Gaddafi and his craziness would have been ‘great’ mass-media news by itself, now he has to compete with the buzz from Japan – but it doesn’t cloud the irony of the UN resolution for enforcing a no fly zone. Let me make a series of points and then a series of comments and you can draw your own conclusions.
To give away the punch-line, this is an ‘easy’ win where we can do ‘what is right’ without real repercussion, loss of life, or long-term fallout since everyone knows that Gaddafi is a whack-o. Oh yeah, we’ll still get our oil tanker from the Saudis as well.
1) A no fly zone means not only not letting the bad-guys fly around, but blowing up airfields and anti-aircraft batteries to protect the fighter planes that are flying the combat air patrols (CAP) to support the no fly zone. That means air to ground offensive strikes.
2) France, Italy, and the UK are eager to directly support and engage in an enforcement campaign.
3) As of yet there has been little discussion about the U.S.’s direct involvement except to say that we have a seat at the table and are certainly part of the NATO planning.
4) Gaddafi, a self-agrandized despot of a looney-toon, openly threatened hostilities now and in the future in the Mediterranean if the world imposed a no-fly zone on Libya.
5) The world has been deafeningly silent on protests in Bahrain and Yemen due to needed cooperation from the non-democratic despots there.
6) We had similar actions under Bill Clinton in Bosnia with air patrols and cruise missile strikes.
7) Fighter pilot types would love nothing better than to have a no-fly zone.
1) No one has a better military or equipment to wage an air war than the U.S. We have tomahawk missiles, F-22s, B-2s, SEAD mission F-16CJs, and the experience with all this hardware in actual wars. I find it hilarious that the French think they are up to the task and they probably want as little help as possible from the USofA.
2) We had a no-fly zone over Iraq as well for a very long time. We got very little support the second time the US kicked Saddam’s ass because nations like France did not feel we were justified in intervention. Why the change in heart? Because Libya isn’t that far from France maybe? Because this one is ‘easy’? Both? Its far more complicated that simple solidarity with the Libyan rebels – there are legitimately beleaguered revolutionaries all over the world that are ignored every day. Why are the Libyans so different and special?
3) The world loves to hate the US, but when push comes to shove, we are the only ones with the hardware, know-how, and force projection capability to do the job right. Why? We are America. We are too good to the rest of the world and we go unthanked for it, but god-forbid if we don’t kick someone’s ass when everyone thinks it should be. The media doesn’t know it yet, but our NATO brethren desperately need our know-how and hardware. We spend a lot of treasure and spill a lot of blood so that others don’t have to – largely because they don’t need to fight any more because we too willingly go do it for them as the world’s defacto policeman. Now our allies and the ‘good guys’ of the world have grudgingly grown dependent upon our strength and just dominance. This is what you get, responsibility to protect France get again – for at least the 3rd time now. (I especially enjoyed that one by they way) What other nation has been the ’empire’ of the world and done it so benevolently?
4) This no-fly zone could be a slippery slope. All it takes is one flight of Libyan migs to execute a reprisal attack against a French cruise-liner in the Mediterranean. That then greatly ups the ante for NATO to ask itself if it is going to live up to its charter and say that an attack on one is an attack on all. Gaddafi is a crazy-man. You’re wrong if you think he lacks the stones to do something like that. Thomas Jefferson warned against foreign wars of entanglement for exact scenarios like the fictitious one above. Look up the cause of WWI; a web of alliances is how it started and America had to eventually get drug in via alliances to end the damn thing too.
5) We want Libya’s oil, but the country doesn’t make Saudi Arabia amounts of it. Also, Gaddafi is unsavory and crazy. The pro-democracy demonstrators in the other Arab countries are just as right and just in their cause, but the situation in those countries are much more complicated. We NEED the autocratic ruler’s support there because of their oil (Saudi Arabia being the clearest example). Our dependency on foreign oil is why we waste so many lives and $$ in that part of the world in the first place. They know it and that is what protects them and keeps them loosely aligned with the West even though they don’t like us and refuse to move beyond a 10th century mentality in how they rule or look at the world.
6) True to form, the West picks and chooses its battles. Today, Libya is a worthy while Darfur is not. Yesterday Bosnia was, but Somalia was not (and today you hear about the consequences of those actions in the news – pirates). These guys could very well be thinking that this is a mini-Desert Shield type operation. Of the lot looking at this no-fly zone, the US is the only player that has the ability and will to go it alone – right or wrong. You see that both in our introduction and pull-out of Somalia and our mounting successes in the new Iraq. You saw it in defeat in Vietnam and the barest margin of victory in Korea. All but the First Gulf War show that victory is never easy coalition or not.
7) Fighter pilots get to justify their existence and over-inflated egos if they shoot down some ancient Mig 19s using their AIM-9 air to air missiles from 20 miles away. That’s not war, that’s shooting fish in a barrel.
Don’t think that victory of this despot will be as easy as it could appear. If Gaddafi is going down, he won’t go without a fight – he’s already shown that these past 2 weeks. If anyone would have the audacity to lob a russian missile at Sicily, sink a french passenger liner, or attack an American cargo ship – it would be Colonel Gaddafi; certainly more so than Slobodon Milosevic or even Saddam Hussein himself.
Those men were evil, this guy is both evil and deranged.