The war in Libya is starting to resemble virtually every other war: commenced with claimed humanitarian justifications; supported by well-meaning people convinced by the stated, official objectives; hailed as a short and easy task ("days, not weeks"); and then warped into a bloody, protracted conflict far from the original claims and without any real end in sight. Earlier this week, one of the war's most vocal supporters, Juan Cole, produced a list he entitled "Top Ten Mistakes in the Libya War," including Obama's failure to get Congressional approval, that "NATO has focused on a ‘shock and awe’ strategy of pounding the capital, Tripoli," and that "NATO put its emphasis on taking out command and control in the capital instead of vigorously protecting civilian cities under attack."
Perhaps that's because "vigorously protecting civilians" was the pretext for the war, not the actual aim. Yesterday, NATO admitted it killed multiple civilians -- apparently including children -- by bombing a house in a residential area. It's difficult to know exactly how many civilians NATO has killed thus far because Western armies don't count their victims and the Gadaffi government's claims are obviously unreliable, but whatever is true -- including the fact that such killings are not intended -- they are the inevitable by-product of invading and bombing other countries. The logic of war ensures that almost every conflict becomes more and more about such killing and less and less about the original lofty excuses for why they were started.
It's thus not a surprise that 39 neocons -- hilariously calling themselves "foreign policy experts" (including John Podhoretz, Liz Cheney, Gary Bauer, Marty Peretz, Karl Rove, Marc Theissen, and Bill Kristol) -- issued a letter yesterday urging steadfast support for (and escalation of) the Libya War. Lofty justifications notwithstanding, this is exactly what they favor: long-term, endless domination of the Muslim world through military force and control over their governments. That's what the war in Libya, intended or not, has become.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Libya, the Latest Folly
Thoughts on our Libyan intervention by Salon's Glenn Greenwald: