Monday, February 28, 2011

Military intervention in Libya?

Regular readers of Recliner Commentaries know that I very rarely come to President Obama's defense--but when he's right, he's right.

I've been listening to my fellow conservatives criticize Obama for not being more involved with the crisis in Libya. Indeed, some conservatives are calling for military intervention!

Ordinarily, I might agree but I am now hesitant (to put it mildly) to get involved in the Muslim world unless it is a matter of national security (Iran is a matter of national security. Libya is not).

Under the first Bush, we came to Kuwait's defense, and we even had the support of other Muslim Countries (privately anyway, not always publicly) but we still ended up being vilified in the Muslim world and portrayed as anti-Muslim invaders!

Then we tried to free Iraq from a brutal dictator who deliberately led us to believe (and whom the world believed) had WMD! This 1) cost us thousands of lives, 2) served as an excuse for recruitment of terrorists, and 3) resulted in a "democracy" that, as far as I can tell, oppresses Christians even more than the Saddam regime!

Besides all this, one of the anti-Gaddafi men in Libya said on TV tonight that this is a Libyan battle and that they do not want outside intervention (he probably meant they don't want help from the infidels--which means that even if we do help we will still be considered the enemy).

I am, therefore, opposed to military intervention in Libya until the Libyan rebels, and our "allies" in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, publicly (in English and Arabic!) ask us for our help--and even then I will be probably be hesitant.

All of this to say that I think criticism of President Obama for not doing enough in Libya is unjustified.


professor ed said...

Wow Dennis! With this kind of post supporting our President, you might get invited to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom!
Seriously, I totally agree with your position. Way back when, Otto Von Bismark warned agains fighting a war on two fronts. I suspect he would favor THREE fronts even less. I MIGHT, with reservations, favor posting one or two naval ships off Libya's coast, but nothing more.

Kevin said...

Here is an interview w/ Abdel Fattah Younes, the former interior minister and head of Special Forces in Libya, who is leading one of the Libyan rebel armies. Not sure if this is the same person you are referring to, but his viewpoint sheds light on how you might interpret a desire to not want outside intervention.

He says, "it is out of question to receive any foreign troops or accept military bases to be set up on Libyan soil. When push comes to shove, launching airstrikes could be an alternative solution. If we found that no solution was reached on Gaddafi's part or his aides to put an end to these massacres, then all our fellows here in Darna, Al Baida, Ghuba and Benghazi are firm and certain that air strikes must be launched, provided that no jetfighter will land on Libyan territories.

They may land in the Italian Anderosa base or the aircraft carrier. Touching down in Libya is acceptable only in the case of an emergency, that’s only natural. For example if any pilot was forced to eject, he will be hosted and protected by us."

To me that sounds like a person who thinks Libyans can overthrow Gaddafi and who wants to ensure that in the process of doing that Libya maintains its sovereignty. A non-Libyan military with boots and tanks on the ground will influence any future political outcomes in Libya.

He doesn't refer to "infidels" or "The Great Satan" or "The West" or anything like that at all... he doesn't say "It would be ok if Iran or Iraq or Saudia Arabia helped out, but not the EU or the US." He doesn't say it would be "ok if the UN helped as long as they provided peacekeepers from Muslim countries."

As far as military intervention goes... I agree, we don't need to get involved directly at all unless we're asked to. I think your idea of a public request for help is a good one.