Monday, March 21, 2011

Kill Khaddafi!

The latest  bit of 'UN-sponsored', first-world industrialized destruction is being rained down upon one of the world's "bad guys", again. The leaders of the 'free-world', or a chunk of it, have decided that a robust military response to the 'terror' Muammar Khaddafi is inflicting on his own country is the best way to remove him from office. It's another one of those  "freedom for  ______" (fiil in the blank) exercises the 'good guys have been doing since the late 80's. If it wasn't that such exercises usually require somebody getting bombarded from the air, and, to date, haven't accomplished much more than some good will and honest brokering might have done, I'd be all for them.

Not that I have any great affection for Khaddafi,  but it strikes me that he's doing exactly what the other 'allied' leaders of the middle east are doing: 'keeping their houses in order'. And they would be doing it exactly the same way (wouldn't we too?) had  their protesters there been able to access an arms dump, as was the case in Libya. The army is 'defecting' in other places too, and supporting the protestors, as some units did in Libya. There are, again in all instances so far, forces 'loyal' to the government available to wreak varying amounts of mayhem, or order, as the case may be. In Yemen it's called 'mayhem', in Bahrein it's called 'order' for example. Some people are calling Libya a 'civil war', others a 'revolution' or 'putting down an armed insurgency' - the differences are solely in the optics of the observer. Libya, like Egypt and Tunisia, is not a failed state, yet. Until very recently Khaddafi, for all his warts, was considered a world leader and Libya considered friendly to the west. Khaddafi had claimed for himself the mantle of Arab 'leader' against radical Islamicists. So why all, of a sudden, the need for regime change?

Well we had better ask Obama's female advisors, for they, apparently convinced him it was time to 'go kinetic' to save their Libyan sisters. More likely it's being seen as the need to do something, as opposed to being accused by teabaggers of doing nothing, that has goaded the American President into 'joining the fun'. Sarkozi may be getting the credit for 'leading', but everybody knows the only state capable of 'getting her done quick and professional' is the US of A. And there, as the old saying goes, lies the rub. America, or the rest of the free world for that matter. needs another fast and professional military solution to anything like it needs an outbreak of plague or another economic melt. (In actuality it seems that there may be more to American involvement that we were led to believe, as comments about the CIA being involved "for weeks" and rumours that Obama had signed the orders to assist the rebels well before he told Americans he was considering it. The reason, however, is not yet clear.)

'Quick and professional' sounds good going in, but as the warriors are so fond of telling the rest of us, the best laid military plan does not survive the first clash of arms. They've obviously gotten over the 'cake-walk' and 'home for Christmas' ballyhoo  learned in such outstanding vic'tries as the Falklands, Grenada and Panama, for the latest applications of military 'science' have reverted to the classic styles of  fiasco or quagmire.  Even the best of such operations, as in Kosovo, wind up being protracted military 'peace-keeping' operations. There are still NATO troops 'standing watch' over Kosovo, although the war has been over for almost a generation. While Libya is no Iraq or Afghanistan, it's not going to be a Kosovo either. It definitely won't be a push-over like aforementioned 'vict'ries', if Kaddafi chooses to 'fight it out', particularly without any 'boots on the ground'. But that right now is not part of the 'plan'.

At present there seems to be no plan other than bombard, evaluate and re-bombard. Once again there is the impression that somebody wants to kill Khaddafi (although EVERYBODY says Khaddafi's NOT being 

targetted), unless he's in the habit of pitching his tent right next to valuable military targets.  Ronald Reagan let somebody talk him into blasting the beast in his lair. The result was an ugly press relations situation featuring Muammar's dead baby daughter. Ronnie never tried 'second time lucky' on that mode of 'reasoning'. Shortly afterward an American jumbo jet, full of citizens, came to an unscheduled landing in Lockerbie, Scotland. Muammar got some 'payback' for that assassination attempt. (As an aside, to get back in the 'good books'  he recently paid off the monetary damages for that bombing.  The 'convicted'  bomber ( he still pleads innocent) was granted a 'humanitarian' release from a Scottish jail. Maybe he's being targetted now, too.). There are, at present, no plans to put boots on the ground in Libya. So the UN/NATO is depending on an untrained armed jacquerie to put paid to Khaddafi. They'd better be prepared to send in a kill team. Of course to arm, supply and train the protestors  would take more resources, and a lot more time.

Other than that,  there is a split in world support - China and Russia could have vetoed the adventure, but didn't, they haven't been verbally supportive though.  The Arab states offered some lip service to their best customers, but once again weren't able to actually do much.  The African Union is adamantly opposed to the move. I guess they're getting the feeling that, since Asia's a bust, the next great hope for western 'progress' is Africa. Progress being the process in which the west's bi-lateral 'interests' open a country up for economic (viz business) 'cooperation'.

In the short run, though, the Libyan adventure is just another great opportunity for something else to go wrong.

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