly spelled out list of very restrictive conditions, then it’s foreign policy. If it’s only “very restrictive conditions in the abstract, I’ll know em when I see em”, then it’s not.
What is CW here – “Cold War”? Cant quiet piece that together.
No I didn’t say an electable platform (although you’ll obviously never see an unelectable FP platform applied in the real world).
In fact, I’m in a chronic state of slight amazement over how few professed pacifists or strict non-interventionists you run into these days. There used to be, though, and they had outspoken platforms based on first principles and they were important interests groups, if never in the majority (the pacifists, that is).
If Cole or Drum would e.g. stake out a principled stand of non-interventionism or pacifism I’d be all for it (although I wouldnt subscribe to it). In fact I expect my pundits to stake out exactly such positions so I know where they’re coming from.
Well re: non-“squeamish” I’d agree re: the category of military action that I failed to adress at all in my mega-tl:dr post upthread, national security that is.
Yes, Obama has been decidedly non-squeamish about military operations against Al Qaeda, ramping up Afghanistan, etc. And true, he ran on it and won, and being “strong” on national security is most likely still an electoral asset.
His policy re Libya, however, that i outlined in @106 doesnt really fit in with his policy re Al Qaeda, Iraq and Afghanistan and what used to be called the (G)WOT.
It fits in with the post WWII tradition of working through international institutions to maintain regional and global stability and do humanitarian interventions, and that tradition goes back before 9/11; former Jugoslavia case in point.
But sure Obama has stated that he reserves the right to use force unilaterally when it comes to “protecting the american people” for example, which is part of the non-squeamish nat sec Obama that ran and won in ’08.
But he was very clear in his Libya speech in spelling out that he wasnt appealing to any such right to unilaterally take measures to protect us or our immediate interests in Libya, since he conceded that they were not at (great) risk.
Rather he appealed to pretty much points 1)-4) in my post @106, which goes back to the pre 9/11 progressive tradition of internationalism and working within the UN.
But to restate the answer to your question: no I don’t demand people support Obamas position, even if I do, I only expect guys like Cole and Drum – and discontents in general – to have some fairly consistent position on interventions in general, at all – and be transparent about it.
Just Some Fuckhead
Danny, which former Balloon Juice commenter are you?
aisce @ 117
@Just Some Fuckhead
As far as I remember I’ve only gone by Danny here. I sometimes go by Sherwood or SherwoodAnderson where you got to register and Danny is taken. Why?
Just Some Fuckhead
@Danny: We had all these arguments before. Most of the folks arguing your side ran off when they realized Libya wasn’t going to be solved in weeks with lotsa bombs.
Unfortunately, many of the folks on “your side” have no problem with arguing in bad faith (saying things like “prove we were trying to kill Qaddafi” when it would be obvious to a five year old), but more importantly, frequently changing nicks to make their position look like consensus, or to congratulate themselves or attack “as a group” commenters that disagree with them.
Glad to know you aren’t one of these asshats.
I don’t think you are a libertarian– you are just a useful idiot that carries their water.
I just want you to admit that you do understand Operation Odessy Dawn, OIF and OEF are kinda WAY different, in scope, goals and execution and funds expended. See Libya up on those running counters yet?
no, dumbass, because Dawn doesnt make a dent in the bleed we are expensing everyday in Iraq and AfPak.
All i see from you Cole, is a buncha pearlclutching fainting couch slippery slope false equivalence.
Whats your deal? So what if you supported OIF and OEF initially. Lotsa sapients did, but the facts were occluded and/or classified.
Or are you just too fucking stupid to assimilate that?
And here’s my plan– let Egypt and the MB take over nationbuilding in Libya– after all, its their neighborhood, not ours.
And i think a far better question is….if John Cole is a liberal, why does he pimp libertarian asshats on his blog?
who the fuck has to?
also, you’re a humorless, witless douchebag. not off to a great start here.
that they’re an irrelevant, credibility free institution who had no stake in the war. and that the only people who would care what they have to say are mindless credentialists who once again, know nothing about how to wage a war in libya.
last time? which one are you again? and why is it that you have some standing grievance? actually, spare me. i don’t care.
oh, is it the grown up thing to do to talk exclusively about maximalist positions like regime change without doing any of the rigor necessary to know how to carry them out? fascinating.
hooray for you, you thought something had to be done. so did i. is this war what you were expecting? do you believe that it will produce positive outcomes for the libyan people?
these are clearly questions that are beyond your limited grasp. hence your fixation on the arab league. good work, mr. grown up. we salute you.
Sure, I’ll take your word for it.
If you say so. I wouldnt know and it seems imaterial. My greatest sin in this thread however seems to me that I from the look of it wrote about half the text, just wanking on rather than running away in fear.
It wasnt however all wanking (whatever aisce took away from my posts before erupting in his spectacular emo freakout just now).
I’d like to know what the principled anti-Libya position is supposed to be and in particular I’d like to see bloggers like our John or Kevin Drum stake theirs out.
I staked out my own position, which as it happens is pretty much Obamas position.
I had some good exchanges with e.g kaylarn, and acknowledged that.
But I didnt see you make some grand case against the Libya operation; not in this thread at least, previous epic battles not withstanding?
well, al-Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood have put out a death fatwa on Qaddafi’s ass. That means Murrikkka shares goals with the islamists right?
So we might actually achieve that goal. That would be a switch, acuz we ARE GETTING FUCKING NOTHING OUT OF IRAQ except a boot in the ass. Oh yeah, we spent 4.4 trillion for one measly church in Kirkuk.
Hopefully some brother is going to wanna collect on all that hasanat, and make the coalition’s job easier.
Death to Qaddafi! (and the Crusaders)
bi la kayfah
Just Some Fuckhead
You know I adore you but this is simply unforgivable.
Drum is a libertarian and Cole is a useful idiot that carries water for libertarians.
According to the Greenwald Axion of the Unified Field Theory of Libertarians, this means both Drum and Cole are ideologically required to concerntroll Obama on any issue of foreign policy.
Hope you’ll excuse me if I just skip over parts of the ongoing emo freakout and go for the slightly meatier parts…
I find it almost impossible to respond to this because it’s not apparent how or where it ties in with something I actually wrote. But you seem to be full of… emotions.
Nah, not that something had to be done, but I support us doing what we did.
Pretty much, and I hope so. Do you need a quick resolution or how has this war let you down? You’re being a bit obtuse.
Fixation, as in I mentioned it.
This type of pointless sarcasm with no edge in any particular direction remind me of how I felt about the world and people back when I was in high school, and also of a lot of posters @FDL.
Hey aisce, why do you even bother? This kind of exchange cant possibly bring you much joy and we’re both wasting our time really…
That’s funny! :)
in every one of your posts, going so far as to label its “support” (non-material, naturally) as being crucial to your endorsement of the war effort. nice dodge.
you are obsessed with official consensus and credentialism to make your case. nothing you have said in any of your posts has anything to do with libya as its own unique organism. clearly, you believe that wars are simply unknowable and that we should simply “try our best.” as someone who’s actually fought in one or two of them before, i can assure you that maximalist thinking without the nuts and bolts on the ground ain’t worth a thing. it’s one thing to say you’re gonna remove gaddafi, it’s another to do it, and it’s another to do it in a way that doesn’t fuck over the country for a generation. i don’t know enough about the libyan people and what they want in their society to say whether this war will work out in their favor, or whether they face the possibility of ending up like algeria or iraq, or worse, somalia.
wars are easy to start, and hard as hell to finish. and since you’re so obsessed with finding out what the rationale is for those who aren’t as gung ho as you on the effort, there it is. that one simple sentence.
but one of us is being honest, and one of us is being you. go ahead, call me emo again, declare your super sweet internet victory (for great justice!) and run along. because we’re done here.
It’s irrelevant that the regional powers support the Libya operation? That’s fucking stupid.
oh i forgot.
الموت للصليبيين ، والمدافعين عن الحريات!
qatar will fight gaddafi to the last libyan, i’m sure. the arab league is a fraudulent institution that couldn’t care less about the welfare of the libyan people. look, it’s clear you don’t actually understand the MENA. it’s a lot more complicated than “these people are thirsting for freedom!” it always is. gaddafism without gaddafi would be a tragic outcome after all this bloodshed.
@69 and @103.
The Arab League contains pretty much all of Libyas neigbouring countries as well as the gulf states. Of course it would have been a huge problem if they came out in opposition.
Are you seriously arguing that the positions of the other Maghreb states and the Gulf states is irrelevant to whether the Libyan intervention has a shot at legitimacy and success?
I believe in internationalism and global consensus, yes. Call that “being obsessed” if you will, but it’s not very convincing.
Well, I’m obv not an expert on Libya. Luckily there are others who are and some of them are even employed by the federal government.
But you’re just trolling me, right, taking the piss because I’m being oh so serious and writing these long posts? Because I don’t recall you being quite this rambling and unhinged.
Not at all, where did you get that idea?
I’m not quite sure, but maybe this is in some way a response to my answer to kaylarn:s question about what my endgame was and me responding.
Well I still don’t get what you’re trying to say – if anything. That you’re a veteran? What else?
The rebels endgame is Gaddafi leaving power by himself or them winning the civil war and removing him. Whether we’re involved or not. That was my point. But since we got involved that’s obviously become our endgame as well.
aisce has read the Green Book?
somehow i doubt it.
Qaddafi is the same as all the other souless rapacious MENA dictators and tyrants that Murrikkka either tolerated or propped as long as they made nice with the Israelinazis.
can you really blame Obama for trying to forge a bond with an islamic nation when he’s offered the oppo?
Perhaps, but as stated it represents all the neighboring countries – except Israel – and if the man on the street would have been up in arms the League would have come out against it. Like you say, I don’t know very much about the region but that’s what I’ve read and been told by people who do, who speak the language and did live there for long periods of time.
and im sick of you retards too.
but Cole is going to have to ban me again to shut me up.
the arab league is a fraudulent institution that couldn’t care less about the welfare of the libyan people
0h plz…and we DO? Murricans don’t give a shit about the people as long as the oil flows and Israel gets to starve children and bully the Palis and steal their ground.
of course…when it comes to bedroom sniffing Real Murricans are all about skooling those horrible muslims on FGM, stoning, hijab, girls education, etc.
sadly, severe scolding has even less effect on EGT uninvadable strategies than invasion, occupation and 4.4 trillion dollahs of taxpayer monies.
no converts to missionary democracy, dig?
and in 20 years one out of four humans on the planet will be muslim.
Actually the situation is more complex.
First, it might very well be the case that the best solution is a negotiated Qaddafi departure. If the best solution isn’t possible, then what? What if some sort of clean cut “victory” isn’t visible on the horizon? Nothing negotiated? Keep on keeping on? Clearly Qaddafi isn’t the type of person you could leave with any actual power whatsoever, but dismissing the prospect of some “transition” to elections and so forth is hardly being in Qaddafi’s pockets or ‘leaving Qaddafi in charge’.
Sure, Zuma’s emphasis on the need for a negotiated transition is pretty thoroughly undercut when he asks “why must he go,” even though he is purportedly saying such as a rhetorical question among others which need be asked by the Libyan people in a democratic manner. Which, at present, of course, cannot be done.
And Zuma knows that it was astronomically unlikely if not flat out impossible for any such negotiated democratic transition if it weren’t for the military weakening and state destabilization brought about by the rebellion and Western forces attacking Qaddafi regime resources and funneling aid over and under the counter to the rebels. (Well, Qatar is there a lot too.) The South African government continues to make statements regarding the need to a transition to democracy, but public statements center on opposition to Western / UN actions, and avoidance of any notion of what end result SA would prefer. Justified by principle, but at least made a requirement because you can’t present yourself as the lead negotiator with Qaddafi if you say exactly what would logically end talks.
I don’t feel like there’s good evidence outside “officials said” regarding what the US discussed in the envoys’ meetings with Qaddafi leadership. Maybe it’s what they said, delivering the message Qaddafi had to leave and it’s time to talk about how. I don’t know yet, because there isn’t good evidence, or I haven’t seen it.
Here is a non-AU nation’s view on such a transition plan, a nation which not only is not in the pocket of Qaddafi in terms of receiving Libyan aid, but which has had quite significant involvement in the military intervention against the Qaddafi regime.
As you well know, there’s not very much of anything to prevent the situation from being a new decades unending Northern African civil war, leaking over borders and — as the US itself has warned — destabilizing the entire region.
In addition, anti-Qaddafi forces comprise quite a number of different power bases; regional divisions, for example. Without a coherent state structure, will there be a fracturing of resistance, say, between the eastern and western rebels (both armed rebels and non-armed civilians)? A crystallization into Benghazi and Misrata based post-Qaddafi regional mini-states?
I hope not. I hope that there is the contiguity that is so frequently portrayed. There is reason to hope for this, but it’s not assured. I don’t see reliable signs that there will be a decisive military victory for the anti-Qaddafi forces. But it’s also not the typical 20th century regional rebellions with weak coherence due to a common enemy but really based in some more autonomous strongman or party.
The nature of the opposition since the “Arab Spring” really has changed this struggle — the involvement of so many young people with, yes, a concentration on communication and media, even on the front lines, apparently has broadened resistance in Libya as well as getting foreign eyes to pay attention.
The AU has indeed had a remarkably positive effect in a number of contexts. There would be no Southern Sudan without it — a development which actually took place in spite of repeated calls for military intervention, which those working there in Darfur / Southern Sudan repeatedly emphasized would make a horrible and ethnocidal situation even worse.
Like in so many aspects of reality, the question would be what role might the AU play.
While it’s true that Qaddafi had much of the AU member nations in his pocket, Qaddafi doesn’t have quite the pockets any more.
The downside of buying your allies is that they don’t remain allies when you can’t buy them anymore.
Of course, the AU is also concerned because its member states happen to live on the continent where the Libyan civil war is raging, and it would be African nations which would have to once again deal with a wide-ranging chaotic Northern African series of constant mini-wars.
It is thus the case that African member nations have leaderships which (not necessarily for any admirably democratic reasons, though often so) approach the Libyan conflict with its current and future effects on their own nation-states in mind.
There is no reason to presume that US or NATO leadership is somehow more serious about finding a stable solution to a raging Libyan civil war than that of various African nations who received funds from Qaddafi.
Certainly we do know that the US and NATO have, overall, a spectacularly bad record at finding stable solutions to raging conflict; a citation of the post-Yugoslavian conflict can only be repeated so many times.
It’s also significant that, unlike the former Yugoslavia, there isn’t a lot of state structure and bureaucratic institutions which can be transferred to a new regime or set of regimes — the Libyan state was / is Qaddafi when it comes to structures of governance.
There isn’t much of a state per se that the Transitional National Council (or National Transition Council as one may prefer) could take over; this is less like Egypt and more like Iraq. Both had very well developed technical, logistical, educational, and skills infrastructure, and ghostly echoes of a national government outside monomaniacally directed repressive forces. Iraq is now a basket case. It just is. After a wide-ranging and effective campaign of ethnic cleansing by Shi’as and Sunnis in Baghdad (primarily), it’s the absence of a functional state which determines the daily course of life.
I don’t wish to suggest therefore that “the AU” (it’s an agglomeration of African nations and does not exist independently of them, just as the “UN Security Council” is the foreign policy of the 5 permanent members) is somewhere to place bets on having a helpful role without knowing what that role might be.
Of course, the AU itself is as always broke, and in general promises by Western nations of logistical support even in the case of Darfur proceed by many years the arrival of any funds which do end up appearing.
(There’s always money for bombs, giving trucks and fuel to peacekeeping forces is a bit trickier.)
Sure, I guess I’d like for the entire Qaddafi regime to just evaporate and Qaddafi flee or whatever, but this isn’t a situation in which there’s strong evidence that that might happen, or might happen soon. Hopefully I’m wrong. I was not too long ago really nervous about a breakdown of the Libyan national territory into actual separatist regions, and that doesn’t seem likely at present.
But Qaddafi and the forces underneath him might also suffer military defeat, and still keep on fighting. Resources are resources, territories are territories, and guns and bullets keep doing what you tell them to do. It’s not like deposed government forces hanging around in extended civil wars from non-central areas is some rare phenomenon in Africa.
Having a war like this rage on longer and longer is bad on that nation’s / former nation’s / etc people, and for the people who live all around. The longer it rages, the worse it’s likely to become if there’s no pathway to an end.
It’s also the case that even a relatively smooth Qaddafi exit from power would soon roll around to the fundamentals again. And some sort of regional and international presence and coordination and this that and the other will be intensely involved then, as well.
These are some of the sorts of questions and complexities which I consider, given that I’m not there, and I’m not in some State Department or UN or AU or Ghanaian position, and this is just a blog comments area, and trying to figure out what you have to know in order to know something is obviously a basic requirement for commenting on something like the Libyan civil war.
Less seriously, I do think it would be fun if some huge, clean-cut victory for rebel forces and a complete defeat of Qaddafi (negotiated departure or no) took place and every opportunity was then taken to drive the right even nuttier with accolades for Obama’s bold and successful decisions.
Mind you, I’m talking about the entertainment value of saying those things — you don’t even have to agree with them.
My actual views on the Libyan situation in at least some degree of complexity would be shoved out of sight into the cellar when it would be time to drive my asshole loudmouth right wing colleagues and neighbors even crazier.
Suddenly I would become an amateur hagiographer, urging them too to appreciate the victorious colossus whom we are fortunate enough to be our Commander In Chief, and so forth. “Man, Obama, he’s amazing! Only in office 2 1/2 years and he helped save Libya from Qaddafi who even Reagan couldn’t overthrow!”
Gotta take what entertainment you can from global disaster.
so fucking what el Campeador?
the facts are that the US and other countries have RECOGNIZED the NTC (islamists and all) as the legit government of Libya. This means the billions Qaddafi stole from the Libyan people that are currently frozen in western banks are now accessible to the rebel government.
Qaddafi has a death fatwa on his head in a 98% percent muslim nation, and he can’t pay his chad mercs with frozen funds that have now been handed over to the rebel transitionary government.
Qaddafi is goin’ down, its just a matter of how soon.
The reason Libya doesnt show on the money bleed yet is most the expense is sunk costs– the carriers are already there, and the old tomahawks were bought and paid for 20 years ago.
Muammar al-Gaddafi — The Green Book