Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Thoughts on Libya and Yemen

We’re currently fighting 4 wars: one in Afghanistan, one in Iraq, one in Libya, and one in Yemen. Of course, only 1 of those is official: Afghanistan. Iraq has been declared over, but we still have troops on the ground doing exactly what they were doing during the war. The Yemen one is undercover and unofficial, but we’re using US troops and funds to suppress revolutionary forces there because the dictator is sympathetic to US interests. And most egregiously, we are openly fighting a war in Libya that the President refuses to admit is a war. Why? Because if he admits we’re engaged in “hostilities”, it would force him to admit that he broke the law. According to the War Powers Resolution, the president must receive congressional approval for hostilities engaged within 90 days of ordering military action, and Obama did not do so. That is illegal, but the administration has tried to defend itself by sheepishly claiming there are no hostilities in Libya. If that doesn’t make you snort coffee out your nose, you’re not drinking coffee. As Democratic Senator Jim Webb put it, "Spending a billion dollars and dropping bombs on people sounds like hostilities to me." US troops make up over 2/3 of the NATO force which is fighting Gaddafi’s forces, supporting the rebel troops, and executing air raids. We are spending $10 million a day to do these things. Listen, I don’t know if we should be fighting Gaddafi or not. I won’t shed any tears if that madman gets killed and his government replaced. Perhaps we should be dropping bombs on him. Today’s post will not attempt to examine the wisdom of intervening in foreign conflicts or the situations in which it is appropriate to do so: I will enter that discussion tomorrow. I’m just saying that if we do decide to intervene somewhere, we should do it all the way. We should officially announce our intervention and the reasons why we’re doing it. We should use all our forces and all the resources at our disposal with no holds barred. We should tell the military to do the job as well as it can, as safely as it can, as cheaply as it can and as quickly as it can, and trust that they will get the job done. They’re very good at their job! What we cannot do is kinda intervene. We cannot tell the military to win a conflict, but handicap their efforts by limiting the troops, money, and time they have to win it. We cannot tell them to fight without acknowledging to our own citizens that they’re actually fighting. We cannot wage half-assed wars in an attempt to appease both the hawks and the doves, and that is what Obama is doing in Libya and Yemen.

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