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Old 03-28-2011, 10:43 AM   #1
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Question Libya. Should America be there?

Here we go again. . .

What is our interest there? There are lots of other countries with social unrest. Why do we always get involved with the Middle East?

Should we even be there?
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:34 PM   #2
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I have not been presented with a logical argument for why we should be there.

Humanitarian reasons? - Then, why not Darfur?

Oil? - 2% of the world's output, exported mostly to Europe.

National security? - They haven't directly attacked American people in over 20 years (Pan Am bombing, etc.).

We spent over nearly $200 million on Tomahawk missiles alone in this "kinetic military action." We're putting our soldiers in harm's way. We can afford neither the money nor the potential loss of life.

Obama is putting himself in a bad position in numerous respects. He said he'd draw down troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, but now he is adding troops in Libya. He wanted to improve the US's reputation and standing with the Arab world - but our soldiers are over there killing more Arabs.

I don't see any upside to this encounter at all. I also don't see how this is any different than the tack that Bush took and was heavily denounced for.
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Old 03-28-2011, 01:47 PM   #3
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Just some small points raised in the above posts that need addressing:

I don't think North Africa is the middle east... since Libya is on the coast of the Med and could potentially cause some hiccups with Maritime traffic through the Med/Suez we do have and always have an interest in keeping those shipping lanes clear.

We are and by we I mean, the UN coalition of nations in there following the UN resolution for a no fly zone and sanctioned blockade/embargo. Obama didn't make this call, the UN did.

So far, it is not a foot soldier action but lies squarely in the hands of the Air Forces and Navies of the UN's member group. Their support units are located out of area. Loss of life is an emotional argument. People who use that fail to understand that folks in the military have been training all their careers for these kinds of engagements. Collateral damage ie, loss of civilian life is always attempted to be kept to the minimum (our CF18s aborted a bombing mission because of the high risk of collateral damage) but those risks are also assessed at the time of planning. What would you have us do with our training? Pack sandbags for the next domestic flood or shovel snow as the army did for the city of Toronto?

Sudan has not asked for assistance, as a matter of fact has gone out of their way to reject any form of assistance by the UN, NATO. We have a few boots on the ground there but we are very limited in what we can do. Same goes for the Congo, Rwanda, SL, Somalia.

Should we be there? If we are going to maintain membership with organizations such as the UN and NATO then we're going to be called to step up to the plate when asked.

Gaddafi was warned way back in 2001 that if he sponsored, harboured or rattled the terrorist sword, he'd be on the list to deal with. His choice then was to protect his country and citizens so he went quiet. Using military force against your own people (and I'm not without recognizing the irony of this statement) is one of the actions that pisses the UN off to the point of sanctions and resolutions. His people indicated they wanted change from a dictatorship and they were answered by being hunted down and killed by their own military (under orders from Gaddafi).

Do I think we should be there? As a mom and future mom-in-law to two sailors that are currently enorcing the blockade, I'd rather have my kids home and safe. But I also know that they have been training for just such a endeavour all their careers and that is something that I have had to reconcile as a parent and serving member myself. All I can do now is pray and hope that the ship stays below the horizon and out of harm's way.
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:19 PM   #4
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Libya or anywhere else for that matter...

Sadly, the UN & NATO have no one to backup their threats; that's all they are are "threats" b/c the US will respond without UN or NATO approval. Libya is just one of many countries that the US will take military intervention over the next few years. Obama knows that, and responds b/c the US has always stepped up first without vetting the circumstances or the outcomes. Where does the US draw the line; the US never draws a line, they just continue to get involved b/c we continue to support and give money towards the military budget. Congress only acts when they aren't involved in the decision making; and more often than not, they condemn Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc. without mercy. When will we learn our lesson that we can't invade EVERY country b/c of unrest or the lack of a democracy. Who are we (US) to determine which dictator stays in control of their dictatorship? Before it was communism; and now it's dictatorships, and some of them we've supported or funded to get them where they are at today. I'm just sayin'...
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:51 PM   #5
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It's a tough call, but these kind of things are always tough calls. No one would want to see millions of unarmed civilian Libyans killed, or massacred. We really don't have much choice in the matter as members of UN/NATO, I was a former NATO forces member while serving in the Army, in Germany.

On the other hand, they have not paid for such actions, and they haven't paid for actions in Iraq/Afghanistan yet. I support such actions as long as they pay for them, and not come back and want to cut all domestic social programs while they are engaged in so many unpaid for actions overseas. It's completely legit, if they want to pay for such actions with higher taxes, preferably levied on the rich. If the rich want these actions, they could repeal some of the tax breaks for the rich that they got to pay for such actions, instead of insisting that domestic programs be cut so they can balance budgets. If they didn't have so many wars, and such a huge military, set up to fight a superpower enemy that does not even exist, they could be swimming in surpluses. All's go, if they want to have taxes increased to pay for such, not charge it up with the rest of the wars, and then want to cut domestic programs.
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:05 AM   #6
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To me, if there is oil, the United States will lead the fight under the umbrella of a NATO coalition. We will send in the most troops and absorb the majority of the cost.

On the other hand, if there is no oil, we let people die and evolution take its course.

I just met a survivor from Rwanda. He is from the Tutsi tribe and lived in a NATO refugee camp in 1994. For some reason, NATO pulled out, leaving his people defenseless and exposed. In his camp over 100,000 Tutsi men, women and children were murdered and butchered by the Hutu tribal military forces once they were abandoned by NATO. The only reason he survived was he pretended to be a Hutu and sat pretending to be bored, while witnessing the massacre of his people. In 100 days, over 800,000 people were murdered.

This war has not ended. At present, the tides have changed and the Tutsis are now murdering Hutus - BY - THE - MILLIONS!

How come America is not sending in jets to bomb strategic military sites in Rwanda? Hmmm?

My new friend is in the U.S. now, seeking answers to the abandonment of his refugee camp by NATO in 1994. He is using National Geographic as his forum.
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:56 PM   #7
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To me, if there is oil, the United States will lead the fight under the umbrella of a NATO coalition. We will send in the most troops and absorb the majority of the cost.

On the other hand, if there is no oil, we let people die and evolution take its course.

I just met a survivor from Rwanda. He is from the Tutsi tribe and lived in a NATO refugee camp in 1994. For some reason, NATO pulled out, leaving his people defenseless and exposed. In his camp over 100,000 Tutsi men, women and children were murdered and butchered by the Hutu tribal military forces once they were abandoned by NATO. The only reason he survived was he pretended to be a Hutu and sat pretending to be bored, while witnessing the massacre of his people. In 100 days, over 800,000 people were murdered.

This war has not ended. At present, the tides have changed and the Tutsis are now murdering Hutus - BY - THE - MILLIONS!

How come America is not sending in jets to bomb strategic military sites in Rwanda? Hmmm?

My new friend is in the U.S. now, seeking answers to the abandonment of his refugee camp by NATO in 1994. He is using National Geographic as his forum.
Hmm... I was in Rwanda during the massacres and we did not pull out, the Belgian did after 10 members of their contingent were murdered. There had been plans by the Interahamwe all along to engage the Belgians with the intent to force them into using force and provoking the RPF by using civilian demonstrators. We were seriously hampered with no clear ROEs and were held to the observer role by the UN. We saved as many as we could. France's assistance in getting folks out of danger led to problems elsewhere. The overflow of Rwanda refugees in Zaire, led to their first and second Congo wars. I think you'll also find that the mission was a UN and not NATO. The UNAMIR mandate was pretty clear that we would leave in 1996. We were also held to remain peackeepers not peacemakers.

I was also one of the prosecutors for the war crimes trials... I have lovely internal videos that play on a loop in my head from those experiences. The overall problem within Rwanda was that the colonizer created the racial and ethnic divide and then left. One tribe assumed they were superior to the other because they were told by their colonizers that they were. Nothing will ever fix systemic racism unless the change is from within. Using UNAMIR as an example of how NATO and the UN screwed up is like comparing apples with oranges again.

Libya isn't about ethnic cleansing, it is about a dictator using the military against his own citizens. Sure the issue of oil comes up because our friend Qaddafi likes to set the oil fields on fire. He also likes to support global terrorism and when the killer Pan Am flight over Lockerbie was returned to Libya, he was given a hero's welcome. During the 70s and early 80s he was known for his suppression of internal dissidents and he sponsored assassinations of expats who had left Libya. When the US bombed his palace in 86 and set sanctions on Libya in 93, only then did he attempt to build relationships with the west. In 2003, he finally ditched his nuke buildup program and the UN lifted their sanctions. Are you starting to see a pattern here?

The UN is pretty clear on how much they can get involved, I personally think they are quite ineffective overall but that's my own opinion after being in Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Zaire and Rwanda. They will only get involved with the internal politics of a country if there is evidence of genocide. They failed Rwanda, but I can guarantee you that failure is what is prompting current UN actions.
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:54 PM   #8
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Hmm... I was in Rwanda during the massacres and we did not pull out, the Belgian did after 10 members of their contingent were murdered. There had been plans by the Interahamwe all along to engage the Belgians with the intent to force them into using force and provoking the RPF by using civilian demonstrators. We were seriously hampered with no clear ROEs and were held to the observer role by the UN. We saved as many as we could. France's assistance in getting folks out of danger led to problems elsewhere. The overflow of Rwanda refugees in Zaire, led to their first and second Congo wars. I think you'll also find that the mission was a UN and not NATO. The UNAMIR mandate was pretty clear that we would leave in 1996. We were also held to remain peackeepers not peacemakers.

I was also one of the prosecutors for the war crimes trials... I have lovely internal videos that play on a loop in my head from those experiences. The overall problem within Rwanda was that the colonizer created the racial and ethnic divide and then left. One tribe assumed they were superior to the other because they were told by their colonizers that they were. Nothing will ever fix systemic racism unless the change is from within. Using UNAMIR as an example of how NATO and the UN screwed up is like comparing apples with oranges again.

Libya isn't about ethnic cleansing, it is about a dictator using the military against his own citizens. Sure the issue of oil comes up because our friend Qaddafi likes to set the oil fields on fire. He also likes to support global terrorism and when the killer Pan Am flight over Lockerbie was returned to Libya, he was given a hero's welcome. During the 70s and early 80s he was known for his suppression of internal dissidents and he sponsored assassinations of expats who had left Libya. When the US bombed his palace in 86 and set sanctions on Libya in 93, only then did he attempt to build relationships with the west. In 2003, he finally ditched his nuke buildup program and the UN lifted their sanctions. Are you starting to see a pattern here?

The UN is pretty clear on how much they can get involved, I personally think they are quite ineffective overall but that's my own opinion after being in Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Zaire and Rwanda. They will only get involved with the internal politics of a country if there is evidence of genocide. They failed Rwanda, but I can guarantee you that failure is what is prompting current UN actions.

yaa,

I feel greatful that you are a member of powwows.com. I'm glad to see a powwows.com member who has experience from the inside and not afraid to address screwups and ineffectiveness. This thread is about trying to understand the justification of why America uses military force in some countries and overtly ignores others?


Are we involved in Libya because they have a dictator who is using the military against it's own citizens? Or is it something else?

Are we the world police?
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:58 PM   #9
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If it were motivated by oil, it wouldn't be the first time.

The US Gov't was going to give us NDN people Oklahoma...until they found oil there.
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:42 PM   #10
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yaa,

I feel greatful that you are a member of powwows.com. I'm glad to see a powwows.com member who has experience from the inside and not afraid to address screwups and ineffectiveness. This thread is about trying to understand the justification of why America uses military force in some countries and overtly ignores others?


Are we involved in Libya because they have a dictator who is using the military against it's own citizens? Or is it something else?

Are we the world police?
I can't speak for America because they have their own foreign policies that are not a mirror image of Canada's. The UN is pretty clear when it sets up a task force on what the limitations of the participating country members can do. Currently, the resolution from the UN is to place a no fly zone around Libya to prevent the military striking civilian protesters from the air. The second sanction is the trade embargo. The Navies of the member countries are tasked to prevent shipment of trade goods that *could* be used against the protesters such as ammo, weapons, vehicles and other military assets. We are tasked to protect food shipments from piracy as well as ensuring shipments get into Libya. As well, we are tasked with disabling military targets that could be used to mount an attack against the civilian protesters. We are also tasked to get our citizens out of there is they require it. I also believe we will eventually be tasked to protect the assets of Canadian companies that are located in Libya. Is it perfect? Nope and if we aren't careful we could end up going from enforcers of a UN resolution to aggressors. That is a very fine line and that's where an understanding of the history of Libya helps.

Africa is a hotbed of dissidents and fueled by mercenaries for hire. (seriously, google Executive Outcomes and see what you think) Any one of the dictatorships that exist there are willing to hire out their guerrilla trained armies to assist another despot in maintaining or grabbing control. Why don't we all jump in and help these countries? Mainly because they won't ask for help in fear of being found out that they are the ones ordering the mass executions of their citizens or they have managed to keep the collateral damage (civilian casualties) under the wire so that the UN doesn't see it as a genocide pact. Qaddafi is one such dictator that likes to help other despots keep their "throne".

The big issue that came out of Rwanda is that there is no actual number to attach to genocide.. is it 1 or 1 million before it is considered a genocide?

I spent 6 months is Darfur (AMIS) and another 8 months in Zaire doing staff work and setting up training for the locals. The African Union took the lead on this mission and we were very limited on what we could do. In 2008, the UN took over UNAMID and if you think we haven't done anything... tell that to the 760 million bucks over the assessed member contribution that Canada has pumped into the mission. We have to tread very carefully as the Sudanese government really doesn't want us there.

We are already ramping up our boots on the ground to take on yet another peacekeeping mission in Zaire/Congo after we exit Afghanistan. The Congo has been waging war since the early 60s and over 4 million people have been killed there... sometimes it feels like you are standing with your finger in a hole of a sandbag hoping that the tsunami that's coming gives you a miss. The US has no troops in the Congo... but we do. Have a look at this list of missions we Canucks have had going in Africa. Still think there is no help for Africa?

I'm not so sure that America could be considered world police, but I can tell you, we Canucks have sure done a lot of mopping up in Africa, Middle East and Asia.
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:51 PM   #11
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We Americans tend to be blind to the rest of the world; not recognizing the contributions of other countries. As a nation our mood has been isolationist from the beginning.

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Rightly or wrongly, whoever happen to be the "great powers" of the time have always been the world's policemen. Although, it is only in recent history that the scope has been truly global. The U.S., "The West," China (Imperial or Communist), ancient Egypt.....it's whoever has the power at the time.

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Too many mercs. Executive Outcomes, Blackwater/Xe, and who knows how many more. Imo, Erik Prince (co-founder of Blackwater) is the next/another Viktor Bout (Russian arms dealer).
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