The wrong war, the right reasons?
Why no-fly zone was a mistake
I feel that America has lost track of what its job is in the world. We are not here to go around and spread democracy to other countries and the decision to help Libya is the latest in a long line of misguided attempts to do just that.
I am an advocate for a policy of semi-isolationism, where we would maintain neutrality unless there is a threat to our own freedom, or the freedom of multiple countries that are already free. I feel that unless there is a Hitler-esque threat, then we should let people be.
We failed to establish our ways in Iraq. We failed in Afghanistan. There are several reasons why these, for the most part, haven’t worked. The main reason is that we have two entirely different sets of cultures and are trying to spread a governmental system essentially designed for our culture to people who live a different way. It’s like trying to put a square peg in a round hole–it just won’t fit.
The second reason we shouldn’t assist the rebels is the reliance they would have on the United States and our allies in maintaining the serenity of any new government that would be established, following Gadhafi’s regime. If they need our help overthrowing the oppressive regime, why would they stop needing us when they start their new government? The second we left, there would be another attempt to establish a military-run government and we would have to come back and try again.
The case can be made that the U.N. voted to enforce the no-fly zone, giving us the go ahead to do what we have been doing. However, just because the U.N. wants it done doesn’t make it the right decision. The U.N. is as susceptible to making wrong decisions as any other governmental institution and them giving us the right to use force doesn’t mean we should. Unlike Iraq, the world will not frown on us for the actions we have taken so far. However, just as Iraq was an attempt to remove a regime we disliked, so too is Gadhafi’s Libyan government. It doesn’t mean that we need to be the ones to remove it.
One more reason why we shouldn’t be the ones interfering with Libya is the economic cost it will take. We could put that money to better use such as creating jobs, paying off part of the national debt, or increasing the funds to programs like Social Security. Why would we want to increase the money we spend on foreign military action when there are domestic programs that could use the money to help Americans?
Libya may prove to be a good decision in the end. Who knows? Maybe a government will be set up that allows great freedom within the country and Libyans as a nation to prosper. It will still have been the wrong choice to intervene.
United States is obligated to keep its promises
Despite what the isolationists in our nation would prefer, the United States is a member of the United Nations and is obligated by this association to help oversee other governments. The Libyan government is out of control; the world (not just the United States) needs to react firmly and swiftly. Gadhafi, in early March, threatened that “thousands” of his own people would die if the West interfered with the Libyan uprising. A leader should never hold his own citizens hostage, and no nation should let such a heinous act go unpunished.
Gadhafi clawed his way into this situation with both of his iron fists. There were never serious attempts to communicate with the country’s citizenry or address problems, and I am forced to take the rebellion’s side, no matter what their other affiliations may be. The rebels are poorly armed, poorly trained, and are lashing out against an army that they had no hope of defeating. For the United States to stand by idly is to sanction both tyranny and wholesale slaughter.
Gadhafi could have changed policies or negotiated, but he didn’t. He abused the power he had over his people, and now other countries are going to take it from him. This is how individual societies deal with bullies and criminals, and it must also be how a society of societies must do so. The world cannot tolerate dictators who abuse their citizens. It is a dangerous precedent, and we need to be more vigilant, not less, in ferreting out thugs disguised as leaders.
So how is this different from Iraq, and does it mean that President Obama is officially Bush II? I don’t think so.
I’d have been fine with declaring war on Saddam Hussein and ousting him from power, if the reasoning had ever been that he was just too dangerous and abusive to rule a country. That argument only came after the second Iraq war had already begun. Using 9/11 as an excuse, and then lying about weapons of mass destruction in an attempt to cultivate support for the war were both reprehensible political moves that ultimately made me despise President Bush.
Near as I can tell, Obama has told no lies—or made promises—about U.S. action in Libya. In fact, the U.S. recently took a secondary role, leaving other NATO forces to carry out the brunt of the war. Obama’s detractors about this war must remember that Sen. John McCain and other competitors in the 2008 election criticized Obama’s promise to negotiate with leaders in the Middle East, implying that he was going to make deals with terrorists. The same detractors—and much of the media—chose to ignore that Obama was not being some cowering peacenik. In his own words, from a speech in 2002, “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war (…) a rash war.”
And helping eliminate bullies is neither rash nor dumb.