Friday, October 21, 2011

The Kicking In Of A Rotten Door, Part Six; End Game In Sirte

The slow grinding of the gears of history and justice are sometimes hard to watch. But both while grinding slow, grind fine. Into that hopper was fed Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi. It was not a pretty sight. Pulled out of sewer drain, Gaddafi spent his last moments on earth in a world of pain and fear.  It was very rough justice for a man who did much worse to far too many of his own people.

The UN is looking into the exact chronology and cause of death, as if this really mattered. The minute the US went all-in on the No Fly Zone, this result was almost inevitable. The decision of NATO to intervene in Libya meant regime change. Regime change meant that Gaddafi would most likely end up on a morgue slab instead of sipping pina coladas in exile.

The bitter end dramatics of  Muammar Gaddafi, the pointless holding out to the last man and the last bullet, was a  hideous coda to the tragic opera that was the Green Revolution.

Libya now joins the 21
st century after spending two generations in a bizzaro-land time warp of Arab Nationalism not seen since Gamal Abdel Nasser shuffled off his mortal coil. The clown prince of the Maghreb is now gone, what comes next? What comes after the one-man rule that warped the very soul of the nation? No one really knows. NeoCons are all in lather that Al Qaeda is going to take over Libya, but NeoCons are always in lather about some state on the brink of being  taken over by Al Qaeda.

The thumb sucking foolishness of Leisure Suit Larry at No Quarter and by the usual suspects in the Republican Party is nauseating to watch. Obama has so far managed the Libyan situation with deft and wisdom; applying just the right amount of power at the right amount of time. He gets dyspeptic reviews from the right wing peanut gallery because if they can’t big-foot a crisis there not interested in getting involved. If the Marines can’t storm a beach somewhere it has to be wrong.

Hence the kudos given to France and The UK by the usual gang of idiots at Fox. It is like the US has no relation to NATO at all. It is like the contributions of the US Air Force and the US Navy in flying hundreds of air sorties never happened. It is like the logistical support of the Air Force and the Military Sea Lift Command was a figment of the imagination. It was like the steady as you go leadership and persistence of Obama had no effect on the final outcome. What a small, petty, ungracious, bitter, churlish lot the political right has become in the US.

It is not like that there are real chinks in Obama’s armor. It is not that there are serious matters of precedent that need to be addressed. Think a little, and there is plenty not to like about how Libya played out.

First there was the far too long to-ing and fro-ing of Obama’s decision making. Gaddafi was threatening to slaughter a large part of his population, and living up to that threat of genocide. Numerous Libyans died in Misrata while Obama played Hamlet once more. Obama could not set up a safe zone in Misrata while building US and world opinion for an intervention?  Obama had to default to dithering once more, when it was obvious to anyone with a functioning brain that Gaddafi was entirely capable of slaughtering his own people wholesale for the crime of lese majeste? What is wrong with this man? Some decisions really are easy to make Barry.  True or False Mr. President, the mass slaughter of innocent civilians by the cultish minions of a megalomaniac dictator is a bad thing? No Mr. President, this is not an open book exam, nor a trick question.

That the leaders of France and the UK practically dragged Obama over the line, kicking and screaming is ridiculous. That once the decision was made, the Congress was not even informed is maddening. Again, what is wrong with this man? The cavalier disregard for Congress Obama showed was tone deaf in far too many ways to cover. The explanation for ignoring Congress, that our efforts were mealy a “Kinetic Action”, and not an act of war, was patently absurd. US/NATO air assets were blowing stuff up left, right, and center, that is a military action, not kinetic action, and requires some sort of Congressional approval. Obama was lucky that Congress prefers acting like a door mat instead of the co-equal branch of government is supposed to be.

Finally there was the look-mom-no-hands tactics that Team Obama brought to this jolly little war. Obamabots make a big deal how no US troops were involved. But that was a very cynical move by the President, not nearly as praise worthy as Progressive apologists would make you believe. Obama is no fool, he knew what would happen when the untrained rebels crossed paths with Gaddafi. Those untrained fighters would be Obama’s hit men, and he would not have to ask, “mother may I.” I’m cynical enough to think a CIA operative was right there in the mix, encouraging a final solution, or perhaps even pulling the trigger.

The other aspect of the bootless intervention is the number of needless deaths it incurred. Many innocent bystanders got wounded or killed in those air raids. Lot of fighters died because Obama et al could not afford the political blow back of having professional troops on the ground. Plus there is the fact that Libya is awash in small arms and other implements of destruction. How do you get those arms out of the mix, how do you disarm all those amateur warriors? It’s a good question going forward.

I hope Obama has a follow up plan. It will take all the intelligence, guile and hard work that Hillary and her team at State have to get this Libyan ship righted. It is also going to take wisdom from the leaders of the transitional government. Team Obama has to be one hundred and eighty degrees out from what team Bush did in Iraq. It does no good to kick in the rotten door of a corrupt regime only to have the national house fall on your head.
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