Foreign Affairs

U.S.’s Lose-Lose War Objective in Libya: A Tie

My late father, a WWll veteran, never had much love for the military.  Respect and a sense of duty, yes, but no love.  He made this clear when I was a kid and we were watching the Army-Navy football game.  “Who are you rooting for?” I asked, knowing how he felt.  “I’m rooting for a tie,” he answered.  As I look at what’s going on in Libya, with full consideration of who the players are, I’m rooting for the same thing.

Spare me the humanitarian bit.  When you have Islamic jihadists going toe-to-toe with a mass-murdering thug and his followers, humanitarianism is in dangerously short supply.  So, apparently, is sanity.  If Colonel Cuckoo wins, we have the makings of a terrorist-led pariah state that hates the West in general, and the United States in particular.  If the rebels win, we have the makings of a terrorist-led pariah state which hates the West in general, and the United States in particular.

Is there clarity in redundancy?

And then there’s Barack Obama, our Backseat-Driver-in-Chief.  I’m waiting for the breathless mainstream media story gushing about how great our “multitasking” President is, given the fact that he can put us in our third war in the Middle East without missing his umpteenth vacation or golf game.  Perhaps, as he did with the NCAA basketball tourney, he can give us his Final Four coalition picks—as in which coalition members will stick around the longest when the outbreak of anti-war fever reaches epidemic proportions.

Remember when the last President was excoriated for his “cowboy diplomacy?”  Remember when humanitarianism wasn’t worth a damn when it applied to either the Afghans or the Iraqis?  Remember all those “smart” people who said leaving Saddam Hussein in power would have been a better outcome than liberating Iraq?  Remember when a certain man who would be President said removing that thug was a “foreign policy based on a flawed ideology?”  Remember when the “experts” said Hussein could be “contained,” which amounted to imposing a 12-year, no-fly zone over his country?

Who’s going impose a 12-week, no-fly zone over Libya?

Not us.  According to a conversation he had with members of Congress last Friday, Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, said the President “expects the preponderance of our involvement to last a matter of days, not weeks. … It will not be an open-ended effort by the United States.”

Sure it won’t.  History is replete with heroic tales of Europeans and/or Arabs acting in their own self-interest without American involvement, right?  No doubt after all that aforementioned cowboy diplomacy, the world is ready for the United States of Switzerland to stand on the sidelines, wishing everyone else good luck.

You know what our national interests are in Libya?  Neither do I.  At least with Afghanistan and Iraq, a reasonable case could be made that both posed a threat to our well-being.  And even if one totally disagrees, one would think that we would have learned at least one lesson with respect to military involvement:  “Winning hearts and minds” is an impossible substitute for kicking jihadist butt and coming home.  One can only wonder how another bout of politically correct hairsplitting, as in the current mission’s stated goal of imposing a no-fly zone, irrespective of whether or not Gaddafi remains in power, can be taken seriously.  An entire mission dedicated to evening out the odds between the rebels and the loyalists, so they can kill each other more “fairly?” 

Putting American lives on the line to facilitate a tie?

How in the world can America be involved in a war without choosing a side?  Last time I checked, choosing sides was the only reason to put American blood and treasure on the line.  Again, spare me the humanitarian thing.  Gaddafi had an entire month to slaughter innocents while Western nations and the United Nations twiddled their diplomatic fingers searching for a “solution.”  And what did they come up with?  Killing innocents with planes?  Bad.  Slaughtering them in house-to-house, hand-to-hand combat?  So far, so “good.”

And that’s just Libya.  Last week in Yemen, snipers on rooftops killed 46 demonstrators, including three children, who were part of a protest challenging President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 32-year grip on power.  Police sealed off an escape route from the demonstration with a wall of burning tires, effectively turning the protest into a government-led killing field.  In Bahrain, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, with the support of 1,000 troops from Saudi Arabia and 500 policemen from the United Arab Emirates, has killed dozens of protesters and wounded or arrested hundreds more in an effort to crush a Shiite-led rebellion against Sunni-controlled government. 

Apparently some manifestations of inhumanity are “more equal” than others.

Here’s a modest proposal for Congress.  That would be the same Congress that had no say whatsoever with regard to American involvement in Libya.  Demand two votes be held, one contingent on the other.  In return for putting Americans into this skirmish, a crash program for developing domestic sources of energy must be instituted.  Let’s see who votes for what.  Americans deserve to know whether we’re always going to be beholden to a bunch of 7th century fanatics, or if there’s a common-sense light at the end of the energy tunnel.  Who, besides our clueless President and his enviro-minions, is in favor of $5 gas accompanied by not-so-occasional firefights in the Middle East?  That’s the real national security issue this country must face. 

Two months ago, Gaddafi was still “our bastard.”  Now he’s another dropout from the Barack Obama Muslim Outreach Institute.  When in the world are we going to snap out of it?

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