San Diego – Well some who remember my argument opposed to all of the normally given reasons for not going into Iraq but still, ultimately arguing against it for a completely different reason have asked what I think about going into Libya to help the “Revolution” there. There are growing cries for us to “do domething” about Khaddafi or Ghadaffi or however he is spelling his name today. Goodness knows few dictators on earth have more deserved to be taken out quickly with the possible exception of Idi Ammin and Adolph what’s-his-name. But I am opposed to getting involved because I think we are being led by a group of abject amateurs who, if they get started, will either get us enmeshed in an unwinnable protracted occupation or end up, as did Clinton in Somalia, trying to do the right thing but so ineptly as to have us run with our tail between our legs and setting up the conviction with Bin Laden that we are simply a paper tiger and open to attack. According to Al Arabiya, “Al-Qaeda (sic) has established an emirate in Derna led by Abdelkarim al-Hasadi, a former Guantanamo detainee… they have begun to impose the burqa and have executed people who refuse to cooperate with them.” Of course we have pronounced them beaten and of no more worry not to mention declaring those detainees innocents who should never have been detained in the first place.
We no longer are capable of following TR’s admonition to “Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick.” Today we sneak around apologetically after throwing the stick away. So I am opposed to any such adventure under the current leadership. If it were, however, to be seriously contemplated then I think the strategy must clearly define (1) The mission/goal, (2) the rules of engagement, and (3) the exit strategy. We should not simply try to arm the rebels so that later, as in Afghanistan, they can turn those weapons back on us if they decide we are now the bad guys. If we are stupid enough to get involved then we need to do it right.
The Mission should be a simple easy to understand one: Take out good ol’ Mummar and anyone who might seek to replace him along with his loyalists and then give the country, cleansed of him, back to the Libyans to do with as they think best. We should make it clear to the world we are not there to take over the country or strong arm them in any way; we are there merely and solely to help them rid themselves of a monster. We are not fighting for oil we are fighting for human rights and liberty. If we fight for any other reason than supporting liberty then we ought not to do it.
The Rules of Engagement should be designed to allow the goal to be accomplished. We should use all of the latest high tech awesome power in our arsenal but WE should be the ones using it. We should allow the leaders of the opposition, those we are supposedly helping, to provide the intel (which could not be worse than our own these days) and the targeting. That way we likely have better targeting and in any case, we cannot be held responsible for collateral damage since we only shot at targets they pointed out knowing the likely outcome. When we see a bad guy, after proper warning to the area, then he is a fair target. Throwing down your weapon and running for cover so you can escape to fight another day does not make of you a non-target just because your fingers are not now wrapped around a weapon. We should be there to kill or capture bad guys as defined by the locals we are helping and deny their command and control function any operational integrity and fighting capability. Period.
The Exit Strategy should be equally simple of definition. When the mission is accomplished and the opposition forces are, by their own determination, in control and satisfied, then we pack up starting that very day and leave. And in leaving we will be taking with us ALL of our technology and advanced weaponry and leaving nothing, absolutely nothing, that could ever be turned against us. Of course we make it clear that if some other force tries to take advantage of the situation, we can play this game again since it is a great live fire training exercise for us.
If we operated that way we would leave several clear messages. The first is that we truly are a force to be reckoned with and one silly to bring down on yourself. Second, that we fight for liberty and not to impose our own will on anyone. And Third that we are as good as the values we espouse. And finally we send the message that America, as a bastion of liberty ready to help the downtrodden but with no interest in empire… is finally back.
But under any other approach, I am adamantly opposed to our getting involved.