Up until now I have not voiced my opinion on the situation in Libya and our military involvement there. Then Steve "assigned" this topic to me for my first guest post on The Otter Limits. So, here we go!
Now, before I get too far into this let me first admit that I have not been actively following this story. I have listened to various news reports on the radio but haven't read anything online and I didn't listen to or read the President's speech. Lately, I haven't had the mental capacity to really keep up with politics.
So here are my initial thoughts:
1) The Libyan people have suffered under a brutal dictator in Muammar Gaddafi for far too long.
2) The protesters deserve and need help in standing up to this brutal regime.
3) At the moment the United States simple is not in the position to be the one to help.
At the moment, the United States is caught up in two wars that honestly have no end in sight. If we were only in the midst of one war, then maybe we would be able to help in Libya. But that simply is not the case. Granted, thanks to the clarity of hindsight, I think it is safe to say that an operation in Libya would be more justified than the one in Iraq. It's not that Iraq is not better off without Saddam Hussein in power but that country has been through hell in the past eight years and only now do things seem to be turning around for those people.
The purpose of going into Libya is, in theory at least, to protect the protesters. That seems like a noble thing to me but I'm sure that there are ulterior motivations for the operation.
Sadly though, even though the operation in Libya is for good reasons, on the surface at least, we simply can't afford it. Even if the country was not drowning in debt and the fact that our military is spread exceedingly thin, it just can't sustain another operation.
On top of that there is the public relations issue. It can't look good at all for the United States to be engaging in another military operation in yet another Muslim country. If the radical Islamists didn't hate us enough already, here is another gallon of gas on that already raging fire. The fact that we're in there trying to help them, won't matter at all. That's what happens when people are blinded by their hatred, biases, and faith. They often can't see the truth when it runs counter to what they believe.
But on top of all that, here's my question.
Why Libya? If we really are going in there to help the protesters, then why haven't we helped the people throughout a variety of countries in Africa that are living through much worse conditions? Could oil have something to do with it? I suspect that it does. I would love nothing more than for the United States to be able to sweep in and help those who are suffering under tyrants and totalitarian regimes but the simple fact is that we can't.
We don't have the manpower nor the money to be the world's police.
Besides, we have plenty of suffering here at home that needs to be addressed. I'm not suggesting that the United States become an isolationist nation because that would be a horrible idea. But for now, at least we need to finish the engagements that we have started and get our own act together so that we can continue to be a prosperous nation that can serve as an example for the rest of the world.
But in order to do that, we must stop this almost empire-like behavior and lead by example, not force.
- - Lefty