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Why are we in Libya? A look into our failure to understand the Middle East.

March 28, 2011 3 comments

Yes, I'm crazy, but what's coming will be worse.

Note: this post is kinda long…so if you just want the Cliff Notes, read the last paragraph.

This is the question that is on everyone’s mind, and rumor has it that our president will actually address the issue tonight.  Of course, we started shooting missiles at Libya last week, but what’s a few days?  Someone recently asserted that Obama is showing leadership in dealing with Libya.  Is he?  From my perspective, it certainly appears that we have been pulled into a conflict by the rest of the world — France and England primarily — even though we have absolutely no national interest in being there.  Not only are we spending money we don’t have on a country that provides us nothing of value, we’re now fighting on the same side as our enemy…and no one seems to care. 

Let’s review.

The people of Libya, in a “spontaneous uprising” for “democracy,” move against their wacky dictator Q (I’m not going to try and spell his last name…since it has, at least, three different spellings).  I think we can all agree that dictators are bad, at least theoretically.  Interestingly, the regular people of Libya rather quickly got their hands on some pretty significant fire power.  Thus, the Libyan revolution is not exactly Tiananmen Square.  So, what do you get when you have two different intra-state factions taking up arms against each other?  That’s right: a civil war. 

Q, still wanting to remain in power, used the weapons at his disposal to put down the revolt.  Unfortunately for the rebels, and civilians as well, Q has planes with missiles.  So, Q starts killing his people; both rebels with guns and unarmed civilians.  While the world watches in horror, our leader is filling out his NCAA brackets…both men’s and women’s?! (no, I don’t think he can multi-task).

Eventually, the rebels start to lose, and then France, and then England, call for United Nations intervention.  Why do France and England care?  It’s most likely because they, and the rest of Western Europe, get a lot of oil from Libya.  Thus, they have a national interest in Libya. 

We, however, don’t.  America gets virtually no oil from Libya.  As such, Barry can’t argue that we’re fighting Q for the oil (not that he ever would…oil is evil).  Eventually, it becomes clear that the U.N. is going to do something after France and England demand action.  So, after the U.N. security council votes to allow military action to be taken against Q, Barry jumps on board too.  Of course, he does it without consulting Congress, which makes our military action in Libya significantly different than Bush’s military action in Iraq (where a majority of Congress voted in favor of such military action).  I would argue that Barry’s actions appear to be more appropriately placed within the “follower” column, rather than “leader.”

What do I expect our president to say tonight?  I’m guessing he’ll talk about a large coalition of countries agreeing to stop the atrocities taking place in Libya.  Of course, the “large coalition” consists of about eight countries, none of whom want to take charge of the operation, thereby requiring NATO to take over…which is curious, being that the Libyan rebels we’re defending are no where near the North Atlantic.  But I digress…Barry’s point about ending the atrocities will also be a bit vexing, since other countries, like Bahrain and Syria, have civilians being killed by their governments too.

Now don’t get me wrong…there are lots of Republicans who support what we’re doing in Libya too.  Why?  Because everyone has the same knee-jerk reaction to people crying out for democracy.  Hence the reason why the western world has chosen to support the rebels in this civil war.  Here’s the problem though: there’s a reason why no one in the Middle East/Northern Africa region, save Israel, has ever had a functioning democracy…it’s hard to do.  A country needs several things to be a democracy, not the least of which is the implicit understanding that those in power will cede that power voluntarily through free elections.  In other words, it’s not an accident that the Arab states are almost exclusively ruled by monarchs, theocrats, and petty dictators who don’t like giving up their power.

We're what's coming.

So what’s my point, you ask?  Well, look at Egypt.  Egypt just had a mass uprising of people seeking more freedom.  Of course, like a wind-up toy, every Tom, Dick and Harry in our government supported the uprising.  Democracy totally rules!  A few people, including me, argued that supporting the people of Egypt over a moderate, and stable, dictator was a bad idea.  We argued that the ultimate beneficiary of overthrowing the government was going to be a group like the Muslim Brotherhood, a small, but organized, radical Muslim group whose sole goal is the destruction of Israel and America.  I was told by those on the right and left that I was wrong; Egypt constituted a secular uprising and the Muslim Brotherhood was too small of a group to have a significant impact on the new government.  Well looky-here: I was right; and a long-time middle eastern ally is quickly becoming the exact opposite.

So, did we learn a lesson in Egypt?  Obviously not.  We’re now bombing Q’s forces.  And who is fighting along side of us?  None other than Al Qaeda! Simply put, our country is being run by a bunch of idiots.  And when it comes to bringing democracy to countries that have no hope of remaining functioning democracies, it ain’t just the democrats.  We’re still dealing with the government Bush set up in Iraq, and I’ll guarantee that once we pull out all of our troops, some radical group will take over there too.  And what’s more frightening is that our government (or France or England’s), even after 9/11 and a myriad of other terrorist attacks, still doesn’t understand who our enemy is.  It’s not the wacky dictator in Libya, it’s the group trying to throw him out. 

So, let’s review: we support the overthrow of the Egyptian dictator, only to have the new government consist of, at the very least, a signficant anti-America, radical muslim group.  Now, we follow France and England into Libya to help Al Qaeda, and other like-minded individuals, seize power.  Oh, and we’re borrowing the money from China to do it!  We’ve officially gone down the rabbit hole Alice, and there’s lots of options to play the Mad Hatter.

 

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Iran bans UN nuclear inspectors

June 21, 2010 Leave a comment

It seems that Iran has banned U.N. nuclear inspectors from entering the country.  Why?  Because in January, the U.N. inspectors released a report indicating that Iran had been conducting experiments to enrich uranium, which could then be used in a nuclear bomb.  Iran accused the inspectors of lying, and therefore, they are no longer welcome.  The ban further escalates what should be the U.N.’s top priority: Iran’s continued efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon.

Now, let’s just accept that the United Nations isn’t going to do anything about Iran.  History tells us this.  The U.N. has never taken action to respond to an event beyond either: (1) sending mean letters (see North Korea); or (2) issuing sanctions that only serve to harm the people of a nation, but have no effect on the dictator in charge (see North Korea).  The only exception to this rule is when a human rights violation occurs (see Mogadishu).  So, until Iran actually drops a nuclear bomb on someone (arguably a human right violation), the U.N. will continue to twiddle its thumbs.

In light of the above, we must ask President Obama what he plans on doing about the situation?  Whether he likes it or not, the world looks to the U.S. for leadership.  On the Iran issue, such leadership has been sorely lacking.  In fact, one could reasonably argue that the White House has gone out of its way to appease Iran’s crazy leader (whose name I can’t spell, and will not try).  That’s right…I said “appease.”  The same thing Chamberlain and the rest of Europe did with Hitler in the years running up to World War II.  Is history repeating itself?

Much like Hussein’s banning of U.N. weapons inspectors before we invaded Iraq for a second time (critics seems to forget this little fact), actions speak louder than words.  Simply put, why ban U.N. inspectors if you have nothing to hide?  Iran’s leader continues to assert that the goal of his nuclear plan is for energy…not bombs.  Well, if that’s true, why not let the inspectors in?  I doubt it’s really because everyone is lying except Iran.

The fact is, all signs point to Iran working to develop nuclear weapons.  It appears that the international community, with its hate mail and sanctions, believes that Iran obtaining nuclear weapons would be dangerous.  Such a belief is justified, since there is no dispute that Iran’s leader is a nut-job, and is more than willing to support terrorist groups.  The question that has yet to be answered is what are we going to do about it?  So far, the answer is a resounding nothing.  In fact, instead of having a president who is tough on our enemies, we have one who sends them happy new year videos.

Barry needs a reality check sooner rather than later.  If he continues to live in his fantasy world of riding unicorns, then it becomes increasingly likely that one of the most dangerous men in the world will get to fantasize about pinning the tail on 72 virgins while playing Press Your Luck with the Big Red Button…while we pray for no whammies.

Obama Hates Israel…

June 11, 2010 1 comment

In simultaneous moves, the Obama White House is backing an anti-Israel UN resolution scheduled for next week, while pressuring Congress to ease sanctions on Iran. What the hell is going on?  First, on Israel:

[S]enior Obama administration officials have been telling foreign governments that the administration intends to support an effort next week at the United Nations to set up an independent commission, under UN auspices, to investigate Israel’s behavior in the Gaza flotilla incident.

Terrific.  I can hear Cyndi Lauper now, “I see your true colors shining through….”  No one can legitimately argue that our President doesn’t hate one our strongest allies.  But why does he hate Israel?  I don’t know.  The simplest answer is the same explanation for all of his behavior: he’s incompetent.  Maybe he thinks being hard on Israel will make us look better in the eyes of the Muslim world.  Maybe he thinks he can actually make friends with those that hate us?  Maybe his motives are more sinister.  Only he knows.  But he’s setting a dangerous precedent by backing a U.N. resolution to investigate the activities of a sovereign nation defending itself.  I certainly would not have wanted the U.N.’s permission to drop a couple atomic bombs on Japan to safe the lives of our soldiers.

While the White House cooperates with the U.N. on what will undoubtedly be some one-sided, completely biased investigation, Congress is actually working to install increasingly severe sanctions on Iran:

Administration officials have begun negotiations with congressional leaders, who are working on versions of House and Senate bills that would punish companies that sell refined petroleum products to Iran or help the country’s oil industry.

U.S. sanctions have strong support in Congress, and the administration backs them in principle as a way to strengthen the mild strictures adopted on Wednesday by the U.N. Security Council.

Sounds like a good idea, especially given that Iran has ignored previous U.N. resolutions, and the U.N.’s response is to write angry letters.  At least we can control what we do, right?  Wait, what did you say?

But the administration fears that the legislation also could damage relations with Europe, Russia and China, all of whom cooperated with U.S. efforts on the U.N. sanctions.

In what has to be one of the few times the President has actually taken a stand of his own, he chooses the international community over Congress.  Why would the opinions of Europe, Russia, and China matter?  Don’t we love freedom and hate tyranny?  What about the human rights violations in Iran?  WHAT ABOUT THE FREAKIN’ NUCLEAR WEAPONS?!  The fact is, the White House has no interest in severely sanctioning Iran.  Why?  Because the White House is more interested in making friends with our enemies then they are defending Israel, an actual ally.  The problem is that, aside from the U.N. simply being a pathetically weak alliance made up of far too many socialists and wannabe communists, it is blatantly anti-semitic.  Is that really the side we want to be on?

Meanwhile, U.S. business groups have been complaining that the legislation could punish them by barring U.S. firms from doing business with any foreign firms that have commercial ties to Iran.

I call bull-s**t.  Since when did this White House care about punishing business?  For crying out loud, that’s all they’ve been doing since Obama became President!  And the businesses specifically mentioned as being punished?  Shell, Total and China Oil…the hated oil companies!  Let’s face it: the White House hates Israel so much that it’s willing to go soft on our enemies and defend the interests of the big businesses it claims to despise.  This President is a disgrace.

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