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    I’ve been following the situation in Libya with more attention than any other previous war in my adulthood because I have colleagues that live and work in Tripoli.  Today I read multiple blurbs about the continued debate about what the International community should do.  There is talk of a no-fly zone to stop Gadhafi from bombing civilians.  Yesterday his forces used a bunch of tanks and planes to bomb a town near Tripoli without regard for civilian casualties.  But the UN isn’t going to begin debate on this for two more days.  I was shocked. This has been on the table for quite a bit already.  How many people have to die before we can just act? 

    This brings up a debate.  How do we balance the need for quick action with the perception of the west interfering? I figure that at some point we (meaning the international community) need to do more than just tell dictators to stop killing people.  I don’t believe war is the answer, but we can reduce his ability to kill civilians. 

    I guess what I’m struggling with is when to take action in spite of perceptions.  I’m sure it’s a bigger challenge because I’m concerned for my co-workers, but the questions are valid.  The unwillingness to intervene when people are suffering is a big problem.  How long has it been since we came to the aid of people who were the victims of genocide? Why is this? What will it take to change the world?


    The behind the scenes politics/discussions are likely something we won’t hear about.

    Another thing to consider is that the U.S. is weary of international intervention – we are suffering our own economic issues – and there is a sense of Middle East Fatigue Syndrome in the air.

    There is also a sense of new respect for peoples to create their own governments.  The US has been a disaster in almost all of it’s “nation building” – and perhaps we’ve finally learned to let people fight their revolutions and build their governments – and when to support and when to step-back.

    Yes – people are being hurt – but it’s the people who wish to tear down what they have for so long supported.  It won’t be bloodless.  But I agree – they are up against a whole new type of cat with Gadhafi. 

    ***Also – we are seeing $4 at the filling stations.  Where I don’t mind this as much – those who chose to have their big old tank trucks and SUV’s are the first to scream when they can’t fill their gas hogs.

    The Middle East climbing out of a dictatorship style government could be a long one.  How involved do we really want to be?  I suspect – we are as involved as we want to be right now.  Is it right or wrong? 

    Proceeding very carefully is, to me, wise.  Being fully aware of the terrible suffering – but also seeing that there has been suffering before success in the other fallen dictatorships of late…  It’s amazing and horrible to watch.

    Kol Drake

    Flashback to another time — my youth…  (geez I am getting old)

    From 1949, the U.S. sent aid to the French forces fighting to keep French colonial rule in Vietnam. Then in 1954 America refused to allow free elections to be held throughout Vietnam because they were afraid the communists would win the elections.

    According the to Encyclopedia Britannica Online,

    “In April – July 1954 the Geneva Accords, which were signed by French and Viet Minh representatives, provided for a cease-fire and for a temporary division of the country into two military zones at latitude 17 N. The last of the Geneva Accords – called the Final Declaration – provided for elections, supervised by the commission, to be held throughout Vietnam in July 1956 in order to unify the country. Viet Minh leaders appeared certain to win these elections, and the United States and South Vietnam would not approve or sign the Final Declaration; elections were never held.

    Until 1960 the United States had supported the Saigon regime and its army only with military equipment, financial aid, and, as permitted by the Geneva Accords, 700 advisers for training the army. The number of advisers had increased to 17,000 by the end of 1963, and they were joined by an increasing number of American helicopter pilots. All this assistance, however, proved insufficient to halt the advance of the Viet Cong, and in February 1965 U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered the bombing of North Vietnam, hoping to prevent further infiltration of arms and troops into the south. Four weeks after the bombing began, the United States started sending troops into the south. By July the number of U.S. troops had reached 75,000; it continued to climb until it stood at more than 500,000 early in 1968.”

    Long and bloody non-war story cut short…
    The U.S. ‘got involved’ because of the Cold War fear that Communism would take hold and potentially spread toward Europe and across Southeast Asia and beyond.  All the money pumped into the area during the ‘conflict’ did little to win ‘the hearts and minds’ of anyone since the U.S. continued it typical policy of leaving their dance partners high and dry before the end of the dance so to speak.

    Flash forward to Pakistan after the earthquake of October 2005.  

    More than 70,000 people died, and 2.4 million people lost their homes in that tragedy. The forecast was grim: The impending winter threatened another round of illness and death for households without shelter. Fortunately, the world responded. Within hours, the United States offered unconditional assistance, and volunteer groups and multilateral organizations rushed to the affected regions. By December, the world had committed a record $5 billion to help Pakistan recover from this catastrophe. Thanks in part to an unusually mild winter, the death toll, enormous as it was, was lower than it might otherwise have been. Today, as the earthquake’s fifth anniversary approaches, most people in the affected regions — mainly in Pakistani Kashmir — live in new homes, the children are back at school, and infrastructure has been repaired and improved.

    Recent surveys of the population tend to be favorable toward the US and the other non regional ‘powers’ thanks to their aid during this time.  Helping the ‘common folk’ makes a bigger impression then lining some tin despots silk lined pockets it seems.

    This day, Muammar al-Qaddafi (‘ruler’ and outright crazy man of Libya for more then four decades) continues both to profit from oil revenues — Libya is still exporting oil — and to kill his own people. His aircraft continue flying with impunity, and bombing targets on the ground.

    Some of Libya’s rebels are saying they do not want U.S. intervention; others are pleading for it. And it is true that no one knows who these rebels really are. So there is much to the argument that arming these people — who in any event have managed to obtain arms on their own — may not be a terribly good idea. In addition, since at least some of the rebels themselves have stated that they oppose American air strikes, much less any sort of intervention on the ground, there is no reason for the United States, or any of its reluctant allies, to contemplate such actions.

    Should ‘we’ — the US or a UN task force barge in, guns blazing to shut down Muammar and to get some local ‘democratic minded’ leader on to the seat of power?   Would the ‘common people’ see this intervention as help or as the rest of the world barging in to set up some puppet so their oil riches get funneled offshore to other countries?  

    Genocide sucks.  Millions in Africa have died while Nations fumbled about trying to figure out if it is ‘worth’ their time and money to send in troops for some kind of gain.  Folks die while International ‘Nero’s fiddle’.     Morale indignity seems to dictate that ‘we’ should charge in, kick butt (blow up a region or six; blow the heads off of anyone with a gun… wait, that’s half the country.. good and bad;   um… killing ONLY the ‘bad guys’) then establishing a temporary government … until the country can do it all themselves.

    History shows we have never done well with this last bit.  Only the ‘bomb the crap out of everyone’ part.
    Same for all other countries…. none are really good at ‘nation building’… only colonizing, enslaving, or obliterating the indigenous population.

    Ultimately, if Libya’s bloodbath continues, as no doubt it will, pressure will mount for military action that goes well beyond a no-fly zone. And if Qaddafi then falls, no matter who succeeds him — the United States will once again be blamed for bring about “regime change.” The Arabs will resent U.S. intervention and they will find a way to blame Israel for it all. In due course, American flags will once again be burned on the Arab “street” throughout the region.

    So, for now, we wait to see if this situation resolves itself in it’s own ‘internal civil conflict’  (how is killing ever civil?) — and then offer aid and advisers and ‘deals’… stuff we are just a wee bit better at doing.

    Not the best move nor the most humane… but perhaps the lesser of actions which does the least long lasting harm to the region and it’s people/culture.


    I’ll try to be clearer. I don’t think we should put troops on the ground or even supply the opposition.  But enforcing a no-fly zone to prevent civilians from being bombed all the hell is within the ‘rules’. I just can’t believe how slow they are in even debating it. I haven’t heard any opposition to enforcing a no-fly zone from the Libyans.  All they want is a chance to fight without being bombed. Even the odds a bit.  No one is proposing being involved in government building. The international community has stayed out of Tunisia and Egypt as they figure things out.  To me it seems like this is a situation where it is fairly easy to take minimal steps to protect a lot of lives and allow the process to happen.  I don’t think we should be involved on the ground unless explicitly asked.  And that would take a lot more organization from the opposition to even ask. 


    Its conundrums such as these that make ask…  What would starfleet do?


    Stun! lol  The Arab League has asked for the no fly zone. This is unprecedented. What I suspect is they’ll take too long, the rebellion will be squashed and we’ll have missed the chance to help support a country find their freedom and create their version of democracy.  And this is a country with high quality oil! What hope does anyone else have of getting support? *shakes head*


    It finally happened today and I was lucky enough to watch the vote happen live.  The UN is a strange thing to watch since so many speak through interpreters.  I’ll admit, I know little about how the UN works.  But today at least it did something.  I wasn’t feeling good about Libya even this afternoon as I spoke to my Libyan friend, but hope wasn’t gone, just fading.  Then some perfectly timed things happened.

    1. While Gadhafi forces were supposed to go in and flatten Benghazi today, they hadn’t yet.  This is basically the last stronghold of the opposition, so to flatten it is the equivalent of sending the Rebels to Hoth I think, but with even less firepower between them.
    2. During this lull, the UN passed the resolution not only to enforce a no-fly zone but to take any action necessary to protect the civilian population, including preemptive strikes against artillery and air support.  This provides the opposition the chance to regain their momentum. 

    I heard after that France is taking the lead on this and there probably won’t be any direct American involvement.  This makes sense to me and is probably the best political option.  I know this isn’t the end to bloodshed, but the birth of a nation on this planet has always required bloodshed.  It seems to me that most of the Libyans accept the bloodshed so long as they have a fighting chance and aren’t just being slaughtered by a madman. 

    I will continue to ask for the most benevolent outcome possible to the Libyan fight for freedom and the option to take control of their future. 


    Me too.

    Got this quote via email today.  Seemed timely.

    History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.  -Abba Eban

    Hehe :-)

    Since the no-fly zone, a cease fire has been declared.  To me this shows there is still a little sanity left in the brain of Gadhafi.  But it also shows me he is a bully.  If he really believed his actions were appropriate he wouldn’t stop.  It will be interesting to watch this develop.


    Personally – I felt once there were revolutions in the Arab Nations it would become a house of cards.  I am likewise thrilled – but realize a couple of things:

    1.)  Expect oil prices to shoot up – our nation had deals set with dictators/consortiums that will be nullified.
    2.)  Expect a lot of delays in oil productions/etc, as citizens and new governments are formed who will share more of the wealth with their fellow countryment rather than hoarding it to themselves and their compatriots.

    It is why there is some delay in governments and capitulations to have these leaders fail. 

    The last time we had an enormous oil spike I sold one house at a loss to move much closer to work and where I could get around without filling up the tank more than once a month.  I am also doing more to make my house energy efficient and likewise analyzing other alternative energies.

    Most people do not consider the long term effects when emotion and words like “freedom” are thrown around.  Most people are fairly ignorant of the questionable dealings the US has made over the decades with dictators to ensure cheap fuel.

    Are YOU ready?  I am – but I also know there will more pain and less jubilation than those caught up in the spirit of the moment can even consider… 

    Not to be a killjoy – but realize and prepair.

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