Armed Drones Next: The Libyan Minnow is Becoming New Moby Dick

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moby-dick.jpgAt the beginning of the Libya intervention debate, President Obama said he thought America’s involvement would “be limited to days and not weeks.”
Now, it seems that we will have to update that ‘hope’ to be “months if not years.”
The Libya situation is worsening for the US and its allies — at least at the moment — because each day the Gaddafi regime survives, the more durable it looks to other nations who don’t share the same degree of commitment as the US, France, and England — as well as Libya’s Opposition/Transition Council.
The international consensus of concern and disdain that had evolved against Gaddafi will collapse at some point in the future just as US toughness and sanction against China ended shortly after the Tiananmen tragedy. Nations like Brazil, Turkey, India, Russia, and others will essentially open up back doors to Gaddafi if he is perceived as likely to prevail.
The US is not giving up. Defense Secretary Gates has now said that President Obama has authorized the deployment of armed drones in the Libya conflict. This is not surprising, but it is a doubling down on a strategy riveted with problems and uncertainty – and runs the risk of killing innocent civilians as has often been the case with drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The real cost of all this is that the cameras have largely abandoned protest movements around the Middle East, the US is neglecting affairs in Egypt, Afghanistan still proves to be a complex mess on the eve of big decisions on continuing levels of deployments, the North Koreans are sending signals that they are going to be back to being really naughty — and we have turned a minnow in the Middle East into a Moby Dick, and that’s not good.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

36 comments on “Armed Drones Next: The Libyan Minnow is Becoming New Moby Dick

  1. Don Bacon says:

    We set up a war trust fund, financed by a war tax, which is heavily weighted toward the MIC. Then when there’s enough money for a war we ask for volunteers aged twenty and above, because making teenagers into killers is inhumane. We start the war on some hapless, backward country, as usual, but when the money runs out — it’s over. How about that?
    Even Kathleen could agree to that.

    Reply

  2. Bart says:

    Are they going to use the drone missiles that cost $4.5M a pop or the cheaper $100K models?
    When was the last time a newspaper totaled up the daily or weekly cost of our three wars?
    What we need is a war surtax.

    Reply

  3. Kathleen says:

    Bacon “Congress is at 70% disapproval (RCP ave.)”
    I thought disapproval was at more like 90 %. Well here we go 89%
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/141512/congress-ranks-last-confidence-institutions.aspx

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  4. ... says:

    dk quote “Maybe the Saudi’s already paid him(obama) off with the recent increase in oil production and drop in prices.”
    indeed…

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  5. Don Bacon says:

    There’s a bluegrass song about an older guy standing on the cargo platform at the train station. A lady comes along and asks what the gentleman is doing standing there, all alone. He says I’m waiting for my son to come back from the war. She says, Sir, you’re in the wrong place. The passenger platform is over there.
    He replied, No, I’m in the right place. My son went out as a passenger and he’s coming back as cargo.

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  6. JohnH says:

    Yep, soldiers get preferential treatment at airport security. But buck up, DonS, the President seems to feel a need to walk in lock step with the military, too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjnTpdMFYx0
    But how long can it be before al-Qaeda figures out that, if they don a uniform, they can go anywhere they want? The Taliban has already figured this out, and they have gotten inside several secure facilities in Afghanistan, wearing Afghan army uniforms.

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  7. erichwwk says:

    Don:
    It seems to me you are assuming you are part of “the Nation”.
    I believe “the Nation” that SB 223 is referring to consists of only the top 1% of Americans as measured by wealth accumulation. This group has confiscated 80% of all income produced in the last 25 years and claimed it as their own.
    It is these interests that are being furthered and “of interest”. “The people in the food lines, including unemployed teachers and factory workers,” are simply irrelevant, much as they were in Germany in 1941. Their wealth has already been appropriated.
    This group is attempting to “privatize social security” precisely BECAUSE it has a $2.6 Trillion dollar surplus. Having already “privatized” (stolen) most of the private claims to retirement income through the ability to void previous social contracts through “mergers”, they are looking for new resources to steal. Social Security looks very attractive as a means to feed their greed.
    Did anyone really believe Obama when he said wealth usurpation from other countries would be limited to a few days? Is greed and gluttony not a vice that by definition is insatiable, and stopped only when the gut bursts?

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  8. DonS says:

    Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore

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  9. DonS says:

    “McCain travels to Libya to meet with rebel forces”
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/04/22/libya.war/index.html?hpt=T2
    St. John McCain. Another flag waver who will never have to worry about social security or medicare benefits. And who never saw a potential war he didn’t love.
    Thank you for your service.

    Reply

  10. DonS says:

    “Under

    Reply

  11. DakotabornKansan says:

    Imperial Warfare – Drones and the Ethics of War
    Defense secretary Robert Gates said the use of armed Predator drones in Libya is an example of the US unique military capabilities that the president was willing to contribute to the military campaign in Libya. Marine General James Cartwright, the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that Predator drones are

    Reply

  12. drew says:

    I do think that there is some upside to our Libyan delusions,
    however. The next time there is an NSC meeting with the Secretary
    of Defense and military, and a certain dual-citizen college
    professor starts expounding on (her next book, her next movie)
    R2P, and how it’s important to deploy the U.S. military in support of
    her thesis, abrupt and uncontrolled laughter may burst forth, and
    she’ll be sent out to get the adults coffee.

    Reply

  13. drew says:

    DBKansan is correct, this Libyan fiasco has destroyed NATO’s
    coherence and credibility. It’s very plain that NATO is useless
    without the Americans doing all the work. Putin must be laughing
    uproariously: what the Soviets could not do in 50 years, Obama
    accomplished in a few weeks.
    Chomsky is always fun to cite. I particularly enjoyed his written
    support for Pol Pot, back in the day.

    Reply

  14. rc says:

    “NATO as an impotent Cold War relic” (DakotabornKansan, Apr 21 2011, 7:34PM) — hardly impotent, but certainly a ‘solution’ looking for a problem to justify its existence.
    Basically I agree with Chomsky that it is a means of US control of Europe.
    See his “Contours of Global Order: Domination, Instability, and Xenophobia in a Changing World. Westerkerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. March 13, 2011.” at http://www.chomsky.info/audionvideo.htm

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  15. b says:

    Steve says: “The real cost of all this is that the cameras have largely abandoned protest movements around the Middle East, the US is neglecting affairs in …”
    That’s obviously not a bug Steve, that is a feature and a major reason why this war was started.

    Reply

  16. Don Bacon says:

    from the ending of Moby Dick, or The Whale: (quote)
    The harpoon was darted; the stricken whale flew forward; with igniting velocity the line ran through the groove; – ran foul. Ahab stooped to clear it; he did clear it; but the flying turn caught him round the neck, and voicelessly as Turkish mutes bowstring their victim, he was shot out of the boat, ere the crew knew he was gone. Next instant, the heavy eye-splice in the rope’s final end flew out of the stark-empty tub, knocked down an oarsman, and smiting the sea, disappeared in its depths.
    For an instant, the tranced boat’s crew stood still; then turned. “The ship? Great God, where is the ship?” Soon they through dim, bewildering mediums saw her sidelong fading phantom, as in the gaseous Fata Morgana; only the uppermost masts out of water; while fixed by infatuation, or fidelity, or fate, to their once lofty perches, the pagan harpooneers still maintained their sinking lookouts on the sea. And now, concentric circles seized the lone boat itself, and all its crew, and each floating oar, and every lance-pole, and spinning, animate and inanimate, all round and round in one vortex, carried the smallest chip of the Pequod out of sight. . .
    Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago. (end quote)
    “The ship? Great God, where is the ship?”

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  17. DakotabornKansan says:

    Under

    Reply

  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “But the absurd needle-threader Obama will have to decide he is actually on a side, and that the US goal is to bring a hard and fast end to the Gaddafi regime”
    ROFLMAO!!!!
    Once again, we see optimistic naivete replaced by second thought skepticism.
    Dan, when are you going to learn??? Has this been your last lesson, or are you going to take the bait, once again, when this empty suited fraud insincerely tells you what you wanna hear sometime in the near future. He will, you know. He’s a master at capitalizing on gullibility. Hell, he rode that ride all the way to the Oval Office.
    Pick an issue, any issue, and he’s got the rap ya all wanna hear. Trouble is, its ALWAYS bullshit.
    I warned ya. From the beginning, way before he was elected, when it became obvious that this guy was nothing more than a media construct.
    Well, he’s not a blank canvas anymore, thats for damned sure. He’ll need Diebold’s assistance if he wants a second term.
    Libya???
    Another expensive clusterfuck. Oh goody.
    I was wondering how these DC —-s (rhymes with mutts) were going to waste this years tax revenue. Seems they’ve got it all figured out.

    Reply

  19. Don Bacon says:

    from the bill,
    “approximately 1,450,000 members who are stationed on active duty at more than 6,000 military bases in 146 different countries. . .defending the Nation

    Reply

  20. erichwwk says:

    Is there a connection between the minnow becoming a whale and the recently passed Senate Bill 223?
    Sec. 433
    (5) it is the patriotic duty of the people of the
    United States to support the members of the Armed
    Forces who are defending the Nation

    Reply

  21. Don Bacon says:

    from the Atlantic(quote):
    There’s a great moment early in “Moby Dick” that speaks to the timelessness of trouble in Afghanistan. Very early in the book, as Ishmael ponders his unhappiness, and considers the benefits of a sea voyage — “driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation,” that sort of thing — he imagines, grandiosely, his place in the world. Melville writes:
    And doubtless, my going on this whaling voyage, formed part of the grand programme of Providence that was drawn up a long time ago. It came in as a sort of brief interlude and solo between more extensive performances. I take it that this part of the bill must have run something like this:
    “Grand Contested Election for the Presidency of the United States
    “Whaling Voyage by One Ishmael”
    “Bloody Battle in Affghanistan”
    “Moby Dick” was published in 1851. The first Anglo-Afghan War had already ended ten years before. I’m not sure a “surge” is going to accomplish what its advocates hope it will accomplish; Afghanistan is fairly impervious to outside control. (end quote)

    Reply

  22. Don Bacon says:

    SC: “The international consensus of concern and disdain that had evolved against Gaddafi”
    Really? US, UK and France agreeing on aggression, without the support of any other major country, is an international consensus?
    Rather, there is an international consensus that says: There they go again. But Let Anthony Cordesman tell it.
    Libyan Operation Bordering On Farce (extract)
    “American connoisseurs of schadenfreude can take some comfort in the parallels between this course of action and the equally na

    Reply

  23. brigid says:

    No chance for Gaddafi to survive. France, Italy, and Qatar are already giving full recognition to the National Transitional Council and have military advisors on the ground. Benghazi is getting revenue from oil now. Gaddafi is running out of money and resources to buy more mercenaries. And the evidence of massive crimes against humanity is piling up, including rape campaigns, mass executions, and shelling of civilians. Misurata freedom fighters are gradually taking back their city. The Libya Free Army is gaining in ability and numbers. They have taken back Ajdabya and Brega. In Tripoli and Zawiya at night Gaddafi soldiers and security police are subject to hit and run attacks. More defections in the Gaddafi military/security apparatus. The Western Libya Free Army now has control of the border crossing with Tunisia. As of today Gaddafi and his sons’ fortunes are in steep decline with no hope in sight except to murder a few more thousand people with paid mercenaries. The president was right. Gaddafi is on the wrong side of history and he’s going down. Right now his fate looks like Mussonlini’s.

    Reply

  24. DakotabornKansan says:

    Is the bell tolling for NATO?
    Does the ten year debacle of the NATO mission in Afghanistan and the

    Reply

  25. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Anyone remember “audacious”? Did that go out of vogue after Inauguration Day…like wearing white after Labor Day? Better hit the thesaurus for the next campaign.

    Reply

  26. Maw of America says:

    This should come as a surprise to no one. We are one the brink of a presidential campaign and Obama cannot afford to have this end in anything less than capitulation by Ghaddafi. I believe he has successfully framed this as the freedom-loving rebels of Libya wanting this more than any of the NATO allies, and thus will go to any length short of boots on the ground to assure victory. But if things go south, it will be interesting to see what his options become. But I believe it also puts the Repubs in a pickle since they have already shown themselves to be split on this intervention.
    Whatever the outcome, it is far better strategy than the ham-handed Bush Doctrine.

    Reply

  27. Dan Kervick says:

    “Nations like Brazil, Turkey, India, Russia, and others will essentially open up back doors to Gaddafi if he is perceived as likely to prevail.”
    Indeed. They should have killed him when they had the chance, and backed the revolution forthrightly, instead of turning a dynamic and forward-looking revolution into an excuse for stagnation, momentum-killing and a do-gooding “humanitarian intervention.”
    It’s still not too late. But the absurd needle-threader Obama will have to decide he is actually on a side, and that the US goal is to bring a hard and fast end to the Gaddafi regime.
    But maybe he just doesn’t back democratic revolution and is in fact working to throw a wet blanket on it. Maybe the Saudi’s already paid him off with the recent increase in oil production and drop in prices.

    Reply

  28. DakotabornKansan says:

    “Heaven have mercy on us all – Presbyterians and Pagans alike – for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.”
    – Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
    The Imperial Presidency and Decision-Making About War: Libya in 2011

    Reply

  29. Kathleen says:

    The pro Israel media watch group Camera is attempting to shut down information, questions, comments about the Israeli Palestinian issue at C-Spans Washington Journal. I had noticed that over the last 1O years or so more folks were calling in to Washington Journal with more legitimate facts, questions and comments about the conflict. There have been even more calls coming through after Former President Jimmy Carter’s book “Palestine Peace: Not Apartheid” and Walt and Mearsheimers book “The Israel Lobby” came out. But the last several years it appears that the host of Washington Journal have been quick to cut callers off, interrupt them or challenge them when there are legitimate questions or criticisms about Israeli policy or US support for Israel’s policies. The host seem to quickly interrupt callers when they bring up illegal Israeli settlements, the Wall, checkpoints, etc etc. Prior to this noted change the host only challenged callers when they criticized Washington Journal
    Although host have consistently been quick to cut people off when they are anti Jewish, anti Muslim, racist in any way shape or form, the host cut them off.
    Here are the links to Camera’s effort to shut down the debate on C-Spans Washington Journal. Go check it out. Some of the calls are edgy. But the majority of callers bring up the Israeli bombing of the USS Liberty, the Wall, the influence of the Israeli lobby, the illegal settlements in the West Bank and illegal housing in E Jerusalem and Camera calls all of these facts “anti semitic”
    Call C Span. Encourage them to keep their program open to the facts on this issue. Ask them to go back to their old format when you could go to their site and watch and listen to the whole show. Now when you go to the site the open phone segment is often missing. I am wondering if there is some type censorship going on through the process of elimination and editing? This is just a question at this point. Their new format is odd.
    http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=3&x_outlet=220&x_article=1785
    http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=220

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  30. Kathleen says:

    “The US is not giving up. Defense Secretary Gates has now said that President Obama has authorized the deployment of armed drones in the Libya conflict. This is not surprising, but it is a doubling down on a strategy riveted with problems and uncertainty – and runs the risk of killing innocent civilians as has often been the case with drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
    Gates, Biden, Mullen (I believe) said don’t do it.
    Powers, Rice, Clinton said do it.
    Clinton as well as others have said we did it for France and the U.K.
    Steve “The real cost of all this is that the cameras have largely abandoned protest movements around the Middle East, the US is neglecting affairs in Egypt, Afghanistan still proves to be a complex mess on the eve of big decisions on continuing levels of deployments, the North Koreans are sending signals that they are going to be back to being really naughty — and we have turned a minnow in the Middle East into a Moby Dick, and that’s not good.”
    Anyone else notice how the MSM’s cameras (Richard Engel) went from the protest in Tunisia, Egypt, then like magic when Mubarak stepped down all the cameras leaped over to bad bad bad Iran. Then back to protest Libya, a bit on the protest in Bahrain, an even tinier bit on protest in Saudi Arabia.
    But never ever never ever did those cameras ever swing to the ongoing Palestinian protest. Decades of Palestinian protest, more recently but never have the cameras of CNN, MSNBC etc turned that way.

    Reply

  31. JohnH says:

    Obama is doubling down, which means this whole adventure is going to get a LOT more expensive.
    When will Obama tell us the cost? When will Obama ask for $30 Billion of savings he took out of the hide of domestic programs?
    Until that distant day, it looks like this arrogant administration just assumes that it is not obliged to tell the American people anything or ask approval for anything anymore. And we though Bush was high-handed!

    Reply

  32. ... says:

    there was no promo for this war in libya.. the powers that be decided to avoid any media stories on it’s significance as telling people what you are doing is generally disastrous when it is about about making war.. so now a month later, word is creeping out.. why are some of us not surprised? geez……

    Reply

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