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chiwhisoxx
03-18-2011, 02:03 PM
Since we seem to be inching towards some sort of military intervention in Libya, I thought we should make a thread for it. This piece from Foreign Policy seems to sum up where we're at right now pretty well:

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/03/18/how_obama_turned_on_a_dime_toward_war

I thought Ross Douthat also had a great post on the subject, where he raised some interesting questions. His main point was that President Obama hasn't really had a conversation with the public about this. So if we go in, what are we trying to do? What happens if Qaddafi pushes back? What if what we try to do doesn't work? There seems to be imminent danger of "mission creep" here.

http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/into-libya/?src=twrhp

operative
03-18-2011, 05:34 PM
Since we seem to be inching towards some sort of military intervention in Libya, I thought we should make a thread for it. This piece from Foreign Policy seems to sum up where we're at right now pretty well:

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/03/18/how_obama_turned_on_a_dime_toward_war

I thought Ross Douthat also had a great post on the subject, where he raised some interesting questions. His main point was that President Obama hasn't really had a conversation with the public about this. So if we go in, what are we trying to do? What happens if Qaddafi pushes back? What if what we try to do doesn't work? There seems to be imminent danger of "mission creep" here.

http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/into-libya/?src=twrhp

Rats, already posted my thoughts in Wonderment's thread. I do hope that Obama spends more time on foreign policy and less time on his brackets in the future. I realize that being the biggest political celebrity in the country is totally cool, but at some point, you have to do real work, too.

Of course, then Obama shows that he is totally out of his depth. He should've stuck to teaching introductory law classes and recycling stale race rhetoric in Chicago.

Don Zeko
03-18-2011, 05:41 PM
Rats, already posted my thoughts in Wonderment's thread. I do hope that Obama spends more time on foreign policy and less time on his brackets in the future. I realize that being the biggest political celebrity in the country is totally cool, but at some point, you have to do real work, too.

Of course, then Obama shows that he is totally out of his depth. He should've stuck to teaching introductory law classes and recycling stale race rhetoric in Chicago.

One can't really prove or disprove subjective assessments of the character and intelligence of public officials, but this is just totally loony, and it's a staple of your posting style. What exactly is your evidence that Obama is anything but a fairly conventional Democrat and a canny politician who gives a great speech?

operative
03-18-2011, 05:43 PM
One can't really prove or disprove subjective assessments of the character and intelligence of public officials, but this is just totally loony, and it's a staple of your posting style. What exactly is your evidence that Obama is anything but a fairly conventional Democrat and a canny politician who gives a great speech?

Oh that's exactly what I think he is. And that's why I said that he's in over his head. Everyone has taken him for something remarkable and he's a total bore, intellectually incurious, and out of his depth.

Don Zeko
03-19-2011, 12:41 AM
Oh that's exactly what I think he is. And that's why I said that he's in over his head. Everyone has taken him for something remarkable and he's a total bore, intellectually incurious, and out of his depth.

Wait, didn't you vote for Bush?

operative
03-19-2011, 10:57 AM
Wait, didn't you vote for Bush?

He wasn't my first choice. And while he had his faults, he at least had a coherent foreign policy and became engaged on the matter. Obama just is interested in being a celebrity.

JonIrenicus
03-19-2011, 05:49 PM
John Batchelor talks about these topics all the time, if anyone wants his take and that of his guests check out his recent podcasts. He was calling out Qadaffi winning this civil war weeks ago without some exercise in hard power.

http://wabcradio.com/sectional.asp?id=33447

I am doubtful he will be ousted at this point, which is fine to most people. The main problem is making public declarations that he has to go, with no stick to back up that policy. If he stays, the proclamations of the US look weaker.

Attacks have begun on some of his forces, but to what end? What is the goal of the attacks? To stay the worst of his revenge on the rebels? And how long will that last?

Someone needs to explain the proper time and place for hard power, I think after Iraq most people who were more liberal with its usage have gone the other way and are much more reluctant to ever go there.

Should we go with a German approach to hard power? Where is the proper balance? If not all in Iraq style then what?

If it's nothing, stay out completely, then kindly forfeit any concern when a butcher clears out his resistance. Not all leaders are moved by peaceful protests, understand that and live with the consequences.

operative
03-19-2011, 09:34 PM
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/03/obama-to-members-of-congress-action-versus-libya-in-days-not-weeks.html

Not a very wise statement to make. Part of the rationale in taking this action was to signal to Gadhafi that we are willing and serious about not letting him unleash a killing spree. This type of commitment to a limited engagement sends mixed messages and weakens the ostensible strength of our commitment. If we can not fully commit to whatever is needed, then we ought not commit anything because it will only do more harm than good, increasing the confidence of rebel forces before an inevitable letdown. This would lead to a temporary swelling of rebel support but likely not enough to get Gadhafi out quickly, and in the long run could lead to more casualties if Gadhafi stays in power and, seeing that the US really isn't comitted, starts killing.

bjkeefe
03-19-2011, 09:49 PM
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/03/obama-to-members-of-congress-action-versus-libya-in-days-not-weeks.html

Not a very wise statement to make.Part of the rationale in taking this action was to signal to Gadhafi that we are willing and serious ...

Always good to read past the headline:

In his meeting with Members of Congress today, sources tell ABC News, President Obama said he expected that the period that the US would be involved in heavy kinetic activity would be "days, not weeks," after which he said the US would then take more of a supporting role.

Emph. added.

Probably amounts to taking out the antiaircraft batteries, C&C, and other things which once knocked out are gone for a long time, with cruise missiles and maybe some bombing. After that, it will be more of an air patrol job, which Europeans and Arabs ought to be able to handle.

Qaddafi is already nervous enough to have surrounded his bunker with a human shield (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/world/africa/20tripoli.html) of hundreds of women and children. So I think he thinks we're serious.

Wonderment
03-19-2011, 11:16 PM
Probably amounts to taking out the antiaircraft batteries, C&C, and other things which once knocked out are gone for a long time, with cruise missiles and maybe some bombing. After that, it will be more of an air patrol job, which Europeans and Arabs ought to be able to handle.


As long as our fingerprints are all over the initial strikes, I'm sure it will greatly enhance our reputation in the region as "liberators." Since most of the weaponry used by other members of the Coalition of the Willing will be Made in USA, we'll get a lot of brand recognition for the humanitarian bombing, even if the French get a lot of the glory they missed out on when we arrested the Ace of Spades, Saddam Hussein and killed his sons. Too bad we have no ground troops in Libya because there would surely be lots of garlands, like in Iraq.

It's really great though to see more of my tax dollars bombing on behalf of the Libyan "martyrs," as the French call them. I really didn't think we were spending enough in Afghanistan. So many girls to send to school. Now Libyan girls can go to school too! It's not like we had anything to do with the money here in the USA or anything. Good thing our own schools are so terrific, and good thing we have no budget deficit.

Also, I'm grateful because President Obama promised to keep us out of war unless we were in imminent danger or he had an act of Congress. Since there's no act of Congress, I can only assume we're in imminent danger. Thank you, President Obama, for preventing another 9/11 by attacking Gaddafi.

Wonderment
03-19-2011, 11:24 PM
Also, a nice touch to be doing this on the anniversary of Bush's invasion of Iraq: Shock and Awe redux.

bjkeefe
03-20-2011, 12:09 AM
Also, a nice touch to be doing this on the anniversary of Bush's invasion of Iraq: Shock and Awe redux.

Pshaw. Anyone can make that Just Like™ connection. You want to really talk kickin' it old school? See Ken Layne (http://wonkette.com/440938/oh-yeah-americas-in-another-war-somewhere-libya).

bjkeefe
03-20-2011, 12:11 AM
As long as our fingerprints are all over the initial strikes, I'm sure it will greatly enhance our reputation in the region as "liberators."

Yup. And if we did nothing, it would greatly enhance our reputation in the region as "coddlers of dictators."

Sometimes it sucks to be The Hegemon, doesn't it?

Wonderment
03-20-2011, 12:57 AM
Sometimes it sucks to be The Hegemon, doesn't it?

It's a thankless job.

operative
03-20-2011, 05:33 PM
Always good to read past the headline:



Emph. added.

Probably amounts to taking out the antiaircraft batteries, C&C, and other things which once knocked out are gone for a long time, with cruise missiles and maybe some bombing. After that, it will be more of an air patrol job, which Europeans and Arabs ought to be able to handle.

Qaddafi is already nervous enough to have surrounded his bunker with a human shield (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/world/africa/20tripoli.html) of hundreds of women and children. So I think he thinks we're serious.

Hopefully he continues to believe this, because if he has any doubts about the credibility of the commitment of the US or other countries, he'll have every motivation to be as aggressive as possible: not only would doing so combat the rebels, but it would force the US into a Black Hawk Down type situation where the costs of maintaining the operation outweighed the benefits, at least as seen by key advisors.

bjkeefe
03-20-2011, 07:22 PM
Hopefully he continues to believe this, because if he has any doubts about the credibility of the commitment of the US or other countries, he'll have every motivation to be as aggressive as possible: not only would doing so combat the rebels, but it would force the US into a Black Hawk Down type situation where the costs of maintaining the operation outweighed the benefits, at least as seen by key advisors.

That's a risk, sure. Although I do have to say me sense of Qaddafi is that he's going to be as aggressive as possible in any case, right up to the end game.

Do you think he'll go the full martyr route, or do you think it's more likely he'll eventually sneak out of the country on an airplane stuffed with cash?

Ocean
03-20-2011, 07:30 PM
Do you think he'll go the full martyr route, or do you think it's more likely he'll eventually sneak out of the country on an airplane stuffed with cash?

As long as he doesn't copy some other crazy historical figure. (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_TpYwiVJrg-M/TRyXLxYbQGI/AAAAAAAAABU/7bnDTuDvlCk/s1600/dec514-041.jpg)

operative
03-20-2011, 08:36 PM
That's a risk, sure. Although I do have to say me sense of Qaddafi is that he's going to be as aggressive as possible in any case, right up to the end game.

Do you think he'll go the full martyr route, or do you think it's more likely he'll eventually sneak out of the country on an airplane stuffed with cash?

Well, we do have examples of irrational and likely mentally unbalanced leaders fleeing instead of inviting martyrdom (Idi Amin, ironically supported by Gaddafi, would be the prime example), and examples of similarly unhinged leaders choosing martyrdom (Hitler). If I had to guess, I would guess the martyr route, because I think he still looks at himself as a great and important figure for not just his own country but the broader region. I'd much prefer it if he chose the cash-stuffed airplane route, and most decision theory analyses would likely point to this, but any such analysis rests on being able to understand and analyze the person's derived utility from various options, and that's just extremely hard to do with him.

Wonderment
03-20-2011, 08:54 PM
Do you think he'll go the full martyr route, or do you think it's more likely he'll eventually sneak out of the country on an airplane stuffed with cash?

It doesn't really matter because the minute we liberate Libya and Ghadaffi leaves or is killed, we will commence to de-nazify, de-baathify and de-green-bookify Libya.

In a few short years and a mere trillion or so dollars later (surely contributed by generous Arab neighbors rather than ourselves), Libya will be a flourishing democracy, exporting electronics and automobiles, just like post-war Germany and Japan (not to speak of Iraq, the miraculous oasis of Middle Eastern enlightenment and economic success).

operative
03-20-2011, 09:02 PM
It doesn't really matter because the minute we liberate Libya and Ghadaffi leaves or is killed, we will commence to de-nazify, de-baathify and de-green-bookify Libya.

I wouldn't be so sure that the US will maintain a significant role in post-Gaddafi Libya. We've been supportive of other regime changes in the past without involving ourselves significantly in the post-regime change government.

Wonderment
03-20-2011, 09:17 PM
I wouldn't be so sure that the US will maintain a significant role in post-Gaddafi Libya. We've been supportive of other regime changes in the past without involving ourselves significantly in the post-regime change government.

Well, I'm sure things will work out just fine in that case. Regime change followed by benign neglect. It's such a beautiful country. What could go wrong?

rfrobison
03-20-2011, 10:20 PM
It doesn't really matter because the minute we liberate Libya and Ghadaffi leaves or is killed, we will commence to de-nazify, de-baathify and de-green-bookify Libya.

In a few short years and a mere trillion or so dollars later (surely contributed by generous Arab neighbors rather than ourselves), Libya will be a flourishing democracy, exporting electronics and automobiles, just like post-war Germany and Japan (not to speak of Iraq, the miraculous oasis of Middle Eastern enlightenment and economic success).

Wonderment: I get that you're opposed to war and all that, but cynicism doesn't suit you very well. I hardly think anybody serious believes that "Libya will be a flourishing democracy, etc., etc." merely in the absence of its tyrant, but surely his departure would be a good thing, would it not? This attitude mirrors the spiteful contempt with which Iraq's current government is treated by many who opposed that war, too.

It's as if the critics would have indeed preferred it had Saddam had hung onto power somehow. That way the U.S. (or the Bushies, take your pick) could be the pure villain of their dreams.

bjkeefe
03-21-2011, 05:26 AM
Rightbloggers on Libya Action: For It Before They Were Against It.

Well, President Obama has functionally invaded his first country as part of a joint military implementation with the UK and France of a no-fly zone over Libya. Did you expect rightbloggers, who had been bitching about his inaction on the matter, to applaud him for coming around?

You didn't? Oh, good, you've been paying attention.

[...]

The message was clear: The United States should deal with Qaddafi unless Obama is President and actually does it, in which case it's ridiculous.

[...]

Intro here (http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2011/03/new-voice-column-up-about-rightblogger_21.html), full column here (http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/03/rightbloggers_o_14.php).

chiwhisoxx
03-21-2011, 04:52 PM
Intro here (http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2011/03/new-voice-column-up-about-rightblogger_21.html), full column here (http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/03/rightbloggers_o_14.php).

I think Dan Foster has a good post that somewhat addresses this.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/262666/sticks-and-stones-libya-daniel-foster

This doesn't have anything to do with hypocrisy from individuals on this subject. But I think Dan's post is a good illustration of why a lot of people on the right can or should be pretty ambivalent about this.

bjkeefe
03-21-2011, 08:27 PM
I think Dan Foster has a good post that somewhat addresses this.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/262666/sticks-and-stones-libya-daniel-foster

This doesn't have anything to do with hypocrisy from individuals on this subject. But I think Dan's post is a good illustration of why a lot of people on the right can or should be pretty ambivalent about this.

Any idea whether Mr. Foster ever bestirred himself to proclaim his swearing-off of the Bush/neocon juice and his alleged six years of sobriety before it started looking like the US would be getting involved in Libya?

In the absence of anything from longer ago than, say, the start of the Egyptian uprising, I'm afraid I find him about as credible as the rest of the people Roy covered in his column (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=201683#post201683); i.e., that he's casting about for bad things to say about the Libya intervention primarily, if not solely, because it's a Democratic president who has ordered it.

chiwhisoxx
03-21-2011, 08:42 PM
Any idea whether Mr. Foster ever bestirred himself to proclaim his swearing-off of the Bush/neocon juice and his alleged six years of sobriety before it started looking like the US would be getting involved in Libya?

In the absence of anything from longer ago than, say, the start of the Egyptian uprising, I'm afraid I find him about as credible as the rest of the people Roy covered in his column (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=201683#post201683); i.e., that he's casting about for bad things to say about the Libya intervention primarily, if not solely, because it's a Democratic president who has ordered it.

I don't know when he "renounced" his neoconservatism, or whatever. I understand why'd you feel the way you do about the positions conservative pundits are taking. Things like this always have a partisan edge. But don't entirely ignore the real chastening effects the failures of Iraq could (and frankly should) have. There's no real way to know whether people are genuinely chastened or trying to oppose something because Barack Obama did it. The only way I know how to do it is to use people's previous records and writings to try and judge if they're being honest now. I don't know if Dan is one of those people being honest, (I'd like to think he is) but I think his post is a good indication of where an honestly chastened person might be.

chiwhisoxx
03-21-2011, 08:42 PM
Good post from Foreign Policy, the rules of engagement in Libya seem like they're basically impossible to follow...

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/03/21/rules_of_engagement_are_murky_in_libya_air_war

Also, very interesting question from Yglesias on Twitter (paraphrasing): Does anyone actually know if there's something binding these rebels in Libya together other than opposition to Qaddafi? If there isn't, that seems to be a serious problem and something we need to try and figure out sooner rather than later.

Wonderment
03-21-2011, 09:33 PM
I don't know if Dan is one of those people being honest, (I'd like to think he is) but I think his post is a good indication of where an honestly chastened person might be.

I'm certainly willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. People can change. He certainly wouldn't be the first warist to repent.

I liked the metaphor of addiction; I think the US is "addicted" or habituated to the use of military force to resolve conflicts.

If Dan wants to maintain his sobriety, however, he probably shouldn't be hanging around the saloon of The Corner, which is full of active war-aholics and addicts.

I smiled at the notion of "half-assed BUshism," but I don't think it actually captures what's going on. The Obamaites think they are doing the opposite of Bush-Cheney and further distancing themselves from neo-con policies. The Libyan adventure is an ironic attempt to rehab US military and diplomatic prestige after the disgrace of Iraq. That's why liberal think tank interventionists like Heather (see other BH Libya diavlog) are loving it so much. The message to Bush is, "This is the way you should have shocked and awed Iraq, armed with both bombs and a UN death warrant."

bjkeefe
03-21-2011, 09:55 PM
There's no real way to know whether people are genuinely chastened or trying to oppose something because Barack Obama did it.

Sure there is. If he had written something a year, or three, or five ago, that'd seem pretty genuine to me.

On the other hand, given where he works and his attitude as displayed on that site and this one, if he can't point to any sort of previous admission of being chastened, then though we can't be certain, we can be make a pretty safe bet that his supposed moment of clarity happened more like six days ago, and not six years ago.

chiwhisoxx
03-21-2011, 10:29 PM
Sure there is. If he had written something a year, or three, or five ago, that'd seem pretty genuine to me.

On the other hand, given where he works and his attitude as displayed on that site and this one, if he can't point to any sort of previous admission of being chastened, then though we can't be certain, we can be make a pretty safe bet that his supposed moment of clarity happened more like six days ago, and not six years ago.

Re the first point...absence of evidence is not evidence of absence! Sorry, couldn't help myself.

bjkeefe
03-21-2011, 10:58 PM
Re the first point...absence of evidence is not evidence of absence! Sorry, couldn't help myself.

The only thing worse than deploying a cliché is deploying a cliché inappropriately.

chiwhisoxx
03-21-2011, 11:09 PM
The only thing worse than deploying a cliché is deploying a cliché inappropriately.

it was a bad iraq joke, it wasn't serious. the joke was...the fact that Dan hasn't publicly recanted his neocon ways doesn't mean he hasn't. how is that inappropriate usage? And either way, lighten up. I thought that was pretty clearly a joke. I expect base levels of reader comprehension as well!

bjkeefe
03-21-2011, 11:18 PM
it was a bad iraq joke, it wasn't serious. the joke was...the fact that Dan hasn't publicly recanted his neocon ways doesn't mean he hasn't. how is that inappropriate usage? And either way, lighten up. I thought that was pretty clearly a joke. I expect base levels of reader comprehension as well!

Why are you insisting it was a joke!!!1! and demanding that I explain why your usage was wrong?

Not4Navigation
03-22-2011, 08:52 AM
Has this been posted already? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_VHEts3fqk) Who would have guessed that the last President's anti-war movement was mostly disingenuous posturing?

Not4Navigation
03-22-2011, 09:06 AM
His main point was that President Obama hasn't really had a conversation with the public about this.

Nor Congress (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltKRBj9IqZA).

He's in Rio, Congress is not in session and he does an about-face on what he was originally saying in public.

stephanie
03-22-2011, 01:21 PM
I'm certainly willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. People can change. He certainly wouldn't be the first warist to repent.

I don't know what you consider being a "repentent warist" for a Republican -- acknowledging that the use of force is not always good, especially when a Democrat is president? However, it might be relevant that Foster, whatever he now says or the precise procedure by which he thinks we should have acted and didn't, was in favor of the no strike zone -- thought such action was necessary -- as of one month ago.

See here. (http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/260287/no-fly-libya-daniel-foster)

His precise criticisms might still be valid, but I'd hardly focus on being "a recovering neocon" in that he's not remotely clear what he's supposedly rejected. (I'd also be interested in the mea culpa from 6 years ago that he implies exists.)

bjkeefe
03-23-2011, 03:34 PM
Rightbloggers on Libya Action: For It Before They Were Against It.

Well, President Obama has functionally invaded his first country as part of a joint military implementation with the UK and France of a no-fly zone over Libya. Did you expect rightbloggers, who had been bitching about his inaction on the matter, to applaud him for coming around?

You didn't? Oh, good, you've been paying attention.

[...]

The message was clear: The United States should deal with Qaddafi unless Obama is President and actually does it, in which case it's ridiculous.

[...]

Intro here (http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2011/03/new-voice-column-up-about-rightblogger_21.html), full column here (http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/03/rightbloggers_o_14.php).

Meet the new Honorary Chairman of Rightblogistan, Newt Gingrich (http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/23/gingrich-libya-flip-flop/)!

Maybe his new strategy for winning the Republican nomination is to out-flip-flop Romney?

More from hat-tippee Dave Weigel (http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/weigel/archive/2011/03/23/newt-gingrich-completely-changes-position-on-libya-in-16-days.aspx).

bjkeefe
03-23-2011, 06:02 PM
"What to say about Libya: A Guide for Republicans (http://www.salon.com/news/libya/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/03/23/libya_response_chart)."

chiwhisoxx
03-23-2011, 07:08 PM
Two good links. The first is one of the best general critiques of our mission I've read yet:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/middleeast/2011/03/22/down-the-rabbit-hole/

The next is an examination of the liberal interventionists who seem to have forgetten the years of 2003-2010:

http://www.tnr.com/article/against-the-current/85621/libya-iraq-muammar-qaddafi

bjkeefe
03-25-2011, 11:52 PM
Meet the new Honorary Chairman of Rightblogistan, Newt Gingrich (http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/23/gingrich-libya-flip-flop/)!

Maybe his new strategy for winning the Republican nomination is to out-flip-flop Romney?

Turns out he's far from alone (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_03/028620.php) in the Republican for-it-before-I-was-against-it department.