Friday, March 18, 2011

Why bother, especially now?

You want to ask the girl to the prom. The prom is scheduled for a Saturday from 9 to midnight. You wait and dither and vacillate about it. As it happens, the girl hasn't been asked to the prom, but you still wait.

As it happens, the girl has been trying to get away from a long-standing, abusive relationship, which is over, but not really, because it's never really over. The day of the prom arrives and you still haven't asked her out. You wait all day and most of the evening, because you're still not sure you can muster the courage. Finally, at 11:45 p.m., you decide to surprise the girl and show up at her doorstep with a corsage. As you approach the door, you realize that she is lying in the front yard of her home with a butcher knife in her abdomen.

Kinda gruesome, you say? Well, yeah. And not much different than declaring a no-fly zone in Libya at this point:

The UN resolution imposes a "ban on all flights in Libyan airspace", with aid flights the only exception.

It authorises member states to "take all necessary measures" to "protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack", including in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, short of an putting an "occupation force" on the ground.

It also calls for an immediate ceasefire, an end to the violence, measures to make it more difficult for foreign mercenaries to get into Libya and a tightening of sanctions.

As it happens, the initial draft of this resolution also called for strengthening the hand of the rebels by allowing them to sell the raw silk that comes out of Ban Ki-moon's butt, but apparently the UN thought better of it.

Jeebus. Where to begin? Well, let's start with the obvious: if the UN, or NATO, or whoever the hell is authorizing this pointless exercise, is unwilling to put boots on the ground, there's no reason to believe that Gaddafi is going to blink. He's spent the last two weeks pounding holy hell out of the rebels and has killed thousands of people. But now, at this late date, he's supposed to answer the call for a ceasefire and end to the violence, even though he knows that he doesn't face any real danger, especially of losing? We shall write you a letter!

The more important point is this: we, and by that I mean the United States, since no acronym-bearing organization can wield any power without the United States, need to decide whether we are going to be the world's policeman or not. The Europeans were willing to provide bupkis until now, apparently. Given our current commitments elsewhere, I'm hardly convinced that the United States has the capability of solving the Libyan conflict by deposing Gadaffi, but if we were so inclined, the time to make that decision passed a long time ago now. We didn't, which is a defensible (if unsightly) decision. But going in now is a fool's errand.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is more than likely the Pat Benatar No Fly Zone: It's a little too little, It's a little too late.

Bike Bubba said...

Hey, if going into Libya now is a fool's errand, boy do we have the right people in the White House. Send Biden!

But well said; if those opposed to Gaddhafi didn't hate us before, they do now. We needed to at least tell them whether we were going to back them to give them a chance.

Anonymous said...

Mark,
can we actually be 100% in agreement on something? Good God this is a bad decision. And HRC seems to be saying that the reason we can get involved now is because the Arab League is backing this. Which would be great, except for the fact that almost no members of the League are shouldering any of the military burden. The Saudis are too busy going all Ghadafi on the people of Bahrain (which we seem OK with???). Ditto for the Baharaini's and Yemeni's. Egypt wants to be a silent partner (whatever that means). Jordan---um...no. Tunisia: a little busy suppressing their own people. And Algeria and Syria aren't picking up when we call. That leaves Lebanon. Woohoo! You know the old saying: When the Arab League's got your back...you better run!

This is an utter CF.

Happy weekend.
Rich

Mr. D said...

Rich,

We may not agree on that many things, but you have an excellent sense for when skepticism is warranted. And it serves you well. Hope you have an excellent weekend too and I'll try to write something that you disagree with soon. ;)

Mark

J said...

It would be nice if we didn't always have to be the ones to do something about everything in the World. I doubt China will ever lift a finger to do anything too far from It's Own Borders. I wonder if Britain forgot how to do so. Maybe one of these days another nation will take the lead on something for once.