Friday, March 11, 2011

Dragging Libya to the 2012 Elections

Beaching Obama on the "Shores of Tripoli...?"

1804 American ship Philadelphia held by Barbary Pirates in Tripoli harbour (source)

A Little History

Let's begin with a short, MeanMesa overview.  As of today, our country finds itself cleverly stuck in two "quagmire" military adventures.  One of them -- the cheaper of the two -- was a Republican PR proposal designed to disguise the terrific mismanagement of national security on 9/11.  The other was a pre-meditated, carefully orchestrated "oil grab" with its origin in the secret Cheney "energy meeting" months before the jets hit the trade towers.

Now, of course, the Iraqi Hydrocarbon Treaty has been signed, sealed and delivered, $3 Tn has been spent on the worst case of war mis-management in modern history and the corpses are piled high.  Unhappily, both for us and for the Iraqi people, this doesn't mean that the war is over -- even though the "good stuff" was successfully extracted during the autocracy and turned over to the W's favorite friends.  The situation in Afghanistan is probably worse.

Potential rare earth mineral rights and a right of way for a pipeline are, most likely, too complicated to be explanations.

Although the Republicans made a good load of political hay with the "Christian vengeance" idea for Afghanistan and an equal load of vote sucking paranoia based on "fearful weapons of mass destruction" for Iraq, the sober fact remains.  Just like the debt and the deficits, those pesky GOPCons left the wars to be cleaned up by the adults.  It's pretty clear that GOPCons aren't any better at managing a war than they are at managing a country --- this one.

Quite aside from the "mouth junk" talk of the pundits, this is actually happening under the Obama administrations leadership.  The "bomb throwing" fear mongers who sabotaged the closing of Guantanamo didn't get to their microphones in time to stop his efforts to end the wars, stop the cost drain and withdraw our troops..

Iraq Troop Levels - BBC
Baiting Obama

Surrounded by a chorus of "invasion happy" Admirals and Generals and egged on by the dottering old "war" expert, John McCain, will the President take the bait?

The GOPCon talking machine has, in a rare deviation form its normal, totally obsessive effort to target the information challenged and the easily inflamed, turned its attention to the "mid-range" range civilians among the voting public.  Quickly reverting to the "you've already forgotten how bad this turned out last time" message which worked so well in the November election, an relentless panoply of atrocity videos and murmurings of genocide have bathed all those exposed to the airwaves.

Apparently, clitoral mutilation is not popularly common in Libya since it was not added as the "frosting on the cake."

Unlike the last resident of the Oval Office, the "hammer" which comes with this "sickle" is missing a handle with this President.  The latest GOPCon "false dichotomy" is the exceptionally limited, absolutist choice between doing nothing and another protracted Middle East land war.  

The "doing nothing" option precipitates a useful hypocrisy for domestic exploitation regardless of the psychopathic lunacy of a Bush-like reaction while an ill considered invasion would vindicate the mindless war mongering of the W with its similarity.  Either ill advised response would amount to placing yet another mouse trap -- in addition to the economy and the other two endless military adventures  -- on the "to do list" of the intensive care, life support  duties of our Commander in Chief.

What We're Hearing from the "News"

Defense Secretary Gates says -- in no uncertain terms -- that a "no fly" zone over Libya is not painless. It would mean attacking Libya. The US says that, although this might happen, it can only happen with NATO or UN or both on board.

The risk of attacking Libya to disable the Soviet anti-aircraft missiles is a problem. The Russians are not interested in seeing their stuff not work -- so much so that Russia is vetoing the moves in the UN Security Council, saying "Let the Libyans solve this themselves."

US and European military analysts are predicting that Gaddafi, thanks especially to combat equipment superiority, will ultimately win the conflict. However much damage is done suppressing the insurgency will be increased by military retribution afterwards.

State Department and political analysts, many left overs from the autocracy, are pointing to two "operational problems" the conflict presents. First, there is no one to "answer the phone," and even if the decision were taken to arm the insurgents, "We can't just send rifles and ammo to a post office box." Second, "We don't know who there insurgents are. They could be al-Quaeda or some other 'bad actors' we would later regret having helped into power."

The Gaddafi regime has broadcast intercepted conversations between the US and the head council of insurgents in Benghazi offering arms and supplies, asking them to tell us what they need. These claims from the Gaddafi regime are probably factual.

A MeanMesa "Prophecy" -- What's Going to Happen

Military Considerations

Obama is going to take some path through the "middle ground" between doing nothing and an invasion.  The Libyan military is not inconsequential, but that's not to say that it doesn't have some serious problems.  Defections, many of which included military equipment falling into the hands of the insurgents, have been high.  The tribal abhorrence to Gaddafi's importation of "outside troops" is not a small problem.

Of course, tearing the arms and legs off anyone willing to resist Gaddafi doesn't help, either.  The important point is that the insurgents, at this point, can't surrender.

advisors are also, most likely, trying to give the ground commanders of the insurgency a few tips on more effective ground combat tactics.

A single C-130 can deliver enough Stingers and trainers to permanently dissuade the Libyan Air Force from its present, gleeful "near misses" on insurgent positions. This, if it works, would be a good alternative to simply bombing Gaddafi's air fields.  Even before taking off, Libyan jet fighter pilots have been threatened to within an inch of their lives to avoid hitting the oil fields.

A single cruise missile of "mysterious origin" can take out the Gaddafi central command in Tripoli, Bab Alzizia.  The dictator is probably no longer there, but the psychological impact of such an attack would further crush the morale of government troops, and possibly incite more rioting in the capitol.  We need to remember what it will be like for government troops and sympathizers the night the insurgents take Tripoli, a frightening imagination not missing from the hearts and minds of Gaddafi's side.

The Libyan government is fully aware of what happens when US and European oil corporations begin calling the State Department -- and probably the US Defense Department, too.  Gaddafi nationalized Libyan oil some years ago, just as the last democratically elected President of Iran threatened to do before our CIA installed the Shah.

Political Considerations

Of course the inebriating mix of "media fear mongering" and the already popular risk aversion of US voters has prepared a heady brew of control issues and their predictable fixation on caution as to the exact identity of the insurgents.  The implications are bifurcated.  On one side, maybe the US should get in there and make the thing turn out right.  On the other side, maybe the US should just let Gaddafi destroy another Islamic Revolution before it can become a problem for us.

Here, however, the frightening idealism of the President may come into play.  He may, hopefully, decide that the uncertain future politics of the Libyan insurgents is a risk he's willing to take.  American ideals demand that we help those who struggle for democracy without the caveat that end results will please either the cynics in the State Department or the avarice of corporatists infatuated with controlling Libyan oil reserves.

Obama regards these reactionary voices as relics of a by gone age of American diplomacy where corporate profits were the final determiners of "good Muslims" or "bad Muslims,"  where a complete lack of trust trumped the possibility that Libyans under a new government might favorably remember our "hands off" assistance in their hour of need.

MeanMesa's compliments to the President.

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