Saturday, March 26, 2011

Libya: Humanitarian, But Questions Linger

The Western military action in Libya, ostensibly to protect civilians, destroy Libyan military sites (but NOT kill Gaddafi), and support a "rebel coalition" of disparate tribal groups, has raised a lot of questions and has generated millions of words of heated debate on web sites. 

How can we support the rebels, and a Democratic revolution, without ousting Gaddafi (dead or alive)?  How will Gaddafi remain in power and not resort to civilian slaughter?  How do we justify civilian casualties in a "humanitarian" military action?  Why not intervene in other regimes with well-known, long-established human-rights atrocities?  

Who is arming the rebels? (While some news outlets provide closeups of "plastic guns", I saw plenty of grenade launchers in the same reports.)  Is there something else behind this sudden revolutionary spirit among repressed Middle Eastern and African regimes? 
 Can our economy afford this?

Most of the words being written, and most of the debates, are from people (like me) whose entire knowledge of the situation comes from the press.  Where will I find the trustworthy information that will answer these questions for me?

I wanted badly to support this effort as a purely humanitarian one.  I was becoming comfortable with those who felt this was the right thing to do, that even though we have not performed as quickly (or at all) in similar global situations, does not mean we should also ignore this one.

But then, like a grain of sand inside a comfortable shoe, earlier this week a quote from former Illinois Congressman and now U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, nagged me with uncomfortable doubt about our altruism in saving Libyans from their dictator...

A bit more hawkish, Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., a Naval Reserve intelligence officer, said Monday in Chicago that this country is now in a "shooting war" with Gaddafi's forces - and the goal should be to end his regime.
If that goal is achieved relatively quickly, Kirk said, it would help stabilize the region's oil markets and help lower the price of gasoline. However, the Illinois senator said he regarded the no-fly zone over Libya as an act of war - and that Congress should have an opportunity to endorse that action. Kirk said  (he hoped that Obama will formally seek congressional authorization for the use of force later this week.
Oil markets and gas prices...nagging at my intuition over this whole turn of events....

No comments:

Post a Comment