I’m speaking specifically about the apparent vacuum of leadership that has replaced “change we can count on.” I haven’t counted on the government for anything since I was a pup, but today’s headlines are rushing past with a speed that makes me want to reach for the duct tape to keep my head from exploding. Double doses of Zantac™ are doing nothing to calm my stomach as I try to figure things out. My troubling gift of disparate prescience is playing hell with my perceptions of reality; in other words, I can’t believe what I’m seeing.
Let’s start a few years back, and take some liberal assumptions into consideration.
Okay, assumption Number One: the war in Iraq was a bad idea. It was undertaken for noble motives; to liberate an oppressed people. It was commenced in the heat of the moment following the horror of 9/11.
America has liberated millions of oppressed people, and oppressed very few in return. Our track record wasn’t always the best, but we did more good than harm. 9/11 was another Pearl Harbor; even more malign than the bumbled Japanese scheme to establish hegemony in the Far East. I’m conversant with the conspiracy theories that FDR let that attack happen so we could be drawn into War II. It has been postulated that the Iraq war was payback for Saddam Hussein’s putting a bounty on Bush 41’s head after Desert Storm rescued Kuwait. For the sake of liberal argument, let’s say that was a tacit motivation for cranking up the American war machine.
The jury’s still out on our nation-building experiment in the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom. There have been high and low points. At the very least, we have a sizeable strategic force pre-deployed on the western border of Iran for the fourth war in the Middle East. I think we spent too much “blood and treasure” for too little return—although watching Saddam take the drop like a common thief was cathartic, and the world is a better place without him.
During the insurgent reaction to our liberation of Iraq, there were a number of “jihadist warriors” who traveled there to become “glorious martyrs to Allah” and repel the “crusaders.” If you look at a bar graph of Middle Eastern countries identified as providing suicidal terrorists to oppose our troops in the field, the longest bar belongs to Libya. They take their Holy War seriously in Kadaffy-duck’s caliphate.
Can someone please explain to me why we are now re-arming Al Qaeda? These people are our sworn enemies; if you don’t believe me, just ask them. There are “flickerings” in the intelligence community that the myrmidons of the Arab League flashing peace signs and shouting about “democracy” are about nothing more than establishing the global caliphate. We armed jihadists in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation at the end of the Cold War; one of those we armed and trained was a fellow named Osama Bin Laden. I think we know how that turned out in the long run.
America is an exceptional nation. (Someone took a poll on this question recently; 87% of those participating agreed that we are unique in history.) Ever since the beginning of the last century, when the lights start going out in the world, and things are at their worst, people look to America to step in and solve the problem.
However, no matter how many times we cast ourselves in the role, we are not the world’s policeman. We are not the moral arbiters of sovereign nations beyond our own, nor do we practice a theological superiority over others. Our position of leadership is based upon setting the best example, not upon imposing the will of kings on those less powerful than us.
I don’t know if it’s being the devil’s advocate on liberal perspectives to point it out, but there is a lesson from our Iraq adventure that cannot be ignored: we cannot interject our way of life into feudal, tribal societies and expect a positive outcome. The nations of the Middle East are based upon 16th century theology, tribal territorialism, and cargo-cult expectations. Sure, they have skyscrapers, computers, and the most modern conveniences, but where did they come from? Besides the oil they were sitting on for generations until the nations of the West uncovered it, what do these nations in turmoil have to offer? Putting it in the hip vernacular, what have they done for us lately?
One last liberal assumption: Bush 43 lied to us about the WMD threat in Iraq. I don’t believe it for a second; the intelligence services of France, Great Britain, Russia, and our own CIA all agreed there was something there. If Saddam was being scammed by his own people, who might have told him they were building a viable nuclear program while skimming millions to their own bank accounts, then they did a dandy job. (I think we ought to be digging up the Syrian desert just across the border, and waterboarding some folks named Assad, but, that’s just me…)
Be that as it may, there was a rationale for invading Iraq; one based on the stipulation of the War Powers Act that specifies we may only act with unilateral military force when there is an imminent threat to our national security. George W. made his case to the United Nations; more importantly, he went to Congress for approval of his “cowboy” actions before they were undertaken. The Constitution has been gutted, and congressional power ceded, since FDR became the last president to request a declaration of war from Congress. Still, Bush made a token attempt to comply with the law, and there appeared to be a threat of international proportions with regard to the WMD. There was an arguable case to be made that Saddam’s Iraq posed a clear and present danger to Israel, America, and his own people.
Okay, so taking the liberal, peacenik point of view, invading Iraq wasn’t such a good idea. I don’t think we got too much return on the investment, and two seconds after our last troops leave the country, tribal war will break out anew, and Iran will occupy the oil fields that liberal propaganda postulated were our sole motivation for the war.
One of the unforeseen consequences of our invasion of Iraq was that we scared the crap out of Moamar Qadaffi, and like the French, he surrendered at the first saber rattle. He renounced state-sponsored terrorism, abandoned his nuclear development program, and generally tried to rejoin the civilized nations of the world. He took steps to become one of “our” dictators, instead of one of “their” dictators we opposed so vigorously during World War III; the Cold War.
Like it or not, Libya is a sovereign nation. Yes, they have been ruled for 40 years by a nutcase who has sheltered terrorists, been implicated in bombings and hundreds of deaths abroad, and rules his pirate’s roost with ruthless abandon. I actually agree with Osama Bamalama in principle: Qadaffi must go.
And here I fall out of synch with the power vacuum in the White House. Our president has chosen sides in another country’s civil war. He has stated publicly that “regime change” is not the goal of our intervention in that country’s affairs, but he mixes the message by saying “Qadaffi must go.” Go where? Then he gives over leadership of whatever “humanitarian effort” he claims to support, relying on the bureaucratic largesse of the UN, and the leadership of the cheese-eating surrender monkeys of France to establish a “no-fly” zone. Citing a “moral obligation” to prevent “genocide,” he throws the weight and military power of the United States behind a collection of questionable characters who may be planning worse purges than the madman currently occupying the palace in Tripoli, should they gain power.
Meanwhile, he completely ignores Congress in favor of the nebulous Arab League, dissembles on TV, and outright lies about “boots on the ground” while CIA negotiates with whatever rabble is wandering around the Qattara Depression. Anyone who watches the Military Channel for 30 minutes knows “FAC” means “Forward Air Controller.” When you see all that dynamic footage of Libyan tanks going “BOOM!” who do you think is on the ground painting those targets with laser designators so those smart JDAMS can turn them into rubble? (Hint: it ain’t that disorganized “rebel rabble” clogging the roads with their “technicals” [AAA gun trucks] and spouting rhetoric at the CNN and FOX reporters.) And by the way, has anyone seen a tank fly lately? What does a $550 million “no-fly” zone have to do with ground-pounders?
And also by the way, that F-15 that went down in Libya last week costs $60 million a copy. Your tax dollars at work; at least the crew was rescued.
I guess King Bobama can do whatever he wants, and damn what we think about it. I developed my political consciousness during the Nixon era, and agreed with Hunter S. Thompson that Nixon tried to steal the Constitution, mistakenly thinking it was stored in the DNC HQ at the Watergate hotel. I’ve since become horribly jaded and cynical about what our supreme political leadership is capable of.
Let me go completely melodramatic and rhetorical for a moment. When the class warfare in Wisconsin and Ohio becomes a national crisis, and people start dying in the streets, do you want the Canadians or the Mexicans to intervene with their armed forces for “humanitarian” reasons? Do you want the French Foreign Legion patrolling our streets, or the RAF bombing our National Guard units as they try to restore order?
Like it or not, that is the situation in Libya. If Kadaffy-duck can re-establish his strongman power for a few more years, then we’ll have to deal with it, and him. If the rebels somehow manage to quit wasting ammunition and overcome the entrenched ruling powers, then we’ll have to hope they mean half of what they’re saying about “democracy.” [And never forget, “democracy” in its purest form is just mob rule, i.e. a lynch mob.]
Someone remarked the other day that Bobama has dropped more bombs than any other Nobel Peace Prize winner. I fell out laughing. Gitmo remains open, there was no recantation of the surge in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan continues apace, and now we have wandered into a third war, this time supporting Muslim partisans.
The fourth war is coming, and in the immortal words of Fred Sanford, this is going to be “the big one, Elizabeth!” We are going to have to fight Iran, and it’s going to be nuclear. Destroying our economy and dispersing our armed forces is a key part of The Manchurian Candidate’s agenda, but it may not have succeeded entirely.