Libyan Intervention

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NPR correspondent Tom Gjelten talks about the status of the international intervention in Libya and how it compares with Bosnia.


Tom Gjelten

Comments [16]

Lars from Brooklyn

I'm not the first to point out the difference between being consistent and doing what's feasible. Cote d'Ivoire is a soup of different ethnic groups, religions and clans with arbitrary borders, making for one big mess, in many ways similar to Iraq. Even Bahrain is as much about the perpetual struggle between Sunnis and Shiites as anything else. Libya has a relatively homogenous population, less than the population of New York City, and almost completely inhabited along the Mediterranean coast. I am moderately liberal/progressive myself: how many liberals would be crying foul if we did nothing and Gaddaffi made good his threats and swooped into Benghazi and started slaughtering civilians by the thousands? He has a track record that shows he would have followed through with this. Everyone seems to have a memory of about 2 weeks. It makes sense to pass this on to NATO-it is in Europe's back yard and is their problem more than ours.

Mar. 28 2011 10:57 AM
Gerald from Tokyo from Urayasu, Japan

In response to Brian's "impolitic" question - along the lines of "Why don't we just take out Gaddaffi, since we know his regime will simply crumble without him?" - I say: Where have we heard that before? Can we really presume to know more about Libya than we thought we did about Iraq?

Mar. 22 2011 11:53 PM
Frank from Indiana

Gary, don't know if these will satisfy your craving for liberal protests against the latest US "intervention," but it is a start, no?

Kucinich Proposes Congressional Action to Defund Undeclared Libya War

Jon Stewart Pitches US Hypocrisy in ‘Freedom Packages’ Infomercial

Obama's Women Advisers Pushed War Against Libya

Obama Takes Hard Line With Libya After Shift by Clinton

Mar. 22 2011 06:08 PM
Joem from Brooklyn

This discussion had a big hole.

There was no discussion of the 17 year-odd no-fly zones over north and south Iraq!

Mar. 22 2011 06:00 PM
gary from queens

This is Gary from Queens, reporting live from the Brian Lehrer blog in NYC. The devastation is everywhere. The "bomb" was dropped late last week, with the president announcing that US forces will bomb a nation that had not posed a threat to the US.

In surveying the ruble, one wonders where the liberal residents has gone? Have the victims of this attack (on their sensibilities) been so demoralized that they cannot speak? Are the hiding out until Sarah Palin says something that can be "construed" as stupid?

This is the the second such attack on this beleaguered population in recent weeks. It follows closely from Obama's announcement to continue using Gitmo to detain Jihadists, and Bush's indefinite detention policy.

The chants of "try them or release them" is but a bitter memory now for them now.

This is Gary from Queens reporting. Brian, back to you.

Mar. 22 2011 11:50 AM
Nate BowmAn

Mr. Gjelten tells us that there are problems with a unilateral war and there are problems with a multiretal one.

Does it occur to him that there may be problems with going to war period? It doesn't seem to be on his radar.

And where was all his analysis of the problems of a no-fly zone BEFORE the resolution was passed?

The sequence of Mr. Gjelten's coverage of Libya reeks of war mongering and mission creep.

Mar. 22 2011 11:33 AM
gary from queens

I hear Jonathan Demme is coming out with a sequal to the The Silence of the Lambs. It will be called:

"The Silence of the Liberals"

Now that Obama is finishing out Bush's third term!

You reap what you sow, "dudes."

Yes, yes, I'm twisting the knife. let me have my fun.

Mar. 22 2011 11:31 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

I don't think that this would have gone forward if David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel were still in the White House.

One of those guys would have said..."have you really thought this through?"

Mar. 22 2011 11:23 AM
tom from nyc

Gary is nuts

Mar. 22 2011 11:20 AM
gary from queens


Samantha Powers----great humanitarian-----persuaded Obama to use offensive missiles and bombs for humanitarian purposes. The same actions they all condemned when Bush tried to topple Saddam. Even though there was a great qualitative and quantitative differences in the brutality of each tyrant.

Plus, it was thought that Saddam had WMDs, which by UN resolution he had to be compelled to disclose where he disposed of them. Plus violations of the armistace he signed with the US. So there's hardly a favorable comparison for Obama to make. Not only was Qaddafi not a threat to the US, he was lauded by Clinton a few months ago as an ally against al qaeda. Which is why jihadists are supporting the rebels!

"No declaration of war!!!" That was the liberal rant under Bush. But there's silence now.

Read what Candidate Obama said about military intervention:
According to Candidate Obama, President Obama is violating the US Constitution by striking Libyian forces without Congressional approval.

Bush at least had a war resolution from Congress. King Obama didn't even CONSULT Congress! Under the War Powers Resolution, Obama must get congressional approval within 60 days of military action of this type. Will he? Who will force him to obey the law? The media? Ha! Anyone who dares tell the King he wears no clothes will be branded a racist.

What if the "rebels" counter attack? Our intervention will no longer be protecting civilians from Qaddafi. It would be outside nations (like the US) taking sides with insurrectionists in an internal conflict of a member nation-----thus being a violation of the UN charter like the Wash Times op-ed said.

When Wolfowitz and other neocons tried to justify toppling Saddam based on humanitarian arguments-----that Saddam was committing genocide on the marsh arabs and shiits and khurds, etc----you guys on this blog had a good argument. The argument was where do you draw the line? Every nation has violent internal struggles. We have that with gangs and organized crime. Mexico too. Other nations have immigration wars. Civil wars are going on in many countries as we speak.

Wolfowitz had a good answer: He detailed the unique character and breath of the Saddam's sadism. gang rapes, buring entire families alive in cubicles, torturing children, killing babies in from of their parents. In conjunction with Saddam's violations of international law, it was sufficient for most people. Albeit, not for the far left Bush haters. But at least there was a response. Where is Obama's justification?

Give me a reason not to use the "H" word.

Mar. 22 2011 11:20 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

This is as phony a "coalition" as the one in the Iraq war.

Where's the outrage?

It's like a SNL skit..."community organizer play acts at war leader....and this is what we get".

Mar. 22 2011 11:17 AM
To Gary from Queens

Dude, we don't have to read all six paragraphs to know you're just afraid of Arabs. Relax. Arabs aren't going to hurt you. We can stop them from genociding each other, and that's okay.

Mar. 22 2011 11:12 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

The media (spinning this for the WH) is so in the pocket of the administration that it is shameful. Bosnia, indeed.

Can you imagine the reaction at NPR to a President McCain starting a sudden bombing war and then taking his family and his WH apparatus off to South America? Jobs, jobs, jobs!!

This guy is silver tongued and tin-eared.

Mar. 22 2011 11:08 AM
gary from queens


Why do intervention proponents insist on calling them rebels when they call themselves mujahideen — Muslim warriors fighting a jihad?

At Pajamas, John Rosenthal has details of a report by French jounralist Marc de Chalvron, who was embedded with the Libyan “rebels” before they were turned back by Qaddafi’s forces. They refer to their battle as “the jihad” — Islamic holy war. (At least that’s what they interpret jihad to mean. They apparently haven’t gotten the memo from Georgetown that jihad is really a peaceful internal struggle for personal betterment, a solemn commitment to brush after every meal, or whatever ISNA is calling jihad this week).

The French report shows the “rebels” proclaiming that “Now, the time of jihad has arrived!” and, of course, screaming, “Allahu Akbar!” as they fire their guns into the air.

Rebel-controlled eastern Libya has been the home of the al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).

According to a Stratfor report, jihadist personnel files captured in Iraq revealed that on a per capita basis, Libyans comprised the largest percentage of foreign insurgents, and 85% were suicide bombers. Finally, the majority of these fighters listed their hometowns in Libya as Darnah and Benghazi, the latter the de facto capital of the rebellion.

Mar. 22 2011 11:06 AM
gary from queens

Mccarthy also wrote:

It is fair enough to contend that the upside of bleeding the Soviets was worth the price in Afghanistan — even though we are still dealing with the fallout, which includes having reinforced the ties between Pakistani intelligence and Qaeda-tied jihadists, both of which still menace us.

But Clinton’s gambit in the former Yugoslavia included looking the other way while Iran armed the Bosnian Muslims, set up a jihadist network on the doorstep of Western Europe, and set in motion the chain of events that led to the U.S.-supported creation of a Muslim state, Kosovo — one of whose nationals last week killed two American airmen and wounded two others in Germany while screaming Allahu Akbar. (For more on Kosovo and the jihad, see Caroline Glick and Melanie Phillips.)

How much goodwill did we buy from the ummah by coming down so decisively against their Serbian tormentors?

Mar. 22 2011 11:03 AM
gary from queens

The similarities are many. Both Libya and Bosnia were interventions in which a Democrat president violated the Constitution. Neither obtained Congressional support through a resolution or declaration of war. As Andy McCarthy wrote:

This is Kosovo II. But Kosovo I is not a precedent — it is an example of illegitimate use of force. Congress refused to approve it. As I’ve argued before, I think it was proper for the courts to decline to resolve this political tug of war between the political branches, but that did not validate Clinton’s actions. And certainly Kosovo was not thought a precedent when the Bush administration decided to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Notwithstanding that those situations actually involved vital U.S national security interests, congressional authorization was sought and obtained before our armed forces were dispatched.

Mar. 22 2011 10:55 AM

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