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Friday, March 18, 2011

Battle for Libya

I invite, with these blogs, the simple minded to dismiss me in an instant, claiming I'm pro--dictator.

Not at all. Muammar Gaddafi is a megalomaniac, some say a madman, but I'll say a dictator, ruthless, and cruel, unpalatable to the West in so many ways.

I'm against intervention. Let democracy happen if it is strong enough. If it is not, it is not worth backing, because if it is weak, it will bite us in the hand moments after we've come to its aid. Democracy must be forged and fought for by those that believe and understand its principles.

Did outsiders come and make a democracy for the US? Did that happen in any of the countries of the world where lasting democracies are in place? No.

Yes we were aided during the revolution, by some committed officers from France and Poland, and their loyal followers. However the US, the democracies of South and Latin America, India,and elsewhere, were all hard won through the strength and commitment of those that lived there. No outside coalition consisting of most of the world's powers at that time, intervened to make a single one of them. India, in fact, won its independence, amazingly, against the most powerful empire on the planet, with a united display of civil force, but a minimum of bloodshed.

Now unfortunately, the Western 'coalition', is committed to the region, having answered the call of the 'rebels' some of whom do have democratic yearnings.

Egypt is quite different. There a pluralistic, and complex majority, in fact nearly a totality in percentage terms, of the country's citizens, united to unseat Mubarak, and now votes in orderly respect on a referendum to amend the constitution, despite their many ethnic and political differences. The country is a model to the region and the world. However the process is far from complete, despite the fact that Egypt has thousands of years of history as a country.

Democracy however is often pleaded for by those that don't understand it, or by those who forget that democracy means according rights to others who might be a political enemy. The universal hallmark of territories that cannot form a stable republic, are those engaged in civil war. The killing of fellow citizens, out of deep seated hatred, whether racial, tribal, or religious, cannot make for national unity, no matter how much force is brought to bear from the outside. The cobra and the mongoose cannot be made to get along, certainly not by an outside hand.

In places, that should have become separate nation-states early in their history, strongmen and dictators thrive, and as distasteful as they are to outside nation-states, they serve a role, propping up walls that would otherwise lean and crush the people. The trade-off for removing the dictator, who through force holds the society together, is the awakening of ancient enmities that invariably rears its head as civil war. Examples of this again are Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yugoslavia. Sometimes the civil war is brief and bloody before the territory fissions into many separate smaller nations. This is what happened to Yugoslavia after Tito, and the fall of Communism. But more frequently civil war lingers indefinitely, as is the case in Iraq, which is still not stable.

Gaddafi is the very make and mean of his alter-shadow, Saddam Hussein, whom we put an end to after a very costly two-decade conflict, resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives in the region, and thousands of American soldiers. The region is certainly not better off today than when Sr. Bush made his first move against Hussein.

Aside from Ronald Reagan, who bombed Tripoli, and strafed the Gaddafi palace in 1986, recent US diplomats have actually cozied up to the dictator. In 2008, George W. Bush's Secretary of State, Condaleeza Rice met with him in Tripoli, declaring a new chapter in US/Libya relations. Other Western leaders turned the relationship into a friendship, notably Prime Minister Berlusconi of Italy.

We continued to prop up Gaddafi despite the fact that Gaddafi had financed terrorism in Europe and elsewhere!

Now with oil over $100 a barrel, we've decided to come to the aid of the 'rebels' in his country, who are not at all for a united Libya. These rebels are armed. The country is amidst a civil war.

I ask, how consistent is US foreign policy?

Why are we in no way opposing Saudi intervention into Bahrain, or butchery of protesters in Yemen, while we avail ourselves of an 'opportunity' to topple an old foe? Beware. . . these are hasty decisions made by people who have reasons other than human rights, for wanting to go to war.

The popular rebellion in Libya is not powerful enough to take power away from Gaddafi. Yet that rebellion has been encouraged, and agitated from its inception, by Western, Israeli, and Irani interests all of whom see their ends being accomplished by the dictator being toppled.

With the endorsement of the UN Security Council, the West will take up arms against Libya, while neighbors such as Tunisia will be asked to aid us in our mission, and thus make it more credible.

Yes there were some populist 'rebels', though it was a small, ill-formed rebellion, and not a majority. . . but was agitated, encouraged, and lately hijacked, by Western interests to pursue their own end.

We've made our case to get even with the mad Colonel. Now what?

Is the mandate of the U.N. Security Council resolution to do 'whatever is necessary to protect the citizenry of Libya' to be taken as a mandate to back the 'rebels', and likely divide Libya into two countries? That is what the East Libyan 'rebels' want.

Remember, East Libya, Bengazi and neighboring cities, are the ones with the oil, and the oil ports.

Protect the citizenry or take hold of the refinery?

Let us be mindful of the abstentions within the Security Council: Russia, China, Brazil, Germany, and India.

The world is being led by its myths.

Japan, by its Godzilla of nuclear disaster, and danger from the deep sea. Since the Middle Ages, Islam and Christianity have been fighting jihad and crusades. In our nation's imagination, the latest developments in Libya are a sequel from the Barbary Wars that plagued early US presidents Adams and Jefferson.

How the human psyche continually seeks to preserve the role of the villain! Our monocular vision shows a desperate need to characterize evil as a single individual, with promises that once he is unseated, all will be well. Yet the supply of dark-haired mustached men brandishing arms, and flashing anti-Western rhetoric, seems to be endless.

Those with might cannot resist making this battle their own. The ageless temptations of history ultimately defeats even the strongest nations.

Decades of reciting the Marine anthem in school, has become the code of every American senator and manifested into a reality:

"From the Halls of Montezuma,
 To the shores of Tripoli;
 We fight our country's battles
 In the air, on land, and sea. . . .

 Our flag's unfurled to every breeze
 From dawn to setting sun;
 We have fought in every clime and place
 Where we could take a gun."

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