Missiles Away! Obama Commits U.S. To Third Military Campaign

At a time when the American people overwhelmingly oppose our continued military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Obama has responded by committing the United States to another war. Today, the U.S. attacked Libyan forces with over a hundred cruise missiles hitting the capitol and surrounding areas. With the two wars already draining the United States of billions a day, these cruise missile attacks alone will cost hundreds of millions in both the equipment and commitment of forces.

While we go to war against Libya for its crackdown on democratic reformers and protesters, the United States continues to support its allies like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (which have unleashed tanks on protesters). What is the principled line determining when we go to war to support protesters or reformers? Will the same line apply to our allies?

Here is what Obama has stated today: ”Today we are part of a broad coalition. We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world . . .”

We are now going to war in a country which seems to be experiencing a civil war. It is also a country that greeted the mastermind of the PanAm terrorist attack as a national hero. Finally, we are once again going to war without a declaration of war. While the Framers were quite clear about the need for a declaration, we are once again simply circumventing that inconvenient principle. The same Democrats who insisted that they were misled in using a resolution to start the Iraq War are again standing silent in the face of another President committing this country to war without a declaration. I consider bombing the capitol city of a nation to be an act of war.

I seriously doubt that the majority of Americans are opposed to the other two wars but would want to go fight in Libya.

While we are clearly not committing to a ground conflict, this is a move that is clearly opposed to the public’s desire to end this foreign military entanglements — and not to add new ones. The political disconnect over these wars is both distressing and dangerous for a system that, while a representative democracy, is still based on the notion of responsiveness to the voters.

Source: CNN

180 thoughts on “Missiles Away! Obama Commits U.S. To Third Military Campaign”

  1. Sell them weapons? No, we’ve left that to our allies. We just agreed to train their personnel.

    “WHEN Muammar Gaddafi went on an arms-buying spree in the 1970s and 80s – stockpiling a staggering array of sophisticated weapons systems both from the East and West – the United States warned that Libya was in danger of becoming one of the world’s most “overarmed” countries.

    If military forces from the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) decide to enforce a ‘no- fly’ zone over Libya, the Europeans are likely to confront some of their own weapons systems, which may come back to haunt them.

    Besides Soviet-made Sukhoi Su-24, Tupolev Tu-22 and MiG-25 fighter bombers, Libya is also armed with French-made Mirages, Dassault Falcon trainers and Aerospatiale helicopters.

    The Italians supplied Libya with over 120 SIAI-Marchetti trainers, the French with Crotale surface-to-air missiles, the United States with Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft and the British with Centurion battle tanks and Saladin and Ferret armored personnel carriers. The weapons from Europe also include assault rifles from Belgium, howitzers from Sweden and the Artemis anti-aircraft air defence system from Greece.

    Armed with rising oil revenues, the Libyan leader built a massive military arsenal that also included weapons from a non-conventional source: Brazil.

    It is very questionable how many of the weapons are still serviceable and operational after about 12 years of arms embargoes, imposed by the United States and Western Europe in the mid-1980s.

    “For sure they are no longer up to date and no match for a well organised US or Nato air campaign,” Wezeman added.

    Still, an overwhelming proportion of Libya’s weapons came from the former Soviet Union and later its successor state, Russia, according to defence analysts.

    At the 25th anniversary celebrations of the military coup that brought Gaddafi to power, over 1,000 Soviet-made T-62 and T-72 battle tanks were on public display during the September 1994 parade in the streets of Tripoli. Last week, Sergei Chemezov, director of a Russian arms exporting company, was quoted as saying that Russia stands to lose over four billion dollars in arms contracts with Libya.

    But he admitted that Russia has not sold any shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons – that could be used against Western aircraft – to Libya since 1992.

    According to European Union (EU) statistics quoted by the New York Times last week, Italy has been the EU’s largest arms exporter to Libya, while Libyan investors are said to have a two percent stake in the Italian aerospace and defence company Finmeccanica.

    Meanwhile, the United States had earmarked US$330,000 to train Libyan soldiers and military personnel under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme in 2010, increasing to US$350,000 in 2011.

    But the US foreign assistance programme in Libya was “focused on bolstering Libya’s commitments to renouncing weapons of mass destruction (WMD), combatting the rapidly growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaeda in the region, and promoting professional and effective law enforcement and military services that respect international norms and practices,” according to the State Department.

    Wezeman told IPS that Libya has been interested in buying new major weapons systems since the UN and EU arms embargoes were lifted in 2003-2004.

    But despite all kinds of unconfirmed reports that major deals had been signed, there is no reason to believe that any new major arms have been delivered since 2004, save for some Milan anti-tank missiles from France. He said arms producers, with high level support from their national governments, in the UK, France, Italy and Russia have all been marketing their products aggressively in Libya in recent years.

    “The will to sell was there, but Gaddafi seems to have been careful with signing contracts,” he noted.

    Wezeman also said that some of these existing weapons are known to have been refurbished or upgraded in recent years.”


    There is also a handy lil’ set of charts breaking down exactly how our allies have armed Gaddifi to be found here:


  2. Gbk,

    The US did not sell Gadhafi weapons. As soon as he came to power, he kicked the US out of the Wheelus air base. Gadhafi was always anti-American. The USSR did sell him weapons. France did too. Not sure about UK. However, who sold Gadhafi weapons when is irrelevant.

    It’s charming how you defer to the UN so much. As if they are the major arbiter of what is “legitimate” in the world. The same people who let Bosnians get murdered, whose troops rape and pillage in Rwanda and Congo, and who put Cuba, China and Iran on the Human Rights Commission. By your statement, the Communists are the “legitimate” government of China AND Taiwan, because they hold the China seat at the UN. So you side with anti-US Communists instead of a pro-US elected representative government. So it sounds like you are not so much anti-war as on the other side.

    There was no conflating of protect and advance. They are indeed separate things. You may consider American exceptionalism to be an insult, but the vast majority of the US population, including myself, believes in it. Abraham Lincoln himself called the US the last, best hope for humanity. We are the culmination ofthe human condition. We have the most prosperous and most free population in the history of humankind. Not Iran. Not China. US.

    If you fund that a bad thing, the problem is yours. If the legal community does not reflect that belief in American exceptionalism, then the problem is with the legal community.

  3. rafflaw,

    Define illegal…..I had heard once that it was not illegal until you got caught….makes sense to me…or else Judges wouldn’t do it….right?

  4. rafflaw,

    I will say that if what he is smoking does that to a mind….I’ll stay with what I smoke….his has to be PCP laced..

  5. @Jeff Cox

    “And what a completely useless ad hominem statement devoid of factual or analytical basis.”

    You don’t quite understand that my quote of one sentence within your verbiage is an analysis void of an ad hominem attack. Here is what you said that caught my attention:

    “But wars are what legitimate governments do to protect and advance the interests of their people.”

    First, you comingle “protect” and “advance.” They are obviously very different motivations. This is after using the phrase “legitimate governments.”
    Gaddafi has been in power since 1969. Since this time all the major western powers (US, France, Germany, and England) have sold him hundreds of millions of dollars of armaments, and the USSR (before their collapse) did the same. So how do you define a “legitimate government?”
    If a government has a seat at the UN, and all other governments sell armaments to said government and have diplomatic ties with the same then by all definitions the government is legitimate. Given this, your statement of “[b]ut wars are what legitimate governments do to protect and advance the interests of their people. . . ” smacks of American exceptionalism.
    Your comingling of “protect” and “advance” is a different subject. The two are not the same and your sentence, as written, is indeed ignorant.

  6. Raffles,

    And how many thousands have to die before you understand we are at war? Military, civilizational, philosophical, multigenerational war, How many thousands of dead on American soil will it take to convince you that these people mean to kill us? Our country, our system of government, our way of life, our civilization built over five thousand years. All because it does not fit with their dark version of Allah. More directly, how many thousands of dead on American soil will it take to convince you that it’s better to have Islamists attacking overseas than attacking here?

    The best and most painless way to win this war us for there to be a reformation in Islam like there was in Christianity. For that to happen, the call within Islam for such reformation must reach critical mass. It cannot do that if it originates in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is too remote and backward and is not Arab. It does not command respect in the Muslim world. Iraq does.

    This is one reason why as much as the Iranian mullahs have tried, they have struggled to export Islamism across the Arab world. The Iranians are not Arabs and are not respected. This is why the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory today in Egypt is so devastating.

    There is a chance for the reformation to occur if it begins in Iraq. For that to happen we had to take action, which was legally and morally justified, against Hussein. Once we were there, al Qaida (AQIM) and their allies showed themselves to be so brutal that their presence in Iraq is now minimal – less than it was under Hussein. That by itself is victory. And the democratic experiment in Iraq has indeed inspired calls for reform in Lebanon, Iran, Tunisia and now Egypt (though now it’s backfiring there) and Libya.

    THAT is why we are at war. THAT is why this war, a war we did not choose, is necessary. THAT is why we MUST win. With all due respect, if you cannot understand that, then learn your Arabic and Shar’ia law, because al Qaida has already won.

  7. Jeff,
    How can you talk about a return on an investment in Iraq? How many thousands of Americans have to die or be maimed before it is a mistake? How many Iraqis have to die for your investment to be ripe for the picking? With all due respect, if that is how you think, Al-Qaeda has already won!

  8. Rafflaw,

    The return on investment in Iraq would be far better than Afghanistan, or do you disagree that this is a philosophical war as well?

    As for Carter, he has indeed served as an international election observer, certifying as legitimate elections that were fraudulent and violence-ridden so long as the anti-Americsn candidate won. One example is Hugo Chavez. Where his Bivarian Circles broke up opposition protests, murdered opponents and stuffed ballot boxes, Carter – and Carter alone – certified the election as “fair.” Even the OAS was aghast but not Carter. Carter was also OK with Ahmedenijad’s election in Iran.

    Sorry, but with that record, you cannot claim that Carter is a force for good as an election observer. Only a force for evil.

    As for his Bible-preaching, so what? The Westboro Baptist Church preaches the Bible, too. Does that mean they are “good people?”

  9. Blouise,
    Carter has lived his life like no other recent President. Before and after he served as President.

  10. rafflaw,

    That’s the truth. Of all the living Presidents, Carter is the only one I would choose to spend time with.

  11. Jeff,
    Iraq was not the central front of the war on terror until we attacked. You are trying to change history. Concerning Carter, he has participated as an election observer in several international elections. He still teaches bible school classes and e has lived an exemplary life. Bush can’t even come close.

  12. pete,

    Yep … the whole family was a mess but Nancy certainly had an eye for fine china!

  13. i always found it funny that while reagan ran on family values, he was the first and only divorced president, his daughter posed nude for playboy, his wife believed lived her life by astrology, and he and his son were, at times, barely on speaking terms.

    and brother jimmy built houses for poor people

  14. For as long as the interpretation of the law to a particular situation is concocted after the fact, of what matter, before the fact, is the law to anyone?

  15. From Yahoo/AP (3/21/2011)
    Libya action could last ‘a while,’ official says

    By RYAN LUCAS and HADEEL AL-SHALCHI, Associated Press Ryan Lucas And Hadeel Al-shalchi, Associated Press

    ZWITINA, Libya – The international military intervention in Libya is likely to last “a while,” a top French official said Monday, echoing Moammar Gadhafi’s warning of a long war ahead as rebels, energized by the strikes on their opponents, said they were fighting to reclaim a city under siege from the Libyan leader’s forces.

    Burned-out tanks and personnel carriers littered the main desert road leading southwest from Benghazi, the rebel’s capital in the east of the country — the remains of a pro-Gadhafi force that had been besieging the city until it was pounded by international strikes the past two nights.

    Rebel fighters in Benghazi had now pushed down that highway to the outskirts of the city of Ajdabiya, which pro-Gadhafi forces have surrounded and been pounding with artillery and strikes since last week. The rebels swept into the nearby oil port of Zwitina, just northeast of the city, which was also the scene of heavy fighting last week — though now had been abandoned by regime forces. There, a power station hit by shelling on Thursday was still burning, its blackened fuel tank crumpled, with flames and black smoke pouring out.

    Oil prices held above $102 a barrel after the second night of allied strikes in the OPEC nation raised fears of prolonged fighting that has already slowed Libyan oil production to a trickle.

    Henri Guaino, a top adviser to the French president, said two nights of bombing runs and missile attacks had hobbled Libya’s air defenses, stalled Gadhafi’s troops and all but ended attacks on civilians. A cruise missile late Sunday blasted Gadhafi’s residential compound near his iconic tent, and fighter jets destroyed a line of tanks moving on the rebel capital.

    It was not known where Gadhafi was when the missile hit Sunday, but it seemed to show that he is not safe.

    Guaino, asked how long the allied efforts would continue, replied simply: “A while yet.”

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