(The rest of it almost writes itself . . . )
I don’t usually read Dan Milbank, but he delivered a fountain of pure deliciousness today and here’s some more:
The Republican lawmakers may be so muddled because their thought leaders can’t agree on the proper line of attack. . . .
The confusion grew so intense during Obama’s intervention in Libya that some Republicans contradicted their own critiques in the span of days. Gingrich, for example, demanded in early March 2011 that the United States should “exercise a no-fly zone this evening.” Two weeks later, after Obama took the action that would bring down Moammar Gaddafi, Gingrich said, “I would not have intervened.”
I honestly will never understand these people:
One of the problems I have with “leading from behind” is that when a day like this comes, we don’t have the infrastructure in place that we could have. I’m glad it ended the way it did. It took longer than it should have. If we could have kept American air power in the fight it would have been over quicker. Sixty-thousand Libyans have been wounded, 3,000 maimed, 25,000 killed. Let’s get in on the ground. There is a lot of money to be made in the future in Libya. Lot of oil to be produced. Let’s get on the ground and help the Libyan people establish a democracy and a functioning economy based on free market principles.
Iraq was the model you know. And that worked so well.
POSTED BY ORHAN
Norwegian peace studies founder Johan Galtung predicts the Libyan war will last 20 years. Then he points out that if Qadaffi is killed by NATO, it will make him a martyr, and the war will last more than 20 years. He draws some conclusions about the outcome:
“Who the rebels are is not clear; no doubt many, most, all, are strongly and rightly against Gadhafi’s dictatorship. But what are they for, their goals? Educated guess: they will accommodate direct foreign investment, in oil, and a base or two; out of gratitude and to solidify the victory. And the USA has what it has tried for a long time: a NATO base in Africa; and the more so the less peace.”
From Foreign Policy this morning:
Top news: Aided by the internationally-imposed no-fly zone, Libya’s rebels are closing in on Muammar al-Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte after a rapid advance during which they retook hundreds of miles of territory that had been lost in the previous week, including two key oil complexes. . . . The rebels also scored a diplomatic victory when Qatar became the first Arab country to recognize them as the legitimate government of Libya. Qatar has promised the rebels help in selling their oil on the international market . . .[Obama] scored an victory on Sunday when NATO ambassadors approved a plan for the alliance to take over command of aerial operations from the United States.
Maybe the rebels are a more cohesive group than they’ve appeared to be. Let us hope.
Maybe we can take the Administration at their word. Maybe this will be Grenada, not Afghanistan.
POSTED BY ORHAN
He just sounds so damned convincing…
He gets a lot of face time on TV pretending he’s running for President. Plus there’s the intellect. Also. He opines on Libya (h/t Dave Weigel at Slate):
|Newt on FOX March 7
||Newt on GMA March 23
|WHAT WOULD YOU DO?Exercise a no-fly zone this evening! Communicate to the Libyan military that Gadhafi was gone and that the sooner they switch sides, the more like they were to survive, provided help to the rebels to replace him.
||WHAT WOULD YOU DO?I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Qaddafi.
|REASON TO GO? All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening.
||REASON TO GO?The standard [Obama] has fallen back to of humanitarian intervention . . . This isn’t a serious standard. This is a public relations conversation.
POSTED BY ORHAN
This is an open book test. Please answer the following essay questions as completely as possible.
The UN humanitarian intervention in Libya was initiated to prevent Muammar Qaddafi from committing acts of aggression and brutality against “his own people”.
- If attacking and killing “one’s own people” is the test for intervention, what will happen when armed rebels fire on supporters of Muammar Qaddafi? Should the UN intervene to prevent them from attacking “their own people”? Why or why not?
- The leaders of Bahrain and Yemen have also ordered brutal attacks against “their own people”. Should the UN intervene to protect the civilians of these countries? Why or why not?
- In Ivory Coast, the refusal by Laurent Gbagbo, the loser of the presidential elections, to step down has led to the deaths of hundreds, and soon possibly thousands, of “his own people”. Should the UN carry out a humanitarian intervention to protect the civilians of this country, which is of low strategic value to the West? Why or why not?
- Democratic aspirations have manifested in Saudi Arabia, currently the most repressive regime in the Middle East. Containing the world’s largest oil reserves and of supreme strategic importance, Saudi Arabia is America’s oldest ally in the region. If, in the event of a democratic uprising, the Saudi government attacks “its own people” to suppress the democratic movement, should the UN intervene to protect the civilians of this country? Why or why not?
- If the capability existed in 1861, should the international community have intervened to prevent Abraham Lincoln from using violence to prevent secession by “his own people”? Why or why not?
All pencils down.
Posted in From Orhan's Perch, war
Tagged Abraham Lincoln, democracy, just war, Laurent Gbagbo, Libya, Middle East, Muammar al-Gaddafi, Saudi Arabia, United Nations, Yemen
Josh Marshall speaks for me.
A week ago a relatively limited intervention probably could have sealed the rebels’ victory, preventing a reeling Qaddafi from fully mobilizing his heavy armaments. But where do we expect to get from this now? It’s not clear to me how the best case scenario can be anything more than our maintaining a safe haven in Benghazi for the people who were about to be crushed because they’d participated in a failed rebellion. So Qaddafi reclaims his rule over all of Libya except this one city which has no government or apparent hope of anything better than permanent limbo. Where do we go with that?
We’re calling a time out on a really ugly situation the fundamental dynamics of which we aren’t in any position to change. That sounds like a mess.
Maybe we do this and then that rejuvenates the opposition and Qaddafi is gone in a week. If that happens, great. Egg on my face. But I doubt it.
And that’s about how it looks to me. And that’s about how it feels to me. And like Josh Marshall, I’d love to be wrong.
My nation’s newest war appears to be on CNN but I cannot watch another of my nation’s wars. Off to bed with a book.
Tomahawks being dropped on Libya. I’ll adopt a wait and see attitude – until Monday. But for now – we are out of our frackin’ minds to even take a chance on an expanded war (and the French have already had a Mirage shot down).
Remember what George Will said.
POSTED BY ORHAN
So here we are, in yet another Middle East war, this time to avert a “bloody rout of rebels by forces loyal to Col. Qaddafi.”
Al Jazeera call the rebels “pro-democracy” forces, and maybe they are…
And maybe this time the US is really going to war for humanitarian reasons…
And maybe we won’t be “forced” to commit ground troops…
Figure the odds.
We’re all terrified for the Japanese people while simultaneously being fascinated by the scope of the disaster. That’s human nature – it’s compelling and it’s riveting.
So we watch and listen to the minute by minute updates on the radiation danger. But at the same time, and getting less attention, there are more very serious problems afflicting the country. (I don’t mean to minimize the nuclear threat – radiation is a real and present danger and could even force the eventual long term evacuation of large areas.)
They’re running out of food and water in shelters. It’s freezing in the north – there was a blizzard of snow yesterday. The Japanese have an enormous elderly population and some of them have found themselves left with only one coat and no way to get out of where they are. Shelters may not have heat. Some countries have suspended air service to Tokyo. And even there, food supplies are perilously low.
Few governments have ever faced such a multiplicity of crises outside of wartime.
And my government is considering dedicating air power to Libya. Elvis help me, but these failures of the human heart are killing me.
UPDATED BELOW: Maureen Dowd today on Paul Wolfowitz, who is impatient for us to get involved in Libya (and getting time on all the news shows to say so).
Iraq? It'll be a cakewalk.
“You would think that a major architect of the disastrous wars and interminable occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq would have the good manners to shut up and take up horticulture.”
UPDATE: Well, they’re all crawling back out from under the woodwork. Seems young Billy Kristol, legacy neo-con and professional chicken-hawk also thinks we ought to go at it. To wit:
“I think at this point you probably have to do more than a no-fly zone. You probably have to tell Qaddafi he has to stop his movement east and that we are going to use assets to stop him from slaughtering people as he moves east across the country. We might take out his ships in the Mediterranean. We might take out tanks and artillery.”
So Bill, you enlisting this time?
Posted in Afghanistan, Government, Iraq War, Media, Politics
Tagged Afghanistan, Bill Kristol, chicken hawks, Iraq War, Libya, Maureen Dowd, neo-conservatism, Paul Wolfowitz, War
Well here’s a twist:
The rebellion against the Kadaffi dictatorship in Libya has not produced any official outside help, but Egypt has apparently sent some of its commandos in to help out the largely amateur rebel force. Wearing civilian clothes, the hundred or so Egyptian commandos are officially not there, but are providing crucial skills and experience to help the rebels cope with the largely irregular, and mercenary, force still controlled by the Kadaffi clan.
The story also mentions something of which I was unaware, that Libya was – for centuries – considered to be part of Egypt.
Posted in Egypt
Tagged Egypt, Libya
Some weeks ago I posted that Egypt may be changing our world.
I have my headphones on and am listening to a report from ITN on PBS, my preferred method of watching the news without actually watching. Libya and Bahrain appear to be in genuine revolt. In Bahrain, amidst violence from the government, they’re crying ‘where are the Americans; where are the Brits?” In Libya, the reporter says they don’t care what the US or Brits want or think. Just hearing these things is a bit jarring.
And then there’s no way of knowing the effect of the US veto in the UN today condemning the ongoing Israeli settlements. The issue is neither the UN’s attempt at condemnation nor the US veto. The issue is will it have any effect on what’s hapepning in the Arab world and if so, what?
By the way, a million showed up today in Cairo – a million – to ‘keep hope alive’. They’re not done by any means. More clashes could come.
Egypt may be changing our world.
Posted in Current Events, Egypt
Tagged Arab world, Bahrain, Cairo, democracy, Egypt, ITN, Libya, PBS, revolution, The News HOur