Monday, March 28, 2011

Success in Libya (cont'd)

We may still not know quite what the objectives of the "war" are, nor how far the allies are willing to go, but there's no denying that the intervention thus far has proven to be successful in preventing mass murder and providing the rebels with the cover they need to fight back against Qaddafi's mercenaries:

American and European bombs battered Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's most important bastion of support in his tribal homeland of Surt on Sunday night, as rebels seeking his ouster capitalized on the damage from the Western airstrikes to erase their recent losses and return to the city’s doorstep.

Their swift return, recapturing two important oil refineries and a strategic port within 20 hours, set the stage for a battle in Surt that could help decide the war. 

No, nothing has been "won" yet, and there is still much that could go wrong. But would we really want the opposite to have happened -- Qaddafi crushing the rebels, slaughtering innocent and helpless civilians, and reinstating his tyrannical rule with an iron fist?

(And, no, this doesn't mean the U.S. now has to go into, say, Syria. It's quite possible to treat the need for, and justification of, military intervention on a case-by-case basis. In this sense, bombing Burma makes little sense but using diplomacy to try to get India and China to put pressure on that country's military junta could help a great deal. Bombing Iran would likely be a disaster, but working with the international community to apply sanctions could work if not to bring down the regime at least to force it to reconsider it's objectives.)

I quoted him recently and I'll quote him again. Here's Juan Cole:

I am unabashedly cheering the liberation movement on, and glad that the UNSC-authorized intervention has saved them from being crushed. I can still remember when I was a teenager how disappointed I was that Soviet tanks were allowed to put down the Prague Spring and extirpate socialism with a human face. Our multilateral world has more spaces in it for successful change and defiance of totalitarianism than did the old bipolar world of the Cold War, where the US and the USSR often deferred to each other's sphere of influence...

Some have charged that the Libya action has a Neoconservative political odor. But the Neoconservatives hate the United Nations and wanted to destroy it. They went to war on Iraq despite the lack of UNSC authorization, in a way that clearly contravened the UN Charter... The Libya action, in contrast, observes all the norms of international law and multilateral consultation that the Neoconservatives despise...

The intervention in Libya was done in a legal way. It was provoked by a vote of the Arab League, including the newly liberated Egyptian and Tunisian governments. It was urged by a United Nations Security Council resolution, the gold standard for military intervention...

Many are crying hypocrisy, citing other places an intervention could be staged or worrying that Libya sets a precedent. I don't find those arguments persuasive. Military intervention is always selective, depending on a constellation of political will, military ability, international legitimacy and practical constraints. The humanitarian situation in Libya was fairly unique. You had a set of tank brigades willing to attack dissidents, and responsible for thousands of casualties and with the prospect of more thousands to come, where aerial intervention by the world community could make a quick and effective difference.

These are just some of the highlight's of Cole's "open letter to the left on Libya." Whatever your views of the intervention, you should read it in its entirety.

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  • Who's side are we going to go in on when the Saudi people rise up against the Royal Family?

    Especially if it looks as though the people might actually win?

    Obama may be for the little guy but is he ready to send us into another depression as gas would not be available at any price? Would he send in the military to protect the Royals from the people to maintain stability here?

    Stay tuned.

    By Anonymous manapp99, at 11:37 AM  

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