Against US Airstrikes on Libya

I’m opposed to the US airstrikes against Libya, mostly because I think we raced into war (yet again) without carefully deliberating on what it will mean for us and the people of Libya. Some folks in Libya want US and other countries to step in; some do not. The Arab League supported the no-fly zone idea, but the AL chief spoke out against the US airstrikes.

Despite his insistence in 2007 that the President could not legitimately order military action without consulting Congress, that’s exactly what Obama did here. He’s telling us it will be over quickly, that we’ll get rid of The Bad Man, that we’ll stay focused on our main purpose, and we’ll have Mission Accomplished before you know it. Well, as the postcard on my bulletin board at school says: “I’m not cynical. I’ve been taking notes.”

Obviously there are other despotic leaders doing exactly the same things that Gaddafi has been doing. Yemen, Bahrain. This has a lot to do with oil and geopolitical power and US hegemony, no question. I simply don’t trust the people who order US forces into battle. I don’t believe we’re actually interested in human rights or democracy or the rule of law. (If we were, we’d demand that Israel cooperate with UN Security Council resolutions, too.)

At the same time, it’s clear that the world community has insisted that Gaddafi back down from killing his own people, and that he refuses to do so. Obviously it’s a false choice to pretend like we have to either drop bombs on everywhere, or “do nothing”. So what do we do?

I’ll admit: I don’t know. I heard that we only gave the sanctions two days to work. Seems like the original no-fly zone (and only the no-fly zone) would be a good place to start, and see what happens if we only do that. But then Gates said on 2 March that we can’t have a no-fly zone without airstrikes. So then what?

To do a great right, do a little wrong”?

Is it possible that arrogant US imperialist military action could in the end save lives? Madsimian will be happy to hear me admit that this may have, in fact, happened in Kosovo. I don’t know; I don’t feel qualified to judge that situation. Chomsky refers to a Wall Street Journal analysis that contradicts the official version of NATO involvement in Kosovo. But then Milosevic withdrew only after the bombing campaign left him with no alternative. Right?

At the very least, we need to ask ourselves the following questions:

  • Are we willing to bomb schools and TV stations? (As we did in Kosovo, since Milosevic was using them for military purposes.)
  • What if we bomb foreign embassies and/or civilians?
  • What’s the endgame? It seems so very tough for us to leave a warzone but we’re always so quick to jump into them.
  • How much will it cost? (I thought we were broke!)

As I say, I’m opposed to the entire affair. But I’m very interested to hear what other folks have to say.


I’ve become a fan of the Al Jazeera English show Empire, even though the host Marwan Bishara speaks in a somewhat annoying way. Here’s the show about Libya from 12 March.

Today I’m listening to: Meat Beat Manifesto! (It’s in my brain now.)

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