Operation Odyssey Dawn

First Wave of Allied Assault: 112 Cruise Missiles

I wonder who makes up these names. This one is particularly pretty.

I’ve been thinking about our newest war. I was listening to my local talk radio show while I was in line at the drive-thru. Saturday night burger ritual. The host mentioned that Libya was no threat to our national security and that listening to Obama was like listening to Bush before he invaded Iraq. It’s sad, but true. They are no threat to us.

Why did Obama have to step up our involvement from enabling to tomahawking? The French and British could handle this. If they needed our expertise or back up, we would be there. What happened in that 24 hours that caused us to start firing cruise missles? Are we just not used to taking the backseat in war?

This is like Iraq the sequel, minus the invisible weapons. We’re not being humanitarian here. If we were, why are we not helping our allies, Yemen and Bahrain, too? Their governments are attacking their own people. Why aren’t cruise missles flying overhead? Libya has the one thing in large supply that Yemen and Bahrain don’t. O-I-L.

That’s what it all comes down to – the black gold. It’s not about the poor citizens and their revolution. It never was. Even though everyone knows this is not humanitarian, you could make it look like it is by helping out Yemen and Bahrain. They could really use our help.


18 responses to “Operation Odyssey Dawn

  • Terrance H.

    I don’t know if I’m willing to believe President Obama cares that much about oil. Indeed, a few of his policies are quite contrary to the notion. But that’s another discussion.

    Yemen and Bahrain, to my knowledge, are not attacking their citizens in the same way. They are trying to restore order; Qu-Daffy Duck is simply slaughtering any and all he perceives to be a threat. A big, discernible difference, I think. can therefore be made.

    I do think you raise a good point, though. Oil is definitely on the mind of many hawkish politicians, particularly the neoconservatives. Their philosophy is that American hegemony is secured if the U.S. controls the majority of the commodity. It’s a bit of an absurd view to hold, because nobody is even close to the United States in terms of sheer power. People like to mention China, but believe me, they’re not even close. They have a huge army, sure, but mere men that a single bomb can wipe out. They’re too busy making money off us to get frisky, and they’re not suicidal enough anyway.

    I do agree that France and Britain could have handled the situation, but perhaps not as thoroughly or as quickly. Nobody beats the United States. We’re quite efficient.

    I don’t really know what the motivation was, but I do not believe it had anything to do with oil, at least not as far as President Obama is concerned. He’s a good man, I think. Wrong most of the time, but good indeed.

    I really think you’re being a bit too liberal on this one, dearest.

    • lbwoodgate

      Nobody beats the United States. We’re quite efficient.”

      Though I agree with most of your post, this statement seems over the top. Being beaten by essentially an impoverished force in Vietnam and loosing and wasting $millions in Iraq along with actually creating the adversaries we did in Iraq by refusing to use their defeated military to help restore order is hardly indicative of being “quite efficient”.

      Sometimes we are more bluster than we are smart and this was proven by the decision to go into Iraq with fewer troops than many military experts wanted. This “efficient” move on Rumsfeld’s part cost us dearly in terms of lives and $$ to shore up that mess quickly.

      The further decision to fight this guerrilla style action with conventional forces was hardly efficient either but allowed the war profiteers to make billions for themselves.

      • Terrance H.

        lbwoodgate,

        We lost Vietnam, but only because politicians wouldn’t let the military fight the war we could fight. I’m not sure we used full force. Their victory was quite Pyrrhic, I think. They lost an absurd number of people, and won only when we decided we no longer wanted to fight. We didn’t accomplish our mission, so we lost – sure. But look at Vietnam now.

        I do agree that politicians tend to screw us up. My point is that if the military was allowed to fight the war they have the ability to fight, there is no match. Perhaps you’ll agree, being former military yourself.

      • lbwoodgate

        I would agree that point for point when the U.S. fights an unrestricted conventional style war with another conventional style enemy that we are “efficient” , despite the fact that many little things still go wrong.

        Our failure in Vietnam as it became in Iraq is that we used conventional tactics against the non-conventional warfare of the enemy. We need to accommodate those tactics that we run up against instead of using the same old methods that were hugely successful in WWII. We have the capabilities but have yet to make the transition for all out guerilla warfare.

        The one thing that always works against guerilla style tactics is the advantage of the home turf and support from the indigent population. We may not have the home field advantage but earning and keeping the public’s hearts and minds can nullify that element in such fighting

    • SpinnyLiberal

      I watched this Canadian news piece that this was “low risk,” which I assumed meant that it wouldn’t be as “hard” and l”ong and drawn out” (or maybe that’s just my wishful thinking. If that is the case, then couldn’t France and the UK taken care of it? What happened in the 24 hours that made the US join the effort? That’s what I don’t get.

      I definitely agree that Obama is a good man. I love the guy. I believe, though, that in his effort to please everyone, he’s pleasing no one.

      I don’t know. All I know is that I just want it to be over with fast.

  • lbwoodgate

    I tend to agree with Terrance on this one spinny. The circumstances are such that a brutal dictator is out to exact deadly consequences to any and all who participated in the uprising. In would be inhuman not to step in. We failed to do this in Rwanda and millions died. Clinton was aware of this blunder years later when he staged a similar air-attack with NATO in Bosnia, so the genocide that happened in Rwanda wouldn’t be repeated

    It is and should remain a limited air war, allowing the anti-Gadhafi forces an opportunity to re-group and continue their efforts to oust the mad man. It would be a massive blunder if we committed ground troops to fight Gadhafi forces, however.

    The differences between Libya’s uprising and Yemen and Bahrain is that it appears that many of the protestors are more al-qaida sympathizers in those two countries than pro-democracy. Would the authoritarian rule there be exchanged for a Taliban type authority? One perhaps much worse than currently exists. I think this is a big factor that Western democracies have to weigh when they make decisions to intervene or not.

    Clearly though there are strategic and national interests that motivate the U.S. and other countries to intervene in other nations when uprisings occur. The global politics and economies that exist today rely on stability.

    It’s unfortunate that such considerations force the U.S. to overlook many of the autocratic rulers who we ally ourselves with but I think in the final analysis we always support genuine efforts for democratic changes. These however must originate and be earned by the people of those countries

    • SpinnyLiberal

      “It is and should remain a limited air war, allowing the anti-Gadhafi forces an opportunity to re-group and continue their efforts to oust the mad man. It would be a massive blunder if we committed ground troops to fight Gadhafi forces, however.”

      OK. Since you and Terrance have military backgrounds, maybe you can help stop the spinning. Do you think this will be fast? Do you believe that it will stay an air war? I’m worried because psycho is vowing a “long war.”

      • lbwoodgate

        I believe that once Gadhafi is removed along with his sons and ardent supporters that it will no longer be necessary for the U.S. on any other foreigners to provide military assistance. My best guess is that now that there is a military balance, Gadhafi’s unpopularity will quickly run him out of the country or see him hanging from a bell tower somewhere in Tripoli

        It may be necessary to aid the Libyans in building a lasting democracy but we must do it from a distance and allow Libyans to choose the path it takes.

      • Terrance H.

        I think the fact that the people are not on the side of Gadhafi, in large part, this not going to turn into another Iraq or Afghanistan. We wipe out their ability to slaughter their citizens with any degree of efficiency, and I suspect the people will do the rest.

      • SpinnyLiberal

        I hope you guys are right. I know you guys aren’t in possession of crystal balls, but how long do you think this will last?

  • Don in Mass

    Remember the phrase: “Its all about the oil”. Pure and simple.

  • Kendrick Macdowell

    Many good points here. I find myself in agreement with some or most of what each of you say. A few thoughts. First, oil. Yes, but not sinister — just what is. If Middle Eastern oil were cut off, the West would suffer a massive and devastating depression. That’s just what is. Libya is a major oil power. In fact, Gadhafi played a central role in the formation of OPEC, and was the first Arab power to nationalize oil fields. If Obama recognizes this basic fact, then it’s at least part of the way to making sense of what I’ve been so far unable to make sense of, given the contradictory responses to different parts of the region — most notably, Iran and the 2007 protests there.

    Second, U.S. involvement in — or even U.S. leading of — the air strikes. Yes, but not sinister. Just what is. I for one greatly favor Europe taking the lead in strikes against Muslim regimes that have gone rogue, and curry the disfavor of the international community, including other Arab and Muslim nations. It’s about time someone other than the United States did the right thing, and saved some innocent Muslim lives. But the simple fact is that Europe didn’t have the capacity to do what the United States did in terms of contending with SAM missiles and Libyan communications systems. That’s a level of sophistication that America has, and Europe simply doesn’t — no surprise, given the American defense budget, and consistently declining European defense budgets, as Europe has come to rely increasingly on American military power not only to do the deed, but to effectively threaten doing the deed. I’m tired of that dynamic, and maybe this exercise will begin to inspire Europeans, Africans, and members of the Arab League to be better prepared themselves to deal with clearly unacceptably brutal regimes that are matters of their security as much as, or often much more than, ours.

    Third, having taken this step, however, what consideration of consequences? Are we prepared for a scenario in which Gadhafi wins, knowing that we attacked him — knowing that we effectively committed an act of war against him? If our aim is to declare a tepid war, so that we don’t annoy anyone too much, and have no stake in the real outcome, then why bother? Not just why bother, but why invite the hell that will inevitably come? Didn’t we learn anything from the first Gulf War and the failure to take out Saddam Hussein then? If you declare someone an enemy, and commit an act of war against them, be very sure to take them out. Otherwise, you’ll have an implacable enemy forevermore devoted to inflicting pain on you. Is this what we invite?

    Exhibit A: World War 2 — no percentage in negotiating peace when the Nazis were on the ropes and allowing them to stay in power. Similarly, the imperial Japanese. It needed to be unconditional surrender. Exhibit B: Sherman’s infamous march. As a Southerner, I hate it. As a thinker, I’m obliged to respect it, and the closure it brought to America’s Civil War.

    So I’m quite sure, Spinny, that you for example, want none of the military involvement, particularly any that could persist for a while. Then we shouldn’t be involved, we should be entirely neutral, and we should be prepared for the likelihood that Gadhafi will remain in power, inflict massive horror on his people, and plot revenge against others.

    But if the belief is truly that Gadhafi is a bad player, as most of the international community believes, then half-measures are tickets to massive future suffering inside and outside Libya. We need to decide whether Gadhafi is an enemy (he has already decided that we are), and if so, take him out. What happens thereafter is a question of complex policy considerations — do we let whatever unfolds unfold or try to play some role in what unfolds? That’s an important question — but not as important, right now, as the threshold question of whether Gadhafi is an enemy and what should be done.

    • lbwoodgate

      Very well laid out Kendrick. I’m not sure you are whole-heartedly supporting a boots-on-the-ground commitment to knock out Gadhafi though that would definitely fit in to your “all out” strategy. To me however, this would be a big mistake.

      What support we are now getting from other Arab countries would diminish considerably if we invade Libya without the Arab League’s blessing – and even still this is likely to stir up more recruitment fodder for terrorists organizations like al-qaida than if we simply remain as part of a non-land effort to enable rebels to capture Gadhafi or perhaps knock him out with a drone strike.

    • SpinnyLiberal

      Thank you Kendrick for writing a thoughtful respone (as usual)

      If Middle Eastern oil were cut off, the West would suffer a massive and devastating depression.

      Do you believe so? I don’t know. The Patriotic Democrat is in the oil industry and said there is no shortage of oil here in the United States. That in fact, we’re sitting on a glut. Couldn’t we live on that?

      But the simple fact is that Europe didn’t have the capacity to do what the United States did in terms of contending with SAM missiles and Libyan communications systems.

      I mean we didn’t even give them the chance to try and lead on their own. We could have stayed in that “supportive” role. And then when they need our help, we step in.

      If you declare someone an enemy, and commit an act of war against them, be very sure to take them out.

      Absolutely. Why can’t we do that? Can’t we take out psycho and sons like we did in Iraq? We found Saddam in dang spider hole. I say we take them out ASAP.

      So I’m quite sure, Spinny, that you for example, want none of the military involvement, particularly any that could persist for a while. Then we shouldn’t be involved, we should be entirely neutral

      My non-interventionist thinking has been tested lately. We had civilians begging for our help. I don’t know if I could ignore their pleas. I thought the perfect “compromise” was that supportive role.

      Now that we are taking the lead, the mission should be take Qathafi and his sons out and get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

  • lobotero

    To me it looks like the old saying, “an used weapon is a useless weapon”…..those 122 cruises will be replaced and that what cost? In a time when education is being cut to the bone…..is a war necessary?

  • Kendrick Macdowell

    Wow Spinny, interesting evolution in your thinking. I’m not sure we disagree. Same with lbwoodgate.

    First re oil, yes, the US could live on its own reserves, for a little while (which would itself have serious security implications as we depleted our reserves). But Europe and Japan could not. And given the interconnectedness of our economies, a massive depression one place would be devastating in domino fashion.

    On the extent of intervention, I’m not sure I have the appetite, or that the U.S. has the resources, for further nation-building in the region. So we might agree that if we can just take out Gadhafi and any immediate family thug contenders for the throne, that should be it, militarily.

    Not sure about that — which is why I tried to separate out the threshold question of whether he is an enemy, and the far more complex question of what to do as a matter of policy with (or in anticipation of) a post-Gadhafi Libya. So don’t hold me to agreeing entirely with you quite yet. 🙂

    • SpinnyLiberal

      OK, so by depression, you mean a global one. Devastating. Point taken.

      We don’t know what a post-Qathafi Libya would look like. I would take the gamble and take him and his crew out. Present-Qathafi Libya is a bloody mess. Literally.

      Haha I won’t hold you to it. Mull it over, see how it feels. 😉

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