San Diego – Well I listened to the speech last night from King Barrack. We may as well call him that since it better narrates his relationship to our republic and constitution than “President” (of course a number of despots were “presidents” too so maybe that term has evolved when i wasn’t looking). After all he decided on his own that a law passed by congress was unconstitutional so would not be supported; why not decide on his own whether or not to take our country and its military into war? It was an OK political speech and I understood his rationale even in the midst of a bit of factual fudging and spinning re “leadership” in the events. I have been opposed to the action, as I was to the action with Iraq, even though I think there was a better case being made there for it, on logistical and leadership vacuum grounds. The President want to pretend like an even of this magnitude does not set a precedent for down-stream action but he is sufficiently politically savvy to know that is a bit of total nonsense and now everytime something can even marginally be called a humanitarian crisis we will renew the debate. If ever there was a true humanitarian crisis it was in Darfur but we sat it out; as bad as it is this is far less horrific and the so-called good guys here are clearly far more a potential problem for us than the poor people of Darfur or even Somalia. But I do understand the American sense of Nobless Oblige and the idea that if we can avert a slaughter of innocents we should do so.
But that alone is not what we did. We went to war with the current government of Lybia. It is clearly a terrible government ruled by a psychotic despot but if we want to overthrow that government because we do not like it or because, as is true, it sponsored actions that killed Americans, then do it but it is hard to call that anything other than an act of war. We said we only wanted to create a no fly zone, but striking at tanks and ground artillery sure seems like a bit of mission creep to me. He said we would not put boots on the ground and ignored the fact that it requires boots on the ground in the form of SpecOps and FOs to laser-paint targets for the air strikes to the ground but it is possible he is so militarily naive he does not know that and believes it is all very aseptic and clean.
Perhaps it really is something we should do; I have no problem with the idea of sending in folks to simply make him cease to exist. But still, I’ve been very uneasy about it as an overt action. Finally I read, in far better words than I could muster, what it is that bothers me — and also bothered me with Iraq and with Vietnam. We slinked in sideways with a political ploy and loophole that was accepted… but only sort of. And it has led to some real polarization because it was all political.
Some of you know of my background so it will come as no surprise that i highly value solid intelligence gathering. Government intel agencies, civilian and military alike, are too often politicized but the business world has a single objective: making money. That objective needs to know the truth. “Spinning” the data usually ends up costing money not making it. One of the very best open Source intelligence agencies on the planet is a group called “Stratfor.” As a rule they often simply provide data and let policy makers decide what to do with it. Rarely do they provide opinions except, sometimes, as to conclusions as to where events they are relating may lead. So it is highly unusual for the head of Stratfor, to provide a document in which he says he “believes” in something or it is his “opinion” about something. That is to be taken seriously, especially when they are made on constitutional grounds. In the piece below he does not take sides about the pros or cons of the action in Libya per se, only about the procedures used — or not used — to get us into it and what that means for us as a country and culture. Like many intel writing, the real message is between the lines, so read it carefully. But if you have even some vague qualms about how this all went down, do click on the link below and READ IT!
What Happened to the American Declaration of War? is republished with permission of STRATFOR.