Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Am Already Against the Next Idiotic Overseas Military Adventure

Roy Edroso almost has me agreeing on the US military campaign in Libya right up until he doesn't:

I can believe Obama is very different from the imperialist Westerners who’ve been fucking over small states for generations, and still believe that the best way for him to show his difference is to stay out of their affairs insofar as possible. We don’t have a great track record since World War II, and while Obama appears to think that the best way to fix that is to do foreign intervention right this time, I would prefer a cooling-off period. Always leave ‘em wanting more. [emphasis mine]
Putting this in terms of a how Obama should manage perceptions, "cooling off periods," and "leaving 'em wanting more" is above-average trifling. It refuses to stop at trivializing the situation and boldly recapitulates the worst, most inane self-regarding tendencies of US foreign policy by evoking a generic International Current Affairs Follower who will be favorably impressed by anguished expressions and heavy sighs, or if not that, by a play-it-cool approach borrowed from the cliches of the dating scene.

Such wise forbearance in a difficult world! Heavy lies the crown and so on. But what if the International Current Affairs Follower isn't picking up on the sighs and the anguish? Has all the practice in the mirror been worth it? I think I know the answer, but for now I'm just asking.

The usual presumption is that the USA, and specifically the USA's military, offers what is needed to resolve the problems in nation X -- Libya this time. By now the odds must be astronomical that yet another war- and oppression-riddled society in profound of need of cruise missiles and F-15 sorties also happens to be located on the ground above a colossal pool of oil, but I won't bother dwelling on that heresy.

Suffice to say the USA's pretensions for mending select parts of the world aren't touched by the observation that we should pursue these pretensions coyly lest we come on too strongly. We should fucking stop it would be closer to the mark. We should stop pretending to have bombs armed with answers, let alone answers for societies we collectively ignore for decades,  that our citizens can't find on a map, and that are governed by decrepit cretins who deserved to be hanged by piano wire long before the time before last we switched sides and hissed of their villainy.

The USA demonstrably does not have answers for Libya. We don't have a clear idea of all the factions in this civil war we've blundered into, let alone what they'd do if they "won," whatever "winning" would look like. This is absolute madness. We need to stop it.


Reuben said...

Just some thoughts, no point in particular.

The Canadian Parliament voted unanimously (i.e.: including all Bloc and NDP ministers (i.e.: the French separatists and leftists, respectively)) in favor of intervening in Lybia. That's something we didn't get for Afghanistan, much less Iraq (obviously - we weren't there). And a Canadian general was appointed to command the NATO mission, which some Canadians think is pretty swell, namely those supporting the invasion. Also, this article by Gwynne Dyer, an independent Canadian journalist with a Phd in military history (beware the weird formatting):

I guess if there is a point to this, then it might be, if the enterprise is an abject failure, we're totally on board?

Dale said...

Reuben, that Canada is on board is a good thing. The thing is, though: Canada has a track record of backing out of conflicts after the conflicts have proven to be ravenous suck-holes of money and blood. The USA just keeps plodding along no matter what, and in particular, when sensible nations like Canada back out, the USA seizes it as an excuse to increase the money and blood poured down the suck-hole.

I would love to be proven wrong. People like me saying that I'd love to be proven wrong, and people like you and me hoping that this time our intentions are genuinely noble, are both elements of the script we collectively keep repeating in fulfillment of the definition of insanity.

So yes, I would truly love to be proved wrong, but I have zero confidence that it will happen, so I say stop this madness.

James Smith said...

The United Staes needs to stop the foreign nation building. We are going bankrupt and our allies do not pick up the cost of any foreign war. Libya is the latest example of a not well thought out foreign military campaign.

Billy Flynn said...

Good post Dale, I enjoy reading writers whose words make me think.

I suppose it might be easier for the World to take if the US was at least honest about their intentions; the message from the top is always the same, “Our mission is to help the ________ people" ( fill-in the blank: Iraqui, Afghani, Libyan et al.) The US only helps when it is to their strategic advantage to help; that is absolutely their right but let’s not confuse it with altruism.

As a last thought, things at home are a long way from hunky-dory, it might benefit the country to spend a little less on defence (why is it not called offence?) and “homeland security" and put some of that back into re-educating the unemployed/off-the-unemployment-role-but-still-unemployed/under-employed mass that is growing everyday in America?

First time here, thanks for the post!

Dale said...

Billy F., yes indeed --- we have mammoth, gaping needs in this country that our political leaders are routinely claiming we "can't afford" to even think about dealing with, even as we pour billions into feckless military campaigns. It's insane.