Libya and the Decline of America David E. McClean, Ph.D.
March 18. 2011
We will all soon be witnesses to batty debates about whether this country should be part of a "multinational" effort to establish no-fly zones in Libya, given the UN Security Council Resolution that passed yesterday. Before the barrage of twaddle and spin (and outright lies) begins, I thought I'd kick things off with a few thoughts of my own.
We are already aware -- assuming that we are not hopelessly mired in fantasies -- that the war in Iraq was a grave error, from both moral and policy perspectives, and that the war (if that is what it is) in Afghanistan is pointless. The rationale for the war in Afghanistan (or, I should say, today's rationale) is to defeat "the Taliban" and defeat terrorists. But both objectives are unreachable. "The Taliban" is more of a collection of ideas than it is a distinct group of people, and it is unlikely that those ideas will be killed by military action, especially as the civilian casualties continue to mount. As for defeating terrorists, we already know that there are as many anti-Western terrorists in Pakistan as there are in Afghanistan, if not more. Clearly, we are being duped, and we seem to be content with being duped.
These wars and our indifference to them, along with our domestic profligacy, are leading this country toward ruin. This is not some alarmist observation; it is clear for all to see. Yet we keep marching on, right toward the cliff. So now we are planning to add fuel to the fire. We are planning to extend our military resources even further in the form of a no-fly zone over Libya, which is no less than an act of war on yet another sovereign state. How long will we be committed to this? How much will it cost? How many Libyans will we kill in the process? How many more young Americans will die?
The notion that the reason for a no-fly zone in Libya is to further a humanitarian cause is another of those fantasies that spin masters would have us believe. Even Bob Herbert seems to have bought in. We do these things for humanitarian reasons, do we? Where was this country's humanitarianism when the slaughter in Darfur was declared a genocide? Where was our humanitarianism when Rwanda was turning into a hell pit of murder, under our watch? Where was it when, for generations, apartheid in South Africa raged, and the best thing we could find the courage to launch was an effete slap on the wrist called "constructive engagement" -- actually designed to maintain the racist status quo so that commercial interests might continue? Where is our humanitarianism when it comes to the people of Gaza, who suffer deep oppression day in and day out? I am all for humanitarianism. But when "humanitarianism" is continually used to cloak non-humanitarian goals, it must be called what it is -- a vicious contortion of morality.
We had better beware. We are about to, as a country, extend ourselves beyond even what a superpower can safely take upon itself. And in the middle of all of this is a young president who appears to be so fatigued from the political battles of the first two years of his presidency that he no longer has the moral will to turn around the ship of state before it plunges over the moral and financial precipice.
If we accept yet another immoral and pointless war, this democracy is finished, because it will be clear -- if it isn't already -- that it is controlled by powers and interests that are more about themselves than about the people they are supposed to serve. A democracy without an engaged demos is an absurdity. As it stands, the demos is fast asleep. I have no idea what it will take to awaken it short of a major crisis from which the country may not recover.
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