Saturday, March 19, 2011

Team America

So I take it we just entered another war? U.S. forces, along with Britain, France, Canada and Italy, struck targets along the Libyan coast today calling it "Operation Odyssey Dawn." Apparently Gaddafi calls it an act of colonial, crusader aggression, but whatever.

I don't know what to think. I mean, I'm probably thinking the same thoughts I had exactly eight years ago when we invaded Iraq: I don't like war.

There must have been some time in U.S. history when wars were few and far between, but when we get them stacked one after another like this, we (the public) at least have the benefit of a little more skepticism, a little more wisdom, a little more sense of what questions we should be asking. I hope.

For example, do the Libyans want us to intervene in their country? In the lead up to the Iraq war, we were told we'd be greeted as liberators. Remember that? But the famous toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein was completely staged psyops -- the people you see hanging around in that film footage are mostly members of the U.S. Marines and the international press.

But the Libyan uprising started without us. The blood was already flowing when the Libyans themselves begged the rest of the world for help. Doing nothing would be the same as supporting Gaddafi, who in case it must be said, is a rich, brutal dictator with a loyal army ready to kill with no restraint.

Despite that reality, the public hasn't been sold this war based on any fabricated fear factor. No lies about WMDs or fables about defending our own freedom. It seems to be about helping oppressed people. But the skeptic in me knows that aim has kind of been the most common justification for all our military action in the last 60 years.

Most of which haven't gone so well. Sitting around watching Gaddafi slaughter his people won't go so well either.

So the military action today is the first easy step. But then what? We can depose Gaddafi, but how do we identify all the other baddies? What stops them from becoming the new despots of a new Libya? And is it our responsibility to fix any new problems that arise? Do we then move on to Bahrain or Yemen? Or will we be satisfied as long as the Libyan oil keeps flowing?

I hope that, along with the new governments of Egypt and Tunisia, this is the start of a new more democratic Middle East. I hope this war isn't another painful blunder, and my god, I hope we have an exit strategy.

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