McCain's Albright Moment

Remember back in the everyone-is-gay old '90s, when then-U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Madaleine Albright, frustrated by Washington's then-inaction in stopping Serbian slaughter in Bosnia, delivered this infamous zinger to then-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell?

What's the use of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?

Well, last week Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) expressed some positively Albrightian frustration about Washington's current disinterest in using the military to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya:

"Of course we have to have a no-fly zone," McCain said at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington on Tuesday. "We are spending over $500 billion dollars, not counting Iraq and Afghanistan, on our nation's defense. Don't tell me we can't do a no-fly zone over Tripoli."

"I love the military, I love it, it's been my life, but they always seem to find reasons why you can't do something rather than why you can," he added.

Besides illustrating the rogue-state rollbacker's perpetually itchy trigger finger (since 1995, anyway; he was actually opposed to intervening in Yugoslavia back in 1993), the above juxtaposition is also a quick and dirty demonstration of interventionism's slippery slope. America was still gun-shy about messing about unilaterally into other country's affairs in 1993, but after the precedents and comparative successes of Bosnia '95 and Kosovo '99 (the latter of which arguably had less multilateral legitimacy than the Iraq War), followed by the pre-emptive warmaking of George W. Bush, the 50-yard line on military adventurism has shifted. President Obama's reticence in the Middle East is nudging it backward, but any number of potential conflagrations there, in addition to the ongoing surge in Central Asia, could halt or even reverse that process.

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  • Old Mexican||

    "I love the military, I love it, it's been my life, but they always seem to find reasons why you can't do something rather than why you can," he added.


    What good is there in having a block buster if nobody can see it go off?

  • David E. Gallaher/Ruthless||

    There's a spooky similarity between these two love-hate relationships: the US Defense Dept vs. hawks such as McCain compared to Libyan Rebels vs. US/Hillary interference.

  • Old Mexican||

    What good is there in having a pitbull if one can't see it rip someone's throat off?

  • ||

    Can somebody please explain why we need a no-fly zone? All it'll do is prolong the fighting by restricting the sides to fighting building to building...thus creating more destruction.

    I'm still waiting on these people to come out and declare what they stand for, as opposed to what they are against. Not that these despotic assholes didn't need to be removed, but it has nothing to do with us from a military standpoint. We need to be on the sidelines helping to ferry out Americans and any other refugees who want to flee the chaos. Anything else is simply meddling where we don't belong.

  • ||

    Gaddafi is bombing his own people. No-fly zone would take that option away from him. It seems that a lot of Libyans are asking for the UN to enforce a no-fly. They think it levels the playing field a bit.

  • Eric||

    Cool, maybe they can get their own planes and volunteer flyboys.

  • ||

    I think they would like to, but it's hardly feasible, is it?

  • ||

    I don't know. Would it be better to not intervene at all or, if we must get involved, to go whole hog?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Take off and nuke Libya from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

  • Brett L||

    Bomb first! Bomb most!

  • Hugh Akston||

    But seriously, I see your point. Being the only other country on earth with access to aeroplane technology is a heavy burden to bear.

  • Eric||

    That's unfortunate, but not my problem. I'm a bit more concerned about us getting sucked into a conflict that is not ours -- and there's enough precedent there to fill 100,000 body bags, and not a few unmarked graves and ditches besides.

  • ||

    Right now the people of Libya are asking the international community to stop Gaddafi from bombing them. They do not want foreign troops on the ground.
    I'm usually the last guy in the room to advocate any sort of military force. I'm getting to be more & more of a pragmatist though, and in this case, since the people are asking for some protection from this despot, it seems justified.

  • shorter hi#||

    TEAM BLUE is in charge so it's different ya know.

  • ||

    Why the hell do you think this is about domestic American politics? The world does not revolve around your nation.

  • ||

    ---"The world does not revolve around your nation."---

    Fair enough. There are other nations more closely affected with the capability of establishing a no-fly zone.

  • ||

    I understand how you feel. I suppose if it weren't going to be all us (and it would, it sounds like), it might be easier to do. And our involvement could, like usual, have unintended consequences.

  • Kolohe||

    Right now the people of Libya are asking the international community to stop Gaddafi from bombing them.

    And either during the first strikes to take out the SAMs, or in some follow up activity, some bomb is going to go errant (or had bad targeting info to begin with) and kill some kid(s), and guess what becomes the front page story, particularly in the non-western press?

  • ||

    "The people of Libya"? Really? Was there a survey? Oh, you mean, "the people of Libya as they would be if they understood things the way highnumber does." THAT "people of Libya."

  • ||

    Right. I have not had the opportunity to conduct a sound survey. I am so busted. How did you guess? I'll hit the phones right now, remembering to adjust for sample size, misheard words due to bombs and gunfire, etc. I was a fool to believe the only information available, the anecdotal info that comes to me through Twitter, Facebook, Al Jazeera, and various international media. In fact, just as soon as it's safe, I'll fly right over and take a house to house survey. But you're right, the world needs to wait until that can be done before even considering listening to the loudmouths spouting off about Gaddafi slaughtering them. Buncha whining pussies, they surely are.

  • ||

    So I'm right about your source for the claim that "the people of Libya" want military intervention from the US/UN/EU. Glad to have it cleared up.

    Please tell me you have worn or do wear the uniform of the US or a friendly country, and I'll cut you some slack. Otherwise you're just a loudmouth cheerleader for war with someone else's blood.

  • ||

    Yes, I too am glad that we cleared up that the sources I have are the only ones available other than Gaddafi and his goons. I'm not sure how you could have been confused about that, but here we are.

    Your second paragraph - it's outstanding how much shit you crammed into those one and a half, sort of two sentences. First, are you a militarist? Do you believe that the military should tell the citizenry what the military should be doing? You really ought to be careful about that. Second, asking that the people of Libya (again, yes, only the voices that we've been able to hear, not based on a scientific survey of said people) be heard when they ask for help stopping their own wholesale slaughter at the hands of that nutbag, that's cheerleading for war? I'll admit that suggesting that the use of (mostly the threat of) force is far from comfortable for me, but when fellow humans in their situation are asking for help, I will listen. I'd love to be the guy who, hell, I'd love for you to be the guy who finds a way out for them, but right now they are asking for this specific help and I can't think of anything they need more that the world could provide.

  • ||

    No, I'm not a militarist. Did I say anything that would make you think I was? Please be specific. (Reminds me of the way that people who DON'T want to travel to the other side of the world to bomb darker-skinned people are always accused of being racists. In this case, the person [that would be me] who does NOT want to use the military is . . . a militarist.)

    But anyway, the people of Libya need help, and you're on a libertarian blog giving yourself a good-citizen-of-the-world merit badge? Outstanding!

  • ||

    Please tell me you have worn or do wear the uniform of the US or a friendly country, and I'll cut you some slack. Otherwise you're just a loudmouth cheerleader for war with someone else's blood.


    You sound like a militarist right there. You imply that the military knows what the military ought to be doing.

    But anyway, the people of Libya need help, and you're on a libertarian blog giving yourself a good-citizen-of-the-world merit badge? Outstanding!


    Your point? And, like you say, please be specific.

  • ||

    You have it 180* backwards--I wouldn't support the proposed war policy if you wore the uniform, I'd respect the fact that you have some skin in the game.

    And my point is, if the people of Libya are so desperate and so deserving, what are you doing arguing with me? How many lives could you save if you put your energies into actually trying to influence policy rather than bloviating to the most powerless political subgroup in the world?

  • ||

    I made a brief comment here and was engaged in regard to it. I spend most of my day earning a living and taking care of and enjoying my family. Outside that I am actively involved in serving humanity, mostly in my community but to some extent the world at large. With the bit of free time I have outside these activities I am sometimes distracted by purely social pursuits, what you might call "good times," or reading and spend the odd moment here & there interacting through the medium of the Internet.

    Or was your point that I am wasting my time engaging with the likes of you? You may be right but I was giving you the benefit of the doubt.

  • ||

    Whether you're wasting your time engaging the likes of me is entirely your call.

    I'll be here either way.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: highnumber,

    No-fly zone would take that option away from [Qaddafi].


    ... And from his enemies.

  • ||

    Do you mean the people of Libya? They don't exactly have access to an air force.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: highnumber,

    Do you mean the people of Libya? They don't exactly have access to an air force.


    The pilots have families, too. You don't think a few of them can't make a Cactus Air Force of their own?

  • Old Mexican||

    What good is there in having a can of spray paint if one can't draw graffiti on walls?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    What is the good of having cans of gunpowder, boxes of ball bearings, some short sections of steel pipe, duct tape, fuzes and a bunch of wooden matches if you.... well, you get the idea.

  • ||

    Don't fret Senator; I'm sure that it's only a matter of time before a war opportunity that progressives like will come along.

  • ||

    Pencil it in on your calendar....three months before the next presidential election.

  • Skip||

    Only if the oppressors are fat, white Rush Limbaugh listeners.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    There is some other kind?

  • McCain and liberals||

    People with militaries and guns always gotta use them and that's why they're great/scary.

  • ||

    I'm sure the people will throw rose petals at us. Might be a few dead enders. It will pay for itself with the increased oil production.
    People love freedom.

    C'mon people - recycling slogans is fun!

  • ||

    The Libyans are asking for the UN to enforce a no-fly zone, not the US, and they do not want troops on the ground. They just want somebody to stop the air attacks. Apparently. This is all kind of hearsay.

  • DJF||

    The UN doesn’t have an air force so how are they going to enforce a no-fly zone?

  • DJF||

    To add to that concerning no-fly zones,

    The African Union doesn’t have the capability, they would be lucky to defend their own airspace

    The Arab league has slightly higher capacity then the AU but not nearly enough and its governments are under threat from their own population

    The EU has enough fighter/bombers but doesn’t have a lot of refueling aircraft and radar planes and also lacks collective will.

    The only country with the ability to do it is the US, but hopefully our politicians will remember that we are already involved in too many wars

  • ||

    There's always Israel.

  • Tony||

    Unlike the Bushies, the Obama people aren't living under the delusion that Arabs will greet American tanks and planes with flowers and cheers. Believing in American exceptionalism yourself is one thing, expecting foreigners to share the delusion is insanity.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    Note that this hasn't gotten us out of Iraq, or stopped us from incinerating Afghani children (albeit they are not Arabs).

  • ||

    How's that Afghan surge thingee working out anyway?

    Obama took ownership of that fiasco dream with 30,000 troops.

  • Paul||

    This "american exceptionalism" thing is getting thrown out so often, it's about as meaningful as being called "racist".

  • Hugh Akston||

    I'm sure Obama sets his chin with grim determination every time he authorizes the deployment of Flying Killer Robots into Pakistan.

  • ||

    Don't forget Yemen.

  • Old Mexican||

    the Obama people aren't living under the delusion that Arabs will greet American tanks and planes with flowers and cheers.


    Indeed. They live under a different set of delusions as it is.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    the Obama people aren't living under the delusion that Arabs will greet American tanks and planes with flowers and cheers.


    Which is why he sends Predator planes to murder them...

  • Trespassers W||

    the Obama people

    The proper term is "Obamanations."

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Obamatons.

  • Tony||

    Don't everyone jump at once to make sure I'm aware of how equally 100% awful Obama is to Bush.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Don't everyone jump at once to make sure I'm aware of how equally 100% awful Obama is to Bush.


    Hey! No need to defame - nobody has said Obama has been 100% awful to Bush! He has treated him with some respect.

  • DJF||

    “”””We are spending over $500 billion dollars, not counting Iraq and Afghanistan, on our nation's defense. Don't tell me we can't do a no-fly zone over Tripoli."“””

    So exactly what does Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have to do with the US national defense? And to add, what does defending Europe, Japan, South Korea, etc, etc have to do with US national defense.

  • ||

    "but after the precedents and comparative successes of Bosnia '95 and Kosovo '99"

    Please explain why it is a success that we allowed the "ethnic cleansing" of historically Serbian lands by Islamics following our undertaking those "successes"

    Especially in light of the follower of Islam whose family was saved in the 90's and in gratitude he murdered US citizens in Germany.


    I'm sure that it is merely coincidence that the most recent three democrat presidents have actively supported islamic jihad goals (Carter & Obama promoting revolutions by followers of radical islam; Clinton by bombing forces fighting islamic invasions)

  • ||

    This message brought to you by the Omarska Revisionist Project of Greater Serbia.

    ("Omarska: they had it coming, y'know?")

  • Matt Welch||

    "Comparative" being the operable modifier.

  • Hugh Akston||

    And of course now we have a stealth mooselimb in the White House. Coincidence?

  • ||

    Heh. Funny thing, ain't it? Every time we start closing in on small government paradise, some weird guy in a weird hat does something like blow an airliner or four out of the sky and forces us into the position of putting up a fight or backing down like bitches.

    These guys like Kaddafi never read up on Austrian School economics and they just never seem to get with the program, do they? Instead of keeping it groovy, they make the world a dangerous place, where totally uncool stuff like "military force" and "international alliances" and "border control" are needed.

    Hey, here's an idea: maybe if we just ignore them and pretend like they are not there, they will go away and leave us alone. Maybe if the wolf gets to kill all the sheep in the valley, he won't come up to kill the sheep in the hills. There's big oceans around us. Maybe if we just lie real still and quiet in the dark under our blankie, the bad guys won't even notice that we're here.

  • ||

    Oh Danny, when will you make a cogent point? I had such high hopes for you, but they never materialized.

  • ||

  • ||

    Its email is all caps. I NEED NO OTHER INDICATION OF INSANITY.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Where and how the fuck do you find this insane shit?

    Not sure I wanna know, but that's funny as hell. I know, because my undergrad degree is in biology. But nobody was doing crap like that back then.

  • ||

    I just go where the internet takes me... but that particular image is from Memebase After Dark. NSFW

  • ||

    Please don't feed the troll.

    I don't care what that guy had to say about the subject in the morning links.

  • Eric||

    Gee Danny, I'm glad we have savants like you to tell us that some camel-fucking dictator in Libya presents an existential threat to America. Yep, if we don't stop him now, next thing you know, we'll be repelling an invasion force of Libyan paratroopers set on taking Washington DC. Jesus.

    Here's a q, since it's hard to get a straight answer from you guys: when is it *not* appropriate to use military force to resolve conflict?

  • ||

    Ridiculous, isn't it? Almost as bad as a crazy story about some old team of guerrilla fighters in the middle of some central Asian nowhereland initiating a plot that blows the bottom 5th of Manhattan Island to smithereens with no weapons bigger than box cutters.

    I mean, seriously, when will people like me get real already, eh?

  • Eric||

    Shorter Danny: we must intervene in every country everywhere there is instability or injustice, because if not, terrorism. Show me, Danny, how in the *here and now* there is any proof that Qaddhafi presents an existential threat, how the rebels present a more stable regime, and a viable endgame that minimizes terrorism coming from and supported by the region. Jesus, even Iraq was better thought-out.

    No one knows what they fuck is going on in Libya and no one saw this on the horizon at all until it happened, there is no feasible exit plan, and no idea who the rebels really are and what they would look like when in power. Oh, and there's no indication that military intervention would actually serve our interests. Yet non-specific military intervention with no endgame in mind is what conventional thinkers immediately conceptualize as a first response. You see why we might not trust them (and you)?

  • Eric||

    Still haven't answered my q, btw.

  • ||

    First, there is no "existential" threat to the U.S. outside of Chinese and Russian nuclear arsenals. Even if bin Laden got two or three nukes and set them off in our biggest cities, the nation would endure. (The Dude abides.) That doesn't mean we are constrained to responding only to "existential" threats. A terrorist attack that kills 3,000 or 300 or 30 or just 3 people is within our legitimate sphere of interest. Using "existential threat" as a buzzword does not make you smart or cool, and doesn't win the argument for you.

    Second, we can hit a tyrant and terrorism sponsor ... whenever and wherever it suits our interests. There is no principle, no morality, and no ethical constraints between one of our air-to-ground munitions and the skull of somebody like Kaddafi. He has no enforceable claim to life or liberty against us or our military forces. He lives by the law of the jungle. He can die by the law of the jungle, by our hand or any other.

    I think this is a good and opportune time to make an object lesson of Kaddafi. All indications are that after a few strikes on his facilities from a standoff distance, his own people will take care of the rest with great ease. You may differ in the tactical evaluation. But no rule of decency is broken by bringing the rain down on Kaddafi's head immediately.

  • Jim||

    OK, fine. Since the Lockerbie bombing, which we bombed him back for, how many Americans have Libyan-backed terrorists killed?

  • ||

    Maybe zero, and I don't give a rat's a$$.

    I'm not in the business of giving the likes of Kaddafi the benefit of the doubt, or of keeping the response to terrorism nicely "proportional," or of letting bygones be bygones when my fellow citizens get turned into burnt mulch.

    Kaddafi's adventurism in most every corner of Africa and the Middle East has sown chaos and atrocity which has redounded to the detriment of us, our allies, and the whole world. Most every person on earth would be incrementally better off without him. He deserves no quarter, and I'm not looking for reasons or excuses for giving him one.

    The lesson that needs to be taught is that if you EVER give America a good reason to smoke you, you will come to regret it.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Danny, a new Carcano and a plane ticket to Tripoli should cost you less than $10,000. If you want to go hunt down Khaddafi, you have my blessing.

    Just don't use collective pronouns that include me.

  • ||

    Either one of us can "opt out" by leaving the country. Or we can stay here and try to win the political outcome. I'm not going anywhere. I suspect you aren't, either. I'll be doing my part to take Kaddafi down. You can do your part to save his sorry bacon. We will see who prevails in the end soon enough.

  • ||

    ---"I'm not in the business of giving the likes of Kaddafi the benefit of the doubt, or of keeping the response to terrorism nicely "proportional,"---

    I'm guessing that if you are not in the military, proportional means sending somebody else's sons and daughters to do your responding.

  • ||

    "not proportional"---sorry about that.

  • ||

    Memo to Cunc: there is no draft these days.

  • ||

    Our soldiers and sailors are still children/spouses/parents.

    Throwing them away on fools errands and insinuating ourselves into disputes that are not our business isn't justified just because they volunteered for service.

    What is happening in Libya appears to be a revolution or a civil war. Not our business. Humanitarian assistance may be justified, but getting involved in the fighting isn't.

    If we truly believe we should provide humanitarian aid, we tell both sides, "we are landing humanitarian aid at a particular location away from the fighting. Fuck with us and pay the price. Leave us alone and we'll drop our stuff and go."

  • ||

    You are not worthy of the role of guardian ad litem for US military personnel who may be put in harm's way. If there was a poll of US military personnel on this matter, they may well be found champing at the bit for a chance to wreak vengance on a tyrant that played a critical part in killing their fellow service members.

    This "not our business" formulation contributes exactly nothing to the discussion. It is our business if we consider it so. It is not our business if we choose to avoid it. We can include or exclude Kaddafi's fate from "our business" as we see fit.

    Kaddifi has no standing to invoke being "left alone" by us or by anyone else he has attacked or threatened.

  • ||

    ---"You are not worthy of the role of guardian ad litem for US military personnel who may be put in harm's way"---

    I agree. Nor are you. I was, though, in the Army during Vietnam and saw people die from that clusterfuck.

    Were you in the Service at all, or just a chicken hawk?

    Our Service personnel are a precious resource with a real purpose, defending the US, not pushing petty tinpot dictators around because we can.

    ---"It is our business if we consider it so"---

    BULlSHIT.

    ---"If there was a poll of US military personnel on this matter, they may well be found champing at the bit for a chance to wreak vengance on a tyrant that played a critical part in killing their fellow service members."---

    I don't remember it working that way. They never asked me what I wanted to do (go home), but told me do what they wanted me to do.

  • ||

    You can't just jack the discussion because you allege, on an anonymous message board, that you are a veteran (serving back when we had a conscript army). And putting the word "bullshit" in ALL CAPS isn't an argument.

    Kaddafi is an enemy, a regional problem, and a foe of everything we stand for and are trying to achieve in the world. Our "business" is not self-defining. We make practical choices about which fights we can and cannot undertake. There is no golden equation that defines which fights are legitimately ours.

    Kaddafi is in so much trouble right now that, if we acted quickly, we could topple him with missile strikes alone. It would be more of a cakewalk than the zero-KIA campaigns over Bosnia and Kosovo.

    "Chickenhawk" is how losers end their arguments we they have nothing else. You're done here. Buh-bye now.

  • ||

    ---"You can't just jack the discussion because you allege, on an anonymous message board, that you are a veteran (serving back when we had a conscript army)"---

    Shall I e-mail you a redacted copy of my DD214? I was a volunteer, not a draftee.

    Chicken Hawk asshole who wants to send other people to do his heavy lifting.

    You're done here. Buh-bye now.

  • ||

    Better idea: why don't you publicly post an unredacted copy of your military record if you want to leverage it in a political discussion in which you have no other way of holding up your own end?

    Your veteran status means exactly nothing to me. I don't support the wrong military actions because veterans call me unpatriotic, and I don't withhold support from the right military actions because some bitter old goat calls me a "chickenhawk." The debate is won on the merits. You went ad hominem. You forfeited.

    And since the "heavy lifting" in this case means pushing the button on a cruiser's missile control panel, I'd be not only happy but probably qualified for the job with some rudimentary training.

  • ||

    ---"Better idea: why don't you publicly post an unredacted copy of your military record"---

    Too much personal info. I would be glad to somehow prove to you that I am a veteran (I live in LA. where are you?), but I don't think it would matter.

  • ||

    That is a brilliant deduction on your part, given that I just stated that your veteran status is utterly irrelevant to this matter, and explained why.

  • ||

  • Jim||

    You state that you're not interested in letting bygones be bygones, so I assume you're also still in favor of continued bombing of all of Vietnam, NK, Germany, Japan, and Italy. They "smoked" a lot of Americans some decades back, IIRC.

  • ||

    Yes of course, Jim. The clear implication is that you keep bombing the same real estate even decades after treaties, regime change, cease-fires, etc.

    You worthless moron. Mother Earth deserves a full refund on all the oxygen you have ever breathed.

  • Jim||

    Hey, you're the one who failed to specify on when, exactly, the bygones could be let go. We bombed Libya after Lockerbie, and nobody has raised any fuss about it in the decades since, so you're assertion that it's now OK to go in and wreak havoc on that basis is stupid.

    And BTW, I'm a member of that military you love so much that you want more of us to die to overthrow "dictators". 38A, 413th CA BN, Lubbock, TX. And at least 2/3 of the folks in my outfit want to stay the hell out of Libya because they're tired of repeated deployments to other scenic areas of the world.

    So, you fucking chickenhawk, go fight him your damned self, or STFU.

  • ||

    I see you're in on the same game as Cunctator: claim you are in the military on an anonymous message board, throw out "chickenhawk" like it's an automatic argument-winner, and fall back on texter-speak like "STFU."

    Well, Jimbo, it ain't that simple. I opposed Iraq from the get-go (both times). And I supported Bosnia and Kosovo from the get-go. And all for the same reason: because I can spot the difference between a winning fight and a losing fight.

    Taking down Kaddafi at this juncture does not require "deployments" colorful or otherwise. His situation is so precarious that a ten-day missile campaign would almost certainly seal his fate on deservedly grisly terms.

    And now what? You're still trying to dig out from that stupid little reductio you tried to make about my position entailing that we bomb Japan now?

    You got stupid and cute and you lost the argument. You're done here. Buh-bye.

  • ||

    I note that he *still* hasn't answered your q.

  • ||

    What do you need clarified on behalf of Eric, Seamus?

    It's not "appropriate to resolve a conflict with military force" when the conflict is not military in nature. E.g., trade disputes - no military force.

    On the other hand: Islamicist tyrant with record of terrorist support starts bombing his own people? Open season on him; he is a perpetual target of opportunity.

  • Eric||

    You must have worked to get this stupid, Danny. I'm not a non-interventionist or an isolationist, and I *still* don't see how the hell we benefit if we go in half-cocked with no information or end-game in mind.

    1) Qaddhafi is a dick, a murderer, and a "", but he's not an Islamist. You have to have basically no knowledge of the region to make a statement that stupid.

    2) We know nothing about the rebels, what they want, and how they'll govern if they get ahold of the reins. We don't even know what we want in the region, beyond perhaps a vague sense of retribution or the feel-good humanitarian fuzzies.

    3) We have no criterion for success or failure -- I guess "we" are just supposed to institute no-fly zones at the behest of a given rebel force, huh? Is that the standard for us to get involved in military conflict now?

    Again, is there *any* negative situation occurring in the world to which you would not apply military violence? Is there a way for a military venture to fail, in your eyes?

  • ||

    1) Kaddafi's regime is Islamicist, complete with shariah law and bans on anything deemed unislamic.

    2) The rebels include doctors, lawyers and other middle class professionals who have been advocating for openness and the rule of law in Libya for some time now at great personal risk.

    3)"Success" begins with Kaddafi's head on a pike, or reasonable facsimile thereof. Whatever comes after him provides a better chance of a decent society than would ever be available under Kaddafi's dictatorship.

    I would not apply military violence in a military conflict when it is impractical to do so. But I do not constrain our military prerogatives by recognizing some claim-of-right to be "left alone" by Kaddafi and his ilk.

  • ||

    1. The rebels trend toward Islamic fundamentalism as well. At least some of the more vocal ones do. Are we to create no-fly zones for what will ultimately be our next enemy?

    2. The rebels also include islamofascists and the same people burning pictures of our political leaders every time they were shown on the news throughout the past 30+ years. Many of these temporary alliances throughout history have been nothing but power grabs.

    3. I will grant you this statement, however it is up to those seeking freedom to take it. My fear, however, is that many of these rebels are seeking power rather than freedom.

    Your last statement is puzzling. It's almost as if you're saying, "I would not apply military violence unless it was an easy war I was sure we could win, and at the same time purchase some political clout with potential leaders of a rebellion that will surely win on their own any way."

    Either way it goes, it's not worth American blood unless that blood buys a p[lane ticket and goes to fight on his own. If any American wants to fight with those rebels, I applaud you.*

    *Americans have a long record of fighting oppression through volunteering - see WWI, Spanish Civil War, WWII pre-Pearl Harbor, etc...

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Kaddafi's regime is Islamicist...

    What a bunch of mindless horsehit. Gadaffi is as much of an "Islamicist" as his hero, Gamal Nasser.

  • Eric||

    IOW, you have no plan and no endgame, just as I expected. At least you brought along some vague emoting, moral hectoring, and the royal "we" -- those things been super-useful in the past!

    There have been several things said about the rebels over the past two weeks. You know what it all has in common? Me neither. Right now, I'm sympathetic for the rebels, if only because Qaddhafi is a monster who has oppressed his people and needs to go, but that doesn't make intervention a good idea or even feasible.

    We don't have enough information to make a judgement call, and if "we" bite off more than we can chew, misjudge conditions on the ground, or make another fatal error that gets us into another quagmire, then we can kiss the moral high ground, "international support", etc. goodbye.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    But no rule of decency is broken by bringing the rain down on Kaddafi'sthe kafirs' head immediately.

    Insha'Allah, akhii shahid.

  • ||

    Danny, explain exacxtly what US military force in Afghanistan has done to make a 9/11 type attack any less possible.

  • ||

    It has made clear that such an attack cannot be aided and abetted without facing severe reprisals.

    If that attack had gone unpunished -- if we had shown ourselves to be passive and helpless in the face of such an atrocity -- it would be open season on us at a level we can scarcely imagine.

  • ||

    Fair enough, now answer, how US military force in Afghanistan, beyond a punative expedition to kill or capture OBL and a few of his lieutenants and to destroy enough of the Taliban's shit to deter them, has done to make a 9/11 type attack any less possible.

    I think you will find that most people on this board supported a punative expedition. We didn't buy into the nation-building exercize that has kept our forces bogged down far beyond the few months that that enterprise would have taken.

    Thes humanitarian interventions always sound neat and surgical but they always seem to end up kind of strung out and messy. Mission creep, how does that work?

  • ||

    Entering that country to topple the Taliban, then leaving the country to be retaken by the Taliban -- Kabul and all -- would have been a fool's errand.

    The game is only worth the candle if the Taliban are permanently kept from reconquering the whole country. There is no "punitive expedition" in which you make up your mind ahead of time to deliberately lose whatever you gain.

  • l0b0t||

    "If that attack had gone unpunished"
    It DID go unpunished. Please enlighten us, oh Danny master of geopolitical strategy, who has been "punished" for that attack?

  • ||

    You have some alternative that would have resulted in a more fulsome punishment of those responsible? We'd love to hear it, I'm sure.

  • Old Mexican||

    Danny, honey, you're due for your Focalin.

  • RyanXXX||

    I can see it now - when Gadaffi is done with the rebels, he will decide to quench his bloodlust by launching a blitzkrieg into Europe. Then he will hire African mercenaries to invade America, recruiting local hoodrats along the way.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    forces us into the position of putting up a fight or backing down like bitches.

    If only it were that. Why are we busy putting these countries together if our interest were solely to eliminate an enemy's ability to use force against us? Why even put soldiers on the ground? Given the US vast superiority in the air, we could cover every square inch of Iraq and Afghanistan in fire and blood, thus sending the clear message that we are not, in fact, 'bitches.'

    Instead of keeping it groovy, they make the world a dangerous place, where totally uncool stuff like "military force" and "international alliances" and "border control" are needed.

    I know, right? It's like people without respect for natural rights are always trying to gin up some trouble. Sometimes, the people are even not Americans.

    Hey, here's an idea:

    While we're at it, let's Christianize/Americanize the infidels. Maybe if we put our boots on their faces for two or three generations, they'll go from seething, violent rage to sullen, apathetic resentment. Worked on the Indians.

  • ||

    And while you're "at it," why not a barrage of completely over-the-top straw-man ideas that no one is advocating, instead of considering the options that actually are on the table for discussion?

    Way to move the ball, AC.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I'm sorry. Have I somehow misrepresented your silliness?

  • ||

    You ran straight for a reductio when it had no basis. Your position was weak, and your brain was weaker, so that was the best you could do.

    There is a relevant gap between (i) the use of air power in support of indigenous ground forces and (ii) a full-scale invasion. This was amply demonstrated -- twice -- in the Balkans. You ignore the fact only because it is inconvenient to your own view.

    Those advocating a Bosnia/Kosovo approach at this juncture are not committing America to invasion, occupation, or the like. Your precipitous resort to a reductio and your general failure to confront the options that have actually been put on the table reveals you for what you are.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Wow, you don't realize when you are being mocked, do you?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Danny,

    These guys like Kaddafi never read up on Austrian School economics and they just never seem to get with the program, do they?


    "There are bad people in the world"

    True, it's not as big of a realization as "Gosh, there are quite a few gay people in those Bravo shows," but it's up there, at least for someone like YOU, Danny.

    Hey, here's an idea: maybe if we just ignore them and pretend like they are not there, they will go away and leave us alone.


    OR - here's a thought - each of us arms himself or herself so these bad people don't bother us.

  • ||

    John S. McCain unwittingly makes the case for reducing defense spending.

    "We are spending over $500 billion dollars, not counting Iraq and Afghanistan, on our nation's defense. Don't tell me we can't do a no-fly zone over Tripoli."


    We're failing in Iraq, we're failing in Afghanistan, let's go do Libya! After all, we have the troops.

    I'm no fan of the current White House occupant by any means, but if this idiot was the only alternative I wouldn't blame anybody for pulling the lever for Obama.

  • ||

    I saw the old hack on TV blathering on about how the no-fly-zone was a moral obligation, and thought "geez, am I glad I don't have a vote for that moron on my conscience."

    (I didn't vote for the other moron either.)

  • ||

    Caption: "You have a problem with authority, Mr. Anderson. You believe you are special, that somehow the rules do not apply to you. Obviously, you are mistaken."

  • Old Mexican||

    "That is the sound of inevitability!"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5m1A7zoIcc

  • ||

    We are spending over $500 billion dollars, not counting Iraq and Afghanistan, on our nation's defense.

    '...on our nation's defense."

    *laughs, weeps, pounds head on desk*

  • ||

    Please don't feed the troll throw the stick.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "We are spending over $500 billion dollars, not counting Iraq and Afghanistan, on our nation's defense. Don't tell me we can't do a no-fly zone over Tripoli."

    I am spending $500 dollars a week, not counting parties and benders, on cocaine. Don't tell me I can't afford to get a bunch of hookers off of whose tits I can snort it.

  • ||

    "You want me to snort coke off of where!? A mirror? What do you think this is the seventies?"

  • ||

    Yesterday, I had the teevee on in the background (a pernicious habit I really should break), and I'm pretty sure I heard David Gregory badgering a couple of different people about how they could possibly believe it *not* to be in America's National Interest to intervene in Libya.

    What's going on in Libya is bad, but it's the job of the Libyans to fix it.

  • DNS||

    What's going on in Libya is bad, but it's the job of the Libyans to fix it.

    This cannot be repeated enough.

  • Jess||

    Gadaffi is more delusional than ever, and in total denial that there's even a revolution going on in his backyard. (NIMBY!) What makes anyone think that creating a no-fly zone will stop him from doing whatever the hell he wants? The man doesn't care.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Has he hired Bagdad Bob to regularly report that there is nobody shooting in the streets and no rebels taking over the cities?

  • Brett L||

    I believe he's taking the opposite tack. The streets are running red with the blood of his enemies, etc.

  • Plate-O||

    Has he hired Bagdad Bob to regularly report that there is nobody shooting in the streets and no rebels taking over the cities?

    That job was assigned to Saif.

  • ||

    but they always seem to find reasons why you can't do something rather than why you can

    Maybe if you hold an Armed Services Committee meeting and threaten to hold your breath until you turn blue, they'll blow something up for you.

  • RyanXXX||

    It seems the Libyan rebels said "thanks but no thanks" to the British:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/see.....libya.html

    John McCain is just whacked out. Period. When's the last time he had a rational, let alone GOOD, idea about any policy? We'd have been better off if the VC had finished him.

    As Bob Gates has said repeatedly, a no-fly zone would be an act of war. And since America is the UN's top dog, the burden would fall primarily on us. (BTW, I have a smidgeon of respect for Gates now - his candor is refreshing)

    If the African Union or the Arab League want to help their brethren, power to 'em. But any Western intervention will be a disaster.

    Bin Laden likes to call us the "Crusaders." Why do we insist on proving the asshole right?

  • ||

    As Bob Gates has said repeatedly, a no-fly zone would be an act of war.

    People don't realize that step one of a no fly zone is to bomb the shit out of the other country.

  • ||

    Yes, we have to blow up all of their anti-aircraft emplacements at a minimum, right? I seem to recall that happening with previous no-fly zones.

    This sort of situation sucks, because I feel for the oppressed Libyans. But I'm not sure using American force will solve any problems.

  • RyanXXX||

    I feel for the North Koreans. Doesn't mean I want to start Korean War round II.

    We just can't go hunting for dragons to slay, as a wise man once said.

  • MNG||

    This Libya thing is just another one of those issues that I keep thinking could be so easily solved if we really had super-heroes. I have to imagine we have radioactive materials, spiders, bombs and other materials, why can't we get cracking on this already?

  • ||

  • MNG||

    Don't get me wrong, if we ever created Super-man our immediately next project should be to find as much kryptonite as possible...

  • MNG||

    Does anyone know the physics behind creating 'red sun' radiation like Batman used against Supes in the Red Son comix? Is it possible to create that in a localized way?

  • Jim||

    Because due to blowback / unintended consequences, you'd start getting super villains as well. Kind of cancel eachother out leaving you no better off, on the whole, than you were before.

  • Brett L||

    I've always been more partial to the Wildcards universe. As long as I didn't get too grotesque a joker...

  • MNG||

    I've never bought this idea that super-heroes unwittingly create their foes by 'upping the ante.' We should just be glad that super-heroes as opposed to villians came first, because the latter would have probably been working on it regardless...

  • Jim||

    It's not an "upping the ante" argument, it's that the technology / circumstances which create heroes, can also be used to create villains. The same super-soldier serum may make a patriotic man, like Gregory Smith, into Cpt. America, but it may turn an anarchist into the Red Skull.

  • RyanXXX||

    I'm pretty sure Red Skull is a Fascist.

    An anarchist superhero would be awesome, though. Batman in The Dark Knight Returns comes close

  • RyanXXX||

    The Joker would be a two-bit wacko without Batman

  • Anonymous Coward||

    "Of course we have to have a no-fly zone," McCain said at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington on Tuesday. "We are spending over $500 billion dollars, not counting Iraq and Afghanistan, on our nation's defense. Don't tell me we can't do a no-fly zone over Tripoli."

    "I love the military, I love it, it's been my life, but they always seem to find reasons why you can't do something rather than why you can," he added.

    McCain Logic: If you're already hit your $5,000 limit on your credit card, you might as well transfer the balance to a higher limit card and keep spending.

    Oh, and spreading democracy at gunpoint and all that other good shit.

    Is there any way we could give this guy back to Vietnam?

  • MNG||

    I have to wonder if McCain had won and followed through on the neo-cons wet dream of war with Iran if we would be hearing much from them about how much that kind of adventure would have added to our deficet/debt...

  • Anonymous Coward||

    First, the only way McCain would have won is if Obama decided to sodomize a puppy on live television. Second, as far as any "neo-con" (by neo-con, I'm assuming you're referring to the semi-reformed Trotskyites who pay lip service to God) would be concerned, war with Iran would be great, no matter if Team Red or Team Blue initiated it.

    As long as it was to make the world safe for CommunismDemocracy.

  • Vietnam||

    WTF did we ever do to you?

  • ||

    President Obama's reticence in the Middle East is nudging it backward

    The word you're groping for is "reluctance." Obama is far from reticent (i.e., inclined to be silent or uncommunicative) about much of anything, including the Middle East.

  • hmm||

    America
    World Police
    FUCK YEAH!!

  • ||

    I don't know if anyone else has seen this, but here is the American Conservative breakdown of total defense/security state costs:
    http://www.amconmag.com/blog/t.....ty-budget/
    A bit higher than what McCain quotes--over 1 tillion dollars yearly.

  • ||

    I say we let McCain fly missions over Libya until he gets shot down and becomes a POW again.

    -jcr

  • RyanXXX||

    But this time, when they offer to release him, refuse the offer

  • ||

    Entering that country to topple the Taliban, then leaving the country to be retaken by the Taliban -- Kabul and all -- would have been a fool's errand.


    Since Kabul is only a NATO withdrawal away* from being taken over by the Taliban again, it kind of makes you wonder who the fools are.

    *which will happen any day now, the US included. There's only so much blood and treasure to be expended on a bunch of kleptocrats like Karzai et al. At least the Taliban are honest tyrants.

  • ||

    IOW, we should never have entered the country to "topple the Taliban". The only legitimate reason for going into Afghanistan was to capture Osama Bin Laden and to deliver a message to the Taliban that if they ever gave sanctuary to the likes of Al Quaeda again they could expect more of the same.

    The whole toppling the Taliban bit was something that had to be added to get the support of Euroweenie "human rights" fetishists and American feminists.

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