By Dustin Axe
On March 19th, 2011, the United States government initiated air strikes against the nation of Libya. Military installations have been targeted in an effort to support rebel forces who are attempting to overthrow the current regime headed by Muammar Gaddafi. The rebels have gained control of the eastern part of the country, but Gaddafi promises a “long, drawn-out war” against them, even if they receive aid from the United States and its NATO allies.
President Obama claims the purpose of this war (let’s call it what it is) is to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the north African nation. He says Gaddafi will use military force against the rebels, therefore intervention is needed to prevent a civil war and the massacring of innocent people. The logic is that by killing a small number of people a large number of people will be saved.
There is no evidence to suggest the President is acting to prevent a humanitarian crisis. Africa is full of brutal dictators who butcher citizens and rule with an iron fist, yet the United States does nothing. Anti-government protesters in the streets of Syria are being fired on by regime loyalists, but nothing is done. Why should we believe Libya is any different?
In fact, there is no evidence in all of history to suggest any President of the United States has went to war for humanitarian reasons. During WWII, for example, railroads that led to Auschwitz, where hundreds of thousands of people were exterminated, were not bombed because of other military priorities (empire building) came first.
I am not alone in my questioning of this war. Support for military intervention in Libya is extremely low among Americans, because we've grown tired of endless wars and the siphoning of resources away from human needs, such as healthcare and education. Even members of Congress are suspicious of war in Libya.
Many members of Congress are speaking out, however, they are not asking tough questions. They are not questioning the morality of the situation, but rather the legality. They say the President has no authority to wage war without a vote of approval from them. They say this as if a vote by them is all that’s needed to justify a war. A debate should include, not only the question of legality, but also the morality.
They should be wondering who the rebels are or if they’ll be equally barbarous as Gaddafi. The LA Times reports that rebel forces are going door to door rounding up regime loyalists, torturing them, and imprisoning them in the same prisons once used my Gaddafi. Are these really people worth supporting?
Had this question been asked of Osama bin Laden and his thugs, who the American government supported during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan 30 years ago, the events on 9/11 may not have happened and there would be less violence in Afghanistan today. Perhaps, the government should learn from its mistakes of seeking short term solutions to conflicts, while ignoring the possibility of more severe consequences in the future. One shouldn’t be surprised if one day we are at war with Gaddafi’s successors.
Obama is wrong if he believes this will be a quick and easy war that no one notices. Even if a tyranny is toppled and violence ends, the victory will be short lived. The belief that violence is a solution in this situation will only fuels future conflicts. Violence breeds violence, and what seems to be peace will be a continuation of the very nature that starts war in the first place.