Sunday, March 27, 2011

Iraq vs. Libya

This video has been given a lot of play on the internets lately, I thought we might analyze it a little bit (no need to watch the whole thing to get the tenor of the piece):

Lets look at the policies, and leave off the character attacks:

1) A full scale military invasion and occupation of a country is completely different than bombing military targets. It is especially different when those military targets are being actively used to slaughter political dissenters.  Saddam's mistreatment of his citizens to was used to justify removing him. Not much discussed was the fact that most of that military slaughter of his people (mostly Kurds) took place 10 years earlier when the US failed to militarily back a rebellion that they stirred up in the northern regions of Iraq. Libyans were being slaughtered now.

2) WMD's. When were WMD's ever used as a justification for this military operation (you can call it a war if you like, I don't think we're there)? They were certainly the main justification for the Iraq war. Maybe Bush didn't lie about believing there were WMD's in Iraq, but he certainly picked and chose his sources, ignoring the UN and US experts and basing most of his information on the reports of Ahmed Chalabi, who had little qualification to supply such information and who was most certainly lying out of political motivations, not only about WMD's but also Iraq's ties to al-Qaeda, which were also non-existent, but still used to justify a war.

3) The UN: The UN never signed off on an invasion into Iraq, no matter what the video implies. Sure, some allies went into Iraq, but they went in at the insistence of the US, not the larger international community. Sure, the security council doesn't speak for the whole world, but I am much more comfortable with that larger collection of countries undertaking policing actions than I am with the US taking it upon themselves to police, along with whoever they can convince to come along with them. What's that you've been saying for so long, the UN never does anything but just passes empty resolutions? Oh wait, they just did something.


I'm not entirely comfortable with our actions in Libya. I don't think we used all the political options we could, but the active slaughter going on justifies some rush and distinctly separates the Libya intervention from the Iraqi I think the one legitimate criticism (along with blind followers of Obama) in the video is that European anxiety over oil in part drove this action (although letting Qaddafi win and return to selling oil would have resolved the crises much more rapidly), however, the security council has a majority of representation outside of Europe (though some of those abstained). What really upsets me is that the restrained military action towards Libya, intervening in an active government slaughter of rebels, is compared to the wholesale and misguided occupation of a foreign country. The comparison is ridiculous. A more apt comparison would be Desert Storm (although Libya invaded no foreign country, Libya had basically split along political lines when Qadaffi started advancing) or Rwanda, where lack of international intervention led to an unimpeded genocide. Are you really saying that we should try to pursue political options for a few more months before doing anything militarily about Libya? Or is this just another desperate attempt to justify the debacle that was the war in Iraq?

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