Comments to Al Jazeera on Libya No-Fly Zone

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— Steve Clemons

Comments

36 comments on “Comments to Al Jazeera on Libya No-Fly Zone

  1. Carroll says:

    Posted by Sand, Mar 14 2011, 2:50AM – Link
    First…that mercenary force is being paid by Gaddafi.
    So ask yourself…if this was a ‘civil war’ with half of the population for Gaddafi as Gaddafi is trying to paint it why would he need to import foreign forces to fight for him?
    Second…there is no law that says win, lose or draw we have to then occupy their country.
    You ‘think’ we will occupy their country and try to control their government because of past US actions. If any of the forces that would be involved in aiding the rebels would want or seek to have long term influence/control in Libya it would be the French not the US. They are much more connected and involved in the Northern Africa around Libya than we are.

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  2. Sand says:

    Carroll,
    The current situation would be you having the US helping a rebel force that is obviously losing (partly due(?) to outside mercenary force who we don’t know who is supplying, or even supplying the $$$?)
    What I see you and Dan advocating is for the US to be yet another occupying force, because the current opposition is not large or strong enough to hold power.

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  3. Carroll says:

    Posted by Dan Kervick, Mar 13 2011, 11:59AM – Link
    ” “Insurgents”, or “protesters”, is a matter of opinion, Dan.” ”
    No it’s not POA. The distinction is completely clear. An insurgent is an armed rebel using force. A protester is a person who is simply using his voice, not arms. There is a Libyan insurgency now. But the beginning of the Libyan uprising was a protest movement, and the protesters were attacked and butchered.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I agree with Kervick for a change.
    All the arguments of those against helping the Libyans are based on past US perfidy so their solution for US policy now is to…Do Nothing.
    Because we killed people in Iraq and Afghan we should now just watch other people be slaughtered instead of doing it ourselves….the only difference being the cost.
    The Long DC Stall has made it perfectly clear that there is no question about the ‘right thing” to do, call it the moral thing if you like, but a question of distrubing the past ‘arrangements’ of US interest re other autocrat allies and interest in the ME.
    So in effect those against assisting the rebels are supporting the very same past US policies they condemn and use as a reason to not assist the Libyans.
    Absolutely amazing.

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  4. Sand says:

    …pardon — GAZA, but the West Bank could be next!

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  5. Sand says:

    “,…And do any of you really believe that if Obama sent Gaddafi a private message that he has to go, or his life, his money, and the lives of his sons and family are seriously threatened, that Gaddafi and all his crew wouldn’t promptly take the next flight out of Libya????…”
    No because amazingly enough Libya is NOT Egypt and does not have same political dynamic or had the same civilian buildup on the ground.

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  6. Sand says:

    “..And please enough of the propaganda that a no fly zone is an act of war…”
    I would love to see a US plane buzz over the West Bank and see what happens.

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  7. Warren Metzler says:

    Cee, thanks for the article on US duplicitous actions in Bosnia. It shows what I have presented for years. That there is not a smidgen of integrity in any person who operates in an American administration’s foreign policy team. But I’m not sure how it relates to my views on the Libya situation.
    I say let them work on their own. But don’t act like the US and NATO has no right to create a no fly zone. And please enough of the propaganda that a no fly zone is an act of war. And enough of Bill Gates misinformation campaign on a no fly zone. All you need is one AWACS plane off the coast 24 hours per day, a few jets to always be flying in the air for rapid response, and shooting any anti-aircraft guns that activate their radar against one of our flying jets. Not a single anti-aircraft site has to be taken off before the no fly zone is installed.
    And do any of you really believe that if Obama sent Gaddafi a private message that he has to go, or his life, his money, and the lives of his sons and family are seriously threatened, that Gaddafi and all his crew wouldn’t promptly take the next flight out of Libya????

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  8. Sand says:

    Having a senior moment Dan, or just going a little neocon-lite?
    I’m truly glad you’re not the civilian military commander that has the lives of thousands of US kids waiting on your every word that will basically tell them they could be the next front line for yes — the precedent that the US is indeed the ultimate policeman of the World, and for US economic interests?
    You emerging corporate hound-dog:
    — Opaque Libyan fund built diverse portfolio
    By Lina Saigol in London
    February 21 2011 20:23
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3f3502e0-3df2-11e0-99ac-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1GXzI0tAt
    “…Some of Libya

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  9. Kotzabasis says:

    Don Bacon
    You forget, that blind kicks (head in the sand) only kick the air and always miss their aim. And that is why your ‘kick’ too, kicks the air.

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  10. Dan Kervick says:

    The case for US assistance in the Libyan predicament is not another case of the US simply presuming to act as the world policeman or manifesting some version of American “exceptionalism.” Obama made a choice following the Egyptian revolution to stand up and tell the world that the revolution was a good and inspiring thing. He made a choice to praise and promote the new spirit of Tahrir square that is capturing the hearts and minds of the young people of the Middle East. By doing so, he signaled to other supporters of the burgeoning Middle East democracy movement that we are with them. Other western leaders did the same thing.
    Partly on the basis of that gathering tide of world support, Libyans bravely took to the streets across their country to denounce their own brutal and crooked authoritarian regime. This time, though, the protests were met with savage violence, and so the protesters have taken up arms against that regime.
    Libyan ambassadors have left their posts in protest; Libyan soldiers have switched their allegiance; Libyan civilians have openly aligned themselves with the rebellion. Their fate now hangs on who wins and who loses the battle for their country.
    Obama didn

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  11. Don Bacon says:

    Ostriches burying their hands in the sand is a myth — but watch out, they can kick. Ostriches are also astute and they cannot see how a guerilla campaign against Gaddafi would defeat Muslim fundamentalism. Expecting some kangaroo justice, are we? Jumping to conclusions? Even joeys know better.

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  12. Sand says:

    Kotzabasis: “…Hence the

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  13. Cee says:

    Warren,
    An article on arming the factions in Yugoslavia.
    America used Islamists to arm the Bosnian Muslims
    The Srebrenica report reveals the Pentagon’s role in a dirty war
    Richard J Aldrich
    Monday April 22, 2002
    The Guardian
    The official Dutch inquiry into the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, released last week, contains one of the most sensational reports on western intelligence ever published. Officials have been staggered by its findings and the Dutch government has resigned. One of its many volumes is devoted to clandestine activities during the Bosnian war of the early 1990s. For five years, Professor Cees Wiebes of Amsterdam University has had unrestricted access to Dutch intelligence files and has stalked the corridors of secret service headquarters in western capitals, as well as in Bosnia, asking questions.
    His findings are set out in “Intelligence and the war in Bosnia, 1992-1995”. It includes remarkable material on covert operations, signals interception, human agents and double-crossing by dozens of agencies in one of dirtiest wars of the new world disorder. Now we have the full story of the secret alliance between the Pentagon and radical Islamist groups from the Middle East designed to assist the Bosnian Muslims – some of the same groups that the Pentagon is now fighting in “the war against terrorism”. Pentagon operations in Bosnia have delivered their own “blowback”.
    In the 1980s Washington’s secret services had assisted Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. Then, in 1990, the US fought him in the Gulf. In both Afghanistan and the Gulf, the Pentagon had incurred debts to Islamist groups and their Middle Eastern sponsors. By 1993 these groups, many supported by Iran and Saudi Arabia, were anxious to help Bosnian Muslims fighting in the former Yugoslavia and called in their debts with the Americans. Bill Clinton and the Pentagon were keen to be seen as creditworthy and repaid in the form of an Iran-Contra style operation – in flagrant violation of the UN security council arms embargo against all combatants in the former Yugoslavia.
    The result was a vast secret conduit of weapons smuggling though Croatia. This was arranged by the clandestine agencies of the US, Turkey and Iran, together with a range of radical Islamist groups, including Afghan mojahedin and the pro-Iranian Hizbullah. Wiebes reveals that the British intelligence services obtained documents early on in the Bosnian war proving that Iran was making direct deliveries.
    Arms purchased by Iran and Turkey with the financial backing of Saudi Arabia made their way by night from the Middle East. Initially aircraft from Iran Air were used, but as the volume increased they were joined by a mysterious fleet of black C-130 Hercules aircraft. The report stresses that the US was “very closely involved” in the airlift. Mojahedin fighters were also flown in, but they were reserved as shock troops for especially hazardous operations.
    Light weapons are the familiar currency of secret services seeking to influence such conflicts. The volume of weapons flown into Croatia was enormous, partly because of a steep Croatian “transit tax”. Croatian forces creamed off between 20% and 50% of the arms. The report stresses that this entire trade was clearly illicit. The Croats themselves also obtained massive quantities of illegal weapons from Germany, Belgium and Argentina – again in contravention of the UN arms embargo. The German secret services were fully aware of the trade.
    Rather than the CIA, the Pentagon’s own secret service was the hidden force behind these operations. The UN protection force, UNPROFOR, was dependent on its troop-contributing nations for intelligence, and above all on the sophisticated monitoring capabilities of the US to police the arms embargo. This gave the Pentagon the ability to manipulate the embargo at will: ensuring that American Awacs aircraft covered crucial areas and were able to turn a blind eye to the frequent nightime comings and goings at Tuzla.
    Weapons flown in during the spring of 1995 were to turn up only a fortnight later in the besieged and demilitarised enclave at Srebrenica. When these shipments were noticed, Americans pressured UNPROFOR to rewrite reports, and when Norwegian officials protested about the flights, they were reportedly threatened into silence.
    Both the CIA and British SIS had a more sophisticated perspective on the conflict than the Pentagon, insisting that no side had clean hands and arguing for caution. James Woolsey, director of the CIA until May 1995, had increasingly found himself out of step with the Clinton White House over his reluctance to develop close relations with the Islamists. The sentiments were reciprocated. In the spring of 1995, when the CIA sent its first head of station to Sarajevo to liaise with Bosnia’s security authorities, the Bosnians tipped off Iranian intelligence. The CIA learned that the Iranians had targeted him for liquidation and quickly withdrew him.
    Iranian and Afghan veterans’ training camps had also been identified in Bosnia. Later, in the Dayton Accords of November 1995, the stipulation appeared that all foreign forces be withdrawn. This was a deliberate attempt to cleanse Bosnia of Iranian-run training camps. The CIA’s main opponents in Bosnia were now the mojahedin fighters and their Iranian trainers – whom the Pentagon had been helping to supply months earlier.
    Meanwhile, the secret services of Ukraine, Greece and Israel were busy arming the Bosnian Serbs. Mossad was especially active and concluded a deal with the Bosnian Serbs at Pale involving a substantial supply of artillery shells and mortar bombs. In return they secured safe passage for the Jewish population out of the besieged town of Sarajevo. Subsequently, the remaining population was perplexed to find that unexploded mortar bombs landing in Sarajevo sometimes had Hebrew markings.
    The broader lessons of the intelligence report on Srebrenica are clear. Those who were able to deploy intelligence power, including the Americans and their enemies, the Bosnian Serbs, were both able to get their way. Conversely, the UN and the Dutch government were “deprived of the means and capacity for obtaining intelligence” for the Srebrenica deployment, helping to explain why they blundered in, and contributed to the terrible events there.
    Secret intelligence techniques can be war-winning and life-saving. But they are not being properly applied. How the UN can have good intelligence in the context of multinational peace operations is a vexing question. Removing light weapons from a conflict can be crucial to drawing it down. But the secret services of some states – including Israel and Iran – continue to be a major source of covert supply, pouring petrol on the flames of already bitter conflicts.

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  14. Don Bacon says:

    There has been little news on protest suppression in a US-liberated country.
    from newsfrommiddleeast.com:
    U.S. media imposed almost a total blackout on demonstrations in Iraq. The only report I am aware of was the one issued in L.A. Times in which the newspaper belittled the uprising in Iraq, saying the organizers could hardly assemble 5,000 people in Baghdad’s Liberty Square.
    The paper said nothing about the bloody methods government troops used to suppress the demonstrators in every street, square, village, district and city. Iraqi troops, heeding instructions from their commander-in-chief, the prime minister, resorted to massive force, firing live ammunition and showing disrespect to Iraqi blood.//(end)
    Maliki, another evil tyrant. Hillary Clinton, years ago, called for Maliki to step down. Will Clinton do it again, like she has with Gaddafi? Not likely.

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  15. Warren Metzler says:

    I totally object to Steve’s analysis. When we have troops fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and repeatedly support Israel’s repeated murderous, criminal slaughter and destruction of Gaza and Lebanon, etc., to talk about a no fly zone introducing a US foot print into the Middle East is total nonsense.
    Further, to talk about giving humanitarian aid, weapons, intelligent support, as fine; but providing planes that shoot down every Kaddafi armed plane that takes off as excessive is ridiculous. It is like telling my friend that if you take me out to dinner that is fine, but if you bring me a meal to my home you’re being intrusive.
    I am a pacifist, but still have an objection to irrational comments. When someone is drowning, you don’t have philosophical discussions about whether any one tool that can provide salvation is “philosophically correct” to use.
    Any assistance of the Libyian opposition that enables then to overcome Kaddafi’s criminal rule is valid. That man is an evil tyrant. Takes me back to the US nonsense of an arms embargo on the Bosnian Muslins in the early 90’s while Milosevic was pouring arms to the Bosnian Serbs.
    When oh when will American foreign policy experts begin to be rational?

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  16. Don Bacon says:

    Dan, I have no doubt that Obama has already sent “a signal to the rest of the Arab world’s autocrats that they [including the Egypt military] can begin the counterrevolutionary mopping-up operation, and start murdering and imprisoning their own young rebels.” Actually it will be a continuation, not a start, of behavior which has always been condoned and supported by the U.S.
    We’ll not see any further U.S. siding with insurgents even though protesters are shot in the street, as currently in Yemen.
    Libya was a one-off and it was a mistake which will make the U.S. and its western puppets look even more foolish and impotent. It was a good way to lose an ally.

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  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    One wonders if Dan supports a US led effort to impose a no fly zone over the Gaza strip, the West Bank, and Lebanon.

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  18. Don Bacon says:

    It’s interesting, but cynically wrong, how Gaddafi gets personally blamed for killing civilians but Blair, Bush and Obama get off scot free for much greater infractions. Gaddafi’s got to go! But our Teflon guys can stay. Crimes against humanity only apply selectively to other presidents selected by our presidents, who have done worse.
    This is an example of American Exceptionalism — alive and well.

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  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “A first useful step would be to cut off the head”
    Hmmm, then we’d have to start in Washington DC and Tel Aviv. Because there is the head of this monster.

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  20. Dan Kervick says:

    “Do you think the Libyan ground forces are incapable of staunching a widespread street uprising?”
    No, so it would be good to encourage as many defectors from the Libyan regime as possible. A first useful step would be to cut off the head.

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  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “No it’s not POA. The distinction is completely clear”
    Dan, how many times did we switch monickers on the players in Iraq, purely as a tactic to justify our own actions?
    Yes, its perfectly clear to YOU, because of what side of the fence you’re standing on. But your application of labels becomes inaccurate if one is standing on the other side of the fence.
    Frankly, I’d be all for intervention if I believed we would intervene on the Libyan’s behalf. But we would not do so. History proves the veracity of my assertion. We would replace this puppet with another puppet. And once again, we would require that the new puppet play nicey-nice with the Israelis and shun the Iranians. How, exactly, long term, does that bode well for the Libyans, or any of the other Arab nationalists in any of the other countries currently experiencing unrest? Do you think the “Arab Street” wants to see a continuance of the status quo in regards to Israel’s military dominance in the middle east, its nuclar superiority, and its continued expansion??? But isn’t that EXACTLY what we would expect from whoever we support to take Kaddaffi’s place?
    Semantics ARE at play here. And rather than “intervene” on the Libyan’s behalf,we will “IMPOSE” upon the Libyan’s. That will be the cost to the Libyans of any involvement on our part, such as a no fly zone.
    And WTF good do you think a no fly zone will do without boots on the ground? Do you think the Libyan ground forces are incapable of staunching a widespread street uprising? Well, if so, you aren’t paying attention. Kaddaffi’s use of air power is a small part of his efforts. And he IS being successful at victoriously countering what HE sees as an “insurgency”. Are you prepared to see United States Marines marching into Tripoli, ON TOP OF the other costly and disastrous military adventures that are currently bankrupting our nation?
    “Who are we anyway?”
    We are the Dr. Frankenstein in this deal. We created this monster, and if we get involved, we will simply create another one to take his place. And how does THAT serve the interests of the Libyans?

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  22. DonS says:

    Drew, I agree with your comments that Obama, while correctly acting in a non interventionist way, has wanted it both ways, and looks foolish (to anyone really listening). Still, to your point about the mop up operation, and the angst about that, the concern is real. I suppose the corollary is that if Obama were simply clear about non-intervention and non-delusional about the ‘noose’, the Arab league, and whatever supportive outside elements, would have to step up more forcefully. Or not. Obama’s ambivalence, it seems, mirrors a lot of Americans who want it both ways: swagger and act the super power; and minimize actual cost and risk in all sorts of ways. Comes from going beyond legitimate self defense to setting yourself up as the exceptionalist paradigm with all the aura, and delusion that comes along with that.
    This flows into my reading of Dan’s points and leads me to wonder, beyond the apparent sensible path Steve C. outlines in the clip, what does “If Obama lets the spirit of Tunisia and Cairo die . . . ” actually signify?
    Who are we anyway? This goes beyond Bush vs Obama; they are both apparently subsumed within the prevailing myths, though interpreted quite differently in [some] action perhaps. It’s time to start walking back the exceptionalist myths that underlie the fantasy of main stream American politics. Bush doubled down. Obama minces around.

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  23. Dan Kervick says:

    ” “Insurgents”, or “protesters”, is a matter of opinion, Dan.” ”
    No it’s not POA. The distinction is completely clear. An insurgent is an armed rebel using force. A protester is a person who is simply using his voice, not arms. There is a Libyan insurgency now. But the beginning of the Libyan uprising was a protest movement, and the protesters were attacked and butchered.

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  24. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve might be right that other forms of assistance can be more effective than a no-fly zone. I think we all understand some of the measures that are likely to be most effective in collapsing the thoroughly autocratic Libyan regime.
    The Egyptian revolution succeeded because, ultimately, the Egyptian armed forces were not willing to slaughter peaceful protesters. The Libyan dictator has no such compunctions. So they need help.
    Libyan military officers need to make decisions about which side to be on. They will defect to the revolutionary side when they are convinced that side is going to win, and convinced those on the other side will ultimately face either death or prosecution.
    Yes, the US risks opprobrium if we are seen to be involved. But we face opprobrium either way. If Obama lets the spirit of Tunisia and Cairo die in Libya at the hands of the likes of Muammar Gadaffi, and thereby sends a signal to the rest of the Arab world’s autocrats that they can begin the counterrevolutionary mopping-up operation, and start murdering and imprisoning their own young rebels, his name will be mud.

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  25. Don Bacon says:

    What side is Obama on?
    Until very recently it was clear what side Obama was on. The National Security Strategy states that the war on terrorism is of primary U.S. concern and Libya, last year (see above ambassador speech), . . .”Libya remains a strong ally in countering terrorism in a volatile region.”
    Strong ally. Countering terrorism.
    Now Obama has changed the US position supposedly because of human rights violations in Libya. These violations are nothing new — Libya (not unlike the U.S.) has been guilty of human rights violations for years. Now the U.S., together with its European allies, say that Gaddafi must relinquish power immediately.
    Perhaps we could get Gaddafi to apologize (U.S.-style) for killing people with aerial bombing. It might work, and make things right again, particularly since it looks like Gaddafi will prevail in Libya.

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  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its fairly telling that we create semantics to fit our opinions.
    “Insurgents”, or “protesters”, is a matter of opinion, Dan.

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  27. Dan Kervick says:

    The invasion of Iraq was an illegal foreign intervention, with no authentic domestic Iraqi component, the case for which was built almost entirely on lies and intelligence fabrications.
    The Libyan crisis has been created by an authentic domestic revolution, and the leaders of that revolution are asking for help. The Libyan revolution was launched following two other successful North African revolutions, and Obama’s statement following the deposition of Mubarak sent a signal to the people of the region that the US supports the goals of this revolutionary wave. Other global leaders made similar statements.
    So the people of Libya have taken their lives into their hands with the understanding that the world, particularly the US, supports what they are trying to accomplish. What is left for Obama is to determine what side he is really on.

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  28. Dan Kervick says:

    Don,
    Ghaddafi started this business before the civil war, not by killing insurgents, but by killing unarmed protesters.

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  29. drew says:

    It’s just too ironic for this onetime supporter of the Iraq war to
    now read
    “Well I hope it sends the message that US support is contingent
    on internationally acceptable behavior, and that if you start
    murdering your own people, that support is withdrawn.”
    And astonishing that the Arab League seeks USA intervention.
    To what end? So that once again the USA can be vilified for
    committing arms, treasure and blood on behalf of these
    slaughtered, nascent democrats?
    But not to worry. The president has announced that Gaddafi
    must go, and indeed, the “noose is tightening.” Which TV show
    is he watching? These remarks are unhinged; the world of
    despots, strangely, cares little for tough-talking fantasy. He
    could not have chosen more foolish remarks to make; this is not
    another election campaign in which one makes remarks about
    the earth cooling and the water receding and thereby cause
    millions of people to raise their hands in support. It’s the very
    definition of feckless.
    What’s going to happen is that Gaddafi’s mop-up and retribution
    will make Assad’s murdering of 30,000 Syrians in 1982 in Hama
    look like a contentious school board meeting. If the so-called
    Arab League doesn’t act within 48 hours, I’d like to see how this
    government is going to walk back Obama’s comments and
    somehow restore a shred of remaining credibility.
    Obama could have actually done some good here, in advancing a
    noninterventionist role for the USA. He could have said,
    “Look. For 10 years we have been vilified in this very region for
    eliminating the most murderous of tyrants. We have given, and
    given, and given — and we have been reviled. I ran for this
    office in large measure by stridently opposing the Bush doctrine,
    Bush rhetoric, and Bush military campaigns.
    “Now that another Arab country is on fire and being assaulted by
    its own government, we are somehow supposed to be the
    difference-maker. I’m not doing it. I’m not sending our Navy
    and Air Force and Marines into what is no different than the last
    conflagration. If Iraq was a matter for the region to arbitrate,
    then surely is Libya. We have provided more than adequate
    military capabilities to the sufficiently trained militaries of this
    region. If the Arab League cannot act on its own decision to
    impose a no-fly on Libya, because Syria and Yemen do not wish
    it to, it is not, again, going to be American blood and what’s left
    of American wealth solving this problem. They can’t have it both
    ways, not on my watch.”
    No, the noose is tightening and Gaddafi must go. Mission
    accomplished, if that mission is the reduction of American power
    to farcical impotence. Now the president wants it both ways:
    belligerent, interventionist rhetoric coupled with absolute
    passivity.

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  30. Don Bacon says:

    Dan, the vast irony is that it has been US policy to treat people who oppose the U.S. and its allies as terrorists and kill them. It’s not called murder it’s called justified counter-insurgency. The U.S. has killed tens of thousands. Killing is wrong only when somebody else does it?
    Is President Karzai murdering his own people, when his army kills the people he supplanted in the Afghan government? Do you think the U.S. wouldn’t kill armed people who took over U.S. cities? In fact the police kill people for a lot less than that.
    Libya has been an ally, as can be documented with references to U.S. behavior as in the above speech by a U.S. ambassador to Libya, last year. So what makes Libya a special case, I’m asking, or is it special? Will the U.S. now apply the same policy to Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen and Saudi Arabia?
    I suspect part of this wrong posturing has been not for any rational reason, because there isn’t any, but rather because people thought that Gaddafi would be overthrown, and they wanted to be on the winning side.
    Libya is of no strategic interest to the U.S. It merely provides the self-styled armchair strategists in the Senate and elsewhere to move armies around, but it’s largely done without thinking of the consequences. They’ve forgotten Iraq and Afghanistan already! Or don’t care.

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  31. Prof M H Settelen says:

    The French Air Force can hold the line, indeed the right of the line @ Benghazi. I’ve flown a Domini into Ystres when a Pilot Officer in the City of Edinburgh (603) Squadron & know it. viz: The Economist

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  32. jon says:

    But is the world ready for Libya to become Biafra? I think that is
    now the question before the US and the world. The rebellion has
    been courageous, but its success comes at a high cost and is not
    guaranteed.
    With western, Arab or UN intervention, Libya might look like
    Somalia does now, or perhaps Sudan. Without intervention, it
    might be more like Myanmar. Khadafy is unlikely to be generous
    in victory.
    As much as I would like to see the rebels depose the regime and
    establish democratic governance, this is a task that is the
    responsibility of the populace, not other nations. Our role
    should be restricted to supplying humanitarian supplies,
    intelligence and advice, and perhaps a limited amount of
    weaponry.
    Steve, your comments almost precisely my views on this crisis,
    and I thank you for your level headed approach.

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  33. Dan Kervick says:

    “What kind of message does that send to other U.S. allies?”
    Well I hope it sends the message that US support is contingent on internationally acceptable behavior, and that if you start murdering your own people, that support is withdrawn.

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  34. Don Bacon says:

    I applaud Steve’s being gun-shy about committing the U.S. military to Libya, but why is it okay to help insurgents against an ally? To demand that an ally step down? What kind of message does that send to other U.S. allies?
    Apparently when the U.S. supports a known despot who then experiences an insurgency it’s time to support the insurgents. Is that the new U.S. foreign policy? Is Saudi Arabia next?
    Hillary Clinton has demanded that Gaddafi step down, but here was Clinton’s ambassador to Libya last year.
    Embassy of the U.S. Tripoli, Libya
    Remarks by Ambassador Gene A. Cretz
    at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    Friday, June 4, 2010 (extracts)
    –The United States and Libya have just embarked on the second year of fully renewed diplomatic relations

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