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April 23, 2011


If you had told me during the height of the 2008 campaign season that Mr. Obama, whose stance against the Iraq war was one of the most visible and popular elements of his campaign, would in 2011 send our military forces into Libya without so much as informing Congress, I would not have believed it. Yet it has occurred.

Perhaps one of the greatest indications of the bias in our mainstream media is that do not have much discussion of the sheer incongruity of Pres. Obama being the one to take such action. Even less media time is given to consideration of the constitutionality, legality, effectiveness, purpose, or morality of this war, though all of those were called into question by the media during the Iraq war. Each of those five items was called into question by the media, by everyone from protestors to talking heads to the anchors, and thus the war was implicitly, propagandistically, declared evil. This despite Hussein's acts of war and the Congressional approval!

Also, I have yet to hear any voices in the media commenting on the apparent similarities between the two wars. They have both been billed as quick enterprises, and both are initially being fought with limited troops (the Libyan action being fought with far fewer.) They are both being fought as part of a coalition (which many in the media and the anti-Iraq-war movement refused to recognize.) A conspiracy theorist could allege that both are being fought for oil. (The sheer fact that such specious allegations are assumed true against a Republican president and not even aired against a Democratice president suggests to me that such allegators, or at least those who report them, were far more interested in the partisan aspects than truth and justice.)

I am not trying to say that I am against the Libyan conflict. I do not like the thought of innocents murdered by their own government. However, I am concerned about two matters primarily. First of all, we do not seem to have a clear policy about when and how we will involve ourselves in the region. Our policy is no longer to attack those who attack us or who have violated treaties with us, so what now is it? Freedom from cruel dictators is a good thing. Why, howeverare we so active in Libya but have for years allowed courageous Iranians to be murdered by their oppressive government?

My second point of concern is that our present strategy in Libya appears to be based on a fantasy from before 2001. It is based upon the ridiculous idea that we can ride into victory on the wings of fighter aircraft, always hit only and all of the bad guys, and goodness will automatically begin totally harmonious and unopposed governance five minutes after the arch-villain has sentence pronounced upon him. This movie-like fantsy should've been recognized as not real after the events of the past ten years, especially those in the Iraq war that Pres. Obama so opposed. However, our strategy in Libya, with few to no boots on the ground, bears a striking resemblance to that fantasy. This would also explain odd press conferences about why our military is fallible and cannot always distinguish friend from foe, and why we cannot always prevent an evil government from killing its own people.

Doubtless our strategy springs from a normal mixture of good and bad motives - for reasons compassionate and political, the President wishes for there to be few or no soldier and civilian casualties. However, this shows that we have not learned the terrible lessons of Iraq and the surge - and we paid dearly in blood and treasure (and, according to Pres. Obama, moral authority) to learn those lessons. If life were merely a play, Pres. Obama embarking on a Libyan war that became an expensive, immoral quagmire, as he alleged the Iraq war was, would be an irony. In the real world, I think that our nation and our fallen soldiers would pay too terrible a price. Since we are there, we must make this winnable. Let's not fall into the trap of the last war, which was to create a self-fulfilling prophecy of an unwinnable war. We had to change things drastically at the end to prevent that from coming true. Let's fix what needs fixing in our strategy now, so things go better sooner.

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