Saturday, March 19, 2011

Libya, an International Coalition, the United Nations, and Getting a Grip

This isn't, as I've said often, a political blog. But, like it or not, politics is involved in the decision-making process of countries. Most countries, anyway.

Which is why I bring up 'political' topics sometimes.

But, again, this isn't a political blog. Not in the sense that I claim that one person or party is always right - and that everybody who disagrees is
  • Stupid
  • A Traitor
  • One of those
    • Tools of the military-industrial complex
    • Commie 5th columnists
    • Shape-shifting, space-alien lizard men
Or something even more imaginative. (February 8, 2009)

Libya, Diplomacy, and a Tale of Two Presidents

An American president leads a coalition of nations including:
  • Canada
  • France
  • Italy
  • Qatar
  • The United Kingdom
    (Scoop News)
I've heard it discussed on television news as a wise and prudent diplomatic move by a knowledgeable leader.

To a limited extent, I can agree with that. Let's look at another administration.

An American president leads a coalition of nations including:
  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Fiji (though UNAMI)
  • Georgia
  • Hungary (through NATO or UNAMI, and may never have sent troops before 'withdrawing' them in 2004)
  • Iceland (through NATO, a training mission)
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Macedonia
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Singapore
  • Slovenia (through NATO, a training mission)
  • South Korea
  • Turkey (through NATO, a training mission)
  • the Ukraine
  • the United Kingdom
    (August 9, 2007)
This "unilateral" action threatened to sink America in a "quagmire." (August 9, 2007) Some of America's serious thinkers said so.

Well, that was different.

Libya, Diplomacy, Common Sense, and Business as Usual

I'm an American citizen, eligible to vote, and take civic duty seriously. Every two years I wade through the usual slogans, weird claims, and assorted flavors of hot air: and try to pick candidates I think are least-unlike what I'd like to see elected.

I didn't vote for the current American president: but I don't think he's evil incarnate, either. I even think he's made sense now and again.

Like this week, adding America's abilities to an international coalition that might prevent the Libyan colonel from killing more of his subjects.

Do I think
  • The American president can do no wrong?
    • Of course not.
  • The American president never does anything right?
    • Of course not
      • I'm not running for office, or working for someone who is
        • And that's another topic
  • It was a good idea to work with an international coalition, when using military force against a dictator?
    • Yes
      • I thought it was a good idea when a previous administration took that approach
      • I haven't changed my mind

Why a Coalition?

Working under a United Nations Security Council resolution, with a coalition of nations - including at least one in the Middle East - makes good sense, in my opinion.

The Libyan colonel could, if America was 'going it alone' against his efforts to kill people who don't agree, claim that the evil Americans had launched a conquest of Libya. And that the military action was an unprovoked attack on Libya, the Middle East, and Islam.

Quite a few folks would, I think, buy that line.

The colonel may take that line, anyway: but it's going to be a harder sell, with the armed forces of so many countries involved.

Does this mean that I think the American president did everything right? No. That would be - unlikely, to put it mildly. Perfection and human nature are a somewhat unlikely mix - and that's almost another topic.

For starters, in an ideal situation - the president would have gotten this action going a lot sooner. Ideally.

Earlier today, I heard someone say "the perfect is the enemy of the 'it'll do.' "

A Few Predictions

I'd like to be wrong about this: but I'm pretty sure that coalition attacks on Libya will kill some civilians. Some of those dead bodies will be people who really were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or - willingly or not - deliberately set themselves up to be killed when military targets were hit.

War, as I'll say again, isn't nice. Things get broken and people get killed.

But I'm not quite nice enough to wish that the Libyan colonel's enforcers were free to kill folks in Benghazi. More folks, actually.

I think it's possible that some of the dead bodies will be folks who said that the colonel wasn't a good leader - or members of their families. It'd be a practical application of the old 'killing two birds with one stone' principle.

Excerpts from the News

"Thousands of Libyans packed into Muammar Gaddafi's heavily fortified Tripoli compound on Saturday to form a human shield against possible air strikes by allied forces.

"Fireworks erupted into the night sky and people fired defiant shots into the air at the compound after allied warplanes went into action in eastern Libya to stop the Libyan leader's forces attacking the rebel-held city of Benghazi.

"Libyans from all walks of life streamed into the Bab Al-Aziziyah compound, shouting slogans and holding portraits of Gaddafi. Loudspeakers boomed songs praising the leader...."
(Reuters Africa)

"The US, Britain and France have pounded Libya with air strikes and Tomahawk missiles, sparking a furious response from Muammar Gaddafi who said the Mediterranean had now become a 'battlefield.'

"United States and British forces fired at least 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Libya's air defence sites, a top US military officer said, two days after a UN Security Council resolution with Arab backing authorised military action.

"Libyan state media said that Western warplanes bombed civilian targets in Tripoli, causing casualties while an army spokesman said strikes also hit fuel tanks feeding the rebel-held city of Misrata, east of Tripoli...."
(The Sydney Morning Herald)

"The U.S. military has launched its first missiles in Libya against Moammar Gadhafi's forces, a senior Defense Department official said Saturday.

"Earlier, French fighter jets deployed over Libya fired at a military vehicle on Saturday, the country's first strike against Moammar Gadhafi's military forces who earlier attacked the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

"U.S. Tomahawk missiles have landed in the western area around Tripoli and Misrata, the American military official said...."

"U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said U.S. forces were poised for action in Libya, but made clear Washington was determined to play a supporting role in military action there.

As French warplanes began operations over Libya to stop Muammar Gaddafi's attacks on rebels, Obama said military forces would act quickly to shield civilians from the fighting.

"The international community demanded an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to all attacks against civilians," Obama said during an appearance in Brasilia with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff....
(Edition: U.S., Reuters)

"...6:59 PM Spectator1: A US-led coalition has launched cruise missile and airstrikes against Gaddafi controlled air defences in what is called Operation 'Odyssey Dawn'.
"6:59 PM Spectator1: The coalition includes forces from the US, UK, France, Canada, Italy, Qatar."
(Scoop News)
Related posts:
News and views:

No comments:

Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store


Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.