Posts Tagged ‘Libya’

LIBYA: Double-Talk = Tripoli Trouble

Monday, March 28th, 2011

The following is a hypothetical, impromptu interview:

Q: After weeks of apparent dithering, why did the USA suddenly begin creating a “no-fly zone” in Libya?

A: For humanitarian reasons.

Q: We’re attacking targets on the ground as well in the air . . . true?

A: Yes, well . . . in order to enforce the “no-fly zone”, we have to attack and destroy all Libyan, governmental anti-aircraft sites on the ground.

Q: Don’t these actions constitute acts of war?

A: In the traditional sense, possibly.

Q: Pursuant to the Constitution, the Administration neglected to ask Congress for a declaration of war against Libya ( Why?

A: No need. We’ve placed our military actions under the authority of the United Nations and under the control of . . . well, we’re not quite sure who’s in control entirely at the moment . . . NATO is partly, I think. I’ve been traveling out of the country, you know. Other than NATO, who knows? We’re sorting it out through international committees.

Q: Wasn’t NATO created for the defense of Western Europe against an attack by the now-dismantled Soviet Union?

A: Ancient history.

Q: Initially, the Administration spoke only of a “no-fly zone”. Yet, we’ve also implemented a naval blockade. Doesn’t that, too, constitute an act of war?

A: As I said, possibly.

Q: Pursuant to the Constitution, the Administration again neglected to ask the Congress for a declaration of war. Why?

A: The Administration did notify Congress just before I left the country.

Q: In addition to the “no-fly zone” and naval blockade, we’ve attacked Libyan armor, artillery, and lines of supply on the ground. Furthermore, economically, we’ve frozen Libyan financial accounts and seized Libyan assets in the USA even though we’ve not declared war against Libya. Did we afford the Libyans due process in the courts before the freeze and the seizure?

A: No need. The President is the President. Look, why’re you making such a fuss over such trivial issues. I’ve already told you, we’re protecting civilians in Libya for humanitarian reasons.

Q: But not civilians in Iran nor Syria. Why the distinction?

A: The reasons are too complicated for most Americans to understand. Anyway, those reasons have been labeled “top-secret”.

Q: Aren’t many of these so-called Libyan civilians actually armed rebels fomenting a bloody civil war albeit ostensibly in the name of democracy?

A: They’re human beings who need our protection from a dictatorial lunatic.

Q: Maybe so but does their armed uprising represent a threat to American national interests? Before we attacked, did the Libyan government represent such a threat? The U.S. Secretary of War . . . .

A: You mean . . . Secretary of Defense.

Q: Sorry. The Secretary of Defense has said no.

A: (Silence.)

Q: I’ll take your silence also as a “No”. Several years ago after our invading Iraq, the Libyan government voluntarily ceased attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Aren’t we teaching small countries that, without nuclear weapons, they remain prey to the whims of American presidents? Would we, for example, have invaded Serbia if then-President Slobodan Milošević had had nuclear weapons?

A: The same issue held then as now . . . protecting civilians. Of course, as our actions showed in Serbia, the primary goal is that no American personnel get hurt . . . even if we ourselves have to engage in civilian bombing.

Q: No American military hurt in war?

A: Especially in war.

Q: And tactical nuclear weapons can inflict quite a lot of hurt?

A: Obviously.

Q: What are the long-term goals for this current invasion?

A: This isn’t an invasion. American troops are not on the ground . . . at the moment, anyway. We rescued the airpersons who were. With regard to long-term goals, those remain to be determined. I can tell you this, however, they do not . . . I repeat . . . they do not include “regime-change”.

Q: Yet, you’ve said that Col. Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi, the self-proclaimed “King of Kings”, must go. Is that true?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Long-term goals aside, what are the long-term plans?

A: Those also remain to be determined.

Q: By whom?

A: That, too, remains to be determined, but make no mistake, it will be done in full consultation with our allies . . . and even with our adversaries. In fact, personally I’m willing to include those who don’t give a damn one way or another.

Q: Some critics are accusing the Administration of using double-talk as a smokescreen for a deficit in understanding and an excess of indecision and weakness . . . much-delayed televised appearances notwithstanding.

A: The Attorney-General’s office says those critics are racists and has turned the matter over to the FBI as a possible conspiracy to commit a hate-crime . . . oh yes, and to the IRS, also.

Q: Why the IRS?

A: Why not?

Q: Would you agree, nevertheless, that we’ve gotten ourselves into a third military adventure on Mohammedan territory . . . the consequence of which could be a prolonged military stalemate with prolonged American military presence? The Secretary of Defense, for example, couldn’t guarantee that we’d be out of Libya by the end of the year. Worse, aren’t we doing it on borrowed money from our self-proclaimed adversary, Communist China, which could be the main beneficiary of Libyan oil no matter who wins . . . kind of like in Iraq?

A: Stop . . . enough already! Can’t you see that we’re acting in accordance with American military tradition since World War Two? We don’t declare wars. We try to act through international agencies, preferably the United Nations even though the majority of its members despises America. We attack only countries without nuclear weapons, preferably weak ones that really can’t fight back . . . like Libya. Most importantly, we fight not to win. Now, I’ve gotta run. I’m due on the golf-course. Have a great day.

LIBYA: Who’s In Charge Here?

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Behavioral science from the biobehavioral orientation tells us that we approach problems-in-living by employing the following, stepwise procedure: Analysis and Resolution. The four sub-parts comprising Analysis are the following: Context, Antecedents, Behaviors, and Consequences. The four sub-parts comprising Resolution: Problem, Goals, Plan, and Measurement.

Context: The Arabic world has entered another period of disarray. Some governments face mobs demonstrating in the streets. Others face armed rebellions. One characteristic that all these countries have in common . . . none is a democracy; all are autocratic, one way or another.

Given the policies of the two, previous Bush-era presidencies, the USA has involved itself in two wars on Mohammedan territory . . . each lasting years . . . and neither with a clear-cut resolution. Recently, some Persian Iranians demonstrated against obviously rigged elections there. The Obama-administration essentially adopted a hands-off policy, ignoring horrific repression of the demonstrators by a fanatically theological government . . . an avowed enemy of the USA, which it refers to as “The Great Satan” and which represents a clear-cut threat to American national interests. In contrast, the Obama-administration urged Hosni Mubarak to resign the presidency of Egypt in the face of similar public demonstrations there. Mr. Mubarak was a long-time, American quasi-ally. Unlike Iran, Egypt represented no threat to American national interests . . . thereby, confirming the old adage that to be an enemy of the USA is dangerous; to be a friend is fatal.

Antecedent: Meanwhile, armed rebels have launched a civil war against Col. Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi, the self-proclaimed “King of Kings” in Libya. In years passed, Col. Gaddafi had been a sworn enemy against the West and especially the USA. Recently, however, he had defanged himself, becoming a semi-reliable supplier of a particularly valuable, “sweet” petroleum that is highly prized and not easily replaced.

In response to the uprising, the King of Kings vowed severe retaliation. Early on, the rebels seemed to be winning. As time passed, the tide began turning with Col. Gaddafi’s forces launching both airborne and land-based counteroffensives.

Behavior: Admittedly, situations such as the Arabic uprisings can present great difficulty to a nation such as the USA that has defined itself as a world-policeman. Our second president, John Adams, promoted American sympathy for democratic movements worldwide . . . sympathy but not military support. Since the end of World War Two, his successors have expanded sympathy into support.

To some, our behavioral response to the Libyan antecedent has seemed tepid, confused, and self-contradictory. Without going into details readily available in newspapers or on television for those unwilling or unable to read, currently the USA once again has ceded its national authority to a so-called international consensus via the United Nations. This consensus included neither Chinese nor Russian participation.

Whereas the U.S. Constitution implies authority for a president unilaterally to take military action when an antecedent represents an immediate threat of grave import to the national interest, it explicitly reserves declarations of war to Congress. Since 1941, despite several, prolonged military actions, the Congress never has issued a declaration of war. In this case, Mr. Obama merely notified Congress.

Now, the USA has involved itself directly in a third, concurrent military conflict on Mohammedan territory. Given the nature of the Arabic culture, predictably the character of the rebels varies from anarchists to democrats to radical, fanatical, fundamentalists . . . with no definitive leadership observable. Given the nature of the Obama-administration, predictably the character of us agents of foreign military intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation also remains ill-defined.

Who’s in charge? No one seems to know.

Consequences: In his address concerning Libya, Mr. Obama warned Col. Gaddafi that consequences would follow his behavior. So, what are the consequences following our behavior?

Two days after airborne attacks began by American, British, French . . . oh yes, and four, Omanian aircraft . . . the so-called consensus began to disintegrate with the Arab League voicing doubts and the Russians voicing condemnation.

Even so, militarily advances by Libyan governmental forces seemed to have halted, at least for the moment. The rebels now are enjoying a respite, the length of which no one can predict. Whether the situation will deteriorate into a prolonged stalemate with prolonged American involvement, no one can predict either.

An economic consequence is the American taxpayer ultimately paying for our latest military adventure. To do so, however, we temporarily must borrow the money. From whom? For one, from our erstwhile enemy now creditor-ally, Japan, to whom we are sending aid after their destructive earthquake. For another, from our erstwhile ally now creditor-adversary, China. Meanwhile we, a debtor-nation, go more deeply into debt.

A behavioral excess of foreign military adventures without the required congressional declarations of war but with an excess of financial borrowing from both allies and adversaries.

Goals: Short-term . . . to have stopped the previously effective military counteroffensive by the established Libyan government. Long-term . . . undefined but, thus far, self-contradictory.

Plan: Short-term . . . to clear the skies of Libyan, governmental aircraft. Long-term . . . undefined.

Measurement: None stated explicitly.

The facts seem to speak for themselves. Given our past history, the USA might find that it has borrowed in the name of democracy from an avowed adversary to pursue a military invasion of a sovereign nation in the midst of a civil war only to install a theocracy hostile to the West and eager to sell its prized petroleum to two, formidable adversaries of the USA . . . communistic China and autocratic Russia. Now post-Mubarak, Egypt is heading down the path of radical, Mohammedan fundamentalism.

Is there an alternative to the current, seemingly endless, self-defeating policies of our federal government? Yes. What does it entail? Specificity, objectivity, and accountability. Where can it be found? Science (