Friday, March 18, 2011

That Won't Fly

Late yesterday afternoon, within minutes of the U.N. resolution calling for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya aimed at stopping Muammar Gaddafi from killing his own people by the truckload, the usual suspects on the left began their wailing and gnashing of teeth. It was a reaction you could've seen coming from six football fields away -- an almost giddy and irrepressible need to immediately proclaim that the neo-cons were at it again and the U.S. would soon be embroiled in a lengthy war with an Arabic country.

Well, this morning there's this:

CSM: Libya Declares Ceasefire as Leaders Move for Military Strikes/3.18.11

Yes, it took less than 24-hours under the specter of having seven or eight countries participate in turning his fighter jets into scrap for Gaddafi to back down, at least for the moment. Why? Because he's had the living crap bombed out of his country before and for all of his bluster he doesn't want to see it happen again. I'd like to believe that some of the world's smarter leaders -- particularly of the military variety -- knew this in advance and understood that there are some cases in which the mere threat of overwhelming and unequivocal military retaliation gets the job done. I hate to sound reactionary here, but despite our recent folly in the Middle East the ability to wield the proverbial big stick does still have the potential to do some good, particularly when a substantial portion of the rest of the world happens to agree with the use of it.

Of course I'm not naive enough to think that Gaddafi isn't playing the only hand he has at the moment and this whole miasma is far from over, but it's important to remember that he follows a very specific and predictable psychology -- that of the despot whose only goals are to remain in power and stay alive. He knows that the rebels trying to oust him -- and he will eventually be ousted -- will be a lot less effective without the might of the U.S. and Europe's military behind them. He also knows that with the help of the U.S. and Europe's military, he could very well be dead by the end of next week.


turtledisc said...

But didn't the fact that the original resolution presented to the UN was spearheaded by the French and the British have any impact on those opinions? That for once the US wasn't the leader in this? Or is that little fact not being broadcast too loudly in the US?

Anonymous said...

And the United States has a legal/moral and/or ethical right to assume the role of police force for the world how exactly? Libya is a soverign nation which posses absolutely no threat to us. Are we to intervene in every civil war on the planet, or only some? How do we decide? By what right?

Chez said...

Well, Turtle kind of hit it on the head above, Bob. It would have been one thing if it were us and only us talking about using a military option against a sovereign country -- we've done that before and it was a lousy idea. But Gaddafi really is a thug and he's one who's killing his own people right now, at this minute, by the hundreds and it was the U.N. that made the decision.

TheReaperD said...

@Anon-1:25: One thing you're forgetting. The difference here is that a sizable portion of the population of this sovereign nation asked us, hell practically begged us, to intervene as we just did to prevent a dictator from slaughtering their people. Not like an unnamed country where some lone informant only known as 'Curveball' and some paperwork, already proven to be fake, saying that they were trying to buy supplies for nuclear weapons.

The situations are very different.

Mart said...

Thought I would sit back and watch this sort out. So now the UN dictates our war powers resolutions. Obama says we go to war and Congress has no say. We have really come a long way building the Imperial Presidency. Cheney would be proud.

Shocking to learn that nearly all the armaments raining from the sky are ours. That the media is uniformly cheering this on. That the folks that are holding out, and we think we should arm, sent the most jihadists to kill our soldiers in Iraq. That the Arab League is now concerned that we are killing civilians with our bombs. None of this sounds familiar, does it.

For a country with all their politicians continuing to cut taxes and cry we are broke, determined to cut social programs; to enter a third war without any discussion of cost is insane.

And how do we choose what countries we need to bomb? Ivory Coast?, Sudan? Is it odd that only oil rich countries get the blessing of our freedom bombs? But it is OK 'cause it wasn't us, it was England(BP) and the French(Total) so oil has nothing to do with it. (Yeah I know, I am a dirty old hippie, but we usually end up right about this stuff.)

Venezuela next, bitches!

Chez said...

Thank you for that informative soliloquy, Mart.