Thursday, April 21, 2011

War by Other Means

Libya Who?
So, does anyone out there know what we are all doing in, by or for Libya???? I see now that we have just approved the use of armed drones . . . you know, those flying thingies that swoop out of the blue, fire rockets at things and people, and then disappear, all without human hands at the helm. But, we will not put “feet on the ground.”
Huh!
Why not, pray tell? Someone might get hurt?
First we (the UN) said that Ghadaffi should go, and that we (the civilized world) declared a “NO-FLY” zone, keeping  Ghadaffi from dropping bombs on civilians.  Ok. Then we started rocketing his tanks, until we discovered that the rebels (remember them??) got their hands on some tanks.
Then it all started getting really ugly and complicated, as wars often do, with Ghadaffi adapting and pushing the rebels back all over Libya. As Ghadaffi became more aggressive, and more effective against his opposition civilians, we seemingly became more confused.  So we finally declared that our goal, in addition to protecting civilians, was to have a “regime change” (remember those??). We wanted Ghadaffi out.
Except that the man steadfastly refuses to go. He is patently refusing to pay any attention to our invitations to get him to depart post haste.
So, what’s our collective response? Well, the Brits are sending “advisors” (ahh, for those of you who remember Vietnam, that’s how we began there).
I don’t get it.
We decide collectively, that Libya should be freed from its murderous ruler. But, we need to obey some rules. Mustn’t send in troops. That’s a no-no in UN-speak. Huh??? We are apparently relying on the local population to pull off another Egypt or Tunisia thing. They do the work, and we applaud in the background. Except this time, it doesn’t seem to be working.
I guess I have never really understood these rules by which we declare goals and then refuse to act so as to achieve them. War is nasty business. One should not engage in war unless you are sure that the end justifies the means. War-means are inherently deadly.  That’s why it’s’ not called peace.
Maybe we need to back off, unless we are clear about what we are doing., and what will happen as a result. Maybe the UN just isn’t up to this regime-changing business.
Maybe NATO isn’t either.
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