Saturday, March 19, 2011

WE ARE AT WAR AGAIN: What Being In Another War Means to Easton, PA

A fighter jet goes down over Benghazi, Libya.

Posted by: Noël Jones

We won't call it that...war, that is. We will call it an "action" or "establishing a no-fly zone" or a "U.N.-sanctioned multi-lateral multi-national effort." But make no mistake--in all our brilliance and glory, the U.S. has managed to embroil ourselves in yet another war, this time in an attempt to oust Muammar Gaddafi, the current ruler of the North-African nation of Libya. This, ostensibly, is to support armed civilian rebels fighting to get out from under a brutal dictator so as to establish a new democratic government of the people. Funny how we didn't feel the need to attack Egypt when their people engaged in an 18-day rebellion against another brutal dictator, Hosni Mubarak, and yet President Obama and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, came out almost immediately to condemn the Libyan government, support the rebels, and suggest that a multi-national military response might be necessary. But then, Libya is not an ally of the U.S. and Egypt is. So apparently we only oust brutal dictators if they are not our allies--if they're allies, they can do whatever they want to their people, and we will not feel compelled on moral grounds to organize a military strike.

In this multi-national strike, France and Britain agreed to bomb them first, so that it didn't look like it was all us this time. That lasted for a few hours--American fighter planes have already struck as well, according to Steven Erlanger and David D. Kirkpatrick of The New York Times, and we are bound to be embroiled in yet another conflict where

we send way more of our resources, troops and tax money to maintain the conflict than any other country does. This despite the vocal reluctance of our generals, who are already spread thin in Afghanistan and Iraq and fear that invading Libya might create an anti-American backlash.

And why are we in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place? Oh yeah, to combat terrorism. And yet here we are again, stirring up anti-American sentiment in another Arab country, which inevitably leads to higher terrorist recruitment, with sites set on the U.S. We are literally defeating our own purpose.

What's the trade-off? Oil, you say? Libya only produces 3% of the world's oil. If we are so desperate that we are willing to run up our national deficit with more military spending, and lose more American lives, all for partial control of 3% of the world's oil, maybe now it's time to start putting serious research and development behind alternative fuels? Seriously--where does it end?

And what does this have to do with Easton, PA? Well, a couple of things:

1. Any of us who have troops among their friends and family, that may have been hoping for a real drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that they won't get sent on a third or fourth or fifth tour, can most likely kiss that hope good-bye. I have spent a lot of energy hoping that my brother won't get sent back to Iraq, or worse--to Afghanistan. Now I get to hope that he won't get sent to Libya too. The President swears he will not send ground troops to Libya, but there are already a plethora of naysaying pundits on TV saying that there is no possible way that we will be able to avoid sending ground troops. Hopefully they are wrong, but I doubt it.

2. For those of us who are upset about our national debt and deficit, we can now add hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to that bill--and like everywhere else where we get involved in foreign wars, a lot of that will be pork for defense contractors like KBR and Halliburton (Dick Cheney's old firm), who are constantly building things that our military doesn't need on our tax dollar (like the brand new mess hall they built across from the already existing mess hall in the desert when my brother was on his second tour, packing up troops for the drawdown in Iraq. A brand new mess hall, for millions of dollars, for troops who were leaving, when they already had a fairly new mess hall anyway. 

3. If there was any existing threat of terrorism in our area--say at one of the five nuclear power plants in our area, we've just created a whole new wave of anti-American backlash to enable Islamic extremists to recruit more new terrorists to send our way. Way to go, Team America.

When will the American public get mad enough to send a clear message to our government that WE DO NOT WANT TO GET INVOLVED IN ANY MORE WARS OVERSEAS, ESPECIALLY IN THE ARAB WORLD?



David Caines said...

Yeah, here we go again. Sorry for your brother and Terrance's son, but not involving ground troops just generally is not an option. To make any kind of change you need troops on the ground.
I'm a bit speechless actually. With two wars already taking us to the poor house, we now have a third going.
Well, if we wanted to absolutely ensure that no one in America ever gets a raise again...we're on the right path.
Anyhow, this is just too depressing,

noel jones said...

the latest from the NYTimes:

Corker said...

Although I am sure it is only a matter of time before it changes once all the ground to air defenses are eliminated, where in either article freom the NY Times does it state that American fighter jets are in any way involved so far? Everything I have read states the French are the only ones that have sent fighter jets from Corsica and the article you quote specifically states that "no American aircraft were directly over Libya on Saturday afternoon".

Again, sure to change as we move forward but given the way you highlighted the words "American fighter planes have already struck" I think you need to back it up with an accurate article.

Anonymous said...

from wall street journal on line:

"Early Sunday morning, U.S. Marine Corps. AV-8B Harrier jump jets launched strikes against Col. Gadhafi's ground forces and air defenses" Forget the French; as usual we are carrying the ball by ourselves

ferebee said...

Another day, another war.......


Anonymous said...

how sad, we are losing fine young men and women and spending a ton of money every week while our own Americans are out of work, hungry and losing their homes. $2 BILLION per week in Afganistan alone. For what?

David Caines said...

The funny thing is that I can see a lot of what might appear to be viable reasons, but only in the light of our not being in our current economic straights.
There could even be a rationale that the way to solve our economic problems is war, it's worked before, so why not try it again?
Sadly, in the nuclear age that philosophy fails the test of sanity.
Much like trickle down economics, and such. The simple facts seem to support that a bare handful are getting quite rich, and there is very little that we can do to stop them as we've deregulated pretty much everything. Until we start to address our major problems locally, I must say I think that our chances of making any viable impact at state or federal levels is pretty much nil.
It's ugly, but well... continuing to lie to myself about it will just carry it forward.
With luck we can fix where we live, and hope that change spirals upward. But above local level we have lost control of our government and aren't getting it back anytime soon.
On that happy note,
I need more coffee.

Clem said...

For the record, Mubarek did leave under pressure, internal and external, without the need for military intervention.

Gadhafi, on the other hand, has vowed to fight to the death and has, so far, shown that is not a bluff.

The easiest and most financially sound (in the short term) position would be to sit back stay out of the fray, no matter where or why.

But the world, and our role in it, is more complicated than that.

Those who hunger for secular democracy should be supported to the extent we can, but it is not at all clear that is the goal. Much of the rebellion is stirred and financed by extremist elements of Islam, and their success may actually do more harm than good in the long run.

Perhaps more telling - How bout that Obusha? Interfering in the affairs of other nations when there is no imminent threat to the U.S., using the military for political purposes, playing golf and going to Bulls games while it all goes down...

Hope and change? Suckers!

noel jones said...

I love how the spin on the news today is that 1. yes we struck Gaddafi's compound when we said we were only defending the rebels and civilians, and 2. even though we struck his compound, we weren't actually trying to kill him.

I saw one pundit on MSNBC today who gave the most honest assessment I've heard so far when asked how to explain the hypocrisy of running to the Libyan rebels defense, while not doing the same in Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen--all of which had or are still having similar conflicts. He said, "the President is a pragmatist" and that we won't go to the aid of Bahraini rebels because that would be beneficial to Iran, not the Saudis, who are our allies. Likewise we will not go into Yemen, because the rebels are mostly fundamentalists extremists (he acknowledged that the Yemeni rebels appear to be winning anyway).

So with that in mind, why not just drop the B.S. about it being about our supporting The People and their right to Democracy, when we really only believe in democracies who we feel will elect people who are on our side? And it also begs the question--one I have not heard answered anywhere yet on the news--who do we think is going to replace Gaddhafi and why do we think they are going to be any more allied with us than he is?

My brother, who is a conservative (and who is an Arabic linguist in the Army, and has served two tours in Iraq) was visiting me and when he saw our attack on Libya on the news, his immediately reaction was, "what are we DOING? This is STUPID. This is Libya's fight to fight--why are we getting involved?" This, coming from someone who could very well get sent there if we get sucked into another long entanglement in the Arab world.

One thing he and I agree on with regard to the military--our government is forever dreaming up new ways to blow billions of taxpayer dollars on new involvements overseas.

My brother's biggest concern, however, is that we have no idea who will move into the power vacuum left by Gaddafi if we succeed in ousting him, so we are engaging in a new conflict that could cost us lives, and will definitely costs us money in "defense spending" with no clear benefit as to an outcome.

worldweary said...

yet again Noel treads into much larger subjects than locally focused topics.
the interwebz are already loaded w/ commentary on the wars, why add to it? what do you hope to gain?
this blog has gone to hell, instead of being a nice friendly place to visit Noel has instead decided to make it a platform to assume to fix all that ails the world.
yes, the world is fckued up, yes, there are crisis all over. but you are hardly making any news here; you're just commenting on what everyone already knows.

tachitup said...

worldweary is right, Noël.
We should be discussing parking meters, idiot school directors/admins, and the 600 block. Copper thieves on College Hill is pushing it....never go further than Marcellus Shale.

How is Obama gonna blame George W for Libya? There must be a way.
Sorry, don't answer that.

noel jones said...


if you're looking for local news, may i direct you to my two latest posts about a) Joe Kish's role in our school district getting sued for racial discrimination, and b) the fact that one of our Region II school board candidates has dropped out of the race?

it's amusing how the occasional critics of this blog, can't seem to tear themselves away--as well as how they seem to love to say my name repeatedly...

as for being "a nice friendly place to visit" that has never been the mission of this blog--may I suggest the Irregular, which focuses on being "The Good News Paper."

and as for "you are hardly making any news here"...uh, no kidding. we don't "make" news here--i aggregate news (and once in a while, report news) and readers discuss it, but we don't "make news" here. that would be messed up.

furthermore, as much as we would all love to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that national and global news does not effect us locally, it does. if you are lucky enough not to have family members and/or friends that you worry about getting sent to war, then i will leave you to your bliss, but unless you're on welfare, you're getting taxed to pay for these wars, so either you're ok with taxes getting raised on you into infinity, or you want spending cuts--and for those of us who want to see waste cut out of government spending, we've got to be honest about the billions of dollars being wasted on exorbitant bogus "defense" contracting surrounding these wars.

noel jones said...

Did anyone see the President's speech today on our reasons for being involved in Libya? I know this thread is old, but I'd be interested to know how readers felt about the speech...