Monday, March 21, 2011

The No-Fly doesn't fly...

with me.

I grew up in Florida. I no longer live in Florida, but if I did, Alan Grayson would have my vote...provided I lived in his district, of course.  He says what I am thinking...every time I get an email from him. It was a bad day for Florida when the idjit party unseated him.

This an email I received from him today.

One of the unfortunate imperatives of public life is that when something is the lead story, you think you’ve got to be doing something about it. Not just have an opinion on it. Be doing something about it.

Volcano erupts? Prepare a news release on the new anti-volcano policy.

Zombies are multiplying? Introduce anti-zombie legislation.

Well, Libya’s been on the front page for a month now. Demonstrations. Civil unrest. Army attacks, etc. So our world leaders think that they’ve got to be doing something about it.

Hence the Libya no-fly zone.

Here is a link to UN Security Resolution 1973, authorizing the Libya no-fly zone. It shows a laudable, albeit rather repetitive, concern for civilian wellbeing. It also completely fails to explain how a no-fly zone will ensure the safety of civilians.

The Libyan Air Force hasn’t received a major delivery of new aircraft in 22 years. Roughly three-quarters of its “air”craft can’t fly.

It is true that the Libyan Air Force, such as it is, has been deployed. But the serious threat to civilians in Libya is not from the Libyan Air Force. It’s from the government security forces on the ground. A no-fly zone does not take away their guns, or their artillery.

For outsiders like us, there are two questions to answer:

(1) Do you want Gaddafi in or out?

(2) Either way, what are you willing to do about it?

Here are my answers:

(1) Out, because Gaddafi is a dictator who has stunted the development of his country and its people (although in a list of the 5,000 things that are most important to America, I’d have to rank this close to the bottom, even if it is on the evening news every night).

(2) Economic sanctions, including extending the de facto oil embargo and asset freeze that already are in effect.

And it’s likely that an oil embargo/asset freeze will work. Oil is 95% of Libya’s exports, and 25% of GNP. Libya has about four years of oil revenue in the bank, but with an asset freeze and economic sanctions, that becomes meaningless. Whatever the result in the streets, as soon as Gaddafi runs out of money, he’s gone.

But a no-fly zone? In the case of Libya, that’s a tactic in search of a strategy. The Yiddish word for it is “shmei,” roughly translated as aimless strolling around. A no-fly zone is basically just looking like you’re doing something to remove Gaddafi, at the cost of $60 million in a day (which was the cost of the first day’s worth of cruise missiles launched).

The last time we tried this, in Iraq, we had to sustain it for 12 years. At enormous effort and expense. And it didn’t bring down Saddam at all.

More fundamentally, a no-fly zone in Libya feeds the dangerous fantasy that every problem has a military solution. That the answer to the use of force is the use of more force. That if a hammer doesn’t drive that nail in, try a howitzer.

It was Mao Tse-Tung who said that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. Do we really want Mao’s principles running our foreign policy?

Sincerely,

Alan Grayson


ADDENDUM:

31 comments:

Sue said...

smart guy, should NEVER have been voted out, dumb voters. I must say I agree 100%!

willis said...

Contradictions in abundance; Why are we bombing armed military convoys, they don't fly? Why didn't we respond to prevent Saddam from murdering thousands of Iraqi civilians with gas (same gas we gave him under Regan/Bush to use against Iran)?
I like Grayson and was very sorry to see him lose in the last election. The points he makes are very valid and I wish were discussed in Washington. Libya is a real conundrum. Gadaffe (I've given up trying to spell it) should be gone, should have been gone. Like Saddam, Musarraf, Pinochet, The Shah in Iran, to name a few, we backed them all until they fell out of grace with us. Make no mistake, They were bad leaders and murderers and always were...even when we supported them.
The only positive thing I see out of all this is that under this president, some discretion and cooperation with the UN is apparent and most of all, This time we attacked the correct country!

ChimpPlanet999 said...
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MeanDonnaJean said...

I'm sorry. I'd love to post a comment, but I don't "DO" politics.

Nor do I "DO" politicians! ;-)

Chimp said...

Great email!!! The reason for the NO FLY ZONE is simply an excuse to get US and Western military into Libya to PROTECT THE WESTERN OIL!!!

Unfortunately sanctions have never worked. Even today, after all the sanctions, major US corporations are doing a thriving business with Iran.

Gaddafi should have been taken out ages ago. Just like Saddam should have been assassinated instead of the US killing over 4,000 American youngsters, Gaddafi should just be assassinated.

But no. We are now going to spend millions of dollars on missiles, bombs, planes and cut services to seniors, poor, disabled, schools, roads and hospitals to protect the oil interests of Exxon/Mobil, Halliburton, and all other Western Oil Companies.

Mr. Charleston said...

We tried to take Gaddafi out years ago during the Carter administration. Bombed his home. Killed his son instead of him. I don't think he's in much of a forgiving mood. Have to snuff him or do what we do best, arm the rebels. In all the pictures I've seen the arms are all Russian or Chinese. Holy Crap! WE'RE supposed to be the world's arms supplier. Can't we be first in anything?

yankeedog said...

Jaded! Where ya been?

Yours is the first blog I've read talking about this latest incident. I've been waiting for everyone who trundled out the same old rhetoric regarding Bush to say the same about Obama and the US. Nothing.

Guess since this wasn't instigated by the US, and the strikes weren't authorized by a Republican president, it's all good.

You at least have provided, through candidate Grayson, something of a counter-argument. And I can live with it, as far as that goes. Except I wouldn't want to hear (after Qaddafi has passed along) that 'the world should have done something-taken a more active role in getting rid of him'.

Can't have it both ways.

However, liberal though you are (no one's perfect), no one's ever said you didn't give a fair listen to opposing views.

jadedj said...

Sue---I think Obama has fucked up majorly this time.

Willis---Grayson best expressed my feeling (opinion) with this statement: "Libya feeds the dangerous fantasy that every problem has a military solution. " I agree...after all, I am a political product of the Vietnam Era, and our arrogant attitude that we know what is best for others, falls on my deaf ears. The so-called freedom card has become the reason du jour in this country for just bombing the shit out of whomever pisses us off...or has the oil.

And then of course, there is the problem of the bottom line...we have legislator vultures in congress picking at the flesh of major domestic programs, with no serious mention of curtailing our military budget. If the figure of 60 million dollars per day is true as Grayson states, borrowed or not, then by God we can find ways of taking care of much more pressing needs than stroking our military egos.

This action is going to bite us on the ass, and we are going to be bogged down in yet another military venture that we can't, or won't, pull out of.

Mean Jean---Both of these personal policies of yours are probably the best course. However, you can be sure...politicians DO you.

Chimp---Ditto, and well said.

Mr. C---As to the arms...the Russians and Chinese make better machine guns. Period.

yankeedog---Haven't heard from you in a long time!

It doesn't matter who did it, if it's insanity...then it's insanity. And this is wrong, on a ton of levels.

Also, believe me, when someone comes over here and pisses me off with troll shit...I am ready with the delete button. This is a totalitarian blog...and I am the Big Kahuna, but I do appreciate your good words.

Kulkuri said...

@Mr. C, that was St. Ronnie of Reagan that bombed Gaddafi after the Pan Am flight blew up over Lockerbie. There were those on the Never-Right bitching about how the planes(FB-111s and others) had to fly around the Iberian peninsula from England to Libya because no country would give them the right to fly over their country for this mission.

AK-47s whether Russian or Chinese-made have been the stock and trade of arms dealers the world over since WWII.

JAG said...
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Mr. Charleston said...

Ooops, that was me. Wrong login.

Anyway... I'm with you JJ. It's way past time for someone else to do some of this crap. Are we finally going to be at war with the whole friggin Middle East?

jadedj said...

Kulkuri---One of our shared national traits is selective memory.

AK-47s...yes, and there is a reason...rugged, durable, and highly destructive weapon.

JAG---? JAG? Judge Advocate General? Just a guy? Jiving and Googling?

Mr. C---It would seem. Check out the addendum to the post, above.

Chimp said...

The Western invasion of Libya is not about protecting people but protecting oil.

To the US and the UN, Libya is not a country of people being killed by their dictator but a Transnational Oil Fiefdom

Gadhafi threatened to kick out Western oil firms turning all the oil business over to Russia and China.

One of the main reasons for the invasion by the US and UN allies is to replace present Chinese and Russian oil companies with Western ones.

BP's latest investment in Libya is over 24 billion dollars. American Occidental, Chevron, Exxon and Hess have large investments in Libya.

The CIA and British intelligence engineered color revolutions in the Middle East designed to install more Western-oil-friendly modern dictators and stooges.

Chimp said...

Jon Stewart tells it like it is. We always seem to have money and blood for oil, no matter how broke we are. As George Carlin tells it, "We like war!"

Susan said...

Chimp is correct. Is it me or is the world getting more f*)*ed by the nanosecond?

Punch said...

I guess I just don't give a damn, anymore. I'm mean 30 fuckin' years and a NeGRo in the WhiteHouse and nothing has changed.
Phooey.

jadedj said...

Chimp---What you said.

Susan---By the macro-nano second.

Punch---I happen to know that you do care, but I haven't had enough caffeine yet this morning to care whether anyone cares. However, I am damned certain nothing has changed since yesterday.

Tom Harper said...

Alan Grayson rocks.

I first heard of him during the 2008 election. A fellow blogger, who lives in Florida, was working on his campaign. He had that same blunt shoot-from-the-hip style when he was running for the House as he did after he got elected. I can't believe the Oligarchy drove him out of office after just 2 years. Well, yes I can.

jadedj said...

Tom---He is out temporarily...I hope.

Punch said...

Dude??? you are old news????

Punch said...

old what ever

Susan said...

I watched a movie at work Taxi Cab to the Dark____(side? city?) It was about American torture during the Darth Cheney's reign. Even though I knew, it was something else to see it for 2 hours. Really, our government isn't any better than the Libyian nutjob--we just have better spin. Obama would have a whole lot more cred with me if he had actually closed Gitmo. That place is the hole to hell.

intelliwench said...

*sigh*

I bet it's starting to get nice in Norway this time of year.

jadedj said...

Punch---This post may be old news, but I am not old news. Not to mention that old is relative. Liz Taylor was old (may she rest in peace) relative to me. You are old relative to...Justin Beiber. I am old relative to my daughters. We are all young relative to the Universe. And of course, the main problem is, I HAVE NO FERKING IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!

Susan---Wait...you watched a movie at WORK? During your break...right? Are you sure your boss is not a fan of B of C? Sorry...I couldn't pass that up.

On the serious side...I am not so sure we have better spin...we have increasingly more gullible citizens who believe any shit that is thrown at them. BELIEVE NOTHING, fools!

Intell---yes, but can you afford the fjords? And I don't mean Gerald.

Punch said...

What ever.

jadedj said...

Punch---Well, you can call me Ever Ready and you can call me ever more...and you can call me ever lasting...but don't call me ever what...ever.

Punch said...

Ever More.

jadedj said...

Punch---Everlast.

Enemy of the Republic said...
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Harlequin said...

i like grayson, too.
and it's a delight to read the comments here.... pithy and witty. wow.

jadedj said...

I love openings such as this.

Ahem, the only pithiness in this post is M. le Punch.

There...I got it out of my system :)