In all of this Islamic tumult Hillary comes out best, I think…

September 14, 2012

In all of this frenzy of demonstrations and riots and killing of four Americans, to include our ambassador to Libya, and of charges by presidential contender Mitt Romney of the Obama administration being too apologetic and not tough enough it seems to me the one who comes out looking best is Secretary of State (and maybe President come 2016) Hillary Clinton.

(As I am writing all of this, the news is that there are anti-U.S. and/or anti-Western protests all over the Islamic world today.)

I  think her statements over the past couple of days have been the clearest and most logical (President Obama has done well too). Now that I have had a day or more to think on it I can’t blame Romney for wanting to chime in — he is in what appears to be a close race. But when you read over what he and his Republican Party people have said on foreign policy, particularly Libya, in the past, well it has been all over the board. It is easy to see they are just against anything Obama does, not matter what.

It is also clear that all the demonstrations and rioting are a result of a combination of things. While some of it may be true anger over the internet dissemination of what probably could be described as a hate video or anti-Muslim propaganda piece, made by some obscure film maker, it is also the result of anti-West rabblerousers who want to stir up the masses for their own desires of power. Also, apparently a lot of people in other parts of the world have little to do — I suppose they are poor and unemployed and uneducated, and therefore they use up their energies in these demonstrations. In addition we have to accept the fact that free speech is not a concept shared all over the world.

Another thing we should realize is that while we like to promote democracy, we never know what we will get. Right now we have a weak government in Libya after the deposing of the dictator Gaddafi, which we supported. When it became apparent that our long-time ally in Egypt, the dictator Mubarak, was going to be deposed, our government jumped on the bandwagon of the Arab Spring as a democracy movement. But then they put in the Muslim Brotherhood, who has ties or sympathy with Islamic extremists who are anti-America/anti-West.

To jump around here, today the German embassy in Sudan is under attack. Some say it is over that film and the fact that far-right, neo Nazi groups in Germany have insulted the Islamic prophet Mohammad and that a few years ago German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave an award to a Danish cartoonist who drew cartoons insulting Mohammad (I did not read what specifically the award was for).

Getting back to Hillary:

While Romney got antsy and cancelled an embargo on a prepared statement (in other words not say what he wanted to say about the deaths of the Americans and Obama’s response until the anniversary of 9/11 had passed) and accused the current administration in Washington, well Obama, of apologizing rather than condemning the acts (not exactly true by the way), Secretary of State Clinton calmly issued a statement or statements both condemning the infamous video and the violence that followed (and so did Obama himself).

Much later, after being roundly criticized as shooting from the hip, or as the president said, “shooting first and aiming later”, Romney tried to say that really both he and the current administration were in agreement. He said Obama had backed away from earlier, pre-death of the Americans (the rioting having started before that) statements regretting the video, which the U.S. government had nothing to do with.

In an address to one group (according to a news story I have read), Mrs. Clinton said (paraphrase): All religions have been subjected to insults. The response to such insults is what separates those of true faith from those who would use religion as an excuse to commit violent acts.

In my original post on all of this I erroneously wrote that an American preacher who had earlier gained notoriety for threatening to burn copies of the Koran had produced the infamous video (which, incidentally I have not seen). Upon further reading, I guess it was that he showed the video or was going to or something like that to an audience. Some people make money on hate. The real producer is believed to live in the Los Angeles area and may not go by his real name and at last report was asking for police protection now that he has managed to stir so many people up and perhaps indirectly cause the death of the Americans. Actually there is suspicion that the Libyan incident was a coordinated attack by a group associated or sympathetic to Al Qaeda, purposely timed on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.

Writing about things having to do with breaking news is always difficult and fraught with danger of getting everything screwed up. In my original post I was on my truck driving job (stationary at the time) playing the unloading waiting game. But I am a news and opinion junkie and I could not help myself — I had to say something, maybe kind of like candidate Romney (he has more at stake).

I am not necessarily a fan of the Obama foreign policy, but right now I certainly feel more comfortable with his administration’s approach than the seemingly wild and sometimes incoherent or contradictory line of Romney and the GOP. Actually, Romney up until now has not emphasized foreign policy. 

Sometimes something akin to isolationism appeals to me, but I then realize that the U.S. depends upon world trade (it has from its very beginnings) and that it is the world’s superpower and if we let that go the void will be filled by another power and we are probably toast.

I would prefer a foreign policy where we try to do good, don’t get too carried away, and say very little.

One more thing: There is a whole industry on radio of so-called right-wing talk show hosts, who basically make a living out of sounding off about anything against what they call liberal or socialist (and sometimes they equate this with environmentalism) and anti-capitalist ideas. Right now their thrust seems to be anything anti-Obama. Some of these people may have some relationship to the historical conservative movement in the nation, but for the most part I think they are commercial opportunists who have found out you can make big money running down people by calling them anti-American. And in some cases, I get by their tone, they were incensed in college by other students or professors who seemed to espouse ideas counter to their own upbringing. It is often uncomfortable to be around people who may not think as you do.

Anyway, the other day on the Laura Ingraham Show she played a tape of what was purported to be an open microphone at a Romney press conference before it got under way. If I understood things right, the reporters were discussing among themselves the need to ask Romney if he had been a little hasty in releasing a written statement against the Obama administration’s reaction to the crisis in Libya when events were in the midst of unfolding. She suggested the “liberal media” was conspiring against Romney. Well, it does kind of sound like pack journalism. But as long as they do the same to the other side, I guess that is the way it goes (but of course she does not think that they do).

What follows is my previous post on all of this:

UPDATE (9-13-12):

Well, it appears that in my own haste to get this posted I either misread or read an erroneous report about the source of the infamous video that some say got all those people stirred up in the Mideast and Northern Africa. Right now there does not seem to be a clear identity, although there are stories on the web. So anyway, I deleted that reference in this updated version of this post. Right now I’ll let the rest of what I said stand. I need to read more about all of this (my real work just seems to get in the way). I’ll probably post more within the next 24 hours.

“Slate”, the online magazine, provides a timeline for the events:


I didn’t blog anything about the 11th anniversary of 9/11 because I was too busy at my paying job that puts food on the table and provides shelter and so on and I was tired too. I felt like I ought to say something. But sometimes it’s better not to say anything — that’s what hapless GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney may have found out.

He is being roundly condemned for jumping the gun and going way overboard in his criticism of his opponent President Obama over the dreadful killings of our ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three staffers, which came as mob violence rocked Libya and Egypt on the 9/11 anniversary. An attack on our embassy in Libya may have been planned by terrorists, American authorities are speculating.

Both Obama supporters and non-supporters have condemned Romney (I’m sure not everyone thinks he acted wrongly). He broke his own vow to stay silent on politics for the day in commemoration of 9/11 and he also broke a taboo of stretching politics beyond the water’s edge (which I imagine is broken all the time).

Romney accused the Obama administration of apologizing as its first act in the crisis. Actually what he was criticizing was a statement or statements made before the deaths of our people, which he characterized as apologetic. The Obama administration tried to assure people in the region that we deplore intolerance of others’ beliefs. But, as I understand it, this was before the deaths or before they were reported (although I’m sure we still deplore the intolerance, seeing as we were affected by it).



Since posting this I have read more. In  a New York Times story there seemed to be some indication that the Obama administration had not approved conciliatory statements made by the embassy and that even the embassy staff had second thoughts.  I think maybe the Obama administration favors diplomacy when possible, whereas a Romney administration, by Romney’s own indication, might prefer a tougher approach. Although I must say the continuing fighting in Afghanistan and the killing of Osama Bin Laden seem like fairly rough stuff to me. Oh, and all those drone strikes too. Doesn’t seem too apologetic to me.


As I understand it, the outbreak of mob violence was in reaction to the posting on the internet of a video critical of Islam. I have not seen it, but I understand it is full of hate. UPDATE:  (9-13-12)To make matters worse, there are now reports that the sound was dubbed without the actors even knowing what the film was going to say. 

Many observers, on the right and left and middle, I have read, feel that Romney’s too quick and clumsy reaction shows that he is out of his depth in foreign policy.

He may have done a good job at saving the Olympics all those years ago and he may have made millions, billions at Bain Capital, but he sounds dangerous when it comes to diplomacy and foreign policy.

Barack Obama may have been a novice too (he wanted to sit down and talk to that crazy Ahmadinejad in Iran). But Obama has Hillary and she seems to be one clever lady when it comes to foreign relations.

(Sharia law for Libya?) Obama may have another Middle East victory: Bin Laden down and now Gaddafi

August 23, 2011

LATEST UPDATE (8-25-11):

At the the opera they say it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. In libya,  it can’t even begin to be over till Gaddafi crawls out of his hole or until he is pulled out. His loyalits are still resisting and he’s still issuing statements, according to reports, even though his command center/residence was taken over.

And one wonders if this will all devolve into a civil war.



Over the last 12 hours or so the story/rumor that is circulating concerning the apparent Libya rebel victory over Gaddafi, who served as a tyrant for more than four decades, is that a draft of a new “democratic” constitution is circulating and that it calls for the imposition of  Sharia law.

I have to admit I know next to nothing about Sharia law, except basically I understand it is an Islamic religious code. Well if a nation is going to have an official religion, it seems logical it might well adopt that religion’s code.

I could no more deal with the imposition of Sharia law here in the United States than I could deal with the imposition of some Christian code of conduct based on the Old or even New Testament of the Holy Bible.

In the U.S., religious freedom, which includes the prohibition of a state-sponsored religion (and I would add, freedom from religion), is a fundamental part of our democracy. It would seem impossible to achieve anything close to our basic freedoms with the imposition of a religious law, even though much of our law is derived from religious moral codes of the past.

And that story or rumor about a pending imposition of Sharia law in Libya is just that, a story or rumor.

But again, my limited understanding is that there are various forms of Sharia law and that different people, that is different Muslims, interpret it differently.

Now that I think about it, Iraq, which we liberated and nation-built with so much cost in blood and treasure, now uses Sharia law. And so does our oil-rich “friend ” Saudi Arabia.

(From what little I do understand of Sharia it is not fun to be a woman where it is practiced, unless you like having no rights.)

While we have to hope that something good comes out of the Libya rebel cause, such as a Western-style democracy, I’m not sure it should make a lot of difference to any of us here in the Good Old USA. We have our democracy and a nice country — we need to take care of ourselves and let Libyans decide what they want to do.

And by the way, does it bother you as it does me when I see all those ignorant people shooting automatic weapons into the air in “celebratory fire”? BBC (a much better source of news than any of our outlets) did a little story on the dangers and the many deaths that idiot behavior causes.

Are those people really ready to take care of things for themselves?


My previous post from 8-23-11 follows:

Maybe there is hope that the Libya thing won’t turn into an Iraqi/Afghanistan/Vietnam quagmire after all — we don’t know yet.

Unlike the Republicans, I freely admit or concede our President Obama is looking pretty clever right now. I was critical of his move and method on Libya, thinking that although we (the U.S.) went in there, by air power, under the cover of NATO, we would be left holding the bag and it would all turn into a messy civil war, as is or was the case in Iraq and/or a seemingly unwinnable fiasco as in Afghanistan.

I was right in that it takes ground troops — air alone would not likely topple Gaddafi — but the troops were indigenous rebels, the way it should be I would think.

As of this writing, Gaddafi has not been captured yet, but reports are that fighting is intense around his palace or compound, I guess they call it (I thought he lived in a tent), and smoke can be seen coming from his residence.


UPDATE: Now at mid morning my time on the West Coast reports are that rebels have taken over his compound and have found some of his officially-stamped papers. No reports of Gaddafi’s capture yet. If he’s like Saddam Hussein, I’d day call Rotorooter.


It’s almost laughable how the Republican candidates have to say they are happy Gaddafi is out or almost out but refuse to give Obama any credit.

I don’t even buy that it could have come quicker with more U.S. help — I mean maybe it could have, but I have to admit Obama was wise not to make this an American war. He also knew that he could not afford to get into still another ground war.

Of course no one knows what will happen now. It could still turn into complete chaos.

But for now, with the Obama-ordered killing of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. special operations and elite forces and now apparently the downfall of Gaddafi, I’d say Obama is looking pretty good.

But the economy here at home and the question of whether the Republicans can field an acceptable candidate, palatable to the bulk of American voters, will likely decide whether Obama gets a second term.


I wonder what Assad in Syria is thinking about now.

Shades of Vietnam and even Somalia in Libyan crisis…

April 21, 2011

Pretending a war is not a war and suggesting that regime change was not the goal, when of course it was, has only served to move the Libya action into a stalemate (if you can’t even admit to yourself what you are trying to do, how can you be successful?).

And shades of Vietnam, but this time the British and the Italians and the French, not the United States, yet, are going to send military advisors in to help the rebel forces. I think the last I read is that the Obama administration is still maintaining no U.S. ground troops will be sent in. Would that be like Lyndon B. Johnson’s famous quote that he would not “send American boys in to do what Vietnamese boys should do for themselves”? And then he of course committed a half million troops, almost 60,000 dead, thousands gravely wounded for life, and you know the rest.

It does not seem, fortunately, this time around that there is much chance of that, at least not for the United States. I can’t imagine the electorate countenancing another all-out war, with at least one and half going on now. I would think everyone is concerned about events in Libya causing gasoline prices to spike moving into the $4-per gallon-plus and toward 5 and higher (due not to supply but the usual speculation in the market during crises — always a good opportunity for providers of oil-based fuels to jack up the profits), and if the face of that keeping themselves afloat in a stagnant economy (for the bulk of us). If we were being attacked sacrifice for survival would instantly be the order of the day.

But that begs the question as to why we are involved at all (little to gain, everything to lose).

There is some hope that the continued pressure on the Gaddafi regime by the NATO air assaults (under a UN resolution) and from the rebels on the ground might force those around Gaddafi to force him out to save their own skins — but it is not happening a month into this thing, and it is still unclear whether Gaddafi can’t actually hang on anyway.

Following the Vietnam syndrome, one of these advisers will get shot at — gee how strange in a war zone — and then there will be the call to send in the troops for real. Actually as I recall, what happened in Vietnam is that the U.S. had advisors on the ground for years and was not getting anywhere. And then we began air assaults and introduced a limited number of Marines to guard airbases, and wouldn’t you know? in a war zone they got fired at. So we sent in the whole shebang and got nowhere after a decade (that is the danger in third parties getting involved in essentially civil wars).

If the NATO coalition forces go the troops-on-the-ground route, it would seem that Obama would be pressured to send in his own commitment.

Trouble is, I don’t recall the United States ever taking a second banana-role in a military adventure. We’re just too big for that.

We should get out and stay out of Libya and not get sucked into what one pundit labeled the Vietmalia Syndrome, combining the Vietnam and Somalia fiascos (Somalia of course minor compared to Vietnam) in which there seems no great public support or interest and where there seems no way out (especially judging from recent history).

In my previous blogs I have suggested that Obama is wrong both on committing us at all to Libya and since he did, then not going all out. Maybe he is doing something right in that he is letting some of the Western European powers, most notably Britain and France, carry more of the burden, since they seem to have such a keen interest in Libya.

Maybe Gaddafi can be squeezed out, but right now it is looking like military ground action is the more likely route.

It was while fighting on this very ground, North Africa, to include Libya, where the Allies in World War II made the decision that total defeat and total surrender of Germany, which they were battling in the deserts of North Africa, would be pursued.

Strangely it seems as if liberals support the Libya action more than conservatives, even though liberals are usually tagged as military wimps. But that was kind of the case before we got into World War II. The liberals saw it as a fight between human rights and democracy and fascism and Nazism (right-wing autocratic ideologies).

American conservatives of course support democracy and the right of the individual but sometimes have a strange fascination for strong, very strong, leaders who can keep the rabble, who they fear might get some of their money and property, in line.

In the current Libya case, though, Republican conservatives don’t quite know how to play it. They don’t like Gaddafi any more than anyone else, but they don’t see any political gain from a war in Libya just now, and they would not want to be supporting a Democratic president in anything if they don’t have to (especially with the 2012 presidential election looming large). They criticized Obama for not moving fast enough on Libya and then said he overreached his power by committing American naval and air forces.

Right now, too, it’s back to the Bill Clinton idea of “it’s the economy stupid” that is on everyone’s mind. Libya seems to have fallen off the news cycle for the most part.

War in Libya cannot be won in the air… I told you so!

April 8, 2011

I hate to say I told you so — well not really — but air power is not working in Libya.

You either fight a war all out on land and air, and sea where necessary, or you don’t fight at all — it’s pointless, unless you want to lose or you are a fan of getting people killed for stalemate.

And I hate to cheat on my blog here, but time forces this. Please read the article in Time Magazine:

And then scroll down on my blog and see what else I have written recently on the subject of Libya. I think you can also do that by clicking the subject Libya on the right of my blog page.


Who are these Libyan rebels? Are the rebels thugish as Gaddafi?

April 1, 2011

What if the Libyan “rebels” turn out to be just as much thugs as Gaddafi and his henchmen? Really what has been achieved? Supposedly the U.S. and the other members of the coalition are not after regime change (although of course they are). President Obama claims we are just trying to protect the Libyan people from being slaughtered by their government. But “just the people” don’t carry military weapons and go from town to town looking for Gaddafi supporters. And something  occurs to me: doesn’t anyone there work for a living? Who feeds these rebels? And if we are just trying to be some kind of buffer between the Gaddafi forces and the hapless natives, why is the Obama administration considering whether to supply the rebels with arms?

From all the reports I’ve seen, despite CIA involvement that began even before the UN (and now NATO-involved) no-fly zone (actually a bombing campaign) commenced, we (the U.S.) do not have a clue as to the makeup of the rebel forces — I mean we don’t even know if they are friendly to the West (of course they want our money and guns and munitions).

I’ve been hearing reports of maltreatment of residents in Libya at the hands of these rebels who some would have you believe are “freedom fighters”.

I have mixed emotions over the continued vow by Obama not to put American troops on the ground. On the one hand I am glad to see that he does not plan to get us stuck in still another quagmire, but on the other hand I have to question then why we are wasting our money and time there when we have so much that needs to be done at home.

Ross Douthat (a strange name), a columnist for the New York Times, keeping in mind that although the rebel forces may not be solid Al Qaeda (my term), there is certainly some Jihadist (his term) influence and participation there, opines that the best scenario might be for Gaddafi to be ousted in some type of coup with the current government, minus Gaddafi, staying in place.

As you have no doubt read, there are signs that the Gaddafi regime might (might) be cracking, with the defection of at least two top officials and rumors of more defections.

While I don’t usually listen to pretend right-wing/genuine right-wing nut radio aimed at ratings from reactionary fans radio, I did catch a minute or so of Rush Limburger Cheese and he seemed almost frantic that Obama just might pull the Libyan thing off and then be able to brag about a major foreign policy accomplishment for the 2012 election. While I doubt Rush has anything to be concerned about there, it would be neat if Obama could have a major hand in toppling Gaddafi, something the right could hardly criticize, but would anyway. 

I’m still thinking that region of the world needs to sort out its own mess.

The Obama Doctrine takes a lot of words to explain…

March 30, 2011

I still don’t believe there is such a thing as “limited war”. You are either at war or you or not and you either fight to win or you don’t, and in the case of the latter you likely lose, or at the least end up with a stalemate that is not satisfying to the American psyche. That is why we play or watch football where there are winners and losers, not soccer where you can tie 0 to 0.

The Obama Doctrine as I can make it out takes me a lot of words to explain: it seems to be we cannot act everywhere where there is terrible wrong, but we can sometimes if there is a real interest there and if the conditions are right and if we can get the backing and/or support of enough people, and if we do not have the bear the total responsibility and if we can back out of it at any time and we can make ultimatums such as Gaddafi must go because he lost the support of his people and because he is a mad man who would butcher his own people, but we will not put boots on the ground or actually enforce regime change to back up those words.

President Obama said somewhat over 24 hours now as I write this that those bombing sorties and missile strikes done by the U.S. and France and other members of the coalition had done the trick and the rebel forces had turned the tide (we‘re supporting the “rebels“ even though we do not know what they are really up to or whether in the end they will just open the way for Al Qaeda). But as far as the rebels beating back the Gaddafi forces, that is not what I am reading in news dispatches from the front as I am writing this (it is a fluid situation I am sure).

You would think with all the power arrayed against Gaddafi and all of it that is available, he and his forces could be wiped out pronto (then again that is not often the case, but there was that first Iraq war where we wiped out that nation‘s air force in a day or so and within weeks had his vaunted army surrendering to TV cameramen (ahh those were the days). Even then some people just could not stand to win, so we failed to march into Baghdad and hang Hussein at the time.

So even if there is enough pressure on Gaddafi to make him flee will there be a force to restore order or will it just be a new problem?

And just how does one take and secure territory without boots on the ground? Maybe the ragtag rebels can do it with air support from the coalition, but it does not seem likely since they are up against armed professional soldiers and mercenaries.

But if the rebels do prevail, what will they bring? Will they be co-opted by Al Qaeda if they are not just Al Qaeda in disguise already?

And where is Obama getting the money to pay for all of this, this war without congressional authorization?

How is it that we are nearly brought to our knees by trillions of dollars of national debt, but we can afford to pay for a war of choice, not defense? (We always can afford a war of defense — we have to afford that or we will not continue to exist.)

It is nice to have the support of the Arab world, such as it is, with all of its qualifications and equivocations, but why not let the Arab League sort it out?

Obama is not the first president to use the military as a tool of international relations. There is a long tradition in that. Teddy Roosevelt used gunboat diplomacy.

But I think the world has changed and gotten more complex and the military may be needed to be reserved more for defense.

Being a superpower may not be what it used to be. On the other hand that does not mean we have to let our own military be subjugated to the dictates of other nations or a world government.

Obama may well be trying to respond in a moral way to a crisis in which a dictator threatens to murder en masse his own people over rebellion, but without creating a mess like we did in a similar situation in Iraq, something that has not been totally resolved yet, although Saddam Hussein won‘t be bothering anyone anymore, thanks thousands of lives, to include thousands of Americans, and the hangman‘s rope.

Now if Obama can figure out a way to get at Gaddafi and hang him now and spare all the rest of the bloodshed, that would be good. But he seems unclear on whether Gaddafi can or should be forced to go.

But at the hour I write this Gaddafi forces seem to have taken the upper hand.

What is Obama and the rest of the coalition waiting for?

Either you know what or get off the pot, I’d say.

Ever since the 60s I have heard those debates ringing in my ears about whether to fight wars and if you do how to stop from “escalating” them, as if they were on some kind of dial you could turn up or down at will.

Yeah, I’m getting tiring and repeating myself, but come on, you either fight or not (and there is a decision to be made on that account). But if you fight, you fight to win — give it all you’ve got. This is football, not soccer.


And now, thanks to the New York Times, which I may be pay walled out of reading soon (I guess it’s only fair), I read that there is now a debate within the Obama administration and within the Pentagon over whether to arm the rebels. Well let’s see, we wanted one side to win in the Vietnam War and President Johnson vowed at one point he would not send American boys in to do what Vietnamese boys should be doing for themselves and 50,000 Americans dead and thousands wounded later we gave up — he did send them because the job was not getting done and if America is backing something it kind of has to be in charge. Oh, and I also read that the administration is trying to get all the intelligence it can on who exactly these rebels are. That’s comforting.

One-world government moves forward via Libya…

March 28, 2011

Listened to nearly all of  President Obama’s speech on Libya and read the full transcript.


The move toward one-world government has taken a dangerous and major step forward.

We are wasting treasure in or on or above the sands of North Africa.

How do you limit a war?

All these things jump out at me and make me nervous.

I think it is preposterous or at least contradictory of him to suggest that it would not be correct of the U.S. or its allies to effect regime change in Libya. Obama already demanded that Gaddafi step down, saying he must go. So which is it? He must go or not? If not, then why are we expending all of the military power and money that it takes to use it? If what Gaddafi is doing and has done already is so bad that the U.S. must act, then how on earth could he be allowed to remain? And is this a new type of foreign policy? Every time something untoward goes on within another nation’s borders that the U.S. or other nations of the world do not approve of we send in the jets for some bombing runs?

On the one hand, the president says that we cannot go in everywhere where there is trouble, but on the other hand, where we can and where our interests are involved, we should. It would be in our interest if all the world lived under democratic rule as we and if all the world liked us and if all the world traded freely with us. We would certainly feel better if people everywhere had no fear of torture and repression. But we are a world of individual nation states, of which the United States of America is one (and right now the strongest). It is my belief that while nations may want to cooperate with one another that they also must be allowed to run their own affairs internally. Not all peoples want to live under the same customs and standards. And, look at it this way: it’s easier for a disaffected or oppressed people to throw off the shackles of one localized tyrant or national government than an all-powerful world government. 

I am concerned that by interfering in another nation and by submitting ourselves to the dictates of the United Nations and by turning over military command to NATO we are indeed moving toward one-world government. I realize that the United States has used both the UN and NATO, and as I noted in a previous blog, SEATO (South East Asia Treaty Organization), as essentially a cover to conduct military actions, but we all knew full well that the U.S. was in charge. The reality of it is that other smaller or weaker nations might want to join with us for their own protection. But it is not necessary nor is it in the best interests of the United States to surrender its sovereignty, and in fact it would seem, at least, to be unconstitutional and certainly not patriotic.  While I would hope that the president’s intentions are in the right place, I think he has made a grave mistake and has set this nation on the wrong course.

Somehow I missed what our vital interests are in Libya or even if we do have vital interests then why in that case we would not go to all-out war and get something accomplished.

Half-way wars for unclear purposes have been mighty expensive for us in my lifetime in both blood and treasure and even self-esteem of the nation.


To a degree, Obama trying to justify why we must go into Libya, sounded a lot like George W. Bush making his case for going into Iraq. Obama just has a better command of syntax.

I think, though, that Bush’s actual intentions revolved around the idea that the U.S. should have hegemony in the Middle East and that it must protect its source of oil at all costs.

Obama must have some of the same considerations, but he probably is looking somewhat more at what he feels is a moral obligation (and Bush probably thought he was considering that as well — both talked of mass killings and torture being perpetrated in the respective nations, Iraq and Libya).

We’ll listen to what Obama has to say Monday night, but I’m wondering how is it we cannot afford to fix things here at home but we find money to fight overseas?

March 26, 2011

UPDATE: So after my original posting of this blog I see that President Obama is going to give his version of what this Libya thing is all about and our progress so far on Monday night (7:30 p.m., Eastern Time). I may be working, but I hope I can catch it on radio. I’d like to know. UPDATE to the UPDATE: Actually, the president has already given his rationale for acting in Libya in his weekly address, something I never catch. Guess I am one of those people who actually prefers the “filter” of the media. But if you missed it too:


George W. Bush plunged the nation into a fruitless and needless and bloody and terribly expensive war in Iraq while putting a seemingly at the time slightly more reasonable war in Afghanistan on hold, only for a new president, Barack Obama, who castigated him for Iraq, to ramp up the effort in Afghanistan and then start his own new war (or at least military operation) in Libya (although supposedly just part of a coalition of sorts).

But it occurs to me, just as Iraq, even under the terrible tyrant and butcher Saddam Hussein, posed no direct threat to the U.S., neither does Gaddafi — although it is hard to argue that he should not be gotten rid of, but maybe an embargo and total freezing of his bank accounts  would be a better way to go.

(A German official commented about the seeming hypocrisy of the coalition of Western nations still buying oil from Gaddafi (thus funding him) while attacking him — I’m not sure what his point was, but it is a kind of strange situation — but you know, people still need oil and business is business and war is war. Germany has chosen to stay out of the Libya mess, even though other NATO partners are involved. And sometime I need to re-check this, but I often cite something I read that said Germany sold its then enemy Great Britain ammunition, via Krupp Steel in World War I.)

I put an add onto my last post that suggested maybe that gaining hegemony in the Middle East is what we should do (just a maybe) seeing as how we have pressured some Arabs to support us. But then I read a column by Bob Herbert in the New York Times and I snap out of such thoughts (it‘s his last column, he‘s moving on).

He rightly asks why we seem to find money to fund foreign military actions but none to rescue ourselves from a dire economic and social breakdown here at home.

To heck with geopolitical gamesmanship, I’m thinking. Let’s just keep our own Fortress America safe from attack and get our own house in order.

There well may be a freedom movement around the Middle East, but that is up for Middle Easterners to work on. Let us not get in their way, but let’s us stay out of their way.

Check out the Herbert column if you have not already:


The web can be frustrating to me. If I read a newspaper I can go back to a headline and read the story, but I just surfed past one on the internet somewhere that said Europe is worried that Libya could become its Afghanistan — European nations who depend upon Libya more directly for oil than even the U.S. are said to be the main instigators in the no-fly zone operation (okay so maybe we should hand the operation over to them and get out). ADD 1: Okay, I found that item I was referring to at the Der Spiegel (German news magazine) site:,1518,750852,00.html

P.s. P.s.

And hopefully my next post will not be about Libya. I’m kind of worded out on the thing.

Obama may be wagging the dog; moon shot approach to energy independence needed…

March 25, 2011

At this time it still seems unclear who is actually in charge of the no-fly zone Libya military operation by the West aimed against Muammar Gaddafi and his regime, officially to prevent civilians from being attacked by their own government, but in all practical terms aimed at toppling the mad-man Gaddafi (he is kind of clever, but he is also quite mad, by all appearances).

Supposedly NATO is taking over. In the real world that would seem to mean the United States will bear the heaviest burden in cost and probably resources. It always has in the past, although most or all of that is of our (the U.S.’s) own doing, because we have used the cover of NATO to conduct wars, example Korean War, or the cover of SEATO (less well-known perhaps, but Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) in the case of Vietnam.

I still maintain that going into Libya, only by air or otherwise was not a wise decision. But since the decision was made, I am puzzled why the planners and initiators did not come up with a more coordinated and comprehensive approach and call it like it is:

(The only answer is that there is always that false hope for “limited war”. But war is unpredictable. If you could actually limit it, you would limit it to nothing.)

The problem:

Gaddafi has finally gotten totally out of hand. In the past he was judged responsible for sponsoring terror operations, most notably the downing of a civilian airliner over Scotland.

In the past we have shot down Libyan jets who menaced our own aircraft, and President Ronald Reagan took it a step further and authorized the bombing of his tent. But somehow we missed him.

But now, by all reports, Gaddafi has threatened and is trying to liquidate his own people. (That is what convinces me he is indeed not just bad, but nuts. I mean how can you be a dictator if you get rid of all your dictatees?)

The solution:

Demand that he step down. That was done, but he did not. Next: Deliver an ultimatum that if he does not we will go in and get him. But of course before you do all of this you have to make sure you have the power to back it up and everything in place. His military leaders should have been warned in private that we were coming and that they could jump to our side or that they could convince him to step down.

Then if the warnings fail (which they did), go in with a coordinated air, sea and land approach — maybe not everything at once, but everything at the ready.

Now this would be terribly expensive and dangerous. But what is being done now, air power only, seems awful limited and still terribly expensive. It might not have as high a potential for loss of life, but it seems the cost-benefit ratio could be far less if it is not successful or if it ends in a stalemate or just sets off a civil war.

I am thinking that nations have to work out their own problems within their own borders and should not be subject to attack unless what is going on there directly affects other nations. Now that latter could be the case in Libya (the West needs the oil and refugees cause a problem for other nations). So if it is all that important, then don’t hold back. Go in and get the job done. And as I said in a previous post, it seems a provisional government would have to be set up, and that would have to be done by outside forces.

The Arab world seems mixed about its support for this operation. But the United Arab Emirates has agreed to send jets in support. The UAE is not exactly a beacon of democracy itself, but it is an ally of the U.S. and it has lots of oil. The emirs there would rather side with the U.S. and the West as long as the West buys their oil and helps them keep the Islamic fundamentalists at bay.

I also understand that Turkey, not an Arab nation, but a largely Muslim one, has agreed to take part in the Libya operation as a member of NATO.

When it is all said and done, as far as the U.S. is concerned, we would do better to slack off of being the world’s policeman and become energy independent. Our interventions are predicated more on resources than a desire for human rights, and that is only practical. Can you imagine what would have happened if we tried to intervene deeper down in Africa where most folks are black? This statement has nothing to do with racism on my part. Just be realistic.

There is a lot more to being energy independent than putting up windmills or turbines (even though it helps) or fanaticizing about running around in battery-operated cars (and where does the battery energy actually come from?).

A wise use of federal government money (better than military operations) would be a moon shot approach into research on energy, as well as a careful continued development of our own conventional energy resources, to include oil, natural gas, and coal.

The government needs to do the research, but in the end, private enterprise will likely find the answer, with pure economics dictating that answer.

I really think that President Obama has lacked leadership on this, but then again, none of his would-be rivals promise anything better.

I also think Obama has played a little wag the dog in the Libya operation. He also may have fallen into a trap. Republican opponents crowed that he was weak and timid on the Libya issue — so he acted and now they don’t like that either.

(It occurs to me that if the Republican Party could find a candidate with real ideas, well thought out and articulated, not just the standard criticisms, and not just hot-button wedge/social issues that have little to do with governing, such a candidate might be a real threat to an Obama second term. No one has emerged, yet.)

ADD 1:

I am not one who necessarily stays doggedly with one point of view. If the U.S. can successfully get enough Arab/Muslim states to go along with it in this action and other endeavors, then maybe we are achieving the hegemony in the region the neocons pushed for during the last decade. It is not cheap. It may or may not be worth it. We may live by the sword and we may die by the sword. But the only way to do this is with our current all-volunteer professional military. It would not be right to demand ordinary citizens put their lives on the line, not for self-defense, but for world domination. I am not being sarcastic or facetious here; this is a real issue we all need to think about.

Why not Blitzkrieg Gaddafi? And I go out on a limb and predict Romney for 2012 Republican nod…

March 24, 2011

Most of my blogs are on one subject, but because of time considerations, I am going to throw in two items here: Operation Odyssey Dawn (the bombing of Libya) and the possibility that Mitt Romney might get the Republican nomination for 2012.

First, Odyssey Dawn.

We all know the real intent here is for Gaddafi to leave his seat of power in Libya (and maybe hang him — okay, I just threw that second part in). So why didn’t they just send in some special forces and do just that? Or if that is not possible, then why not a coordinated land, sea, and air attack — lightning war (the German in me — Blitzkrieg), oust Gaddafi and his henchmen and set up a provisional government?

It does seem as if Gaddafi could hardly hold out indefinitely with the continued air attacks — but who knows?

But apparently no one has an idea of who is going to take charge once he is gone . In fact, no one I am reading seems to know what the actual makeup of the hodgepodge of untrained rebel forces of all ages is and whether they will begin to fight among themselves if or when Gaddafi leaves. I mean, even though the civilized West would like to think that they are just the “people” all thinking with one mind, I doubt it works that way there. That is why I think a provisional government has to be set up for the Libyan people.

Things need to be stabilized as quickly as possible and the oil needs to continue to flow, because, be honest, that is what it is all about.

(I know there were volunteers who went over and fought for the cause of freedom loving people in Spain all those years ago. I read “For Whom the Bell Tolls” too. But the U.S. did not intervene. We intervene when we see our interests (read oil in this one) are at stake.

There is no clear leadership in this operation and it does not even have a clear official goal. It still might accomplish something positive, but I am doubting it.


Nothing much to say here really, except that I read an item in Time Magazine online that suggests Mitt Romney is scoring highest among the Tea Party as a Republican candidate for the 2012 presidential election.

I went out on a limb and predicted early on that he would be the candidate last time. It is not that I care for him or his politics. I just thought he had the look and smirk and business credentials that Republicans demand. I also thought he had the ability to unabashedly waffle enough to appeal to a cross section of voters.

An example (besides his flip flop on abortion): un-modern Republican-like he pushed through a health care plan when he was governor or Massachusetts and then had the cajones to criticize Obama for pushing through what many consider a quite identical plan on a national scale.

(I will admit I get lost in the health plan debates. I have not seen the improvement. Rates are still going up as the amount of coverage received goes down, even under the new health care law. Give it time they say. Hey I’m, 61, not so old maybe, but old enough I don’t feel I have enough time to see the benefits. But that’s just me. But then again, I would prefer a more nationalized plan, but I usually don‘t say that in mixed company.)

But I am willing to go out on a limb and even earlier predict that Romney is it.

If unemployment stays high as it is and if the economy does not remarkably improve, I think Mitt has a chance of beating Obama in the main election.

I would be interested in hearing his foreign policy ideas.

And I don’t see me ever voting for him.