Libya: Have we learned nothing?

Aaron Reber
The UN has approved a No Fly Zone over Libya.  As anyone else with military training, or even common sense, surmised a long time ago, this "No Fly Zone" will also, by necessity, entail a "No Drive Zone" as we target and annihilate Qadaffi's tanks and artillery positions.  My question is this.  Have we learned nothing from history?

Let us examine this situation for a moment.   First presume that we are successful in neutralizing all of Qadaffi's warplanes and helicopters.  The rebels will still not have the advantage.  So then let us assume that we will also neutralize all of his tanks and artillery.  Due to their lack of equipment and training, the rebels still will not have the advantage.  What does that leave us?  A stalemate which drags out the conflict and inflicts more suffering over a longer period of time.   What will it take to end that stalemate?  It will mean selling arms and training the rebels to use them, and thus deepening our involvement further.  Do we have the will, the leadership, and the resources to devote to such a conflict as this?  Are there better things we could do with our money? (Like I don't know...pay down our massive debt?)   

Next let us presume that we don't create a stalemate, prolong the conflict, and then leave, as the UN is known to do. (Three out of four UN conflict zones return to conflict) Let us even say Qadaffi is removed in a relatively quick manner.   Maybe he will even step down. Then what? 

Do we really believe that this rebel council, which is united only by their mutual hatred for their insane dictator, is going to get along once he is gone, install a democratic republic, and allow liberty and prosperity to ensue?  Are we so naïve as to believe that a land dominated by tribal politics and Islam is going to produce anything resembling a western-friendly republic?  How long until a theocracy is installed?  How long until an autocratic dictator assumes power?  What happens when the situation again devolves into civil war and the UN comes to us asking to place peace-keepers on the ground? (That is, by the way, exactly what our "air-strikes" led us to in Kosovo.)  What will we say to them?  "Sorry, although we helped create this mess, we're now going to cut and run?" How well do you think that will go over?

Furthermore, are we really wanted in the region? Yes, I understand that the Arab League gave its OK, but what of the African Union who unanimously said no?  Is Libya not squarely within Africa?  Or do we just ignore the other legitimate voices in the region in favor of the party who gives us the answer we want to hear?

Yes, Qadaffi is an evil, insane, mass-murdering dictator, but, ladies and gentlemen, such men are a dime a dozen in this world.  Are we to topple them all?  Or shall we just topple the ones who end up on CNN and Fox news?  Let me be clear.  I would love to see Qadaffi hang for what he has done.  However, the fact of the matter is we do not have the money, the will, or the leadership to execute this war in the proper fashion, and we have no hope of determining an outcome that is agreeable to us.  In the east, the devil you know is always preferable to the devil around the corner, and I promise you nothing good will come of our intervention.  Even if they were to install a democratic republic, that republic will reflect the will of the people.  Do you really believe that government will be friendly to the US and Israel?

But hey, shedding Arab blood to support the rebels will make us all feel better about ourselves, right?

The UN has approved a No Fly Zone over Libya.  As anyone else with military training, or even common sense, surmised a long time ago, this "No Fly Zone" will also, by necessity, entail a "No Drive Zone" as we target and annihilate Qadaffi's tanks and artillery positions.  My question is this.  Have we learned nothing from history?

Let us examine this situation for a moment.   First presume that we are successful in neutralizing all of Qadaffi's warplanes and helicopters.  The rebels will still not have the advantage.  So then let us assume that we will also neutralize all of his tanks and artillery.  Due to their lack of equipment and training, the rebels still will not have the advantage.  What does that leave us?  A stalemate which drags out the conflict and inflicts more suffering over a longer period of time.   What will it take to end that stalemate?  It will mean selling arms and training the rebels to use them, and thus deepening our involvement further.  Do we have the will, the leadership, and the resources to devote to such a conflict as this?  Are there better things we could do with our money? (Like I don't know...pay down our massive debt?)   

Next let us presume that we don't create a stalemate, prolong the conflict, and then leave, as the UN is known to do. (Three out of four UN conflict zones return to conflict) Let us even say Qadaffi is removed in a relatively quick manner.   Maybe he will even step down. Then what? 

Do we really believe that this rebel council, which is united only by their mutual hatred for their insane dictator, is going to get along once he is gone, install a democratic republic, and allow liberty and prosperity to ensue?  Are we so naïve as to believe that a land dominated by tribal politics and Islam is going to produce anything resembling a western-friendly republic?  How long until a theocracy is installed?  How long until an autocratic dictator assumes power?  What happens when the situation again devolves into civil war and the UN comes to us asking to place peace-keepers on the ground? (That is, by the way, exactly what our "air-strikes" led us to in Kosovo.)  What will we say to them?  "Sorry, although we helped create this mess, we're now going to cut and run?" How well do you think that will go over?

Furthermore, are we really wanted in the region? Yes, I understand that the Arab League gave its OK, but what of the African Union who unanimously said no?  Is Libya not squarely within Africa?  Or do we just ignore the other legitimate voices in the region in favor of the party who gives us the answer we want to hear?

Yes, Qadaffi is an evil, insane, mass-murdering dictator, but, ladies and gentlemen, such men are a dime a dozen in this world.  Are we to topple them all?  Or shall we just topple the ones who end up on CNN and Fox news?  Let me be clear.  I would love to see Qadaffi hang for what he has done.  However, the fact of the matter is we do not have the money, the will, or the leadership to execute this war in the proper fashion, and we have no hope of determining an outcome that is agreeable to us.  In the east, the devil you know is always preferable to the devil around the corner, and I promise you nothing good will come of our intervention.  Even if they were to install a democratic republic, that republic will reflect the will of the people.  Do you really believe that government will be friendly to the US and Israel?

But hey, shedding Arab blood to support the rebels will make us all feel better about ourselves, right?