Obama Moves Toward Intervention in Libya

Barack Obama has indicated that the United States is considering military intervention in Libya. While this may be an effort to convince Gaddafi (Qadaffi) to leave, the very thought of another military campaign by the United States is alarming. We are continuing to gush billions in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan despite rising anti-American sentiments. In the meantime, our cities and states are near bankruptcy for lack of funds.

I also find the constant stream of Libyan diplomats and officials denouncing Gaddafi to be increasingly irritating — both in their comments and the lack of push back by the media. Libya has a long history of sponsoring terrorism and killing citizens of other countries. However, once Gaddafi begins to shoot at Libyans, these officials are appalled.

My favorite was former Justice Minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud Al Jeleil, who has denounced Gaddafi and stated in this resignation that he has evidence Gaddafi ordered the bombing that killed 270 people. He promised “I have proof that Gaddafi gave the order for (the) Lockerbie (bombing).”

So let me get this straight. His guy has been lying with the rest of his country for decades in covering up this terror plot. Now that Libyans are being shot, he suddenly tells that truth and denounces Gaddafi? How about the responsibility of himself and his many colleagues who are now being heralded as voices of freedom? I have yet to find a reporter to ask these officials why they were so tolerant of killing people in other countries.

Source: The Independent

Jonathan Turley

36 thoughts on “Obama Moves Toward Intervention in Libya”

  1. MIke S:

    As always a spirited and civil disagreement chock full of insight. Kudos.

  2. “but what is undeniable is that Roman rule preserved and defended the Hebrew state’s autonomy from its bellicose neighbors.”


    I don’t think it is “undeniable” and most of my reading of the history of the time, ignoring the Gospels, was that the overwhelming majority of Jews chafed under Roman rule, their backing of the mad Herod and the Vichy
    like Sadduccees. As far as protection from other States the Jews wanted autonomy from Rome and the “Pax Romana”
    laid upon them was an anathema.

    I know where you are coming from subjectively and admittedly it differs from my subjective beliefs. As to who is right, who’s to say, but both of us as you know,
    have developed our world outlook from our knowledge base, gut and brain. We do differ on the history here and whether roman Rule was beneficent.

    “I prefer order to licentiousness and peace to internecine warfare.”

    It is true that some might say that I don’t have that preference and in some instances in my life past, present and future they wouldn’t be totally wrong. 😉

    “The other brilliant thing the Romans did was to allow local religious ceremonies/beliefs to remain in place.”


    There is a caveat to that making it less benign than it seems. The subject peoples were allowed to keep their own Gods, providing they recognized the Emperor as a deity. To Jews, at least this was impossible to do, given their belief system and it was why the Jews were considered to be among the most rebellious and annoying of conquered peoples. Incidentally, the Romans purposely committed sacrilege in the Temple on many occasions, prior to its final destruction in 70 CE.

  3. Mike S. & Mespo

    The other brilliant thing the Romans did was to allow local religious ceremonies/beliefs to remain in place. I’m not sure any contemporary empire would be able to do that.

  4. Mike S:

    I agree with your analysis and history in the main, and I certainly agree that it involves a myriad of value judgments as any debate about statecraft would. On the whole, I prefer order to licentiousness and peace to internecine warfare. My admiration for Roman rule springs from the undeniable characteristic of limited local autonomy which permitted citizens of the empire to enjoy a large measure of self-determination — quite the exception in those times. Your point about ancient Judea illustrates the point that while the indigenous people were decidedly under the Roman thumb they enjoyed a large measure of control of their own local affairs — assuming they paid tribute or course. Whether the population would have opted for a better ruler than Herod is an open question given the corruption in place, but what is undeniable is that Roman rule preserved and defended the Hebrew state’s autonomy from its bellicose neighbors. In the context of the times, I believe that quite remarkable.

  5. “Rome certainly took tribute but it also planted civilization and the rule of law in its dominions. It likewise insured and maintained the peace among the disparate tribes there for hundreds of years.”


    You certainly would have to debate me on this. The planting of “civilization” pre-supposes the superiority of one people’s culture over another. The Romans had such great success because the had the best military minds and equipment going in those days and because they were superb engineers. However, even in the days of the “Republic” they were merely a highly corrupt oligarchy, who borrowed their religion and philosophy from the Hellenists. Their “tribute” was in many instances back breaking and in most instances cruel. Their “rule of law” in occupied territory was really that Roman citizens benefit from their law, while native citizens were crushed under it.

    “There is some value to empire though it exacts a terrible cost to both emperor and subject state. In this context, it depends purely on a value judgment as to what is most desirable: a state of anarchy with utmost freedom or a state of enforced order with considerably less.”

    I agree that it is a value judgment and mine is that in the main the price isn’t worth the purported benefits for the subject state. You’ve set up an equation that I’m not sure that I buy,in that it presumes that the conquered regions were in a state of anarchy because they lacked stable leadership.

    They had their own cultures and were ruled by their own laws, albeit in most case unwritten. I don’t really see much difference between a tribal chief who rules by fiat and an Emperor who does the same but with the patina of a legal system behind it. This wasn’t purely about the Germanic, Frank and British Tribes who routinely fought internecine battles, it also devolved to City States (the Greeks), Egypt, Carthage, Israel, etc. who had cultures and laws older and arguably equal or superior to those of the Romans.

    “Benign autocracy certainly worked for the British Empire in dealing with less politically developed dominions, who ultimately came to enjoy the benefits of a democratic state.”

    I will grant you, using predominantly other imperialists
    more or less contemporary to the Brits, that they were in the main less cruel than the Spanish, Portugese, the Dutch, Germans and Belgians in dealing with their conquered peoples. “Less politically developed” though is high subjective.

    The Indians represent one of the world’s oldest and most highly evolved cultures, only to have been treated by their British masters with disdain, as immature children. This was true in China, as well as a good part of Southeast Asia. It was also true in the Middle East. Now you might agree with the truth of my assertions there, but counter with the traditions of democracy “benignly brought” to these areas. To that I would reply that in real terms of democracy few States have ever realized these noble aspirations and those like Britain and the US, espouse democracy, but in reality are “benign oligarchy’s”

    As far as the “rule of law” goes, given your own profession and the ethical practice you undoubtedly bring to it, you surely must acknowledge that while the system works better than other legal systems, it is far from equitable in many instances.

    In the end subjectively, I don’t believe any group of peoples benefit from benign subjugation. I can illustrate that by the Middle East. The US and Britain have for years propped up among the worst despots in the world, simply because of oil. They did nothing to improve these countries legal systems and turned a blind eye towards the subjugation of the many and the cruel degradation of women.

    Even in Iran, a culture of depth and age far surpassing western culture, their revolution against the Shah was fully justified, given his greed and use of the Savak, arguably the cruelest secret police south of the USSR. That it has not worked out well as yet, still begs the question of is it better than the Shah and I would answer that in the affirmative. We are now seeing many States in the region beginning to evolve on their own and groping to reaching a possible democratic solution.
    We must remember that we, the proto-imperialists in the region, actually have been propping up these regimes.

    Compare this to the Roman occupation of Judea. They propped up a the mad tyrant Herod and the religious
    authority of the Sadduces, who supported him. This stunted Judea’s evolution and was in no way benign. My preference, even with the loathing I have for male dominated cultures that treat women and other downtrodden citizens barbarically, is to let them work out their own issues, rather then imposing our values.
    To do otherwise, in my opinion is to bring the Law of Unintended Consequence into play and the irony that results is crueller than the benignness of our intervention.

  6. Well, if they want war so badly, I wonder what McCain and Gingrich are waiting for. Why aren’t they strapping on their body armor and getting their old and cranky asses over there!

    Gingrich: U.S. Military Should Go To War With Libya ‘This Evening,’ NATO ‘Won’t Bring Much To The Fight’

    Like clockwork, conservatives have been attacking President Obama for not intervening fast enough in the crisis unfolding in Libya. Hearkening back to language Dick Cheney directed at Obama during his deliberations about how to move forward in Afghanistan, many on the right have accused the President of “dithering.” Others want unilateral U.S. military action, and they want it now. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said recently that the U.S. should establish a no-fly zone in Libya without UN or NATO support, a move tantamount to war according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

    Last night on Fox News, Newt Gingrich went a bit further, saying he wants the U.S. to go into Libya with guns blazing “this evening” and that the U.S. should go it alone because NATO “won’t bring much to the fight,” and apparently, the UN is useless:

    VAN SUSTEREN: What would you do about Libya?

    GINGRICH: Exercise a no-fly zone this evening. … It’s also an ideological problem. The United States doesn’t need anybody’s permission. We don’t need to have NATO, who frankly, won’t bring much to the fight. We don’t need to have the United Nations. All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening. And we don’t have to send troops. All we have to do is suppress his air force, which we could do in minutes.

    While Gingrich thinks the U.S. military could clean up the situation in Libya in “minutes,” the reality is that it’s a bit more complicated than that. CentCom commander Gen. James Mattis recently said that implementing a no-fly zone would be “challenging” because it would involve “military operations” other than just telling the Libyans not to fly. And as CAP’s John Norris noted, “We shouldn’t kid ourselves. Blowing up a runway or imposing a no-fly zone are not silver bullets.” Norris urges “thoughtful action designed with an endgame firmly in mind,” such as leaving all options on the table — including military action, building an legitimate international coalition, and explaining the best course of action to the American people.

    And this is exactly what President Obama is doing. Allied AWACS planes are currently flying intelligence missions over Libya and the U.S. has been providing humanitarian assistance in Libya for weeks. As the President said yesterday, “We’ve got NATO, as we speak, consulting in Brussels around a wide range of potential options — including potential military options.” Meanwhile, France and Britain are currently working in the UN to get a resolution authorizing a no-fly zone in Libya. “I think at this point there is a sense that any action should be the result of international sanction,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday.

    But, if President Gingrich had his chance, American bombers, without any allied assistance, would be on their way to bomb Libya — tonight. Given recent U.S. history in the region, following Gingrich’s advice is a fool’s errand.


  7. Hey I am from the south…its all coke to me… So what kinda coke do you want….well I’ll have Iced Tea please… yeah baby..

  8. We do need more involvement in others affairs….How do you really bankrupt a country…..expend more than you take in….

  9. Two wars in two different countries ( not counting Pakistan) so why wouldn’t we start up another?
    Don’t worry, I wasn’t offended!

  10. Yeah.

    Let’s spread our forces out even thinner than they already are so we can be even more dependent upon mercenaries.

    Pure effin’ genius, Barry.

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