Way Behind The Curve, (as usual)
Curve? What Curve?
©Pirate Joe, 8-10 March, 2011

As events unfold in Libya, we again have an opportunity to note just how much our leaders are out of touch with events in the real world.

Some are calling for the traditional "boots on the ground" response.
Others say we should impose a "no fly zone" over Libya.
Yet others say that we should do absolutely nothing at all.

All these ideas are idiotic, out of touch with reality, ignorant of the best response and all would lead to yet another disaster.

Let's take them all in turn:

1. Boots On The Ground. Have we learned nothing at all? This is the worst of all possible responses which would guarantee:
        a. the resentment of the Libyan people,
        b. a golden opportunity for al Qaeda, (although their 15th century if-it's-fun-it's-punishable-by-death approach to life is way out of phase with what these Internet-savy, freedom-loving, globally aware folks are all about)
        c. the usual charges by our "less-than-friends" of Americans forcibly imposing our way of life on other cultures whether they like it or not.
This would also be the bloodiest, most expensive, least effective and most unpopular (here and there) solution.

2. No Fly Zone: This would obviously be a far better response to the problem than Nr. 1 above, yet it still suffers from numerous fatal flaws, to wit: It is indecisive: while it would help the revolutionaries somewhat, it would still avoid coming face-to-face with the cause of the problem, dragging the process out far longer than needed, while losing more lives in the process. It would also provide longer windows of opportunity for those who would disrupt the process for their own gain. While it would be less expensive than boots-on-the-ground, the cost would still be quite significant. It's effects would also be, in my opinion, too little, too late.

3. Do Nothing At All: This would be the cheapest, (at least immediately) and dumbest (in the long run) approach. It would demonstrate that we have no moral high ground, ideals, standards or principles, a giant billboard to the world that we are not the beacon of freedom we're supposed to be, a world-relations faux-pas of the highest order.
This is our chance to show the world, jaded by such events as Tiananmen Square, that America means something: freedom, human rights, government by the consent of the governed, democracy, fairness and egalitarianism, in other words, that we really are the "good guys".
    Let's return to al-Qaeda for a moment. While they have obviously been blindsided by this spate of revolutions, it would be foolish to think that they will not create a strategy to exploit them, especially since these secular, modernistic Arabic revolutions could render them (al-Qaeda) irrelevant. What might their possible strategies be? They might opt for trying to subvert (at least) the younger portion of the revolution. This is the most unlikely of the two choices, since these folks want to shed authoritarian government, not trade it for Iranian or Taliban style repression. How about let's make a deal with Gaddafi? This is far more likely. Al-Qaeda could provide Gaddafi with valuable extra fighting forces; in return for a price, of course. Just what might that price be? Who knows? One thing we can say is that it won't be good for the revolutionaries or the rest of the world.

This is not a time when we can afford to be so out of touch. This is not a time when we can afford to be so slow and lethargic in our response that Gaddafi has the time he needs to use his air force to crush the rebellion. Mark my words, that is exactly what his plan is.

A Gaddafi victory is the worst of all possible outcomes. It would embolden and inspire other dictators and autocrats to use a full-blown, genocidal military response against their own people, fatally reversing the revolutionary momentum. It would also condemn millions to oppression and exploitation of newly super-charged dictators that would have otherwise been overthrown.

Yet all our all our supposedly savy world leaders can come up with is the three choices above. Oh, and I almost forgot: sanctions. Yea, that'll do it. While we're at it, let's also tell him that he has to go to bed without watching T.V..

10 March 2011:

Now it seems that the tide is turning. Gaddafi, now assured of the fact that the rest of the world will do nothing, and that the diplomats will just split hairs, knows that he can split the revolution. He has launched the full scale military response that we all feared. Hillary Clinton talks of visits "next week", yet we all know that it will probably be all over by then. We will all be subjected to the nauseating sight of Gaddafi, replete with sunglasses and psychopathic grin strutting through the streets of Libya kicking the debris of failed revolution down the road. Yet another people has come to our philosophical door based on the principals we are supposed to stand for, yet again we do nothing as genocide continues and this vile pig of a man stands on the verge or regaining power.

Yet the solution, (you thought that I forgot about that?) is simple and obvious: determine the ultimate cause of the problem, and eliminate it. The crux of this problem is not Gaddafi's air force, nor his loyal troops and mercenaries. The crux of this problem is Gaddafi. The solution? Take him out. We have the Predator jets. We have the bombs with ± 1 metre accuracy. Genocide and Pan Am flight 103 are all the justification we need. Take him out.

It isn't easy for someone of my pacifistic views to advocate an action such as this. But is it ultimately pacifistic to stand by and allow genocide to take place when you have the weapon in your hand to stop it? Do you allow one sick, demented pig to kill by the tens of thousands? No. Take him out, but nothing else save humanitarian aid. Say to the Libyan people: O.K. he's gone. Do what you need to do.

Sadly, it looks as if we will miss this train. Sadly it looks like we will miss yet another opportunity to make freedom from oppression synonymous with "U.S.A".