Posts Tagged ‘libya’

[M]ilitias are out of control and holding thousands of people in secret detention centres… More than 8,000…are being held by militia groups, amid reports of torture, UN officials said… Four died in clashes…on Monday.

Where is this happening? Libya. Responsibility to protect whom?

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In the last 24 hours alone I’ve seen two liberal sources – Bill Maher and the New York Times – note that we are paying for two expensive wars right now in the midst of our domestic economic woes.  At least in Maher’s case, the upshot is that this is bad for the United States and we should shift spending from prosecuting the two wars to domestic priorities.*  From the context, it is clear that they mean Iraq and Afghanistan.  Have they simply forgotten about Libya or are they buying the President’s difficult-to-defend notion (even for the government’s lawyers) that we aren’t at war there?  Are these anti-war liberals being partisan or just “misremembering” in order to deal with the cognitive dissonance of their hero starting a war while our cities supposedly crumble?  So, I count three wars with the third admittedly not as phenomenally expensive as the others but still pricey– so let’s not forget Libya.

* I agree that we need to reduce offense war defense funding (hard to call Iraq “defense”) but unlike Maher, I want to return the peace dividend to the people who created the wealth in the first place and not spend it on the pet government projects of politicians and commentators of either party.

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The Future of the Qaddafis

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An update on the price of the Libyan conflict.  From CNN Money:

With the tab already running into the hundreds of millions of dollars, the U.S. military intervention in Libya has sparked a debate over funding.

To date, the United States has spent some $225 million firing Tomahawk missiles, according to CNN estimates based on U.S. Navy figures.

The cost could reach up to $800 million to fully establish the no-fly zone and another $100 million a week to maintain it going forward, said Zack Cooper, a senior analyst for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

In defense of the national interest, fine.  More than fine.  But to satisfy the dubious arguments of the liberal interventionists?! 

Hell no, our dollars shouldn’t go.

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For those of you that lived through the feminist challenge to traditional IR theory in the 1990’s, David Gergen reports on a relevant observation in his CNN piece today:

One irony, as a female friend put it, is that for years many of us believed that if only more women could gain power, the world would surely become more peaceful. Yet, we now see that the three people who talked Obama into using force against Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi were all women — Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power. Leading male advisers were opposed. Perhaps we should be less surprised than we are. Remember Margaret Thatcher? And Golda Meir? And remember, too, that both were seen as successful leaders for most of their time in office.

Never bought this particular variant (there are different types of feminist IR) in the first place, but this “anecdata” and her response to it are interesting.  I’ll certainly add this story to my next lecture on feminist theory.

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Many politicians and intellectuals have egg on their faces over the Libyan dictatorship’s brutal, bloody turn in the past few weeks, but arguably none more so than political scientist Benjamin Barber, who helped found the Monitor Group, which received millions of dollars from Muammar Qaddafi to help burnish his image abroad. Barber sometimes failed to disclose his conflict of interest in his writings on Libya. Now Foreign Policy has done an interview with Benjamin Barber. Read it here if you have the stomach, but don’t expect any mea culpas. To the contrary, Barber doubles down on his defense of Saif Qaddafi, arguing that the charge of plagiarism is “garbage” and sympathizing with his opposition to the reformers:

What Qaddafi Sr. has done is brutal and terroristic, and he’s been doing it for a long time, but this notion that you’re bombing your own people? The story about the helicopters machine-gunning people? None of those have been verified. The air force was used to bomb the depots that were being looted by the folks in the east. He was trying to prevent the weapons from being used against him. I mean there’s a piece in the New York Times that says those weapons being looted are going to end up with al Qaeda. In reality, you can’t get swept away in the sort of media hysteria. Condemn the brutality and the shooting of innocents, but understand, as the media now is beginning to, that this isn’t Cairo, but a civil war with tribal overtones that threaten to overwhelm the genuine desire for freedom of many of the protesters.

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I caught a little bit of flak around the Internet for my piece, “Why Isn’t Violence the Answer?,” during the early days of the Egypt protests. I was galled by official demands from the U.S. government and other places that Egyptian protestors remain nonviolent, no matter what. Thankfully, significant violence wasn’t required to get rid of Mubarak, although if protestors had not fought back against the thugs that invaded Tahrir Square, who knows what would have happened?

Libya is an even clearer case of just rebellion. Gaddafi has been one of the region’s most repressive dictators, and his reaction to what started as peaceful protests shows us all we need to know about his regime. But if Libyans hadn’t undertaken an armed rebellion, there would be no chance of getting him out of power.

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